Monday, August 30, 2010

Breezie can be distracted!

Those durn distractions, guess if we can not make the world distraction proof we are going to have to learn to work through them!

Today we ended up going to two different parks, this afternoon I did our challenge for this next week since the perfect opportunity to work fell into my lap. I was going to do some recalls at the park that is usually pretty quiet, but, OOOH my gosh there was about forty high school boys with soccer balls. YIKES! BREEZE is TERRIFIED of boys and men she does not know. Breeze is also over the top with soccer balls. HUMMM, which would win out-- her fear of men .....or her obsession with ball?

SG says that if the dogs LOVE what they are doing that some distractions and scary things are just not noticed if the dog has enough excitement about what they are doing and it is rewarding enough....I read that and thought,....hummm,really?

SG used the example of something along the lines of a dog chasing a squirrel, they will run right past a big floppy hat but if your dog is not into heeling that much and a judge has a big floppy hat all of a sudden that is terrifying because they are not so much into the task at hand that they are not noticing things around them, they have more time to worry.

Not exactly sure how to use that little fact to its full advantage....but I will say that the soccer ball seems to be the price of poker for my dog so in that case SG may be onto something. Breeze was more then willing to run into that group of forty TERRIFYING boys-and did not seem to notice how terrifying they were, she did not even seem to notice to them and certainly did not react to them, but she was willing to steal their soccer balls. I have to admit I was suprised,I was ready or Breeze to go after the guys especialy when the ran past us.

When I saw the boys and saw Breeze was NOT doing alarm barking or trying to bite them or run away...I decided to do some recalls. Guess what, it did not go so well. Little bugger Breeze who is almost perfect with her recall has one thing that will trump her desire to come when I call, SOCCER BALLS, SQUEAKY BALLS, lots of types of balls ;-). I am embracing my holes in our training and my Breezie who up to now I have not been able to trip up on recalls had to be moved further...and further...and further from those boys and their soccer balls.

THE PLAN: Lots more crate games with Breeze having to choose to stay in the crate while I kick the ball around in front of the crate--that is a hard one for her, but she has to learn to have the self control and know she will be rewarded for not going over the top when her favorite balls are around! I guess I will be looking for more kids ball games to use as distrations too after we work on the ball thing at home.

Got a little video of Breeze working a recall through the weaves....

I was working with Breeze while I was doing some figure 8's at the park and trying to do rear crosses without my arms, working from the jumps far away to close together. I also did some work with putting down my toy and having Breeze work without going to steal it. I noticed when I got home there were times I was using my arms more then I wanted to, is new for us and we will keep working ;-), but it is great to have video so I can tell what really happens and not just what I think is going on!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Challenge report for the week!

As for the challenge this week I worked the dogs at Target at the entrance on Monday, then took them to the park while my daughter was at swim practice. On Tuesday we went to an outdoor cafe for lunch. There were some people there from the dog club with a bunch of dogs my dogs didn't know, and I was able to have some other people do the Collar Grab game with my dogs, I was able to work the dogs with distractions and also bring out their mats and have them work on just hanging out and staying calm. As a bonus someone held my dogs for me while I went in for some lunch so they got some practice staying with a friendly stranger. All good things.

Wednesday we had a private agility lesson. In the spirit of solidifying more basic behaviors I asked Deanna if we could look at some weave pole entrances and I wanted to working on handling my flailing arms!!!! I am just so used to using my arms I do not know when I should be pointing to jumps and where I should just run and expect my dogs to know to catch the jumps. So check it out, we did all these short exercises with NO ARMS at all. DEFINITELY out of my comfort zone!

We did a really fun weave exercise just setting up lots of different amounts of weaves and numbers of poles at different angles, then as the dog was leaving one set of poles, I reminded them to look for the next. This was all to help so the dog understands WEAVE UNTIL THERE ARE NO POLES!! Basically I would like the weaves to be seen as ONE obstacle and no matter what I do, pull off laterally, or stop or decelerate they should keep weaving once they are in the poles. Breeze did pretty good, which is not surprising because she learned with the 2X2 method so it is looks sort of like that.

