Monday, December 30, 2013

Its all about Play- so lets take a class!

Ok, I have to admit I was about the WORST training buddy for Chris and Ricky.  The plan was to take Denise Fenzi's on line class "Relationship Building Through Play".

The Relationship through play focuses on the different types of play...Toy Play, Food Play and Personnel Play which is play with your dog that does not involve food or toys. By definition personnel play is play that you can use with your dog while training and while in the ring when you can not have food or toys-there will still be times when you can be playful and reward your dog.  It is my understanding this Relationship Through Play is an overview type of class and there are some other classes where there is JUST personnel play explored, or just food or toys.

Chris/Ricky, and Cricket/I  signed up for auditing spots since the worker bee spots were filled by the time we got over to the sight to sign up.  The PLAN was to work together and post so we could still get the most we could out of the class. has just been a hectic month, and I was gone on a trip, was gone to a seminar, and just had a million things including the holidays filling my little brain, so the class is over and now I am starting ;-), but now I am going to work through the class!  Chris was an awesome sport and did awesome in the class.

Our first assignment was to create a baseline video of food play, toy play, and personnel play with our dogs so we could look at what was going on and where we need help and where we could use more skills.  Seems like a great idea, although it is a bit rough to post playing with your dog, I always feel a bit silly.

First off is toy play.  OMG, I have to say lately Cricket is about the perfect dog.  She goes up to ANYONE and sits nicely to be petted, she even likes kids lately, she just has a softness about her.  I remember being at this very park a few years ago working with opens and being very careful so she did not run after the joggers, now here in the video there are three skateboarders that go by and I throw the toy right after them, and Cricket barely notices them, she is just intent on playing with me and would never dream of leaving.  HOW could I even think of getting a puppy when my little girl is so darn easy now days...  Anyway, here is our baseline video for toy play.

Next up we have food play.  Movement is a HUGE reinforcer for Cricket, probably bigger then toys, or food and certainly bigger then personnel play.

Last we have personnel play....sigh.....  Let me say this is probably way better then our usual personnel play.  Cricket uses her mouth, a lot.  So when I have tried to do more personnel play, she really gets uncomfortable because it makes her want to chew and she is very nervous she is going to bite me.  If Cricket has a toy to chomp on then she can play and she is very happy.  Personnel play seems to make her uncomfortable and it makes me uncomfortable because I am not great at it.  When we took Denise Fenzi's Heeling Games class that was the one area we had trouble in during the class, Denise would want us to reward during some games with personal play and that was rough for us.

Hopefully this class will help us address this area of play.

OH yea, this video has a lot of pretty loud, frustrated barking, fair warning, ;-)

I hope to catch up over the next week or two and talk about the One Dog Mind Training Seminar, which left me lots to think about, and of course I want to talk about Puppies, and everything else that has been going on to catch you all up on the last couple of weeks!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Silly Pet Tricks!

TRICKS, TRICKS, TRICKS, most of our foundation work was simply tricks, they were all about body awareness and learning to work together. One thing I loved about the foundation work Cricket and I did as she was growing up, was all the body awareness work we did.  I can say now that it really paid off.  We have done a bit of herding, a bit of obedience, a bit of rally, some agility, some nose work, and there is nothing we have done that I did not feel we had a bit of a heads up because of the foundation we had thanks to online lessons mostly from Sylvia Trkman but also Susan Ainsly, Susan Garrett, Denise Fenzi and a tiny bit of the Michael Ellis DVDs. The best thing about our foundation was that we could work at our own pace and in really short sessions-homeschooling the Crickster turned out great for us.

In the desert we don't do stairs.  When I wanted to teach Cricket to back up the stairs I had to wait until this real estate office was closed so I could go use their stairs.  They have stairs all around the building and they are all a little different sizes and slopes.  I was driving by the office and since it was black Friday the office was closed, and there was a break in the rain, so I stopped to see if Cricket remembered how to back up the stairs.  SHE DID!

Have I said before how much I love this dog?

Friday, November 29, 2013


HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope everyone had a great day.   We had a quiet day, I went to the gym-YIPPIE ME! We had a delicious FAUX turkey, yummy- and some pumpkin pie.  If there are any aspiring vegetarians out there the meat substitutes by Quorn are delicious and we can get them at our Target Super center, they are in an orange and white box and I think have a very good texture.

Because it is Thanksgiving I will share a few things I am thankful for this evening-I am thankful I do not have to make websites/edit websites/or in any way touch websites in my daily life-I know now I could make one but one is about as many as I feel compelled to make in my lifetime....although as soon one of my friends saw the site I was working on she was hinting she would like me to help her do one..sigh...good thing she's an awesome friend.  I am also very thankful that Agility Blogger day is only a couple of times a year,--it is coming up again and the topic will be the mental game I believe....and.....I plain can not get my head into the game to think of what to blog about ....  thirdly I am thankful that our floor is tile so it can be easily cleaned--naughty Skyler who has been plain peeing-not leaking on the floor.  Thank heavens the holiday is over so I can get him back into my holistic vet. Can we tell I am tired tonight, hahahah!

