Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a video link for a little chuckle

I thought this was too funny, agileborderterriers posted it to youtube --some people are so creative. I thought the contact discussion was too funny and how the dog talked about what happens when his handler goes to seminars, LOL:

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Training Continues---

Breeze had a class Sunday afternoon. The GREAT news is Breeze was AWESOME. The course was rough for most of the class because it was based on European courses, but those are the ones that are our strong Breeze and I had a blast. Breeze and I were totally in sync-love when it feels like that!

I stayed after class and worked with Cricket. We did some more weaves, the first weaves since the other day when she did her first set of straight 12 weaves-the ones that are on the end of the video below. WOW, it was so cool she was going from a couple of jumps to a tunnel to the weaves and doing a gorgeous little check stride to make sure she caught the entrances, that was exciting.

Working with Cricket right now is just so exciting-I can not believe she actually understands things.....and gosh, it has just been her and did we get to this point? It is just so exciting to see we might actually be able to do this, how amazing is that??? Not to say it is all easy sailing....we have done tons and tons of work on recalls to heel, walking around the yard and clicking when she reads me stopping or reads collection cues, encouraging her to read my motion....WELL, last night she was really more then willing to do two jumps and run thirty or fifty feet to do a tunnel even though I was clearly STOPPING SHORT and standing still before a jump, LOL. We have also worked on sends, and I think she likes those a little more then reading collection cues or having to watch mom if given a choice....I love watching baby dogs learn!

1. Continue and work through the Susan Garrett set of weave challenges to really proof the weaves for Cricket.

2. Continue working through the Linda M Foundation jump training book.

3. Hopefully the weather will co operate so we can get working on putting the last of the teeter together so we can move onto really working on the dog walk.

4. Get back to working on the running Aframe exercises so we can get that onto the Aframe.

No more classes at the local club until the end of February-I am crossing my fingers Cricket and I can learn enough by that time to sign up for the upper level handling classes-otherwise we will have to wait for summer to be able to do any classes. The lower level classes are taught by a gal that uses a lot of methods I really prefer not to use.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Steps of Weave Training!

Due to the rain, the holidays, computer viruses, and just plain life in general....I only got around to uploading Crickets weave work today.

We are learning the weaves with the 2x2 method---WHICH I LOVE! This is the first few days training and was taken a few weeks ago I think, then we had a break of a few weeks I will post the second half of our weavies soon, but spoiler alert.....Cricket is doing twelve mighty awesome weaves. Love the 2x2 because it goes soooo fast, lightening fast and it has just been so much fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

YIKES-rainy Southern California!

Today is supposed to be the heaviest rain so far and the ground is really saturated. The water is getting close to the back door, so I got the sand bags ready...but so far so good... we lost power several times yesterday and it was COLD. The streets around town have rivers running through them-the desert is really not set up to handle rain.

Cricket has a LOT of unspent energy! We are doing some contact work in the living room, it is going fantastic and I think I will pull in a jump and do some one jump work today.

Here is a snip of video of the backyard where the dogs go potty and the big yard beyond.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Viruses, Trees and Weaves!

YIKES! I got on of those computer viruses, which was a bummer because I thought I had lots of virus protection and it is all up to date. I got this big warning on the desk top that a program had detected spyware on my computer and I should pay $69 for a program to get rid of it. Of course I did not pay but called the computer person instead!!! The only thing I could do on the computer was scan with Norton who assured me all looked good on my computer! THANKS Norton! It all looked great on m computer, except....I couldn't use it, hahahahhaha. It has been a hard computer weekend, so I am behind on blogs and making my videos....and I have cool video I really want to share, so hopefully soon!!!

It has been raining cats and dogs so we missed the fun match I had been looking forward to, and our agiity training has ground to a halt over the weekend, looks like we will have a wet Christmas. This weekend we got our Christmas tree up, my husband was dubious about putting up a tree and kept saying the dogs would knock it down or do something to it, which they might, but I am pretty good putting up xpen protection for things like that....but he really wanted a smaller tree we could put on top of a table in the living room, so WHAT EVER-that is what we did. Of course within an hour or two of putting up the tree KIMMIE THE CAT knocked the whole tree down-good job Kimmie! Luckily we sort of scooped the tree up and put it back and it has stayed safe the rest of the weekend-life with a bunch of pets is always exciting!

THE BEST HOLIDAY NEWS IS I can tell Breeze feels really good and she looks FANTASTIC! The vet confirmed my feeling that Breeze was doing GREAT, when the vet did her chiro she said Breeze feels so much better then she has in a LONG TIME,she thinks she has really turned the corner and is really healing well. So now we can reintroduce the weaves but only adding in one element at a time, harder entries, putting them in course, having the poles totally closed.

A video, nothing too exciting unless you are me or Breeze and have had to see her struggle and not able to do weaves in such a long time, these look like a dog that feels good, and nothing could be more exciting to me!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Creepy Christmas Evergreen Reindeer gives birth to a new trick!

I know this video is long....
and it is dark, but if you put it to full screen it is easier to see....

Cricket and I were at a food court and found this WEIRD EVERGREEN REINDEER, that was SCARY! Cricket started barking at it and actually pulled out of her collar-yikes! Cricket is usually not afraid of anything but seems to be going through a fear period right now.

I used some training where if Cricket walked forward I would reward her with a relief of pressure...I would run off from the scary reindeer, it all seemed to make her feel safe enough to explore the reindeer. I tried to make it a fun game of course.

A few minutes later,.....Cricket was jumping on the reindeer and a new trick was born!

If you just want to see the trick you can go to about 1:50 sec. or so into the video ;-). I thought it was cool how the reindeer is not that stable, and it jingled, and it was CREEPY (after all how many larger then life reindeer's do you see sitting in the food courts you go to?) but after a few minutes it was a cool prop for our reindeer games!

ISN'T CRICKET JUST TOO CUTE? At least I think so.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my EARLY Christmas present to myself!!!

The really FANTASTIC part of yesterday is I got to do a private lesson with Elicia Calhoun, and I had a BLAST. The bad part is that made me want to have a working spot in the seminar she is putting on here....and it made me want to be able to do things like the private a lot more.....unfortunately... my pocket book is not up to that longing. I am sorry for such a LONG entry, but if you read the first two paragraphs it gives all the info that I really wanted to say, and the rest is so that I remember, and in case others are interested in the contact work we did, so feel free to read the first two paragraphs and stop-I promise I won't be offended ;-).

I had been signed up for a working spot for the Elicia Calhoun seminar that is going to be held today and tomorrow at our local agility yard. When Breeze was hurt I had to give up my working spot and was just going to audit ;-(. I was really disappointed but after talking to my instructor on Thursday after class I decided that maybe I could take a private lesson-address the issues I wanted to work on and still not have Breeze working all day which might be a lot for her-esp. if it was really cold.

I wanted to work on being able to get where we need to on course when the course calls for me to travel a good amount of distance and then still cue the next sequence correctly. I do great in tight sequences when we are working in one area. We had a fantastic private and just really worked on one sequence for a good part of the lesson. Elicia kept asking if I would like to work on that sequence or get a new sequence but this sequence had several elements that I had trouble with, so it was sort of neat to be able to just really work on the timing and getting those challenges so I could feel how it felt to do it really well. It made me feel so good when Elicia kept saying that she thought Breeze has such a terrific foundation, and she says you have so much to work with, and she kept saying that she really liked Breeze. Breeze is so amazing and I hope one day I can do the handling that will let me really show how good she really is.

It really is a pretty short easy sequence, and I do not have the course to true scale, but it had an area I had to send Breeze from jump 2-3 while traveling the opposite way to the end of the tunnel to get there in time, and then a wicked turn and send over that double, then a serp followed by a treadle and a forward send to the #9 jump, while backing up and keeping her with me so I did not send her out over the #8 jump and sending her over #10 from behind and keeping her from taking that double. Well, of course I sent her over the double several times. The last time we ran it Elicia said it was VERY smooth and I could have held a Marguerita running through and I would not have spilled, LOL. The other big thing that she said I need to work on is that she says because I have boobs I tend to physically feel more comfortable when I lean forward and that will be a big challenge for me to try to work on.....that has always been a thing that has always gotten in my way.