I feel like we identified some interesting things with Liz, she has a habit of running in front of me and then whirling toward me and barking and yelling at me. A typical herding behavior a dog would use to stop sheep or cattle. I think I have always worried that it meant Liz was getting stressed so I would stop and connect with her and then tell her where we were going. Somewhere along the way I think Liz has decided that she has to stop me and then get the next directions for where we are going instead of understanding that by me running toward something she already has the info she needs, just keep going little Liz!. Pretty frustrating for both of us. The fix for this....I keep running even if I end up running over her a few times, yikes, I think there is a fall coming. We did a few of the sequences a few times and Liz seemed to settle down and seem more confident and she seemed to be figuring out that she needed to keep going. It will be intresting to see if this was a one night thing or if being aware of this will help long term ;-).

My last HUGE out of my own comfort zone thing was my computer BLEW UP and I had to get another one. Of course I had not backed up anything. Yep, how stupid was that??? My IPOD has tons of things I want on it and now I do not know how I can get anything else on it without it syncing to itunes and having all my good stuff erased. Then apparently Windows 7 does not work with outlook express and it took me like two days to figure out how to use the Windows Mail. I hate change. Of course it took me days to figure out what program I could use to edit videos and the video editing is a lot nicer but it took me some time to figure it out. So I do think the dogs and I have both met our challenge and expanded our comfort zones a bit.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Yesterday was such a red letter day at our house. I saw some really remarkable things happening, so you will have to forgive a little bit of bragging about my FANTASTIC DOGS! It is just so EXCITING when there are just leaps in learning, especially when it makes my life so much easier.

First thing in the morning I was going out to the front yard to train. A few months ago that would have meant the rest of the dogs throwing a hissy fit with whining and carrying on that I was taking out dog out to play, and I would be having a bit of a hassle to get just one dog outside. I would usually have to put all the dogs into their crates which would make a short training session into a big deal by the time I got all the right dogs crated and the right dog heading outside.

Cut to yesterday when I got my treats and toys and walked to the front door. There were five little angelic faces standing expectantly about three feet from the door where the tile meets the carpet--no moving or whining, no begging, no door dashing. I could call each dog when it was their turn and only that dog went outside, the rest just stood quietly without moving a muscle except for Breeze who just took off to get a good spot to look out the window. WOW!!! I only really worked on that for a few minuets one day, but that comes right from the work we have done on the CRATE GAMES. I can not tell you how nice that was. A real treat for me.

Our second huge moment was when I fixed the breakfast dishes and wanted to use the dog's breakfast for training. In the past to train another dog in the house Cricket especially would SCREAM and bite the crate and I was really afraid she would get hurt. The other dogs would be REALLY noisy. In the past no one could be quiet.

Back to the present, on this day I worked Breeze first. Cricket sat quietly in her crate watching with interest but not a peep and she was very relaxed. Next up was Liz working. Again Cricket quietly waited her turn and Breeze who was lose stayed out of our way. The most amazing part was when I went to work Cricket. Cricket was working beautifully and it hit me,.....where are the other dogs?? I had not put them in the crate like I normally do, so I look around........and what do I see? LIZ AND BREEZE QUIETLY LAYING DOWN, RELAXED AND JUST WATCHING. They were happy and content and quiet. I had not needed to tell them to stay, or tell them to down, I was not feeding them, or yelling at them, they just saw Cricket working and knew that laying down and using self control was a choice most likely to pay off, I am sure they taught they were controlling and shaping me, ;-). Do you know how much I loved seeing that? That totally was a result of doing the CRATE GAMES from the Susan Garrett DVD. I really wish I had done more with those when I first had the DVD.

Here is a really embarrassing picture of one day in the past before we started working crate games when I left Cricket out of the crate on accident and went out front to work with one of the other dogs. That window seal was painted white and totally in mint condition. When I got in the house Little Beaver Cricket had torn out all those HUNKS of wood. I was sooooo mad, a one way ticket for Cricket right back to Oregon where she came from did pop into my mind. Looking at that destruction I am sure you can see where my excitement is coming from at the good behavior Cricket is choosing to offer me now!

