Monday, June 29, 2009

this weeks class the lizard continues to puzzle me

Well, today was my agility class here in town. I was not going to bring Breeze because she had still been doing a little bit of limping after she hit her foot on saturday. She looked ok this afternoon so...I deceided to take her and just do a few things and mostly work Liz since I knew the topic of this class was going to be contacts and Liz loves her contacts so I thought I would have a good chance of keeping her working. The first sequence was a fast sequence I ran Breeze in and boy was she wired. She was spinning and barking and she was just not able to get the weaves because she was so wild. I tried to stop and collect her but some days she just is so over the top, LOL. I am going to have to work her on the weaves and get her way more excited, because it really falls apart when she gets like that.

So the next exciting show that we put on for the class was Lizzie running a speed circle of contacts around the yard, at least that is what the idea/plan was. I have been in Deanna's contact class several times and the whole point of it is a very good one and one I have always remembered. We get homework for this class and are supposed to come with very specific criteria for each contact obstacle written down. So like for Liz on the teeter she is to load onto the teeter going straight, drive quickly up to the very tip of the teeter then shift her weight back as she rides it down,with her head forward and low, stay on the obstacle once it hits the ground until she hears a verbal BREAK cue, she is to do this no matter where I am. I have a criteria for each dog with each obstacle and I do think it really helps to train the obstacle like I want it, to have a clear picture and know what we are looking for and helps so that I know EXACTLY what to reward for so it is clear for the dog.

So that is all well and good, but with the Lizzie Lou, whooooo, it was a wild ride. I have got to figure out what this is all about, but she just bailed off the teeter, she was trying to take off, she was in full whoo hooo factor. I got her with me and shifted to rewarding her for each obstacle to get her head. It was amusing and I would have been laughing if I was not the person trying to handle the wild girl. So the second time we were going to run the circle, this time with the aids, i.e. targets, etc...Deanna said she really wanted Liz to do it so we could fix the teeter. I pullled out the cheeze whiz so I could put it on the end of the teeter and went back to training mode with that and she did it gorgeously and proceeded to do the whole course beautifully, running fast, performing all her criteria. So was she looking like an agility dog the second time because she knew food was involved? Was it because she had got a little wild whoo hooo out of her system the first turn? If I could figure out why she can be so amazing sometimes and so crazy wild at the drop of a hat, gosh maybe I could get somewhere.

I went back and ran Liz over the sequence Breeze had trouble with and she was amazing, she got her weaves, she did great, then all of a sudden with no warning she took off and ran to the pee/water area, ughghgh, so I am trying a new thing where I just do not let her do that, I go and grab her and bring her back and make her do a few more things then I release her to go and do what she wants, not sure if that is going to work or not, but it can not hurt.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

an afternoon at the movies, again!

I went to see My Sisters Keeper at the movies. I am not a antisocial person and I love to go with friends to a movie as much as the next person and some days going with a group IS the funnest thing about the movie, but...some days I LOVE to go to a move by myself, sit in the back seats and just get all wrapped up in the story, just thinking about how it is affecting me and what I think about the whole thing. I went by myself today to a very early showing and there were only like 3 people in the theatre. It was the new theatre that has only been open a couple of weeks and it was such a great morning. The move is about a girl who was conceived to provide cells, marrow, etc..for her sister who was dying of cancer.

Eventually the little girl sues to have rights to her own body when the dying sister needs her kidney. It was such a great story but it just seemed to be so much like so many things in life, there were no easy answers, no great solutions, and pretty much the situation everyone found themselves in was not fair in any sense of the word and pretty much sucked.

I really liked the movie and it was a great movie to get lost in for a few hours, although it had some pretty sad moments. There was one really cool dog in there that belonged to the lawyer. The lawyer said it was his service dog and said the dog kept him from magnets or something, LOL, but it was a really gorgeous, sweet, black/white border collie named Judge.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