Elicia has done a lot of work with the four on the floor method of contacts so we worked quite a bit on Breeze's Aframe to figure out what has been going on with that. She feels that the channels I am using are not teaching Breeze where to look, and she gave me some good ideas of how to reward her most effectively, and she felt I should help Breeze to learn to target where she needs to go. She felt that right now her striding over the Aframe looks good, so she gave me some really good strategies to work on with Breeze. All in all she felt Breeze was doing pretty good on her aframe and did not think her performance was hurting her physically because she has never slowed down or avoided it in any way.

Next we moved on to Cricket, I did not bring Cricket out, but we talked about teaching her the running contact. Elicia said she felt it was important to realize there is no one way to teach anything that is good for all dogs. She said she teaches her dogs to target to a mat, to foot target to a hit it board, a contact board that is just the size of her dog from hip to shoulder and to target to the pvc box and she even teaches her dogs to target to something like an alley-oop, so that there are always a lot of options to use if at any time the method you are using is not making sense to your dog. She encouraged me not to really get too stuck in any one way to do things and said I shouldn't be afraid to watch my dog and really listen to what they are telling you about what makes sense for them and what feels good for their body. Always a good thing to be reminded how important it is to listen to YOUR dog so that what you are training is something that is going to work for them. Elicia said to not be afraid you will ruin your dog if you play around with can try a lot of things until your dog has the big light bulbs and really understands a behavior. So it was GREAT to get some pointers for our running Aframe and she did say she could do email/video consults if I felt like I was running into any trouble.

I am doing my 2020 based on her ON THE BOARD method that I saw her talk about in another seminar and read about in her Clean Run article, so she gave me some good tips about how to put that behavior onto the dog walk with Cricket and how to negotiate with her on the end behavior that will be the most comfortable for her so she will like it and how to proof it as we are putting it on the obstacle, so that was really helpful. Yippie. I really loved her approach.

Now I am all excited about agility and I want to go to the yard and PLAY. Of course the yard is closed for practice for two days now because of the seminar, and I soooo wish I could be at the seminar....guess I will have to set up something in the back yard

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whooo hooo a pretty great day!

Ever have one of those days??? You know....THE GOOD ONES! I have nothing earth shattering to share but we did have Breeze's agility class tonight, it was super cold so I almost did not go...but I decided to go and not do Aframe, or weaves and just work on handling. Breeze was SOOOOOOO happy-it was so neat to see. Our first run I was bumbling around and sloppy and Breeze started jumping up yelling and nipping, I had trouble running at one point because I was laughing so hard she was just being so silly. I got my act together and we just felt like we were dancing together on a pretty hard course. When Breeze is feeling good and gets good info she is soooooo amazing. Just seeing her so happy and reading everything so well, just made my day!

The other great thing in class was there has been some tension between my instructor and I because I was having to modify courses.....but today it was so much better and the instructor set up alternate courses for Breeze, I had not even mentioned that we were going to have to modify but she planned out some really nice alternatives so we could make nice transitions around the obstacles that Breeze could not do-I really appreciated that so much.

I brought Cricket and worked after class on just walking around clicking for going over jumps when we walked by,stopping before jumps and C/T for stopping with me, C/T for RC and FC, and we did some AWESOME short sequences. Our teeter is almost there, I have to get some video because she is so cute.

Tomorrow Breeze goes to get another treatment, and we have class tomorrow night too, so hopefully that will all go as well as today went!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Boxes and training in cold weather!

This is the next step of Crickets Box for the Aframe running contact. I was actually pretty shocked how good she did. I edited for time but I did not edit out any mistakes, I think that was our first 100% successful training session, weird, hope it was not a fluke!

This is just to show you all where we spend three nights a week training. Can you believe they do swimming when it is 34 degrees outside and the kids are using an outdoor pool. On the last clip Cricket is looking back to the area where the kids are swimming. I have to say that the kids swim for 1 hr 45 min three times a week in the night and a session on Saturday morning and it sure seems like a long time now that it is so cold. I was so cold it was hard to get the mechanics of training right my fingers were freezing...There used to be LOTS of joggers and people walking their dogs, but strangely enough I have the park mostly to myself which is a bit eery! Breeze was also working doing some recall practice, and Lizzie and I took a long walk practicing heeling but those practices were in the areas where the lighting is not as good so they did not get filmed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cricket's test!

Well, have to admit that I really am enjoying "homeschooling" Cricket. I really enjoy teaching obstacles and know how I want to teach things and I really like being able to go as slow or as quick as Cricket and I want to go and being able to concentrate on what we want to focus on.

The downside is that right now gosh it feels like a jambled mish mash of skills. It would be nice to have a class that would break things down into small bite sized pieces every week and not have to worry about having a plan, LOL, but right now it just seems every time I turn around I think of something else that I really feel we should work on.

We took some time out to work on some tricks, just some fun shaping and that really reminded me how Cricket likes to work. Cricket will keep working and working and be very happy, but shaping some tricks I really realized how much better Cricket does with short sessions with really high rate of reinforcements...she will work forever, but she really learns so much faster if I do not get greedy when we are training. So I am getting more strict with myself and taking my stop watch out to remind me to keep the sessions really short and sweet.

One of the things we are working on is the Running AFrame so this is some of our beginning box work, I am checking to see if I think Cricket really understands to look for the box and to pounce into it with all four feet.

Breeze was back at the vet last week. The vet is pretty sure her back is the cause of all the problems but it is at a place that is hard to strengthen with just exercise. She had thought the back issue would heal much more quickly then it has, so she is going to have us continue with weekly laser treatments and she says that for awhile we might only be able to do weaves once a week with Breeze....which is fine.

Luckily though she does feel Breeze will be able to over come this and do fine I really liked hearing that. The vet does not think it feels like Breeze has disc disease although she did say that if this is not treated correctly this is this type of injury that could become chronic and lead to disc disease, so as far as I am concerned if we have to keep Breeze out from weaves and really tight turns until spring, that is fine by me.

For now it is weekly vets appointments, since it is the Christmas season with the busy schedules, crowds, and the bills Christmas brings, LOL, not exactly the best time of the year for that....but when is a good time?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

more celebrations-and a recap of what Cricket has been up to!

Cricket before her GOTTCHA DAY:

Today is my birthday and we just celebrated Crickets GOTTCHA DAY!!! I met my little pumpkin in person when I picked her up from the airport the Friday before Thanksgiving last year.

I had never got a dog I had not been able to cuddle and pick before, and at the time I had not met any of the dogs from Hillcrest where Cricket came from.
ON the day I went to pick Cricket up I had to wait for HOURS for her to get to the cargo area so I could pick her up. When they let me go back to get her I will never forget that first site I had of her, with her little freckles looking anxiously out of the crate. She was so cute, not how I thought she would look but sooo cute.

I grabbed the crate and put it in the car, I had staked out a nice grassy area and had brought an xpen so I zipped to the grassy area and got my xpen set up and went to let Cricket out to potty. Poor puppy was covered in Diarrhea, her mat was soaked. Cricket was not going to go on the ground, she snuggled and cuddled into my neck and would not move for about five minutes. As soon as she felt like someone was going to take care of her she got down and started tugging. It was like she was ready to begin the new chapter of her life.


I have been very bad, I have lots of videos of our work but a lot of it just seems so boring, even though I think it is huge stuff for us ;-). I am also doing a lot of work at places while my daughter is swimming and that is when it is pitch black so the videos are not great because of that.

Our big things are we are working on the box for a running Aframe. I thought Cricket was ready to start putting the box in a grid...but yesterday she started acting like the box was a broad jump and jumping over it. I reviewed my tapes and I think she was doing that when I stand in the forward position and I think she was reading my position as an extension cue and got a little excited. I think I also was rewarding with just a little too much oomph and forward a little further and put those all together and I think it just excited her too much-she was doing so well and it was really suprising when she started the leaping. ANYWAY, think we will be ready to put the box into grids VERY quickly, but of course I want to make sure the behavior of pouncing in the box is very strong first.