The reason I really am so in love with the Crate Games now is not just because it is working so well for me, but I love the plilosophy of not trying to control the dog, but controlling the environment so that making good choices is a good deal for the dog. Julie Daniels says in her Pre-Sports puppy DVD that you want any training to be a good deal for the dog, they want to make the right choice because that gets them the best things. I have always agreed with that idea, but sometimes really did not know how to put that into place for some harder things like having dogs be quiet while other dogs are working with out sitting and feeding and clicking the whole time the other dogs were working

Our assignment today is posted to the general list-so I put the link ;-), and the video of what we are supposed to do today to test what our dog really knows and what we think they know! Looks like fun, but not thinking I will be doing the headstand unless I am next to a wall ;-).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun and Games with the Bordergirls

Lizzie's favorite recall game is a simple one. I started it in our first recall class when she was a puppy.

pretty simple you just take a lower value treat and throw it so your dog will go and get it,as soon as they get the treat you call them and reward with a higher value treat when they get back to you, or if they are really into it you can just reward with another cookie toss. With any game I like to either play with my dogs a little bit, get a little silly, run with them, anything to put them in a playful mood, and put myself in a playful mood! You could also grab their collar and gently restrain them as you roll the treat if your dog gets excited with restrained recalls.

To tell the truth the way I leared it you just reward with the toss and the chance to keep the game going, but in a higher distraction area Lizzie especially is prone to the zoomies so I really want to reinforce her for checking in with me. I think you have to consider your dog and their needs, their excitement level, and figure out what makes it fun for your team.

Trouble shooting:
**If you have trouble I find that to roll the treat--think chasing--so the dog wants to chase it, it looks much more exciting.

**Use a treat that stays together and doesn't come apart to throw-so maybe kibble or string cheese to throw

**if the dog really seems interested in the ground maybe start playing the game in a really quiet corner, a bathroom without a lot going on, somewhere quiet, or take the dog and move them to another location if there is something on the ground. Once they get into it and understand the game you can move it to more distracting places.

**if you are having trouble make sure the treat you are giving when you call the dog is YUMMY!!

**I would also suggest making the reward for coming to you more exciting, THINK EXCITING GAME, ever few times I was playing the game esp. to start with I would take off and run in the opposite direction, keeping eye contact with the dog and a happy tone inviting them to chase you and if you can deliver the treat while the dog is moving that is even better! If your dog sees you running off the other direction for a super fun game they are not going to see the value in sitting and sniffing for crumbs, LOL! As a bonus this is great for teaching the dogs to stay on one side and read the spot they should be aiming to come to when they are doing agility. If your dog tugs or plays with a ball you could do that every few times to reward.

**I would also only reward a fast and happy recall, if it is slow and they are just looking uninspired, I would change things up before I would let them keep practicing and thinking I wanted them to be slow and cautious.

A VARIATION of the game we have been playing is seen on Crickets video at 1:18 and on Lizzie's video at 2:53.

This is a SG game-and if your dog is OK with their collar being grabbed or being restrained...then you face the same way as the dog and grab their collar with the arm farthest from the dog-YOUR ARM YOU HOLD THE DOG WITH GOES OVER YOUR BODY, It also holds the highest value reward. Take your hand closest to the dog that has a lower value treat and have that arm in front of the arm going across your body. Throw the cookie, the lower value one that is next to the dog.....I tell the dogs "GET IT!" and as soon as they leave to get the cookie I take off the other way and reward them at my side once they get the treat and catch up to me.

I AM SOOOO THRILLED. A month ago I really did not know if Lizzie would ever work this nice, straight out of the car in a new place with all this going on. I used kibble to throw-a lower value treat and Salmon (which was sort of messy ;-( ) as a higher value reward for coming to me. After a few times Liz was not grabbing the treat so I switched to a slightly higher value treat, not as high as what she got for coming to me, but higher then the kibble. In a low distraction environment I do not give Liz treats for coming to me....she knows the game so well and likes it so much that me throwing a reward and keeping the game going is enough reward to keep her excited.

FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION, we are all about foundation here the last month!
Some might laugh at some of the things we have been working on, and if you told me I would have fun and get excited working on foundation stuff, I would have laughed at you....but I can not tell you how much life at the bordergirls house has changed since we have been on our foundation kick. It does not hurt that the games we have been doing have been so much fun!!!!

