Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breeze practice 11-29

Ok, I know this doesn't look very exciting, but...the issue that Breeze and Liz have been having is understanding reading a line of jumps. There is almost a 120% chance we will be seeing that in the trial this weekend-or any trial...so that is a huge thing. We are trying to do a handling system where the dog is looking for and reading movement so I am not teaching with toys lying out on the ground or using a go on cue without the movement to support the line. ANYWAY, it is still new for these dogs who are very inexperienced dogs. So I have a video of our practice today, I tried to video Liz's practice but when I got to the camera.....it had run out of room, so that was a bummer when I was sure I had caught her practice too, but then I got out Breeze and made sure I had room. Liz was having a lot more trouble and would catch up to me then turn around in front of me and bark and dance......Breeze is getting it. Breeze actually did pretty good this week she did a drop in class and did her first full course, she actually did it twice. She really did pretty well. I am discovering Breeze actually likes to work further away and reads lines much better when I am further away from her, sort of opposite of Liz. YES, I am going to have my work cut out trying to work with both of these young dogs who are so different, LOL. So we have our first trial with Liz and Breeze this next weekend. We have chose a NADAC trial because there of the flowing courses and we can train in the ring, and I imagine we will be needing some of that. The greatest thing though is that when I dropped in on the class this week Breeze and Liz nailed their weaves, it is gorgeous and they got them every time-not bad when working in a class is new to them and this was a new yard and they have never run a full course. All in all I am happy with how things are coming along this week.
ACTUALLY after watching this video I am thinking I have some pretty cool neighbors -I usually put my sheltie Skyler up before I practice, and I guess there are some obvious reasons for that! I think what they say about shelties being barkers...in my experience it is very true, Chloe wouldnt have been much better if she had been out.

Whoops, tripod accident

videoSo I let the dogs out, and I wanted to video them playing, so I had the video recorder in my hand, I had been out trying to tape some exercises, and as soon as the girls were let loose....there went the tripod, of course it really upset the dogs -NOT- who just looked like hummm....were there any treats involved? Of course there were not...so they continued their play, just glad I had not left the video recorder on there. Check out Cherry, Breeze and Cherry are both ball FREAKS, very obsessed by them, but Breeze is bossy, so Cherry just sits and herds the other dogs until she gets her turn to get in on the game. Cherry is definately a border collie with that herding behavior. Now for the cast of characters, Breeze is the blue merle border collie, Liz is the split face red/white girl and Cherry is the pretty red merle border collie, they usually are in the house, but when they go out to potty it is usually in the smaller yard, but once or twice a day I go out with them for a longer play session and they get to play in the agility yard and they LOVE that, wild play is always happening there. I love to watch them play in the big yard where they can really stretch out and run and they always look so happy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let's Hear it for Latent Learning......

Latent learning as I understand it-refers to the fact that some things can be taught and then will be learned or "gel" after a period of time for the learning to be processed in the learners brain. It is a very cool thing and I have seen several examples of behaviors, especially harder behaviors, that when teach them then leave it alone for a period of time- BOOM you come back and they are way better then when you left off with them. This sometimes works even with very simple concepts say you are working on a sit for example -you stop do something else for a few minuetes then go back to the sit and Wha Laa, there it is.
It is a well known fact that I hate contacts...but I hate them a little less today, LOL. Origionally Lizzie was taught a four on the floor contact and she LOVES that behavior, she feels comfortable with it, she understands it. She would run up and over the contact and hit the ground in a down at the bottom of the obstacle. The problem is that Lizzie is a smart girl and figured out how to do the Aframe with a leap up over the yellow up contact and into the blue on the upside, she would leap over the Apex of the Aframe and then hit about in the middle, but definately above the yellow contact and then hit the ground with her butt touching the Aframe but definately missing all parts of the actual contact area. She is a very clever girl and you know I couldnt have taught anything like that if I was trying. I know she thought she was super clever and had figured out a way to save us a little time. I do believe my down fall with the four on the floor was I never did anything to teach Liz that she had to touch in the yellow, I ASSumed she would have to hit it to get to the down, so she was being a super good girl and doing all I asked. I just fogot to ask a key componant thinking surely she would have to stride through the yellow to hit her mat on the ground, well, Liz is much more talented then that.
Soooooo....I deceided since I am slow and this is my first really fast dog, Liz tends to spazz and run off if she gets nervous or feels alone, so we could really use another spot to connect-with a stopped contact, and because I couldnt think of any other options we deceided to do a 2o2o with her. Poor Liz was just so sure her contact behavior is the down on the mat at the bottom of the Aframe, and I think she thought when I was trying to teach a 2o2o that it was some sort of weird proofing behavior for the four on the floor, so she just kept doing everything possible to get into her four on the floor position. I felt so bad for her because she loved the four on the floor, and she really understood it and it really seemed to be messing with her confidence when we worked with it. She had the 2020 position on curbs, she had it on a block, she could do it everywhere but where she "knew" she was supposed to get into her four on the floor position.
I deceided that my biggest goal in training right now was to build her confidence, and get her to work with us. With her running off and the fact we still werent able to have her work with other dogs around I knew we were no where near trialing so I made the decision to leave the contact alone and not mess with it for a period of time, build her confidence and get her working with us in other areas, and we would just figure out what to do with the contacts when we had to. I was really glad I had the luxury of a little time before we had to worry about it.
So....about a week ago, Liz was playing in the agility yard before class, and I have not touched the 2020 behavior in maybe a month or two...but I went over and popped her on and BOOM---SHE GETS IT!!!! It just took a little while to process, but taking the pressure off and letting it all work out for her seems to have worked. So not a finished behavior, we need to of course add it to the whole obstacle, proof it, sensitize her to movement---all that good stuff, but hey, think we are definately on the right track now.
video