We are working on the 2020 for the dog walk. I have been using parts of Susan Garrett's stair work to teach the position. I go a couple of times a day to a real estate office with stairs outside, and I think that is really helping get a nice pounce into position and a nice weight shift, I am experimenting with the technique Rachel Saunders did in her Clean Run articles where the 2020 is taught without a nose target-she says that helps the dog focus on the position and not confuse that the behavior is just the target/nose touch, and I can deliver treats a little higher up to encourage the weight shift off the shoulders, and then do some dropping food on the ground to reward to encourage a straight position-VERY different then how I taught Chloe the 2020-the last time I worked with that position. I am also working with Elicia Calhoun's on the Board teaching Cricket to body target on a board just big enough for her so she gets a lot of body awareness about where she should be-she is a super star with that work. We are ready to put her 2020 onto the dog walk now that we have the position down and now that the teeter is pretty much trained--we will probably put the position on the dog walk in the next day or two by back chaining.

The teeter is marvelous, I used the Wendy Pape teeter video to break down the teeter into the end behavior, getting her used to the height, learning to square herself up for the entry, so her teeter is looking good.

The Cik/cap turns are very cool, it has really helped us work on object discrimination without the agility obstacles so we can get that really fast, happy before we add in obstacles. I think that cik/cap work is doing really great things for developing object focus and confidence.

As far as handling I have been working through the Linda M jumping book and series of articles and yesterday Cricket was able to do a full little sequence and considering we have not done a lot of actual sequences, she is amazing so far at reading everything.

Of course we have been working on sends to the tunnel and table and around the world with the tunnel, she does really well with all of that and it really helps when we are learning new sequences because I can stick a table or tunnel to help get some fantastic drive forward using them like giant targets.

I am feeling a little scattered and like we have so many things going at one time that I am looking forward to the weaves....but want to get the aframe box work to a grid first. I am going to do the 2x2, and am considering using a few of the variations from the recent Mary Ellen Barry article about 2x2 training in Clean Run. She does a lot more entry work at the 2 pole stage, which seems like it might develop a little more value for that entry and those first poles which are so crucial.

Anyway, I will try to get some video soon. Today for my birthday Breeze and I are heading down to the vet. Hopefully I can find a new park or place where Cricket, Breeze and I can do a little work/play and of course we will have to stop at the doggie boutique ....think it will be a good day.

Cricket at six months:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Gottcha day Breeze!.

Well, it has been FOUR YEARS since I brought my beautiful, fluffy little blue merle bundle of joy home. I named my cute little bundle of Love ASH which was her litter name-her litter was named smoke names because she was born in the early morning when there was a fire very close to the ranch she was born at. I loved the name ASH but then thought if I was mumbling....judges might think I was swearing at her, I chickened out and named her Breeze.

The journey my little Breezie and I are on is a long winding road and as so many journeys it is not at all the journey I had envisioned when I picked up little Breeze for the ride home from the ranch four years ago. I guess it is the journey that was meant for us, and I have learned an awful lot with Breeze by my side, so guess I can not complain too much, except for an occasional rant and expression of frustration in my blog ;-), I do wish some things were different but I love having Breeze in my life, and all in all it has been a great journey.


I can not imagine what it must feel like to read my blog....because I get tired of saying once again....Breeze got hurt in class. I just find it so ....unbelievable to be typing that again. I really thought she was feeling better after her last treatment and she looked so much better and actually got the weaves the last three days....the first time she has looked really good since the start of last summer.

Tonight in class, her weaves had some really bizarre striding, I could see it as I ran, but by the sixth pole she could not maintain the striding and SLAMMED her hip into the pole-bending the pole-like a big bend in it. Breeze SCREAMED-a sound I never want to hear again. Of course I walked her out but she was obviously hurting, and JUMPING and trying to go back in the weave poles-Breeze really is a nut and doesn't care how much it hurts, she wants to go!.

When I saw how funky her striding I should have pulled her out, but number one it happened so fast I was just watching and trying to figure out what she was doing and number two she is just doing such weird strides part of me doesn't know how much I just have to let her go and figure out how it is best for her to move her body. Up until then the last two days her weaves were so gorgeous. Breeze is an excellent weaver if she feels good, but that is sure where her discomfort is showing.

I do not know what to do with her anymore, she gets her chiro and acupuncture treatments every month to six weeks and has for years, I do tons of core exercises and rear end stuff, I make sure to warm her up and walk her out after exercises and we do a lot of massage and stretching. I use her Back on Track jacket, she is on Adequain and lots of supplements, but the vet feels that things are catching up with her and now we are seeing more injuries and compensation further up her body from how she compensates for what goes on with her hips.

I am wondering if I need to just let her work on jumping and take a break from the weaves until spring. Her vet does not want me to quit with her because she wants her joints moving and working, but I am thinking maybe it has to be without the weaves until it warms up. Except for weaves and the aframe Breeze looks so good, she is running nice, she is jumping beautifully, she is reading all the new moves we have been working on and she is so happy. Well, after tonight she is really limping but I am thinking that is that huge hit she took to her hip, that was so nasty.

To tell you the truth I sort of really just wish we could get our last Q for her open title and then maybe it is getting time to retire her from trialing. Not sure we would be able to get a q because of the weaves.., and I know Breeze really does not give a durn if she finishes her title, and it will not improve her life I am going to have to do some thinking and more talking with the vet when we go on Tuesday. I could give it a try and not practice weaves and just see how she does in a trial, or do some USDAA jumpers....or just make peace with just having fun with my girl-although the vet keeps encouraging me not to stop agility with her, but guess we can do agility without trialing, I just wish someone could give me some answers.

I would quit in a minute if any of the vets said I should and I ask every time I go in, but both our vets keep telling me that for her mental health and keeping her joints working they do not think I should just quit, although gosh even talking about wanting that last Q makes me feel so guilty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cricket and Breeze's vet visit






Breeze and Cricket got two new big pink balls because they were such good girls at the vet today.

Cricket got to go to the vet to get her rabies shot. She was fantastic, she marched into the vets office like she owned the place and was trying to run and jump at everyone she saw. She looked like she was wiggling and wagging her back half so hard she could wag it right off. Cricket is one happy girl. Unfortunately, it is the vet that Breeze usually goes to by herself and she was not happy Cricket was acting so excited in her vets office, so she kept giving Cricket the stink eye trying to warn her to settle down and kept going over and grabbing her muzzle in her mouth when Cricket would get too exuberant. Poor Cricket it is hard to have a big sister that runs such a tight ship.

Cricket got to go to the cute little boutique we found after the vets office. The groomer there just LOVED her and kept giving her the most marvelous treats....Cricket picked out two of the best pink balls, we have never seen such big balls with feet, it squeeks so nicely and it is PINK-I think they are called cuz balls, but this one is much bigger then the other ones we have. The second ball is a jolly ball but does not have a handle, lately the handles usually do not make it past the first play session so it is good there are no handles, maybe this one will last at least a week ;-).

Breeze....What can I say about my Breeze? Last summer Breeze hurt her back/neck area and was not able to do the weaves in a trial. After that it seemed she got a lot better but never really got totally well. We were having a lot of weave problems but sometimes it is so hard to tell, is it a training issue or is it that the weaves had hurt and she got used to avoiding them or are they still hard for her??? How do you ever really know?

We have worked on Breezes striding through the weaves with some WAM weave poles and I put her through slightly open channels--Breeze was having a gorgeous stride through the weaves as long as we had aids to make it easier. The minute I tried to go back to regular straight up and down weaves she could not maintain a stride through all twelve poles. As she got down the line of poles she would sort of just not be able to continue striding and would have to skip a pole, then gather herself and start again. As time went on I could tell she really was trying hard and knew what to do but she just couldn't do it.

Then I noticed the Aframe stride had changed. She has had the same stride for three years and why would she change so drastically now? Hummm, my suspicion was increasing.

Last week at class I noticed that Breeze who always has the tightest turns was turning these giant, wide turns. Deanna said she saw Breeze cranking her head and neck into a tight turn but her back end was just not able to follow, her back legs were working really hard to try to pull her rear end around a turn but just were not doing well. The last day or two I was practicing in the park - just sending Breeze around trees, light posts, etc so I could really watch and at times doing right hand turns her back end almost flew out from under her, she really seemed to have trouble maintaining her footing and working her back end.