You have to check out the UGLY BALL it is at 1:29. Since we are doing so much foundation work---I videoed working with Breeze with her FAVORITE ugly ball. She is ball obsessed and I was trying to get some fast, happy hand touches where she got the idea she had to do some GOOD hand touches and then she would get the ball. I figure it is GREAT foundation work for helping her learn to work even when she gets really excited, I hope that this will really help when she gets overly excited at trials.

Then I did a little video of the Cricket and Lizard where I was doing the Susan Garrett more motivating hand touches ;-). I have trouble with the mechanics and feel so awkward, so that is why I figured I should video to watch what I was doing wrong! I have to hand to to SG she can even make hand touches into a fun game!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Challenge Week #3

I did do my challenge this weekend! In our recall course one assignment was to have a STRANGER hold our dogs leash for some restrained recalls. I went to four parks but it was hot and the first three parks were totally empty. There was one man and his kids but Breeze started alarm barking and acting weird so I did not feel it was a good idea to ask someone to hold her,....not that they would with her acting like that. I opted instead for doing some recall games with the man and his kids close by.

At the last part I was able to find a guy who would hold Cricket and she did some fantastic recalls with him holding her. I started with some really close recalls in the playground full of screaming kids. She was pretty over the top seeing the kids (happy, she loves kids), but doing some close recalls got her mind in gear and got her excitement level to where she could work. Cricket was able to do some nice recalls and then play some games with me around the kids. I also used a few people that I let Cricket wander close to then I recalled her. I really think some dogs are fantastic naturally at recalls and Cricket is one of those, then I have worked on them since the day she came home, and so who knows what is responsible, but even at her age I would totally trust her more then any other dog I have ever had, even when there are HUGE distractions she is normally fantastic, and I am used to puppies her age being pretty spacey, but not the incredible Cricket.

Lizzie was so overstimulated I did not even ask if anyone could hold her leash, she was just too over the top stimulated. I am thinking that Liz's default behavior the behavior she defaults to when she is really nervous/unsure is to go hyper, start sniffing, disengage and calm herself with running and movement. I am trying to work to give her different options, so I was trying to think how am I going to manage in this situation. One of her FAVORITE games is the little recall game where you throw a treat one way and then call them back, give them a treat, throw out a treat to get them to go away and then call them get the picture. Well, to my surprise she got really happy, I think she got a job that she totally understood to occupy her mind and so she did not have time to think about getting over stimulated. She happily played the game with two little toddlers yelling and running about two feet from her and several screaming children on the playground equipment about eight feet away and lots of parents about thirty feet away. Liz also loves kids, but they just get her so excited. Only Breeze thinks little kids are aliens sent to do horrible things to her so she has to guard against them!

A LATE very happy development in the blogger world my Japanese friends have made a couple of comments but there appears to be a new feature on the blogs and none of their comments made it to the web page, they went into the spam comments folder and apparently I could over ride that if it was a mistake by going to the spam folder or just permanently delete them, how cool is that, that is the only spam I have ever got and now it looks like Blogger took care of it, THANKS BLOGGER!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Focus on TUGGING!

One of the most AMAZING things that has happened with all the work we have done... my dogs play drive has SKYROCKETED. I think this is because some of the tips that I have got about reward placement have really helped and I have learned a lot about how to make some simple exercises so much more motivating and we are stopping every three or four tries with an exercise to play.

Cricket is a little tug-a-holic, Breeze who has never tugged will tug with the little rubber Frisbee/ball thing she has, and sometimes even with the squirrel that is every ones favorite tug. Lizzie is tugging at the drop of a hat unless she sees too high value food then she is just all about the food. All of this tugging has made all of our training more fun for all of us, the dogs just look so happy when we do our training lately.