So now that Cricks and I are finally really doing a little agility again, WHOOT!  it is AMAZING how much that has improved my mood.  What I can do now really isn't running, LOL, but hey it is getting there.

So with our new found freedom, it was time to take stock of our training and see what we can work on while I am getting up to running full courses... that pretty much means short sequence and drills, and obstacles.  Check out the picture of Crickets pretty 2020, well that was before, and in my recovery period that pretty sight is gone.  It was pretty funny, Ive let a few people play around with Cricket and she runs so beautifully for others, she is just happy to do her 'gilities and who cares who it is with---however, if someone can run, she is keeping up and there is no time for stopping on that dog walk.  The teeter was just fair before the injury and it is pretty much where it was before I still have work to do on that-I'm using some Wendy Pape exercises on that.  The running Aframe I was so proud of-its really not up to the criteria with some odd scampering going on, but just some running over it seems to be fixing that, it is getting better with each session so I am not worried about that.  Cricket ran across the long jump, working carefully to step on each board, LOL, we worked through the whole Mary Ellen Barry Long jump program, so that was sort of freaky to me that she really doesn't recognize it at all, silly girl!!!  But all is not lost, OMG her weaves are awesome,  her jumping is looking so nice, and all of a sudden she works really nice at a distance and has so much more obstacle commitment then she has ever had before.  I think all the Sylvia Trkman cik/cap around trees in the park has paid off.  Now that we have taken stock, and I know what we need to work on, guess its time to get to work!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Future is Wide Open......


Its almost the holidays again!  How did this happen?

Poor Skyler, my older tri colored sheltie-- it is suspected he has some type of bladder cancer ;-(.  We ruled out most everything that could be causing his leaking and the blood that is in his urine.  Anyway, that is the thought right now.  He got a round of antibiotics and started some Chinese herbs....Suprisingly after the antibiotics he stopped all leaking, but now he's been off the antibiotics for a few weeks and it has come back.  The thing is to make a definitive diagnosis we would have to do an ultrasound ..the vet asked if we would do radiation to treat it if that is what we found.  The poor guy is not in the best of health, he's comfortable and with how much time that would give him, I do not want to put him through something like that for the short extra time that would give him even if it was successful.  So we enjoy the time we have with Skyler, and he is stubborn enough he will probably live several more years. ;-)

Other then Skyler things have been going good. Lizzie has stayed out of the gummy vitamins, Breeze is feeling better and moving better,  Chloe my sable sheltie has lost a little weight and is in much better shape-although she has as much attitude as ever and that is what gets her in trouble with the other dogs.   I am really excited, the last few days I have been able to do a little jog, just a little and some running on the treadmill.  WHOOT!  My bionic knee with the total knee replacement is amazing, still stiff at times but it really works well, but the other non replaced knee has been a bad knee lately, until the last two or three days.  My hope is that the knee holds up long enough I can do some trailing with Cricket and have some fun before I have to get it replaced and go through rehab again.  I also am going to the gym most days and doing a LOT of lower body weights so hopefully the next recovery will go faster.

But for the fun stuff, Cricket and I have been practicing on small sequences for agility.  The good news is that Cricket loves agility and will run for anyone.  Anyone want to run Cricket for me in a few trials????  LOL.

Everyone is doing nose work-  we did an online class with Margaret Simek -that was pretty awesome and all the dogs were able to do that.  We also did an online rally...with Deborah Jones-we were sort of slackers on that class-but hey we got the basics and will continue working.  Then Cricket and I did the jump foundation online class Level 1 with Linda M, that was one intense course.

SOOOOOOO what should we take this semester.,,,humm,  I am a real lover of online classes, and everyone has sign ups right about now. The front runners are two Denise Fenzi classes, Bridging the Gap about how to wean out some reinforcers, and Denise's Play class, and maybe Stacy Goudy's Front Cross/rear cross class, or maybe auditing Linda M/Mary Ellen Barry's Fancy Cues-because that sounds so interesting and I am going to a One Mind Dog training/handling seminar next month and that class will cover the similarities and differences in Linda's Awesome Paws Handling and the One Mind Dog system.  But geese, looking at that list there is no way I can possibly keep up with all of that, esp over the holidays, so some hard choices will have to be made, very quickly ;-).

OK THE BEST NEWS-I FOUND MY VIDEO CAMERA-so I am going to kick myself in the butt and start videoing some of the things we are working on so I can make things more interesting and post some of the things we have been up to.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

REALLY, Pet Ownership Really Worth the Price?

WHOOOO WHOOOO, I have decided to employ the power of positive thinking and I'm choosing to believe that our month of vet visits is nearing its end.  It all started when Lizzie ate a bottle of gummie calcium, and a bottle of gummie multi vitamins-$700.  Then the sheltie Chloe has a row of some lipomas along her mammory glands-they needed to be removed, so that was scary and pricey at $750-but the lipomas are gone and her teeth are shiny, so thats all good.  Then Breeze got hurt and needed some laser and adjustments, that was small fry in the bill department.  Skyler our old sheltie is dripping bloody urine ;-( he is almost 12 and we are still investigating that-bill to date is $400.  Then our kittie Ashe somehow tore a nail that would not quit bleeding, so add a $100 to the bill.