birthday...


My youngest daughter saved her money, went to the store and got me the softest, cuddliest little slippers with a penguin on them-VERY CUTE-she even got a card and wrote some of the nicest things on it and wrapped the whole thing, and then had it waiting for me when I got up on my birthday morning. what a SWEETHEART!

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Island of Reality in a Sea of Diarrhea

So I was listening to a song and you know how a line can just stick and play in your head all day? Well the last line on the recording just was sticking today, probably because it sort of makes me think of things that have been going on lately, anyway, it amused my little mind.

Your an Island of Reality in a Sea of Diarrhea,

Anyway, I really liked the lyrics to the rest of the song too. It is by Jason Mraz-which I have found a lot of his songs lately that I like, but this one is called Details in the Fabric. Anyway, here is the chorus of the song and a verse .....

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The road to the goal......


Liz went to the trial this weekend with me, we worked on our ATTENTION, tricks and obedience, and of course there was a lot of playing to do and a lot of dogs and people to meet. She actually did very good especially the second day, but I guess all these increasing expectations just wear her out! Even with all her social obligations she was better at loose leash walking then she ever has been and we had some awesome recall practices and she was tugging and playing really well until the end of the trial when I think she was just getting tired.


The road to your championship will not be a smooth, wide and easily traveled freeway. No, great accomplishments are never realized without first having to endure steep climbs, hard falls and sharp turns. The key to your success is perseverance and focus. Keep your focus on that which you desire to accomplish, your championship, and continually discover ways to, and ways not to, achieve your goals. Fall down and/or get knocked down 10 times and get back up 11..., and in so doing learn, grow and move closer to your championship.
-Greg Werner


So, I read this and it made me think of my Little Lizardo Lizzie. She was looking so fabulous doing so well at agility, and then in our lesson last week it really seemed like she could not understand jumping a line of three jumps, she was crossing behind us-I hadnt seen that before, poor girl was totally looking like a spazz. Of course this was right after I sent the check and had entered her in her first trial, hummm, might be an interesting day! The road with Lizzie has been a long one and I really notice lately as we actually come close to actually working together that I really notice the two steps forward and one step back pattern. Maybe I notice more because I feel like we are so close and so my expectations climb. For so long I just really was working with a vague hope that one day Lizzie and I could actually pull it together and really make a good team, but now that that goal feels so much closer and actually seems attainable, it is harder to sit back and exercise patience.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cutie Katie


So just had to post this cute little westie that some how found herself in rescue. I picked this little girl up last night and she is the cutest thing. She LOVES toys, she has some of the best doggie skills I have ever seen, she LOVES people, she has been through an 8 week in kennel obedience program, she is trained to go outside and potty on command, she is healthy, she is just very sweet and loving, and she is just a few weeks over a year old. ANYWAY, makes you wonder, this little girl went through the eight week in kennel program and everyone knows that was expensive...and her owners were just not willing to follow the training that had been done, so they saw no option other then turning her over to rescue :-( . She is really going to make someone the perfect dog.


ANYWAY, when I picked her up yesterday I intended to just put her in her crate until I finished with classes-we had the wild border collies and the wild Valhund all playing and she is a tiny girl. Mostly I knew Liz would manhandle her,....but she was just giving such nice signs and everyone seemed willing to include her in their play so I let her off the leash. She is one tough cookie for such a little girl. This morning I took her out on leash to try to get her to potty and right away she saw the other dogs and was going to play with them, no ifs, ands or buts. She even deceided Skyler the grump WAS going to play with her. She is fun to watch because she is rough in her play style, and wants to play with everyone so she will keep trying different things if a dog doesnt want to play, but she will back off if the dog doesnt respond.
Today I get to pick up another Westie for rescue-just very sad sometimes-I think sometimes it is very hard to be a doggie.
'

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bakersfield girl finds forever home!