How could there be a downside to all of that fun? Well, there has been a huge downside. My dogs are not that big, around 30-35 lbs. but when they really start tugging a lot my back and shoulders have really been hurting-doing three or four sessions of training a day with three dogs is a lot of sessions so a lot of tugging. My one finger where I have to grip Breezes toy is sprained and swollen about twice the normal size. Cricket is horrible at regripping (gripping the toy then letting go and moving up the toy and grabbing it again), and has bit me so many times I could not possibly count all the holes and bruises, my poor hands are all bloody, LOL!. I have really wanted to increase their play drive and so was unsure how to place more limits without decreasing their drive. I had no idea that tugging could take such a physical toll and it did make me think about what it might do to the dogs bodies. I do know tugging has to do some good for them because watching them and all the muscles they use, has to be good for them.


Soooo, have to say I was really excited when I saw this DVD/book combo from Kay Lawrence. You can get it from her website or from clean run.

I felt like this was EXCELLENT. Very short and simple, but then it is not that expensive either.... I love how they show dogs tugging with other dogs so you can see how it should be handled-several times they go back and show how dogs tug with other dogs so that they are all safe and have fun. They go over how to protect your body and the dogs body. They go over what you should look for in a toy-and even where you can find the proper type of toy. They go over the rules to protect everyone and how to teach those to the dogs, as well as covering how to build motivation and how to use tugging in different games. I thought for a tugging nerd like myself it was TERRIFIC!

Once I found out what type of toys make good turns out one toy that we have had for a long time and is our favorite, the favorite with all the dogs...that one fits all the requirements. The dogs love it but it is getting very torn up, I got it at an agility trial and there used to be a little tag with the info to reorder one, but that got chewed off a long time ago. I knew after watching that DVD and knowing that one toy does make tugging so much easier on me, and I am sure on the dogs, so I set out on a search to find some appropriate toys.

*A handle on your tug toy

*There should be some give, or spring to it so that when the dog tugs it protects the dogs neck and your back and shoulders-bungees are perfect in my opinion

*a big enough bite area that is a clear area for the dog to bite so he does not get your hand

*length-you want it long enough that you can stand up and not be hurting your back, and for dogs that might be intimidated by you bending over them. If your dog is smaller you might need even more length. You might need a shorter length in a class situation where you need to keep the dog closer.

*you might want a food pouch type of item esp. for dogs just learning to tug

*a material that really stimulates a dog to bite and grab, like a furry thing, or something with legs on it, or for some dogs that really are just learning maybe rabbit skin

*washable, after lots of tugging the toy may get a lot of hard, old saliva on it and start to smell and not be as attractive to the dog, so good to have something you can wash. I did make a mistake with our favorite toy and wash it with fabric softener in the rinse, a smelly one and the dogs were pretty repulsed by that ;-), WHOOPS!

DOG DREAMS TOYS--seems a little like Christmas this afternoon!

I found a site I had seen before but I was a little intimidated by the thought of trying to figure out how to custom order a toy and get one ordered. Because these toys seemed to fill all the requirements I decided to try or place an order at Dog Dreams Toys

Margie the owner of Dog Dream Toys was FANTASTIC. When I had looked at this site before I had just seen the Magic Pockets.. I love the magic pockets but really could not afford to order three or four of those right now, so I went to the MORE FUN TOYS page and got the STICK TUG BUNGEE HANDLE TOY. That toy does NOT have a pocket for food, but is only $14, plus I paid extra for the squeeker, because you always need those. The toys came today, I LOVE them, they are the perfect size, the handle is the perfect length for tugging with my BC girls, and the material and the sewing seem really heavy duty, the material is lined and much heavier then I could find myself if I wanted to make one of these myself. I think these toys really look like they will last. I know our old favorite toy with the bungee handle still has the bungee handle faded but still just as strong as the day we got them.

I also got a CRAYON with a bungee handle. I think the Crayon was $8 for the toy plus $3 for the bungee handle. The crayon is soft of soft, softer then the bite sticks that are really easy to get and I wish my dogs liked more, but they have soft mouths. The Crayons are sort of a thinner diameter so Cricket had to take a few min until she felt comfortable gripping that.

My dogs also always want to grab onto the bungee part of the toy with our other toy so we got a ZIZI which is just the bungee handle material--that one is smaller then I would have imagined it, but a fantastic size. I am anxious to play with that and see how they like it. You even get to order the colors you want for the rings on those.