AKC trial today, Saturday June 27,09 JWW


FINALLY we had another trial. I was signed up for an AKC trial, and of course it was about a hundred degrees, so I thought I was going to die. We still do not have our teeter performance safe...so we were just signed up for jumpers, Breeze and I that is. OK FIRST LET ME SAY THIS LOOKS LIKE A WALK IN THE PARK, BUT THE ANGELES ON THESE JUMPS AND THE WEAVES WERE KILLER, I do not always say this but this one was a lot harder course running it then it looked like on paper. Well, I left Breeze at obstacle 1 and just went to the other side of the jump and released her as I started running, I threw her in the jump and slid laterally to the landing side of jump 3, so textbook, gorgeous start. I had to give her just a third of jump 3 to catch how jump 4 was angled sort of back of the line you naturally wanted to turn and point toward. Still doing fine Breeze took the part of the jump I gave her and continued on. Jump 4 is gorgeous, jump 5 she is moving out laterally and reading everything really wonderfully, 6 and 7 I am starting to fall behind and then I get an attack of the nerves, right about as Breeze is looking backwards worrying because I am behind. The jump right before the weaves is at an odd angle and the weaves are at a horrible angle and I knew I needed to get there to do a front cross and I still would have got there but Breeze got worried and sailed around the jump in front of the weaves. No worries, I am having a nervous attack but we have breeze back on track and she just starts yelling at me, whirling and totally turned around looking at me, which leaves the weaves....way out of her sight, LOL. So I finally get her settled down and she does the weaves, right as she comes out with the angle of the next jump I really had to push her line to get her out there but no problem, we are almost pros, or maybe novice runners, LOL, so then it is a bit choppy at the big turn with the rear cross and the right command at jump 12 but we get it and I am thinking we are going to pull this one off, and all of a sudden it was like Breeze hit a brick wall. She just stopped turned around and started sniffing and would not leave. I guess a lot of dogs were sniffing there but I had not seen that and Breeze, NEVER sniffs, Chloe and Lizzie, they are sniffers but not Breeze. aghghghg. So I have to really rouse her to get her off the spot and then she is not paying attention and slices the last jump at a very bad angle and hit both bars and the stantion. OUCH, she walked off the course limping ;-(.

Tracy, Breezes dads person went out and checked because she thought there might have been a gopher but she did not see a gopher but there was some feathers and it looked like a bird had been caught there recently????

Well, maybe next time, but it sure did not help that it must have been 184 degrees by the time we got to run and we had been sitting for so long, that is not good for my nerves, let me tell you. I wish I had a video but everyone I know was running right before or right after me, it is funny because it seems everyone I know with experienced dogs is starting over in performance so they are having to run novice too, so no one I could force to video, LOL.

In two weeks we have a JWW AKC run under cover in a horse arena in Pomona on Saturday and then our first USDAA, which means more measurements, ugghghghg, but that one we are signed up for a gamblers and then a snookers run-that is at a different venue but it is under a cover too, in a horse arena. Then I think we are going to take it easy until it gets a bit cooler.

THE GREAT PART OF OUR PROGRESS OR my progress is that I am getting much more comfortable and it does not bother me to have people watch me, I do not feel like they are judging as much and I am feeling much more comfortable acknowledging the good parts we are doing and knowing our mistakes are just areas we are learning. It makes it a lot more fun to be trialing and feels a lot better. I am not as nervous the night before and I do not think I would be that nervous if I was not having to sit around all day for my turn, but even going out there I am not as nervous, although gosh in the middle of that run today, it really hit me like a ton of bricks and I really did not expect it in the middle of the run, but it is getting better!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This weeks class-me and the girls are doing agility




These pictures were taken by Karen at Contact Point Ranch and I am so excited to get some pictures of the little Lizard doing actual agility.

We had our local class, with Deanna, and it was not our worst class....but not our best either. The good part is that Liz did work with me and do some of the course, and had killer contacts even on the dog walk which she has not done in a long time. The bad part is that Liz runs like a little kamakozee, really fast, fearless and with absolutely no collection, no matter what I try to show her about turns or stops in the course. YIKES. Also she has a real love for the Aframe and will go way out of her way to go back and forth over the Aframe. OOOOH Lizzie!

So after Lizzie's moment of glory, then we did some box work, and I took out Breeze. Gosh Breeze is doing good. So this was fun to do because it was looking at the rules of the front cross: You must be ahead of the dog, keep your eye on the dog, it involves a change of side, put it as close to the next obstacle AS POSSIBLE, and it changes direction, you put them on a curve. So by changing the order of the jumps and looking at the dogs path it was very interesting to see where the straight lines and where the curves were FOR THE DOG, so that explained where to put the front cross. We could also have done this exercise with rear crosses of course, that is why I LOVE box work. So the other interesting thing was that Breeze is getting VERY good at working out from me, and I have not adjusted so I was going way too much into the pockets and trying to babysit when Breeze was just fine with me staying way further back and just going to where I needed to go. It is awesome how much she is understanding all of a sudden. Deanna said our really great part of how we ran this was that I was able to leave very tight lines over the jumps and Breeze is very comfy working really close and coming in and just taking the room I give her, we are going to get this yet. So it was a pretty durn good class for my little girlies.