This is the foster Border Collie that lived with us for about five months last year. I found her at the Bakersfield shelter where she was an owner turn in. She was a year old purebred red/white girl, she had contracted kennel cough and was quite sick. Once she got home and recovered enough to be spayed we discovered she had pylometria, an infection of the uterus which can be fatal-so being spayed at that time did save her life. Roxie who is now known as Willow was a very high energy, sweet, loveable, smart girl. Definately not a girl for just any family though because of her energy level. Luckily she found a really great couple with another dog, an Aussie, who wanted to make her part of their family. So I just got an update and little Willow is just doing great, she has been at her new home a year now, she is obsessed by toys and very loved by her forever family. She was a very neat dog and very hard to let go of because she is just the type of dog I like, but gosh getting updates and knowing that she found the perfect home for her makes me really happy she came through our lives. ANYWAY, check those shelters, there are some very cool dogs that just need a break, or someone to give them a little bit of help!

The other pets....



I received a very special letter in the mail today. My great friend Dillon-who is my friends son-has let me join his cat club, so I got my official card in the mail. I suppose my blog and my life are way more slanted to dogs, but....got to give the cats a little attention!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ummm stinky fishy treats......Dogs love 'em

I really enjoy having dogs that are toy and food motivated, it really makes training much easier and gives me a lot more options. I have always had dogs that were food motivated....and now have both the border collies who love their toys-so that has opened a whole new world for me. ANYWAY, I really feel like I want to watch what my dogs eat, I do feed raw and make all my own food, so I do care about what they eat, and so of course I worry about their treats because I do give a lot of treats. There are some excellent treats, but they can get pretty pricey when they are made of really good ingredients! I used to cook quite a few treats but have gotten lazy but today when I couldn't find a specific type of treat I was looking for I got off my butt and made a treat that my dogs used to love. I like this receipe because it is super easy and super fast and only has a few ingredients. I have seen a very similar receipe in a lot of different places, but figure I will post it here for anyone else to try out. I used to make this with lots of different things, I used to put in some peanut butter--peanut butter, salmon treats, sounds pretty gross to me but the dogs loved it, or you can use tuna, salmon, chicken, feel free to substitute. I do use organic, cage free chicken eggs in this that are fresh, and I grind my own whole wheat flour, but I have used different types of flours too, this recipe works pretty much no matter what you do to it, my type of recipe. It also makes a treat that is soft and yet not crumbly, so you can break it up as much as you want.



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2 cans of turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, juice included
2-2 1/2 cups of flour (whole wheat or regular)
2 eggs (I take the shells and grind them in a coffee grinder and add those too, but the receipe does not call for that)
garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
Parmesan Cheese- I think I usually put in 1/4 of a cup, more or less

I like to puree the meat so that it is the texture of baby food-I feel like it all mixes in better, but the origional receipe doesn't actually call for that. Mix all ingredients until dough is the consistency of biscuit dough. Spread on greased cookie sheet so it is about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 275 for 25 min. It should be a bit hard on top but still soft through the middle. (I have always had to bake this a lot longer then what the recipe calls for, like maybe 10 or 15 min more I think-so I dont know why that is, but I will tell you what I did and what the recipe calls for, but it just never looks right to me after the amount of time they call for). Cut into desirable pieces with a pizza cutter or knife and serve. Put extras into sealable containers and freeze or store in fridge. Take it out just before you go to class or to train. Dog do like them frozen as well.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics

Ok I am not one to post or even talk a lot about political things....you know it can make a lot of people really mad, it can spark heated arguments and most of the time I just like to try to be nice. I do feel the need to make a comment on our election yesterday......First off I am very pleased to see Senator Obama elected president. I think the majority of people thought he was the right man for the job. What is really making me stop and think is how we have now elected our first black president and I believe he was elected because people really felt like he was the right man for the job, but at the same time on the same day in California it looks like we have passed a proposition to keep a segment of the population from having the right to live their life as they see fit. Gays have been allowed to marry for the past few months here in CA and I can truly say it has not affected my life in a huge way one way or another. I do not think anyone was going to make me or anyone else be in a gay marriage, I do not have to participate in any gay marriages if I do not choose too, my own heterosexual marriage has not been affected that I can tell :-). Allowing gays to marry just seems like allowing people to live in their own homes like they choose. I just hope in the future this group of people that want to legislate everyone elses morality doesnt deceide they dont like something about how I am living my life and deceide that they need to legislate how I live my life in matters that really dont affect them. I think there were a lot of scare tactics that were used, and I just feel sad for friends and neighbors who I feel are being discriminated against.
On a happier note, YIPPIE, prop 2 that just said that veal calves, sows, and egg laying chickens should be kept so that they are able to stand up, turn around, lay down and stretch their limbs. Seems pretty basic to me. I think Oprah really drove the point home on her show when she brought in the standard cages and pictures and just basically said do you all think this is right? Just so sad to think of an animals spending its whole life without being about to turn around in a cage, that just can not be right in a society like ours.