Sunday, May 29, 2011

A super easy trick taken on the road

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial day weekend.

The dogs and I have all been working hard on completing our assignments for the Sylvia Trkman Puppy 2 class. For awhile it seemed we were hopelessly behind but all of a sudden we are almost caught up. One of the tricks we were assigned is closing doors and drawers-a good prep for teeter work. This was one of the EASIEST tricks we have done. We just started with a paw touch to a rubber spatula, then held the spatula to the door once the paw touch was really strong. A few times of touching their paw to the door and closing it-all three dogs had got the idea. It is the only trick I can think of that was easy for all three of the dogs, usually a trick may easy for one or two dogs...but will be difficult for the other dog ;-).

We were also assigned doing tricks in new places. It is always fun to combine assignments and this gave us the chance to see if the dogs were generalizing the task to all sorts of drawers and doors different then the ones at home, and it gave us a chance to work with different distractions. The home center employees are always great to my dogs and did not have a problem with letting the dogs close the cabinets.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Working on Handstands!

We have not finished training a handstand but we are getting there. The handstand was one of the tricks that we are doing as part of the Sylvia Trkman Puppy 2 class we are doing now. It is funny I am doing the course with all three dogs and as usual ...all the dogs learn so differently. Each dog has tricks that come easy to them and tricks that do not come so easily. Breeze is definitely the best with handstands-who would figure that with her back. Cricket is catching up and does pretty good. Liz is working with backing onto a small pillow, LOL, she is so far behind it is not funny.

I started doing this trick before the ST course by backing onto a board resting against a wall. I even painted the board with sand so it was non slip. A few weeks into the course Sylvia says to another person that working on a slanted board does not work as well because the dogs have a tendency to walk up the board and you want to encourage them to push both feet up at the same time, like a hop. DUH, wish I knew that to start out with-I was sort of doing all the wrong things, hahaha. When I read that helpful advice I started over again, first rewarding a 2o2o position, then when called off they naturally hopped back into position. From there I just kept finding higher and higher things for them to hop their back feet onto. The chairs or cat tree work well because they do not encourage climbing up with the back feet. It has been a fun trick and I hope we see it through to the point where we can fade the props. We have a good start ;-).

Here is Cricket just because she gets into her handstand practice and does not want to stop, LOL. She really is such a character.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Old Partnerships and New Teams

It was a red letter day I had someone who could video Cricket and I actually doing agility. I had so much fun with Cricket at a fun match this weekend. Running a baby dog is so much fun....poor Cricket is trying to figure out what she can trust me to do and I am trying to figure out how much to just let her go and how much support and help she needs ;-), it is all new and feels so different..a new relationship.

I did not particularly like the course that was set up, it had some weird angles for novice dogs I thought and the only weaves you could do were a set of 6 with 21 in spacing, so I had to sort of make my own course so that we went to the set of weaves with the 24 in spacing..Cricket did great. The first run felt disjointed and I was just nervous and not sure what to expect ;-), I imagine Cricket was feeling the same about me, LOL. The funniest thing was we just started doing the broad jump a day or two ago, and I have not sequenced the dog walk, so I was going to do the broad jump and then stop and reward...sit Cricket in front of the dog walk and probably just take her to the down ramp and release her to her 2020 from there. Well, baby dog Cricket did the broad jump and read where we were going and she just ran up that dog walk like no ones business. She got to the top and it looked like it hit her that she was doing the dog walk, I don't think she was sure it was ok because I was behind her.

I wish I had got video of Breeze. I really had to alter that course so she did not do weaves, but she got the most gorgeous contacts, she was running faster then I have ever seen her run, she was so happy and excited. She was reading lines, it almost made me cry how wonderful it felt-like we were an old couple that just knows each others every thought. The contrast in running a baby dog and running a partner of a long time was really striking I remember how much fun it is to run Breeze, just sucks she will not be able to do much trialing.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Doing things at a Snails Pace...doing things slowly

LOL, lately I feel a lot of pressure with my progress toward my goal with Cricket. No one else is putting the pressure on me, but gosh I feel like a Loser with a capital L because we are not trialing yet. We could in all honesty do some jumpers runs...I think it would go pretty well, probably much better then I imagine. My Aframe is taking FOREVER, we are marching forward and progressing but definitely at a snails pace. I am happy with what we have but boy I know I have not put that on the fast track. Crickets brothers are trialing and doing fantastic, but we crawling around at our own pace.

WHY? Why does it always feel like we are a bit behind? Hey we are really making some hugely amazing progress with LOTS of tricks, and lots of foundation exercise, I really am loving the Sylvia Trkman puppy class even though we are a bit behind even with that,... I am working on all three dogs and working on quite a few easy things and it seems like a lot of hard things. Some tricks surprise me when we can get them in one session and some tricks look so easy to me....but then it takes us forever to get them done, LOL.

None of this bothers me so much that I shifted into the fast track, I still just really want to savor our training and our relationship and have fun. It is the pace I am enjoying, but I still feel guilt, guilt for not being more driven. It is almost summer and to start trialing right now....most likely I will end up at trials in the middle of the summer sun....I remember one of the last trials I did with Breeze, the one she was injured in--it was 118 degree heat wave and we ran at 1:30 pm three days in a row,it was not fun.