Well, the doctor said that Breeze was really not feeling good, her neck was way out, her vertebra mid back were really out of place. Her right hip was really high and twisted. So Breeze got an adjustment and a laser treatment for her back and some acupuncture and she will go back for the same treatment next week. It was funny because as I was holding Breezes head and the doctor manipulated her vertebra mid back I could feel Breeze just sigh and relax-even though she is not fond of being touched, it really seemed to feel good to her. I have never seen such definite signs of relief from her before. So today we have light activity, half regular activity tomorrow and pretty normal activity until next week when she get another treatment and see how things held up. Poor Breeze, I am really getting pretty tired of the non stop injuries. I really hope this helps her feel better. The good thing is other then the things I noticed during agility, Breeze looks pretty good most of the time,...she is not dropping bars, she looks good running, she is not taking weird steps so hopefully we get her neck and back worked out and she will hit another good patch physically!

The vet was really pleased with all the rear end work we had been doing, the perch work, the backing up stairs, the sits to stands and the core work, and of course the stretching, I have concenrated the stretching more on her hips and back legs, and from the work the vet did today I think she needs more stretching on her front legs and shoulders, which makes sense with the problems I saw striding through the weaves and over the aframe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hazards of training at the park...

I was at the park practicing weaves with Breeze the other day and normally if people want to stop and watch is a public park and that is just good distraction training. Some of the nicest people are dog owners with their dogs at the park.

This lady was funny. Her dog had a cone on, and was lunging, growling and barking at Breeze, and of course on a flexi leash. Breeze stays with me, so I was not worried about that, but the lady kept coming and standing right where I was working at the entrance to my weave poles. I am sure the dog was very sweet, but had a little leash frustration, just not in the state of mind for an excited border collie to try to get past him to get to her weaves.

distractins at the park from kathy bordergirlsmom on Vimeo.

She never said anything and I was not going to walk up to her with the dog obviously not under control. If the dog had been standing where the lady was, it would have all been good.

I had not meant to film this lady and I was surprised when I found that footage on my training tapes, LOL. I know it might not be cool to post a video of others....but this is how I justify it...
1. no one in my town or state looks at my blog and would see the video, LOL,
2. I am posting it on the blog and not youtube,
3. my video camera was in clear view and able to be seen, although I had just expected to catch our weaves, not a visitor!
4. It is hard to even really see her- I would not even recognize her from the video.

THANKS for every ones help and suggestions. This is a new striding for Breeze, which bothers me because the vet has said she might not be able to do agility much longer and we have found permanent physical changes lately, so her changing her striding in the weaves and on the aframe is a little worrisome to me.

the plan is:
teaching her to handle stride regulators
making a chute for her contact
Always releasing to another obstacle and a toy on the ground-if I throw the toy she looks to me, that is what I always did before
be really careful about never releasing when she is looking at me.

I have worked the stride regulators so she knows to jump over them now, first on the ground then putting them on the aframe, and I looked at her old stride to try to help her go back to that to try to figure out where to place the regulators.

I will make the stride regulators smaller.

I am going to fade the pvc on the side away from me on the contact fairly soon, and then fade the size of the pvc that is between her and I-hopefully that can morf into a small piece of pvc, perhaps I will spray paint it at that point to make it blend into the ground too, we will see.

This is our practice from today. I did some shaping for looking ahead and I am very happy with this stride, although the aframe is lowered, and we have the regulators in place obviously. I am concerned about too much retraining and the repetitions, especially when Breezes career is very possibly close to over, and now that winter is here-last year Breeze was not able to do agility until it warmed up in the to be honest my big goal is to finish up our open titles before she has to retire, but hopefully I am wrong about that one-and reading more into the stride changes!!! Breeze has also just been more excited so maybe that is what is happening. It would be neat if this is all just more excitement on Breeze's part!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still on the Journey! needing a little maintaince..

I am always having to remind mysef it is about the journey, right???

First off I have notied that Breeze is striding way differently over the Aframe. She used to be very consistent and have two hits on the way down, landing really solidly in the yellow, on the upper third but it was easy to see. So this stride is still working so far, kind of working if you squint, am I being too much of a freak to worry about it? It just does not meet the criteria I had set and seems like it has the potential to get a lot uglier, and seems like it could be worked on. Actually after I was watching I think the excited performance is better then her performance when she is not over the top, LOL, go figure.

I could see when I was running and watching I thought she was hitting the yellow, but a lot of times it really looks iffy.

Not sure if she is getting more confident, or less confident, if that is a normal break down of a behavior that just needs maintaining, or if she is just landing where she is planning to reach on that last stride to get into her position.

Soooooo ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS LOOK PRETTIER-throw them out! I am thinking perhaps a stride regulator to make her reach further down after the apex, then encourage her to reach further down for her second hit??? To me it looks like when she lands further down from the apex she puts in a couple of strides, so that she can still hit the TOP of the yellow and reach for her position. Maybe some jump grids like Rachel Saunders does in her running Aframe video???? I just dont want this to deteriorate further!

The other bummer is that I seemed to have scratched my video camera lense, there is a big blurry spot in the middle of the screen, ughghghg, and that isn't getting better by ignoring it either, LOL. The video camera works wonderfully, but I think I might have ruined it with the big scratch or what ever that is. I feel like a doof for not being more careful with my poor little camera.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

From Guppie to Squid



A few months ago my daughter decided she wanted to be on the swim team. I was actually a bit surprised-it seemed like that came from left field, but what the heck?.

All the swimmers start off in the guppies group, then eventually they are promoted to Squids group, and then the top group is the Sharks. They do a lot of swimming but they also do a crazy amount of exercising, running, and lunges. My daughter has been so cute because she can not wait to do a swim meet, and she has been in the fastest lane for quite a while-she is really fast. She was a good swimmer but had never really learned the strokes correctly, but she is really serious and works so hard to make sure she does things just right.

It knocked me over to see how much she improved and how fast. She always seems so old and independent (she just turned 13)when she gets out of the car and goes to her lessons, she has her little bag all ready -keeps her gear all organized where she can find it, and is fanatical about the exact time we leave the house and she never complains about going. It is our first real foray into organized sports, the girls used to do girl scouts, but no one has really wanted to do things like soccer or softball.

Anyway, I am just super proud of my daughter and how she has handled herself and it is funny to see this whole new side of her, my little competitive squid! LOL.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

more cik/cap work, first try with TREES!

It has not been the best week, my back is still killing me, which has not made things easy and when I get all stressed out my back really starts doing these spasms, and those are killer. Agility has always been my escape and what makes me feel good. Lately I have been thinking maybe I was just not enjoying it anymore....sometimes it feels down right draining, and that really made me feel sad. I was having a particularly bad day and I took Cricket out to work at the park and guess was all there again, the joy the fun and just having a great time. I had a realization that it is not agility I am not enjoying it is the classes I am really glad I did not sign Cricket up for those classes even thought it is intimidating thinking of training her on my own... how ever it turns out we are going to have a good time-seriously that is the most important thing, after all this is my hobby.

Have I said lately how much I LOVE my little Crickster. I tell you she is so much fun to work with and the last few days she is such a cuddle bug that while I am lying with the heating pad on my back she cuddles right into the crook of my back and holds the heating pad in place, the heating pad and the pressure of her body and just feeling her soft, silky fur is the best medicine I can imagine! She is always right next to me, when I walk around she is always right next to me, she is such a fantastic friend-I just can not imagine living without her.

I taped our session at the park, the first time we transferred cik/cap to some trees. She is learning to use her body to do tight turns and power out, and I am trying to get my timing and my cues better, but I think she is doing pretty good!

If anyone wants to do the cik/cap turns I really would invest in the video, she really talks about what cik/cap is and what it isn't, the reward placement, etc... and that to me makes it worth buying if you are thinking of using it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sylvia Turkmans cik/cap video-we do the first steps!

All the doggies practicing the very first step for learning cik/cap.


step one of cik/cak turns from kathy Mocharnuk on Vimeo.