It is pretty cool you pick your material, and your type of handle and the color of handle, if you want squeekers and email Margie. From the descriptions on the web site it sounds like Margie is willing to customize a toy to anything you really want and she sounds willing to try new ideas. I had told Margie of my plight and injuries and she had the toys made and at my doorstep in just a couple of days.

first I tried to pose her with the three sticks....

THE CRAYON AND ZIZI-my camera is messing up the crayon is a bright teal with a purple handle, and I chose black and purple for the zizi.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Training challenges, recalls and rants

I was GOING to make some nice video on all the things we have worked on this week for our training challenge week #2, but I guess the most important part is that we did the challenge! Knowing there was a challenge involved helped when I wanted to be lazy and not follow through with my training plans, so THANKS FELLOW CHALLENGERS FOR HELPING KEEP ME ON TRACK!!!

So for our week two challenge:
we went to four new parks on four mornings to do our recall/foundation work in the morning. YIPPIE! Those sessions were on weekday mornings so it was pretty quiet then but they were new environments, with new smells, so I felt like they were an appropriate challenge for our stage of training.

The second thing we have been doing has been a giant pain....but in the interests of my training goals....and the training challenge, I went all four days to my daughters swim practice, which is held in an outdoor pool-I brought the dogs to work around the outside of the fence (dogs arent allowed inside). It was fantastic, lots of kids yelling, the swim team runs by doing laps-but they were on the other side of the fence so they were not too high a distraction, and best of all I had to be there anyway (although it would have been way easier to not bring the dogs and just sit and veg. out during the practice!) ;-).

It turned out to be a really nice environment because the park around the pool is pretty quiet, and the pool is pretty noisy so I can back as far away as I need and get a quieter area or move forward for more distractions. Two of the days they were watering with bubblers outside the pool area, so I was able to use that for a premack reward for Cricket who really wanted to play with those, sooooo....if she did her behaviors I asked for I was able to release her to a really fun real life reward. How cool is that?

Breeze can be weird with kids, and men, but she surprisingly she did fantastic at the pool. Cricket who loves kids did get more distracted with the runners, so it was a great chance to work through that, and Liz, well, surprisingly Liz was the superstar. It really is hard to even set up a situation where she fails......until you take the leash off...then she is still just as likely to zoom off, so she has not been getting that chance.

Ok, let me say I am really enjoying the SG ecourse and finding it soooo helpful. There is no magic and I would never have believe that adding in more practice on simple foundation type games and behaviors would make such a difference, and to tell you the truth most of the things making the biggest impact are things I really would have said we did not need because we had been there and done that a long time ago when my dogs were puppies. There is a lot of foundation games, a lot of relationship building and some great recall practice which all mixed up should lead to a good recall ;-). A lot of the lessons could be done if you worked through a lot of the games in the Crate Games, and the Ruff Love book and Susan's first foundations packet you would pretty much have what we have done in the course so far....and then you could sit and think about how to use the Premack principle in your training, but I guess I need structure and having a lesson posted every morning has sure made me good about going out and doing them and taking them seriously. I think if I just sat down with the books, I would skip a lot of the exercises I would sure consider beneath me and my dogs at this point, LOL, but whoo hooo we are actually getting a lot from them. The other big advantage of that is that I am learning Susan is a master of the mechanics of training and I have gotten a lot out of how she shows you exactly where to deliver a treat, how to stand, how often to reward, how to make it more fun, even on some very simple exercises it has made a huge difference in my finished behaviors.

The funny thing is that I had all those materials I probably needed sitting here in my room for years now. I rewatched Crate Games when I got ready to do this course and I was AMAZED at what all was in it, I had watched it when I got it and started to work on them, but like sooo many things I do I got to a certain point, figured good enough and got busy with something else. Watching it again I found so many neat things that I had not bothered to do, so no magic in the course but it is pretty neat for making people like me get it together and stick to it and actually train some things.