Holes...

OK, in the past we have been through a lot of good byes with foster dogs, so the aftermath of a dog leaving is nothing we have not been through before and from the start we knew this day would eventually come, but no mater how temporary a dog is in the home, they carve their little nitch into our family and our lives. Yesterday was a day full of holes....although little Cherry was with us a LOT longer then any of our other fosters, and the great thing is that we can see her when ever we want I am sure, but it is funny the things you miss. Yesterday was our first day without Cherry, and it was a bit sad, I got up and usually it feels like I have a little herd of dogs all going outside, everyone tinkles and comes back in and it just felt like so few dogs yesterday-the yard seemed empty. Then I got breakfast ready and had to stop and put out just four bowls, the counter seemed so empty with a big empty space where Cherry's bowl always sits while I get it ready for her to eat. I got ready to go outside and train and usually that is sort of an aggravating time because I could not have all the dogs out to train because they would get too excited and they would get into tiffs-about the only time they would have tiffs, so it was a production to get everyone ready to go out and train, but yesterday it was very quiet, not nearly as much excitement and we just went out to train. I got home from the store and Cherry is always allowed loose in the house, so I walked in the door and the house was just quiet, no little wiggly body to say hello. While I worked in the kitchen the little bed she liked to lay in and watch me while I worked seemed so empty, just a thousand little things seemed so quiet yesterday. Holes all through the day. At the end of the day when Cherry always cuddled with me to watch TV (and try to lick me while I would try to keep her from licking me too much, LOL, our own little game, hahahaha) she would get her stretches and massages-- I did Breezes stretches and massages last night and it just seemed to go so fast-there was no one else that needed their nightly stretches...I forced Breeze to stay and watch TV with me-then she was missing Cherry because Cherry likes to sit with me in the evening where Breeze would really rather not ;-). I looked at the sliding glass door that Cherry had a weird habit of licking, so it is filthy to about five feet high, how did she do that??? Anyway, looking at the filthy window I thought I should clean it today because it will stay clean, but I could not bring myself to do it yesterday... maybe today? Anyway, I know Cherry is safe and happy and things will be ok but I it takes time for things to settle in and the holes that are empty to fill.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cherry


Well, we had a big change in our little house today. Cherry has been with us just a few weeks short of a year, originally she came to us to do some rehab after she had an FHO, and she has done amazing. She looks totally normal and moves really nicely almost all of the time now. Over the year we have come to really love Cherry, she is one of the nicest, easiest dogs. She doesn't nuisance bark, she doesn't counter surf, she never has accidents, she doesn't get into things she shouldn't, she loves everyone, she loves to listen and always tries to please, but at the same time that dog LOVES to learn and to work and has a heck of a lot of drive and is obsessed with toys, especially balls. She is a very fun and easy dog. I do not think you could find a dog that was closer to perfect. I would love for her to be our forever dog but she belongs to Contact Point Agility, and it was time for her to go back to have puppies. So today was the day that I brought her back. I cried most of the way there and that was a really hard drive to look in her little eyes and know she would not be "ours" anymore, but I felt much better when I saw how happy she was to see everyone and she is very at home there because she spent her first two years there-she looked happy. I will look forward to hearing how she is doing and following her progress, and luckily we will get to visit her. Karen -her owner took this picture today when we brought her back. Isn't she a pretty girl?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

OUCH!!

I have to wine today, so sorry but.....

I keep forgetting agility can be a contact sport! I must be getting old, but I have not slept in nights because in the middle of the night my knee just has shooting pains and wakes me up and I can not do anything to make it feel better so I usually get up and go outside and play with the dogs, the neighbors probably think I am batty playing ball in the middle of the night. So today I am out practicing the teeter and used one of my patented graceful moves and tripped over a sandbag (in retrospect it would have been good to pick that up before I practiced), and just went skidding along the ground, so now my formerly bad knee is really a doubly bad knee and is three times the size it was and all bloddy, my boob will never be the same-I almost got a reduction the hard way and my elbow looks like hamburger, and my hair is full of dirt, my shorts and shirt are torn, can someone remind me why I do this??? I must have been a site and I am just grateful there was no one with any video equipment there.