I had a lot of questions about how wise it would be to train the turns and did not fully understand the whole "system" so I got the video to learn what I could-so I could make an intelligent decision on if the cik/cap turns could fit into my handling system.

I am trying to train the dogs using the Awesome Paws Handling system and one of the main ideas when working with that system is not training the dogs to ignore handler body cues and your natural body language. From my understanding you have to be careful with verbal cues so that you are not relying on those as a primary cue, which could teach your dog to either not pay attention to what your body says or to wait for a verbal instead cue of listening to your body language.

I have to say that I really liked the video a lot and would recommend it. The video was like the Sylvia Turkman heeling video in that you can pay on pay pal then as the last step it gives you a link to download the video. You can then watch it on your computer or burn it to a disc and watch it anywhere you please. This Cik/Cap video was slightly more expensive then the heeling one-I think with the exchange rate it was $63.

As I understand it Cik/Cap are verbal cues that are in some ways sort of similar to a left and right in that they tell the dog you are going to go left or right....but they tell the dog to go forward and find an obstacle to turn tightly around, jump with collection and turning.. but it does NOT mean to wrap the obstacle and come back to you. You would NOT use cik/cap on all turns on course.

If cued correctly and taught to fluency the advantages of using cik/cap is that it is easier on a dogs joints...they take off knowing where to go and then land with their feet pointing the correct direction--rather then taking off, landing and then trying to crank their bodies in the correct direction with all those forward motion forces slamming into their shoulders.

It saves time by creating a tighter line.

Sylvia also says that cik/cap that creates great obstacle focus because you start off with teaching the dogs to send around an object and that helps with distance skills. The first steps seem very similar to a forward send in the AWHS I thought. Sylvia also says that by teaching the dogs cik/cap as puppies they can also start out by running full speed right away instead of having to go slow when they first start agility.

Sylvia teaches the cik/cap to her tiny puppies and she demos the first steps with her tiny puppy. You can also teach it to a dog currenty competing as long as you do not use it at trials until it is thoroughly proofed in training, she says that takes about 3-4 months. Like any good turn or collection cue you need to cue it before the dog takes or once they hit that commitment point it is too late for the dog to do anything about any cue you give.

The only thing that was disappointing is that Sylvia showed a lot of neat completed tricks that would help with body awareness that she does with her dogs, but on the cik/cap dvd she did not show how to train any of those and I LOVE watching how she trains tricks, so it would have been neat if there was some of that on the dvd. I guess I will have to wait and buy her tricks dvd that is coming out next month.

I am still not sure how this all fits into my handling system...

on one hand it seems like a forward send, so that seems to make sense, I can see where the dog should be reading our body position to cue tight turns-but on some of the European style elements that seem to be seeping into courses just recently it seems like it would be a really handy cue....and it is not used on all turns, so it seems that would make it less likely that the dog would not jump or totally disregard your cues if you do not use the cue...

I do feel that the body work and the starting elements really could help the dog with obstacle focus and using their body so we are working on the beginning steps and thinking about the rest of it ;-).

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE with thoughts about why this might or might not be a good thing to teach based on the APHS

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainy days with food dispensing toys

It only rains a few times a year here in Southern CA, and thunderstorms are really rare but for a little over 24 hours it was almost non stop thunderstorms. The yard is a mud puddle and I am frankly tired of washing Cricket who LOVES rolling in the dirt or mud, so I decided to feed breakfast in food dispensing toys to help with some of the pent up energy that was in the house! Skyler and Chloe my shelties make a rare appearance in the video!

Sylvia Turkmans heeling video-

I really have no experience with competition obedience....other then when I was a young girl and trained my Westie in obedience. It was the old fashioned training with a choke chain and I really do not remember anyone talking about motivating the dog, or looking at the dogs attitude. I had a good time, I hope my dog Bonnie did, sure was not training I would do now.

A couple of years ago at the AKC national Invitational I watched the obedience because my aunt and her cocker spaniel were entered, and I watched the winner who had a golden retriever compete. That dog looked so happy, and so engaged and like he was having the best time of his life. I have always wanted to train a dog and have them enjoy it like that.

I know Sylvia Turkman trains lots of tricks and her number one criteria is the dog having fun, a dog who enjoys working and works fast and happy. I watched the trailer for her video, and thought it looked interesting, so I bought it. It runs about $58 bucks...depending on the exchange rate for that day-you pay through pay pal then as the last step in the payment process you just click and can download the video. Once you have downloaded the video you can keep it on your computer or burn it to a disk (which did take about an hour, ughghgh) and it is yours to keep.


I would love to have my dogs be able to compete in some obedience but if they are dragging along and looking like they do not enjoy sure would not be worth it.

Sylvias method is teaching heeling like a trick. It is working with teaching the dog a lot of body awareness and a really solid understanding of the heel position. As an added bonus she shows how to use the training you do for heeling to do a back wards weave through your legs-the way she teaches it looks really neat, so I hope we get that as a side benefit, LOL.

Sylvia says the technique she uses is totally appropriate for young dogs, for tiny puppies, for old dogs and dogs that might already be heeling or competing in obedience. She also says that if you can teach heeling and get your dog happy and focused with should never have focus problems with anything like agility because if you can make that know everything you need to know t make something like agility that is naturally more

The technique she uses is actually quite simple,.....maybe not worth $60 unless you really want to learn it, EXCEPT that to watch her reward placement and how she increases the criteria-just the mechanics of a master shaper and trick trainer made the whole thing totally worth it to me. I was glad I shelled out the money, we have had a lot of fun with it. THE PART I TOTALLY APPRECIATE is that her criteria is how the dog looks, do they look like they are happy and enthusiastic, if is not a success no matter how good they heel. That is why she trains it like it is all just one big trick-hey I LIKE that attitude.

We are only on the first few steps but oooh my gosh when I am out walking with the dogs I can see how they are totally using their bodies very differently after all this body awareness work we are doing. My dogs do a lot more sideways movements and instead of circling around and coming back to my side if they get ahead I noticed them sort of pivoting back into position-using their rear ends a lot more. How cool is that?

OK NOTHING NEW...but I did video our practice last night, doing our stairs. I found a new set of stairs, and the dogs are doing well. I was very pleased that even with a ton of distractions they all did fine. Poor Liz wanted to bag the back ward stairs-she says where will we use that or be able to show that off anyway???? LOL, so she finished up with just being engaged enough to do her tricks she loves! So this was the second session on stairs after our last video, so no huge progress, but definite progress and a chance for me to play with the video editing program!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Yesterday when I blogged about missing some friends and missing people I used to do agility and dog training with one of them was a friend named Carol. For some reason I was thinking about Carol a lot during the fun match-I knew she did not have a long time left but I had no idea the end of her life was so close. After I posted on my blog yesterday about missing friends...I found out Carol had died. Carol used to be one of my training buddies that was a really fun person to go to a lot of events with, I helped out with her classes and arranging events, we had a lot of good times.

Carol and I went to her last trial, I knew she would not be running much longer but I had no idea that would be her last trial. She had begged me to run her dog for her but I had encouraged her to run her dog herself even if she did not Q-I was dying to run her dog because she is a cool dog, but I am so glad in hind sight that I did not, because it turned out to be their last run together. Carol has been sick the last year and a half and I knew her time left was going to be short and I was really missing/thinking of her yesterday at our fun match.

Carol was a HUGE character, one of those people everyone notices. I met Carol when she worked for Petsmart as a trainer...but then became friends with her when she and I both took classes at PawPrints dog club here in town. Carol had a dog that was AMAZING-a cattledog named JC. There was such a bond between Carol and JC. JC was fantastic and Carol had her trained so well that when Carol became sick JC already was trained as a service dog-she would fetch the phone if Carol fell, pick up things off the floor, open/close doors, and fetch anything Carol might need, but most of all JC never moved from her side. The bond between those two was amazing, one of those once in a lifetime things, I swear they read each others minds.

Carol was not always easy to get along with she had very strong opinions, she was not afraid to share her opinions but she had a heart of gold-I remember when she had agility classes at her house, she fed Alicia the instructor and me almost every week after classes, at trials she always brought everyone a fancy lunch, she was always up for an afternoon of sitting and just talking about dog training-not a lot of people in this world that want to talk about training for hours, LOL.