One of my biggest motivations for staying on track is that we were asked to write a little bit about what training you do everyday, a little record keeping, and if you do not practice a day then SG said she would like you to write something to the effect of On this day my commitment to my dog and my dogs recall was not where it should be so we did not practice. Thinking about doing that really does makes me stop and remember why I signed up to do the course. HOLY CRAP, I can not contaminate my notebook with things like that, so that has served as motivation to get my rear in gear and not skip any days with our work. I am a a good student and easily manipulated to do the right thing, LOL. I also have been terrified of getting behind when the lessons keep rolling in AFTER ALL WITH THREE DOGS it really is taking a pretty good chunk of time, and some behaviors build on each other so that has been another incentive to be a good student and trainer.

so I am about to enable comment moderation...which would be such a pity, because to me that just seems more unfriendly, but....ughghghgghgh, there is that site like a Japanese porn site that insists on posting comments. On my last post they had to comment THREE times, like one right after another. OK, I might be a little slow but I can not imagine that posting on my not so thrilling dog training blog would lead to a lot of Japanese porn traffic. So as anyone knows it is not that hard just takes a bit of time to go back and keep deleting them....but it is a pain. Seriously, are these computer generated or do they pay someone to sit and go back to a site to post their web address over and over, or do they sit and do that by themselves? If they do they are much more dedicated to that then I even am to my dog training and with the time I have put in this month, I am feeling pretty dedicated!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


First off I have to BRAG again, and I am not embarrassed to brag because I have really been working hard to LOSE A TOTAL OF TWENTY FIVE POUNDS!!!! Yippie, skippie. I am feeling great and considering having to run with the dogs in this heat I am not missing that huge chunk of extra weight. My body sure is not as good at losing weight as it is at gaining it and this time around it is holding on tight. It is hard to not get discouraged but reaching this first goal really gives me some more fuel to go on.

Ok Ricky's mom has issued a challenge and it is open to much fun is that? So go to Ricky's blog and say you want to play with us if you do... The challenge is to just do something to challenge your comfort zone in training each week. You can post about it on your blog, or video it, or what ever you want to do.

We decided to get working and took the dogs to a park they had never been to and did restrained recalls, IN THE 103 degree heat. I think I should get extra points, and I am giving myself extra points for training in the heat, LOL.
Cricket did fantastic, as did Breeze. Breeze does have a little issue in that I use a ball to train with and get her excited...she is not a tugger. The problem is that I throw the ball and it gets her really excited, but it does make her focus more on running past me and not concentrating on GETTING TO ME. This is not a huge problem because Breeze just has a really nice, natural strong recall with no training. But since we are training recalls I did find one toy she will tug with and figure, I will work on it.

Lizzie, Lizzie is always special. On the video my daughter is definitely luring her to come to her which I would rather she didn't....but I am so grateful to my daughter for helping so...luring is good enough. This was a new place, and Liz tends to do stress zoomies, so I left her on leash and did just some back and forth recalls to start. I would step on the leash to make sure she could not zoom off. She did GREAT, so I progressed to some shorter restrained recalls, again...she did great. FANTASTIC, I am celebrating that. Of course right as we finish, I go to grab Liz to leave and she takes off. A MAJOR zoomie. I was so scared because the bad girl was seriously looking for holes under the fence and staying way away from me. She would not even look at me. Ughghghghg. I know there are a lot of holes and there is so much land out there I was so scared she would get out. I guess she has earned herself more shaping sessions at that park, more little recall work and a LONG LINE.

Just a quick update. Breeze seems to feel a lot better after I figured out her back was hurting. Her eyes look great like she feels ok, I get the feeling she is ok, but she has a really roachy back, and her shoulders are all hunched up. Everyone notices she does not look right, even just standing. My husband who has never noticed anything with gaits or behavior or anything said she looks like a little old lady. That is something if he notices. I am not sure what is up but I have not really worked her and she has not done any weaves. She is off to the vet again to see if she just needs another little adjustment or is there something else going on? So keep your fingers crossed for us that her back is just still a little out of alignment and that is causing the shoulders to go out of alignment??? I am just seriously a little tired of the physical issues to tell you the truth, Poor Breeze.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting ready to work on those foundations and SWIMMING for the pups

I hope this is all going to be taken in the spirit that I mean it, and I don't get kicked off the Susan Garrett Recallers course, LOL. I did sign up for the ultra expensive course and it all kicked off about a week and a half ago with pregames and today was the real start of the program. We all got a very stern note saying that we could not blog about the course or we would be kicked to the curb. I think we can post about our impressions but no videos, no blogging, etc. Ughghg, I find that frustrating because I understand they don't want a blow by blow of the course, but the course takes a commitment of a good amount of time when you have THREE dogs you are doing it with, and it is going to be hard not to talk about how things are going or the funny things one of them is doing with an exercise, or frustrations, or when we have huge break through, and we already know all the things you blog about when you are doing something that takes a lot of your time. I usually talk about seminars and what I learned or what I thought of it because I come home excited and already there are things I would love to talk about but......