I was proud of myself though because Breeze has been having teeter issues and she was running up the teeter beside me when I went down....so all I could think of was that I could not scare her, so I was able to keep my wits and yell, YES, good girl and throw the toy, or actually I think the toy just flew from my hand.....but what ever, it ended up where it should go. So no harm to the dog was done, LOL. I am sure she thought it was just another weird proofing thing.

Note to self, get padding for the back yard practice area, hard packed dirt with a little sand on top is a footing that hurts when ya fall, especially if ya skid.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Afternoon at the Movies

whoops! I think it is going to get hot in the next few days, and I am not sure I am ready for it! I spent the afternoon at the movies-I saw UP, which was very sweet and had a great message. I love the little doggie that has a collar that lets him speak--the man walks out and sees the dog and the dog says something to the effect of "I was hiding under the porch because I LOVE YOU", aww...at the time the guy really did not seem to like the dog or want him around, but it just seems such a typical dogggie, sweet thing, to just want to love you no matter how much of a jerk you can be to them! Then I LOVED when the dogs were all intense and really focusing on something and when someone would yell SQUIRREL, bam, no matter how much they were into concentrating on something they were all whipping their heads around to see the squirrel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

After a lot of steps backwards for Liz...FINALLY another step forward!

Perhaps a week of having to sit in her crate and watch Breeze do agility class made it look much more fun to Lizzie to stay with me and actually do agility instead of trying to run off??? All I know is this week in Deanna's class I actually had a dog to work with. I got in the yard and Lizzie was paying attention and able to do her tricks so I did the first sequence with her. It was a sequence with some treadles, a lot of turns and collection--and I have to say she did great. The next sequence she did OK with but about half way through the course she deceided to run wander around a bit, so I did not want to give her a chance to run off because I saw where that was going, so I IMMEDIATELY got her and put her in the crate, which was very close- which helped with the dramatic effect of putting her away. I grabbed Breeze and played with her (I had not warmed her up so I could not run the sequence with her, but I got a good game going!). A few minutes later it was Lizzie's turn and we had a dog back again. Her 2020 contact on the Aframe was gorgeous...although then she kept wanting to go back to the Aframe because we had prebaited a target when she had taken the Aframe before..... Breeze of course did amazing. Breeze's Aframe contact was looking pretty good last night.

The greatest thing was that it is still cool wheather wise here. It is so unusual for this time of the year that it is not blazing hot until midnight, but I am really enjoying it because I know soon we will be hammered by scortching temperatures. The dogs love this weather for agility, and have to say...so do I.

Moe Srenfel Seminar

I was lucky enough to get to go with my friend Denise to the Moe Strenfel seminar on Saturday. This was a seminar on Foundation work and I really enjoyed it. First off it was held at a persons home that was gorgeous, they have the prettiest agility yard-I could have moved to that agility yard and lived there and been happy I think. The day was cool, which is not the usual for this time of the year here, just cool enough that I needed to put on a sweater a couple of times during the day, PERFECT weather. There were some other fun people at the seminar which never hurts and some very cute puppies-so it definately had the makings for a really great day!

As far as the seminar, I think it is very safe to say it seems Moe feels very strongly about foundation for dogs/puppies being very important. She said that her dogs do not see equipment for their first year but get lots of foundation work and then once they get on equipment after a year things go fast and they progress very well due to their strong foundation.

One thing I really found awesome and interesting was how she talked about raising your puppy so they are excited about exploring and playing. She said you should not be raising your puppy to stay out of things and be the traditional "good" puppy if you want a good player and a really good performance dog. You should manage the environment so you do NOT have to be telling the puppy to leave things alone, or not to get into things because that discourages them playing and investigating things and can dampen the toy drive. Using xpens, baby gates, and putting things up lets your puppy really learn to explore and play and feel like that is a good thing.