Carol's dream was always to own a boarding kennel, training facility and she had started the boarding kennel with a beautiful play yard and had just finished building this fantastic building that she was going to use for training and had outfitted with everything needed for a groomer to be there, or for classes inside an air conditioned building she set up an agility yard with great lighting so she could do classes, and she had got her APDT certification when she was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Why does it always seem that when people finally get everything they have dreamed of something happens? It seems so unfair at times. The diagnosis was about a year and a half ago. ALS is a progressive disease that is fatal and affects the neurons that control muscle movement and so the person loses more and more muscle function. Carol was a very proud person and I could never imagine how she handled having to have others take care of her, she HATED having to ever accept help, this had to be a particularly hard disease for a person like her.

I wish I had been a better Friend the last few months, I only saw her a few times the last few months, but it was really rough because she could not communicate and would get really frustrated and upset trying to communicate. One of the first things she lost to the disease was her ability to talk and by the time she died she could barely move her hands. Life gets busy and time slips by, so I wish I had made the time to see her more the last couple of months.

I hope today that Carol is at peace and I hope she knows how much I did care. I hope her little doggie is well cared for, I can not imagine how much JC is going to miss her person. I have missed having Carol around a lot in the last year and I am going to really miss her. When ever something like this happens it sure makes me think of how precious our health is and how fragile life is and how quickly things can change, sure puts a reality check on the small frustrations in life. Take care Carol and know you touched my life and many others....

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Day 2 of the fun match here in town. I just got home and I am so EXCITED about my dogs-dog wise it was a fantastic day, more then I could have hoped for!

The day did leave me feeling a little sad on the people front. Since I started doing agility and training up until lately I have always had a few really good friends that I would do things like seminars and fun matches and trials with-they were always up for a good fun match or seminar..always ready to get together to train, we would go to get a soda after class...or go to dinner after trials or seminars or fun matches-it just always was such a neat way of connecting, we were all working on the same things and we all were into training or dogs and had the same goals.. but these is me and my dogs-everyone else has moved :-( . Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy my dogs company and there is something to be said for just paying attention to your dogs... but I do miss having like minded people to be able to really share it all with. People who understand when I come out of the ring and am so excited that Lizzie did not run off, or that Cricket did her first multi obstacle sequence, it might not have looked impressive to others but for where we are was a pretty big high...and sharing other peoples little victories was always so much fun too--anyway, it has just been hard the last few months, I miss having those types of friendships. It is nice to know my blogging friends do know how much some of these things mean.

AS far as how the fun match went...when I got there I did not purchase any tickets to run Liz because I am working on making sure she does not practice running away....ever....Plus there was a safety issue since the yard was only partially fenced. Liz could have been out of there and two miles away before I blinked if she had taken off-of course I do not want to take chances with that. I worked with Liz over a few practice jumps that had no fencing at all....things went fine so I did go and sign her up for a run in the standard ring. I had no idea I had to wait for at least ten dogs to go before it was our turn, and they kept letting other people go ahead with some weird excuses.....ughghhghg, I knew I was stretching Lizzie's attention span to the max.... the dog before us did take off-running out of the ring and ended up in a neighboring school yard where the owner could not get to him-talk about reminding me what could happen. She finally got him, thank goodness but it was a pretty scary situation. After watching the dog that had taken off and how the owner barely caught him....I was physically shaking a bit and very nervous when I walked in the ring. I knew I had to control my nerves or I would CAUSE a problem so I really worked hard on some deep breathes and trying to relax myself. I know I was still a little nervous when we walked into the ring.

I got in the ring and took Liz off leash, noticing Liz was a little spacey and looking away from me avoiding eye contact-so I was proud of myself for not being rushed-I stepped a few feet from the start line and did a few short recalls before I left her to go to my lead out position. Lizzie would not hold a stay-I wonder if that was because I had just done so much focus work before we went in the ring and so she was handling her stress by focusing on me???? If you were watching you might have thought it was a very ugly executed run, nothing pretty to look at, but Lizzie did all the obstacles correctly and stayed with me and was listening-I altered the course so she was not running right at the exit and I left the weaves out-I chose instead to not follow the course and go back for a tunnel to the table to end further away from the exit and end with her favorite obstacles. She never came close to running off, I was SOOOOOOOO PROUD OF HER, and actually proud of us as a team!

The really neat part was that I had spent the time before the run doing some shaping, and Liz was able to focus and think enough to actually offer behaviors. I think really making an effort to do shaping sessions in LOTS of places with Liz the last few weeks --which means she has to settle herself down enough to think, and working through some VERY mild frustration (having to figure out what to do next when shaping)--is really paying off.

THE PLAN-I think today was another example showing me that what Lizzie and I are doing is really working. I think now I am going to add in a lot more just building value and excitement for the obstacles, REALLY SHORT sequences so she really transfers a lot of value to doing agility and we will see what happens! The great thing is that what I think Lizzie needs is really pretty close to what I will be doing with Cricket to teach her agility-so that will make life easier.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Well, I am pretty pleased and proud of our training challenge this week. Our dog club had a fun match, so a fun match in my own town and since it is our dog club I got some cool training opportunities I might not normally have gotten.

The actual fun match is not until tomorrow....but we set up today. LUCKILY for me....if you helped set up today, you got to use the courses/field for free for the rest of the day.

Cricket went to the big girl Standard ring while there were still a lot of people running around setting up for the fun match-so there were a lot of things going on, a lot of distractions--this big, bouncy, excited Golden Retriever was running very close to Cricket, right on the other side of snow fencing (I HATE when they use one fence to separate two rings with no room in between rings!). Cricket is so motion sensitive,....she looked at the Golden..and I really thought she was going to go chase that exciting guy....but she looked at the dog, then looked at the tunnel she was going to....and she CHOSE to go to the tunnel. YIPPIE!!!! WHAT A GOOD GIRL CRICKET!

There was actually a wonderful little part of the course that was table, jump, tunnel, jump, tunnel, jump then table. We have done mostly one jump work, this was a new place she had never been, there was a lot of people and a lot going on....and yet...she did that little sequence. I picked three or four areas of the course with tunnels and tables I could send her to, wow, she did soooo good.

I am SOOOOO EXCITED thinking about what the next few months will hold for us.

The one dark cloud on the day was when I went back a second time there were some dogs that were running loose-a girl was running her dogs loose, and Cricket had resisted them for awhile and was working with me, then for the first time that I can remember, she took off after those dogs and was not listening and not coming back until she had got to the dogs and I ended up going to get her. VERY NAUGHTY CRICKET! Guess we are not done with our recall work yet!!

Lizzie got to go to the standard ring when there were not many people there...but there was her agility instructor who is one of her favorite people and a few dogs-I chose that time to set her up for success. I am working so hard so she does not rehearse behavior I do not want ;-). This was a new place, we walked out of the car, worked on focus on the way to the ring but she had no time to get to know the place or sniff around-we just went to the ring. I was able to run a full course with Lizzie.

I broke the course down into three parts so I could make sure to play and reward her, but hey she did her contacts, she listened to all my directions and she did not try to leave. I was even able to heel her from the end of the course to the entrance off leash so we could get her leash. I was smiling from ear to ear to see how much she is progressing. I did not do the jumpers ring, I felt like she had done so well in the standard ring that I wanted to end on a good note.

BREEZE was perfect because the course was a bit of a weird course with the perfect place to do the forward sends I am trying to brush up on and the backy-uppys. There were about four places to throw the dog to the back side of the jump so that would have been really hard if we had not just started brushing up those skills. The big news of the day for Breeze was that she did the weaves TWICE perfectly, we have had so many problems with the weaves especially since Breeze has sped up recently and it has messed up her striding-so I have been working trying to help her figure out a stride through the weaves, so I was excited she was able to do those, and she has been going so fast she has been coming very close to missing her contacts...well, she did them in a new place very nicely. All of a sudden Breeze's speed is increasing and we have had some growing plains-but that is why I love fun matches because I was able to give her some great rewards when she got the weaves and the contacts and it was in a new place.