So I LOVED reading this from the daily OM that was in my email today--such appropriate timing. Anyway, you can call me slow, you can call me lazy, but I feel like I am in hyperdrive toward some other goals, feels like my goal SHOULD be to hurry and get trialing with the AMAZING CRICKSTER...but guess I really want to explore a lot of other training and that has sort of taken over -but I really hate that I feel guilty about how time seems to be flying by.. ;-) .. is so silly because who besides me even cares what we are up to? LOL. So I am sure not cutting down any of the people out there that are working hard and will have their dogs trialing the day they are eligible,....I am envious of those people and maybe with my next puppy ;-), but for now -guess we have our own little pace and as long as we are having fun....guess that is the whole point of dog training as a hobby...having a good time with your dog.

Take time to slow down, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal.

Life can often feel like it’s zipping by in fast forward. We feel obliged to accelerate our own speed along with it, until our productivity turns into frenzied accomplishment. We find ourselves cramming as much activity as possible into the shortest periods of time. We disregard our natural rhythms because it seems we have to just to keep up. In truth, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal.

Slowing down allows you to disconnect from the frenzied pace buzzing around you so you can begin moving at your own pace. The moments we choose to live in fast forward motion then become a conscious choice rather than an involuntary action. Learning to slow down in our fast-moving world can take practice, but if you slow down long enough to try it, you may surprise yourself with how natural and organic living at this pace can be.
I am sure the rest of the article can be read at the link-but you get the idea of what they were saying



CAVALETTIS: Sylvia Trkman said she included Cavalettis because the dog needs to step over the obstacle one leg by one thinking about where his feet are in relation to the object. Jumping would be very easy but your goal is stepping over obstacles of different heights and different distances. A nice rear leg exercise and is especially good for dogs who run with their hind feet close together-which helps with running contacts if you are teaching those. Cavalettis teach the dog to move more efficiently and smoother.

Cavalettis are one of the things Breeze should work on, it was on her list of rehab exercises. I like Sylvia's idea of using boxes or bowls, or what ever, it makes it very portable and easy to change the spacing. Just a quick video of Cricket working on hers. ;-)

Liz and Breeze are also working on Cavalettis but they are sort of a mess--but that brings me back to the start of this post--I will embrace the journey :-)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting to know my dogs gaits, and ZOOM

Not really a trick for tricky Thursdays, but one of the homework assignments for Sylvia Trkmans running contacts was to video your dog running-what a great idea it seems that would have to help with really getting to know my dogs gait-and to have something to look back on if I am not sure if she could have any gait changes in the future.

Another of our homework assignments was really fun-we were supposed to get our dog running as fast as we could and make sure they were really excited and happy and then use a word....I am going to condition "zoom" so that when the border collies hear that word they get excited and run faster! ;-). I think it was working because when I was editing the video Cricket heard me saying ZOOM and she ran into the room with her ball, she is so cute!

I did the same thing with Breeze, esp. with the things that have been going on with her me I thought I would see more changes, I think she looks a tad stiffer toward the end...but not too bad considering. I wish the video was better, but my daughter was trying to figure out the camera, so I will have to redo this on another day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Aframe training marches on...

We had a small victory yesterday...

I got to go to a new place to train, a really nice girl invited us over and we were able to practice the with a new place we were able to add in a few new variables:

New Variables added yesterday:
1. A new person standing and watching her do the Aframe-(like a judge would do)
2. Totally different footing-this was a shredded bark like mulch.
3. Totally new Aframe-this was an Aluminum Aframe which sounded and I am sure felt totally different- (mine is a fiberglass Aframe which has a fair amount of bounce)
4. The aframe was raised several inches-I think this one was about 5 feet
5. I started Cricket further back, I think I have been starting her too close to the Aframe at home.

It looked good, my friend was impressed ;-), the only problem is that I keep seeing Cricket slightly ticking the PVC box with her foot....if the box was gone it would be fine, if the box was not still slightly raised I would not see it either, so I am not sure what to do about it. I put in a 911 email to Brittney Crickets breeder about her thoughts when I got home (she has been helping me with some of the finer points of learning the Aframe during this adventure) It was funny to start with I am not sure Cricket understood this was an aframe and I had put her further back then I do at home....she ran around the aframe a few times, but once she figured out it was the same thing we had been working on, she knew just what to do.

WE ALMOST HAVE A REAL AFRAME PERFORMANCE-we are getting close to having a real, live, full fledged AGILITY DOG!!!!! WHOOOOOO HOOOOOO!

A little less exciting but still has me doing the HAPPY DANCE is that it is an hour to drive to my friends house...but she has a good eye and wants to work together-working through some Linda M exercises, do some of the recall games and put together some sequences for Cricket. SHE EVEN USES THE LINDA M HANDLING-we are all on the same page! She has a great yard with a lot of room and since she takes privates with Rachel Saunders- she has suggested car pooling to RS's for privates (RS is about 4 hours from here).

After we worked yesterday I went over to Natures Farmacy West where I buy the dogs of our assignments for the Sylvia Trkman puppy class is going to a public place and train. I asked if I could do some training in the store-they are super nice - so I was able to get in a really great training session which went really well. How nice of them to be so accommodating.

Great conversation and lots of dog talk..
Great progress toward our Aframe goal...
A good plan for future progress...
Even though it was busy I got my homework done...always a good thing!