The whole theme of the seminar seemed to be that you should find your chosen handling system-she uses Greg Darretts handling system (I am using Linda M's), and make sure all the teaching and foundation you do with your puppy is true to your system so everything the dog learns is consistent and will make sense to the dog. The first parts of the seminar addressed lots of flat work, and I really enjoyed seeing how she does flat work-I have read a lot of books but it was great to see someone really demonstrate flat work well, and Moe was great about explaining how each of the exercises had a purpose and was designed to teach things. LIKE..when she did an exercise where you put a plate with food on one side of you, the dog on the other and click/feed the dog for looking ahead, and the dog is not supposed to go to the food until you move and point your body to the plate-she feels this teaches the dog to not go on off courses because no matter how much the pup wants something, say a tunnel, the pup needs to wait until they are given permission to go to the desired object. She uses games and little exercises to teach the dog to listen to body movement, decelerations, accelerations, etc...

I found her methods to be very respectful of the dog, she talked a lot about making sure the dog was comfortable and not stressing the dog out. Even when she was working with the participants if a dog did not look totally comfortable she would immediately tell the owner to put the dog back because it was not worth stressing the dog out.

The last section of her seminar was a section I really liked because it is something we have worked with a lot at our house and that is doing things to make sure your dog is physically fit. She uses wobble boards, and she showed us where she used a 9" cone filled with cement with a wobble board on top, so of course I had to do that when I got home--I posted a LONG video of that, LOL, but that stuff is just so good for the dogs and so fun. She also uses stools, and exercise balls, exercise discs, and she brought a lot of her implements for everyone to practice on.

So the videos she recommended for raising your puppies are Susan Garretts Crate games, a personal favorite, Wendy Papes Games video-another personal favorite, Click and Fetch, On the Ball-Deborah Gross Saunders, Pilate for Pooches-Sarah Johnson and Andrew Sams.

THIS IS BREEZE, THEN LIZZIE, THEN CHERRY DOING THE WOBBLE BOARD ON A 9" CONE FILLED WITH CEMENT-SO IT REALLY ROCKS AND ROLLS-the balance work really helps with core strength which protects the dogs back which I feel like helps protect the hips, knees, etc. Another benefit is the dogs that learn to ride the ball or the boards learn to relax their joints which helps them to relax their joints on equipment so they are less prone to injuries, and of course their balance is better so again they are less likely to injure themselves, and it can be fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Liz contact progress

videoWe still need some work but Lizzie is finally got the idea of her 2o2o contacts-she is a retrain from the 4 on the floor and I have learned that retrains are HARD! The distressing part of the practice was Lizzie totally not understanding to stay on one side, dancing, twirling and cutting behind me, we had to do tons of call to side work. We do so much work using the Linda M. jump book page 24...my poor page 24 is going to be totally worn out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My all time FAVORITE training course...so far...



I am teaching the agility class where I usually take classes....and things were sort of messed up, the contact obstacles were not at the yard which sort of messed up some of the plans for the class, it was a cool, cloudy day and I just deceided to do something that I thought would work for everyone and would be a lot of fun for me. The basic class plan that was left for the class was very similar but it did not have the tunnels, so I took some license and changed things a little. I have played with this particular basic box type set up a little before, but I love it, it is very simple but you can train so many skills with not that much equipment and without moving around a lot of stuff. Then it gives you a great place for the dogs to go with the tunnels at the end, so it works to build speed, motivation, or to test things like the weave poles coming out of a tunnel with a lot of whoo hoo factor and a lot of speed.

So with the first class that has the youngest dogs I was able to really walk with them and help them get some front crosses and I will say they all got their front crosses in and did marvelous. Even the youngest dog was able to just back chain small parts and ended up sequencing four obstacles with a front cross in there. I was very proud of them all. It worked great because I held the dogs before the first tunnel to start out with so they could get set up for their front crosses and practice them, then we were able to put the whole first sequence together.

The second class is a class with some more experienced people and we were able to start out helping one dog with speed and motivation by just making a huge speed circle and rewarding often, then we were able to work on a variety of skills. That was a small class so I was able to run Breeze in that class and we had a blast. I rarely get to participate in the class when I am teaching and when I taught last summer I felt like I missed out on so much of my own training time, so it was REALLY COOL to be able to work in the class today-I LOVED that!

WHEW! Teaching the class makes for a very long day, I had to take my daughter to get a tooth filled at 1 pm, and then left for class around 3, but it is a long drive there so by the time we had the two classes, with the drive, set up and clean up, I got home around 11:30.