Another EXCITING thing we got to do....was to review a product!
We got to review - Ewww Pawsitively Clean™ by Bissell®. We got a bottle in the mail to test out.

here is a link where there is more info on what we tested:

Soooo LUCKILY we have not had any accidents lately, so while I am pleased as punch about that....nice to not have a puppy with accidents did make it harder to find things/areas to test the product on. The bottle stats it uses enzyme action to get to deep down stains and odors, and it says it works on any water safe surface.
Sooooo I did take the Ewww Pawsitively clean over to a friends house who did have a fresh stain I was very impressed with how everything smelled after I used this to clean. I used it on an old pillow that is in the dogs crate, on the kitties litter box and on an area in the corner of the living room that has some old pet stains in addition to the fresh pee pee accident at my friends ;-).

I have to say I was impressed with how fast all the areas I tested were really nice and fresh smelling, so I was VERY HAPPY about that. I would definitely keep this on hand for accidents. The only thing that was a bit of a pain was the directions said to saturate the area and then leave it for 5-10 min, then blot and clean, repeat if needed, then you need to let the area dry and vacuum it, well, I had trouble waiting around, but it was worth it to get the stain out. So this product got a PAWS up from the Bordergirls gang!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When you have an exam or a big event coming up-ever feel like "geeze I wish I had studied or done more work on ____" LOL, well as we are getting closer to where Cricket is really putting it all together to do agility,....that is what I am feeling like!

We are doing some agility work, we have the teeter almost trained, the key pieces are coming together, she has a killer four on the board contact, she is rushing straight up to the end of the board, she runs back and forth on the teeter and is not bothered by the movement, she LOVES the bang it game....I still want to work on teaching her to find her entries and enter it straight, but the teeter is looking good.

Contacts are coming along, right now Cricket runs across the dog walk at full height and I am clicking for striding to the end of the board and not jumping. I am working on the contact for a four on the floor separately....and that is looking GOOD. Not sure what I will do on the aframe, I am considering letting her do a running contact.

As far as jumping we are doing a lot of one jump work. As far as lots of jump work or weaves.....I was reading more articles and am trying to hold off and just do lots more foundation work until Cricket is 13-15 months, I just do not want to take any chances of hurting the developing ligaments and bones, muscles...I am sure she is good to go now but .....we are working on plenty of things so guess after having a dog like Breeze that we have just dealt with soooo many injuries, I just feel like it is better safe then sorry and working on all these components should make putting everything together go pretty quickly.

Soooo back to what we feel like we should have done more work on.....
REAR END AWARENESS, gosh I was reviewing the 2x2 video because I am working on Breezes stride through the weaves...and preparing to do the weaves with Cricket. At one point SG says I would recommend this dogs owner does a lot more rear end awareness to get a better stride....then I am watching a heeling video....they are basically doing 90% rear end awareness....then I look at the jump program and the first lesson is......YOU GUESSED IT! REAR END AWARENESS.

Sooooo, for Breeze and Cricket I am feeling like this is something I wish I had done even more work then I had that is where my new found rear end awareness training focus stems from!

We have worked a lot on pivot work and shaping back up on the flat, yesterday while my daughter was swimming I decided to try backing up the stairs.

What is funny is I live in the high desert....everything is on one level, and I had to look a LONG time to find some stairs. I finally found some at a real estate office, I already scoped and they have the stairs we are using and some different size ones on the other sides of their building, so I wait until they close and then use their stairs. It is right next to the highway though so a lot of distractions-which is good!

I thought the girls did pretty good for a first try--stay tuned for the finished product!

The plan to teach basically is:
First have the dog on the top stair-with the back legs on the top, and the front legs on the first step down-C/T for moving the front leg back, or a weight shift if necessary
Second you can move down so the back legs will have to go back up a step, C/T for picking up the leg
Watch to see which leg the dog is using and hopefully they will use both legs and definitely not both legs at one time, it should be a slow movement so the dog is deliberately reaching back and you want them facing forward
as you move down the step ping pong between number of steps, do not just keep making it harder, maybe do 1 step, then 3 steps, then 1 step then 2 steps, then four steps, something like that!
If you have taught the dog to BACK UP then it goes really fast.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So I felt it was a pretty lofty goal to set a goal of Cricket walking on a loose leash.

I feel like we have done pretty good with that goal, it was pretty pie in the sky to dream of such a goal and you would know that if you saw my other dogs walk on a leash. Cricket walks really nice except when we first arrive or she is way over the top, but all I have to do is stop and stand still and she gets herself together and comes back to my side. When she first sees someone she still looks like a fish on the end of a pole...but I would say we are 90% to where I want to be, so hey, not too bad, it is a work in progress but the best border collie I have had with loose leash walking and we aren't done yet!.

In one of our training calls Susan Garrett talked a bit about how you need to see where you want to be as the first step of training something. You do not need a list of all the things you do NOT want, but a clear picture of EXACTLY THE BEHAVIORS YOU DO WANT so you know where you want to go. Then you can objectively sit and take stock of what you currently have.....and the steps between what you got....and what you want ...IS CALLED DOG TRAINING!

SO THIS IS OUR NEXT GOAL-THE PICTURE OF WHAT I WANT MY BEHAVIORS TO LOOK LIKE If you have seen what my dogs used to do when another one is training you will know this is a lofty goal (they have gotten better, but time to bump up my training)....but I am pretty determined. I can sit and think of what life would be if I had this type of behavior and I get a silly smile on my face, boy it would be like heaven.


NEXT LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE: I will fully admit my dogs can be idiots when one is working. Lizzie has chewed up several mini blinds attacking the windows, I have put a picture of the window seal Cricket chewed up in frustration when seeing another dog work, there have rarely even almost been fights between dogs watching because of the extreme amount of excitement-OVERALL PRETTY BAD BEHAVIOR. That is why this feels like a pretty pie in the sky goal, but we are going to work it!!! I love that my dogs want to work more then anyting and doing games with me is the highest value reward but they have to have enough self control to handle when it is not their turn.

THE PLAN: I have had my daughter doing the crate games with Cricket-she puts a blanket down over her crate when Cricket starts SCREAMING when other dogs work. Cricket is doing really well with this and if we are not too close working she is quiet in her crate which is a HUGE IMPROVEMENT.

I took Cricket to the agility class I was NOT enrolled in last night and worked staying on the table the same way I trained crate games when some smaller, slower dogs were running, ones that don't get her going that much.

We practiced crate games with distractions, I left the door open and worked on doing crate games while the bigger, faster, more exciting dogs were running.
Lizzie gets to go for her turn tomorrow in the other class I am not in. It is not as hard a distraction for them with me there and with dogs they don't know.

Soooooo....the plan has been put into action and we are starting, we will see what the next couple of months bring, this is going to be a REAL CHALLENGE, but boy, can you imagine how much fun it will be to reap the rewards if I can pull this off?

PS, tonight was our first agility class for Breeze, it was colder then crap-the temp has fallen almost 50 degrees in the last week... and my back hurt a LOT! So I was moving like an old lady and Breeze was so full of herself, apparently start line stays are optional,the focus of the class was FRONT crosses, not a good night for those with me.. and if Mom is not moving fast enough, hey make your own course, LOL. Whose idea was it to get a fast dog? Breeze was AMAZING, you know the old "Great Dog Shame about the Handler" story. LOL

Monday, October 4, 2010

Training Challenge???

I am hanging my head in shame....No training challenge to report for last week ;-(. I could use Wednesday night I took the dogs to a new park and found lots of football practice going on. I took Cricket and worked on walking past all the activity and still paying attention, Breeze got to work on doing tricks while some kids were kicking a ball-one of her hardest challenges, and Liz got to work on not sniffing and trying to wander off, instead staying connected and having lots of excitement for working. After that night though all training work ground to a halt in our house.

In my defense I threw my back out and had the flu. I think it was Thursday and Friday I went out to do the dog walk training with Cricket....I am just having her run across the dog walk to help her learn to stride nicely across it, my back was a little sore but not a big deal.....then a few hours later I could barely move, ahhhhh...