Sooo if that is a big part of what I am doing with my dogs, and how I am spending a big chunk of time....what will I be able to find to talk about on my blog???? Guess time will tell about that!

I get that it costs about what it would cost to go to a seminar but I just did not really expect to pay that much for an ecourse. I love doing foundation work and I know all my dogs have some holes in their foundation exercises because that is how I teach things, I get really excited and do a fantastic job and get to a certain point and find something else I am excited about so....I never totally finish most things I teach the dogs. I know Susan Garrett is fantastic about teaching foundation exercises, and I knew it would most likely be things I could find else where but what an opportunity to work along with a course and have to keep on track. I do well with structure. Well, of course I fought signing up, balked at the price, but on the last day I ponied up and was going to sign up for the course. Turns out the course was closed, but when I posted a mad comment about them closing the course before they had advertised Susan responded and said I could call and sign up. Imagine how embarrassing it was when Susan Garrett herself answered the phone after just responding to my snarky email....yep that was a little embarrassing, YES I was the Kathy just posting snarky comments, and saying I would not buy any more of her materials (it really was a snarky comment, I was in a mood though..), but yes I would like to sign up for the course, thankfully she didn't say anything or sound like she put it together who I was... she took my credit card info and I was signed up. The funny thing was the next day they opened up registrations for more people when they found they did have enough I could have just waited and saved myself some embarrassment, but that is not the way I like to do things.

ANYWAY, do think I can say just playing the pre games (and I must say I have been very good doing my homework after committing to the cost of the course....) but Cricket is no longer trying to door dash out the front door, Breeze start line is sooooo beautiful with a rock solid stay and then a blast off the start line when she is released, Crickets start line stay is really LOOKING GOOD, and when there was some people and dogs walking along the street in front of the house today which usually causes a HORRIBLE rukus, none of the border collies got upset or were going nuts, they were QUIET. I did not say a word they were just calm. AND HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS PEOPLE, BUT, I worked on the exercises today and had TWO border collies LAYING DOWN QUIETLY in a stay while the other one worked. All three were able to do that. My dogs highest value thing in the world is getting to work and train and they really go nuts when it is anyone elses turn and they all layed down and relaxed today so I did not have to get everyone and put two dogs away and then listen to them whine while I worked the other one. Yes, just tweaking a few little things in a week and a half has brought about some cool changes. I had the materials before the course to bring about those changes....but doing the course I was forced to actually finish the work.

Sooooo after Breezes injury the vet said swimming would be good for her but if her back end tends to sink to put a life jacket on her. Well, she has been swimming for a good twenty min at a session without stopping or resting...she is swimming obsessed. Now when she swims without the life vest she keeps her back end up really nicely, so think she is getting stronger. Cricket is a butt in the pool, she goes after everyones toys, who ever has a toy that is the one she wants. Lizzie who on land is the biggest softie about toys and lets anyone take any toy rather then make a stink about it, guards the toys in the pool. She swims around with a little low grown and guards the water wubba. They are different dogs in the water. So yea, I know not everyone wants to watch my dogs swimming in circles, but I had to video it anyway. Cricket and Lizzie even have great potential as dock dogs, I think I am going to take them to try it because they both will jump into the pool, which surprised the heck out of me. I had no clue the dogs could get into the pool by themselves.

SO FUNNY THING IS THAT WHEN PRICK EARRED DOGS GO SWIMMING THEIR EARS DROOP. LOL, makes sense I guess but a new fact for me, Lizzie and Cricket look so funny to me when their ears just start falling, LOL. At first I was worried I had broken Crickets ears and they might stay that way, LOL.