Moe Strenfel-Foundation Training for Agility-The road to a perfect partnership


Anyone who knows me knows I have my addictions, and one of my more harmless addictions, or at least I think it is harmless.....sort of.....is dog training DVD's. A friend of mine is scheduled to go to a seminar given by Moe Strenfel this month and it is on foundation training, so I really thought it would be something that I would not get that much out of and decided to save my money for something else. Another friend does have the DVD and because I was curious and I hate to miss out on anything-I borrowed it.

YIKES, there is some really, really great stuff. I thought it would be another DVD showing how to train equipment, and get dogs used to movement, that type of thing. WELL, there is more to this video then equipment skills for sure-this is a great DVD! Moe shows how to do a lot of flat work so your dog understands handling maneuvers, I love how she showed to break down front crosses and teach the dog where to be. The third DVD (it is a 3 DVD set) has some great stuff on how to teach rear end awareness and develop core strength using stools of different sizes, balance discs, and what she calls "pods". Nice exercises. Since I am teaching agility class this month I did see some things I am going to use.

I was surprised to find some good ideas even for my dogs that are well on their agility path. I did not get to sit and devour this DVD since I have an agility class to teach (where I am going to try a few things I saw).......but I did skim through it and am going to take my time with it tomorrow to really watch it and take some notes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What a difference from last weeks class..thank heavens!

whoo hooo!!! I had Deanna's class tonight, and it was a MUCH better class then last week's barkfest Lizzie treated everyone to. I hired my kids to take the little Liztard and put a blanket down over her crate when she made any noise, and take it up when she was quiet and throw in food when she was quiet. She actually did really well, but I can not believe how much food the kids ended up throwing in, but.....small price to pay. Well, I paid for all that food, a shake to reward the kids and I did have to pay them an hourly fee, but it was quiet in class, and hopefully Liz is learning something.

The other great thing was that just a few weeks ago I was getting so discouraged because it just never seemed I saw good lines or figured out the best way to go on a course...well, things just seem to be popping in place. Tonight, just to toot my own horn, I figured out a couple of sequences and set what I thought was a really nice line--I was channeling Alicia, looking at the dogs path and which was the turns worked best for the dog, and no one in class was running even close to what I was doing-they were all turning around the jumps the opposite way from where I was going to turn. Our turn came and it went off without a hitch, then it came time for the class to discuss...well, lots of ooohs, and ahhhhs, when Deanna explained the whole course and the second time everyone ran the way I had run the first time. The great part is that it all feels like it is making so much more sense again-the last few times I felt like I totally saw why a certain path worked and it made so much sense-I just saw it without overthinking things and confusing myself. I might get this yet!!!! Next week I might be wandering dazed and confused again-but tonight it felt really cool to feel like I had a handle on it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

LIz/Breeze some teeter brush up...

After the accident Breeze has been bailing off the teeter mid teeter pretty consistently, something was bothering her. I started doing some teeter work and this is a new game I just starting trying yesterday. This is some of the height work that was on the Wendy Pape teeter video. I would DEFINITELY NOT do this with any dog that did not have a LOT of plank work and back end awareness, and I did stay right next to the dogs. It was just funny because this is the third try at this little game. The first time Liz was a little weirded out, Breeze had her nails out and was not at all comfortable. I just lifted them up to the end position and fed, fed, fed, then lifted them down. By the second time Liz broke free and went running up the board, and Breeze was OK, by the third time both dogs were really into it. Anyway, I just have been trying to get the dogs really driving to the end of the board, but they have been slowing a little bit at the pivot point, so I had been working with the teeter permanently going down and working on getting them to drive to the bottom, which was working somewhat. I like this because as far as treat placement- there is a piece of duct tape-taped to the end of the board and the dogs can not see it when they get on the board, then I put spray cheese on it and I can deliver the treats from under and in front of the board or on the tape, and they really seem to get the forward position and driving to the end with just these couple of sessions. Cherry is not good enough on the plank for me to feel safe letting her do this, more plank work for her first. I can just put Cherry up at the top though and feed and it does not bother her at all, I just do not trust her not to quit paying attention, spazz out and let her feet go flying all over the place, she is an excitable girl!
video