A few hours later I had a raging headache and muscle aches and slept for almost two days. When I woke up my back is REALLY hurting. I spent Saturday and Sunday bent over like a little old lady. I went to Costco to walk around and get a few things hoping that would help my back, well, I was with my girls and when we got out we could not find the car. LOL, it was probably a funny picture with me trying to stand up straight, shuffling through the parking lot to try to find my car.

My poor puppies are wondering what is up and don't look too happy, they look pretty bored. It does not help it rained off and on all weekend. Three border collies and two shelties that have been pent up for about five days, are not a pretty sight. The pent up energy in my house is palpable. Today my youngest daughter has swim practice and I have to take her so hopefully I can find a nice little place to let the dogs run a bit. I am sort of afraid of taking them on leash right now because they are going to be jumping, pulling monsters.

Hopefully my back straightens out for my NEW AGILITY CLASSES-yippie classes are finally starting back up this week.

Since I have had so much time, hanging out...I decided I wanted a new ipod, since I have a bigger ipod that I can not use while training very well, not to mention it is full of videos that I am trying to save that are only on that ipod so the min. I sync it I will lose all of those. I LOVE listening to music while we are training... The dogs jump up and keep getting hooked on the head phone wires. ANYWAY, so I saw the new IPOD nanos, and my daughter has the generation 5 nano and for the money I thought it was a super cool thing, very small but it does a ton of things. Well, the new nanos are tiny, square things that clip onto your clothes and come in cool colors, YIPPIE!!! Well, I went to look and Apple got rid of all the cool features, now the nano just plays music, that is it. The old one for the same price was still small, but did videos, you could put your calender, had alarms you could program, you could watch videos, or play games....the new one does not support videos at all, and all those features were dumped and the price was slightly increased. Seriously $149-$179 for a player that just plays music and has an FM radio. So I thought the little square design you could clip onto your clothes looked so neat I WANTED ONE...but guess I will be passing on that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A PEEK INTO MY RECORD KEEPING-In the spirit of new beginnings...

Well, since Cricket turned ONE I feel like we are in a new phase. It sort of made me feel like getting things organized and doing some fall cleaning. I spent the last two weeks really cleaning out the agility yard and repairing the equipment, getting rid of what we do not use, cleaning the frontyard and cleaning out my training logs.

I feel like over the years I have been able to come up with a system for keeping track of my training that I can keep up with because it is quick and easy, but still gives me info that I need. With three dogs I can get confused. I am sure I am not the only one that sometimes finds it easy to get into routinues and forget some training that needs to be done until I show up at a trial and remember we have not done a panel jump in a long time....or I can tend to do things that are easy and fun and maybe not train some things that might be harder because we really need to do more of them. By record keeping it is easy to see right away what skills we are working hard and what skills we have not worked in awhile or like for the relaxation protocol we can keep straight where everyone is at.

Thought I would share what I do and give everyone a peek into my notebooks. I actually cleaned everything out and started with a fresh slate.

First off I have a small notebook, THIS IS THE BOOK I USE FOR MOST OF MY RECORD KEEPING, it is just a presentation notebook I got at Target that came all set up with the dividers.

I printed the front of my notebook with the bordergirls names and I stick stickers with inspirational quotes or thoughts or ideas as I find them. Right now it is blank because I just cleaned out my notebook for my fall cleaning, so I am looking forward to finding some things I want to paste onto my notebook.


On the first page I have two sheets in a page protector. The first sheet is a sheet to remind me of the CORE foundation exercises that I feel should be worked A LOT. Things like Crate Games, It's Yer Choice, Restrained Recalls, the 1-2-3 Game, etc...

I have seven games that are earmarked to be worked. I find by looking at that list all the time I remember to work them into daily life. So I might be getting the dogs dinner ready in the kitchen and drop food and play Its Yer Choice with the dogs, or I will be walking through the house and remember to grab a few treats and as a dog comes to my side in my reinforcement zone I will say "yes" and treat.

I think if I was not flipping past tha list once or twice a day...I would forget to do them as often as I do. On the other side of that sheet I have a list/description of the 37 games we did in the Susan Garrett recall course, because most of those were things that I want to continue working on and great foundation exercises. The list with the description helps me remember what each exercise is ;-).

Next there are three different sections. One for each dog. Each dog got assigned a color because I can be a ding bat and sometimes record the wrong dog on the wrong page, so all of Crickets flow sheets are red, all of Breeze's are blue and all of Lizzies are green.

This is the part I LOVE about my notebook. I made up flow sheets, one has all the exercises from the recall course, one has just an agility flow sheet with all the obstacles I try to keep track of training for, one is a relaxation protocol sheet, and I have a little flow sheet to keep track of tricks or shaping exercises. Sometime during the day I just go and make a check mark by the things we have done. It might look complicated but it takes all of ten seconds and makes me look at the list and the check off sheet and remember what we have not been working and notice what we have worked hard on. That way I remember to add in the training exercises that I would most likely forget if I was not keeping records.




LAST IN EACH SECTION THERE IS A FLOW SHEET FOR RECORDING SHAPING AND TRICK SESSIONS I got this flow sheet from Susan Garrett and Say YEs, I think it was on the 2x2 DVD.

There are four pages for each dog, and three sections one for each dog. In the back of my little notebook I have two calenders I found at Target that fit into the notebook. I use these, the red for one Cricket, and the blue one for Breeze and Lizzie. When Cricket is not learning so many things at once I will only have one calendar, but right now there is a lot of learning going on. The Calenders are to record IDEAS, THINGS WE NEED TO TRAIN, MAYBE JUST GOOD THOUGHTS. So I can flip to those and be reminded maybe of what I had thought about working on the days before.

Now I have three totally seperate notebooks that I do not use all the time
, one for each dog and you guessed it in their colors.
Crickets has the Leslie McDevitt exercise written on the front that says before you train take a second, close your eyes and

I really like to remember that because it helps me to keep it light and keep the training we are about to do in perspective-it is not rocket science and the fate of the world does not rest with what we do in any one day, this is meant to be fun-so I always want to remember that!
Each notebook has a picture I love of my dogs!

In these notebooks I can get more in depth with record keeping if I want. I have each notebook seperated into sections, so there is a section on recall/foundation games, one on contacts, one for jumps and jumping, one for the teeter, weaves, start lines, tunnels, handling, and one for shaping or tricks. Each section has some graph paper if I want to draw out courses, and just some notebook paper.
If I have a check in my small notebook under Sept 28 saying I worked on contacts...I can go to the big notebook and make notes about what happened with our contact training that day. That way I can go back and see a flow sheet of what is going on with that obstacle and find what was going on that day if I choose to record more about it. I do not always go back and record more info, usually I just have the flow sheet, but for Cricket who is just learning, or say like Breeze who is having a weave problem, or even Lizzie who I record more about her foundation/recall stuff because that is my biggest focus with her... I can go through and really record as much as I want to help figure out what is going on and keep us on track.

I do have several flow sheets for teaching weaves that I got from the 2X2 DVD on a clip board for Cricket when she starts her 2x2 and for Breeze while we are trying to work on the weave entries-so those are extra sheets I take out to train with.

ANOTHER THING THAT I FIND VERY HELPFUL THAT IS IN THE FRONT OF MY NOTEBOOK IS MY DISTRACTION LIST FOR EACH DOG. I rate as many distractions as I can think of for each dog with a rating from 1-10. I thought this was stupid when I first did it but it really helps to remember what level of distractions I can add and just keeps me more aware of where each dog is at. I have to rework the distraction list fairly frequently. I also have a list with rewards for each dog rated with their most valuable to least valuable. I put things like LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW for Lizzie, which suprisingly is a VERY VALUABLE reward. One thing I realized as I made my distraction list is that Lizzie has LOTS of things that are 9-10 on her list, and lots of things that are 1-3, it is weird, but not many things that are just middle of the road. So how like Liz is that she either can handle monster distractions and doesnt care or....things send her over the top, not much middle ground. Cricket has a lot of middle distractions, not much that sends her totally over the top. Breeze has a bunch of things on the lower levels of the distraction list, and just one or two that are 10's and can really get to her, kids that she is afraid of or the ball which drives her over the top, or dogs she knows running around or doing things like agility. Doing my distraction list really gave me a clearer picture of each of my dogs personality.