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Teeter DVD from Wendy Pape


I am watching a new DVD-it is
Wendy Pape's Teeter From Start to Finish

First off we have a pretty good teeter performance, my dogs love the movement and have always been pretty good. After the car accident Breeze has been more freaky and something about the teeter is scaring her for the first time, so I started retraining the teeter bit by bit to get her confident and not worried again. When I was first watching the video, Wendy is not training the teeter how I trained the teeter so I was not sure I liked the video, but the more I watched... there are some things I found very helpful. One thing Wendy does is to teach all the elements of a fast, safe teeter seperately. So you work on the approach and teaching the dog to load properly on a plank on the ground. Goodness we are doing a lot of plank work lately, and the plank has moved into being one of the most valuable pieces of equipment that I own! LOL. Then she teaches the bang noise and being comfy with that, she teaches the movement seperately, then HEIGHT, which is something I had not really trained for before, of course the end behavior is taught and then putting the whole thing together. She also has a chapter at the end on how to train really large dogs. Wendy also addresses the different positions and why you would chose different positions for which dogs.

The one thing that I realize is that I had been having an issues with Chloe she was starting to load on the teeter from the side more and more, so Wendys method of training that is a pretty easy fix, and I had noticed my border collies were stopping more and more right at the tip point and they had never been afraid and I just noticed a little slowing and was not sure what that is about, but now I am thinking it is because I had never really taught and desensitized for the height of the obstacle. That is the one thing that I do not think is addressed quite as well the way I origionally taught the teeter. So I took the dogs out this morning and sure enough Breeze was scared of the heigh, Liz was a little uncomfortable, not bad but a little worried and Cherry could care less about the height-good ol' Cherry.

The other thing I really appreciated that Wendy really addressed was the placement of rewards-she uses duct tape at the end of the teeter so the dog can not see it as they load, and then have to have their head down and straight, and she uses some spray cheese on the tape. Now how clever and easy is that??? I think that is the other thing I have not been as careful at making sure to reward with the head straight ahead and low.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Little Lizard is no longer for sale...A little Premack seems to go a long way....

Well, I might have to keep the naughty Lizard after all. There was no class today, and I had to pick up raw food from the Co-0p which is right by the yard so I deceided to take Liz and work on the distractions today. Ever since she discovered those durn gophers in the yard she has had trouble concentrating and seems to have taken a big step back wards. I got to the yard and I made sure and got everything out and set up BEFORE I got the Liz. I started with some mat work, and working on clicker training homework for the tricks class-because she really likes that stuff and stays connected. When she got bored I just sat in the chair and ignored her, and it only took a tenth of a second before she was coming back and asking to work again, whooo hooo! I released her to explore the yard a few times and I got a killer, fast, driven recall, so all was good. Then she noticed the gophers....and the durn thing was sitting there poking his head out of the hole teasing Lizzie. I deceided to do a little Pre-Mack conditioning...there is a fancy definition of the premack principle, which states that more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors. In other words if someone wants to do an activity they will perform a less desirable activity to be able to do the activity they want to do, and actually over time they will have the same value for the less desired activity as they did for the more desirable reward. I deceided to put it to the test, to get a mole, Liz had to do the poles! If she did the poles, I let her go chase the gopher! By the end she was getting the idea. So, it might seem like a little thing to have her doing the weave poles, but to have her doing them and not taking off with the gopher sticking his head out and right next to where we were working, that was HUGE for a distractable little Liz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Breeze gets an A+ at the vet, and a possible explaination about our weird contact behavior...

Breeze saw her holistic vet, Dr. Modglin yesterday and got an acupuncture and chiropractic treatment. The vet said Breeze actually looks pretty good. She had some signs of discomfort but really not any more/less then she usually has when she comes in for an adjustment. It has been almost three months since her last adjustment, and we have increased her level of training, a LOT, and she has started trialing and has trialed or done fun matches most of the weekends. Her shoulders did seem to have some signs they were being bothered but I am pretty sure that is because we have been doing contacts and I am going to have to retrain some of that because she is not using her back end to stop her on the Aframe she is using her shoulders to absorb all the shock of stopping. The vet did agree that it looks like it is possible the reason that Breeze is stopping in the position she is on the dog walk and Aframe is that it hurts a bit to stop using her back end and she has found that by running down not slowing herself down and just using her shoulders to stop herself and then her back end swings to the side with the momentum to be able to stop.....that maybe how she has found it is easiest way for her to stop on the contacts. That would explain why she is so intent on laying sideways at the end of the contacts. I am going to have to do a lot more thinking and training on this contact stuff.

Since the car accident where Breeze's side of the car was hit and her crate dented in from the impact, she has been afraid of a lot of things. It is very hard for her to relax, she has a teeter issues and she has always loved the teeter and will play the teeter bang game but will not do the full teeter. She flattened out and would not move at the NADAC trial and was shaking because she saw a hammer, she is afraid of her crate anywhere near the car, and if she hears a wire crate being collapsed she will just run and will not stop. Dr. Modglin gave me some amino acids that might help her calm down while I am working on desensitizing her to these things. She has always been a little spacey about life but this car accident brought that to a new level, poor thing it would be hard to live with the constant stress she seems to be feeling, so hopefully the medication will help take the edge off and make it easier for her to break that anxiety cycle.

I finally got my car back after the accident last night...weeks after they promised it would be ready, and would you believe there is still a panel on the inside that is not on? They said they will put that on when they get one, but you would think they would have ordered one a month ago, wouldn't you? I am just glad to have my agility mobile back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Breeze gets to go to the vet today...not her favorite place

Breeze physically has been looking great, well....actually Breeze has been looking great every other way too! Anyway, I have not seen any weird steps, she is doing a lot more work then she has ever done, she is jumping 16 inches and I still do not do nearly what I might with any other dog but a lot more for her. Breeze is not knocking any bars, things are mostly looking really good.

One thing I have noticed though is when she jumps on to the bed it seems like she doesnt pick up her back foot all the way, and she will get caught on the side of the bed and fall back down. A couple of times when she is doing things like that I have noticed the same type of thing....and it worries me given Breeze's hip dysplasia. Does she hurt and doesnt want to pick her foot up all the way because it is uncomfortable? Is she getting more arthritis so when she is not warmed up then it is like when they have troube getting up and that is what is up with jumping on the bed? She has been doing this quite a bit lately, say for about the last few weeks, and at first I just thought it was a weird isolated incident and she just got in a hurry and was not paying attention.

I am taking Breeze to my holistic vet this morning to have an accupuncture and adjustment done and see how the vet things she feels. I think it is about time to get another xray, I had planned to have one this summer after Breeze got to full activity and had been doing agility for awhile and see if there were any changes since last summer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

dog for sale, really cheap!

WARNING: FRUSTRATED RANT COMING UP: I started a class here in town with Deanna while Alicia is on vacation, just to get some more practice in and because usually Liz will work there nicely. I thought in light of her back sliding in her ability to listen and do agility, that might be a nice little class for her to work on her focus and get her back on track. It was a cooler temperature night, which felt nice, and there was a lot of wind, which always seems to make the dogs act spacey. Well, the naughty lizard was HORRID! REALLY HORRID! First off she barked like a banshee continuously, it was horrible. The class is pretty late so I could not let her do that because of the neighbors and it was dark, so I ended up having to take her out of the crate. Usually as soon as we get there she does that in her crate but as soon as she sees I will not run back and get her until she is quiet she stops, but not last night. I had to sit and hold Liz and Breeze the entire time which made walking the courses pretty impossible, not to mention having to have someone else hold Liz while Breeze was running. It was just very embarrassing to have her showing such horrible behavior. Then when I let her run some sequences, the little turd ball just took off. She would not come to me either, she did not do a full out zoomie but she did for the first time in a LONG time evade me and try to avoid me getting ahold of her and did take off a short distance. Well, that was the end of her working for that sequence, and I tried a few others but she just sailed around the jumps and was a total spazz and then took off running away. Today I am so frustrated with her and today I do not want to be patient and look at the progress she has made or look to the future, I just do not want to do agility with her at all at this moment. My car was not ready AGAIN today, which is just ticking me off it was supposed to be done weeks ago, and there is a new scratch on the rental car, which I did not do and I think got there in the parking lot at the trial, but gosh if I had my car when I was supposed to I would not have to worry about that. I could not put Liz in the car when she was so horrible because I had the rental and not my suv that has a nice crate for her.
We had just made such great progress and I had been feeling like she was almost there and on Sunday when I brought her to the trial with us she was sooo good, just as good that day as she was bad today....