I have to admit there was a few times as I was writing checks that I wondered if pet ownership was worth all the bills, the worry, the extra work, the hair balls blowing across the floor, the hair all over my  clothes, the nights when I cant spread out in bed because someone is pressing on my feet......

But then I went to play agility, I can't run really well and my dogs are wicked fast, I was just doing some alphabet drills--but the feeling of working with my dogs and watching their joy made me smile and all excited inside.  I went to practice rally with Cricket and she is such a nut, she tries so hard-its not looking like real rally yet, but she works so well with me and she tries so hard that it just feels like we are a team and that is such a great feeling.  Later I let all the dogs out Skyler,  Breeze, Cricket, Liz, and Glee- (Ill tell you about her tomorrow, she's a visitor border collie girl), anyway, it was better then going to a movie watching them play together.  There are the mornings when I wake up and Cricket lays next to me and wants nothing more then to cuddle next to me.  You know where this is going- this whole month has reminded me that I am very lucky to be spending my life with these interesting creatures.  Those little simple moments during the day that the animals make me forget everything and just concentrate on simply enjoying the moment, that has to be what makes pet owners healthier and live longer then people who don't get to experience that escape.  Hopefully we can have a little quieter time, but looks like everyone is doing ok, well except poor Skyler.

As for Skyler we are running culture and sensitivities, and he is on another antibiotic, and some supplements, his xray showed some problems in his back so his tail doesn't work, and he is not getting great control of his bowel and bladder, which might be helping him get the urinary tract infections, but there was also some sort of mass that the vet couldn't palpate but we can see, that could be causing the blood he is still leaking, so any good thoughts for poor Skyler would be appreciated ;-).  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lizzie my Nomination for the Naughtiest Dog of September

....sigh....I figured I would share the latest adventures of my little girl with the squirrely attitude....

You have to understand Lizzie is a special child, she has the best heart, and she is extremely well built, she is very healthy but as much as I adore her I have to admit she really is missing some screws.  Lizzie is 7 1/2 yrs old but she is like a puppy and I always have to keep in mind she needs protecting.  She is the only dog of mine that ABSOLUTELY can not be trusted loose when we are gone, in fact she can not be trusted in my room if the rest of the family is home but I am gone.  She has never been off leash reliable after MANY recall classes and almost daily recall work her whole life.  She just stresses and will run and I swear she doesn't hear anything except the little voices telling her to run.  She is a nut and panics a bit when I leave and will go wild getting into things and tearing things up-she really is like a naughty pup that has never really grown up.

During her latest adventures, I left for the gym, had a nice workout and got home and discovered a yellow cap on my bed, hummmm.  It hit me it looked like the cap from the HUGE COSTCO size vitamins that I had bought and left on the counter to be put heart sank.  I looked and found an empty bottle in her bed, so I grabbed the little Lizard and Shoved some hydrogen peroxide and water down her throat to make her throw up while I was calling the emergency vet.  I have never been more scared especially when Lizzie started to throw up then started falling over and couldn't stand.  The vomit had some vitamins but I knew it was too clear and she had to have digested most of them, so off to the ER vet we went.

I had found another empty bottle of vitamins, seems my hubby had seen Lizzie walk out with an empty bottle and so just took the bottle and threw it away. The bad doggie had eaten a GIANT bottle of Calcium with vitamin D tummies, and a GIANT Costco bottle of gummie multivitamins with bone and mineral support-yep she was making sure her bones had plenty of calcium.  I can not believe I didn't think more about the bottle of vitamins before I left, but they were new, unopened, on the counter because I just had not put them away yet.

Anyway, her little gummy snack got her four 240 ml bottles of charcoal, one every eight hours to try to absorb some of the vitamin D in her system....and she got her blood tested to check the calcium level every 12 hours.  Not exactly as much fun as she had imagined I am sure.

Her little stunt cost me $500, a few sleepless nights, several trips back to the emergency vet, a rug that had to be thrown out when Lizzie threw up 200 cc of black charcoal that was never going to come out of the carpet, and of course I was the one that got to get all that charcoal down her.  Oh yea, then I did go down and invest in some really nice white steel boxes with keyed locks which is where all vitamins and medicines are now kept in the house-so we can add another $80 to the cost of the incident ;-).   The other consequence for poor Lizzie is that I put up an xpen in the kitchen and when I am out of the house and my hubby Bill is there she gets to go in the xpen with an open crate inside, the same set up I usually have for puppies-Oh Liz!

 The one thing that I was impressed with is that during the blood draws, and when the tech had to shove charcoal down her throat, during everything they did Lizzie was giving the vet and techs kisses and was the best behaved dog, the ER staff loved her.  Its a good thing Lizzie is such an awesome dog who loves everyone, that is definitely something she has going for her.

As if I had enough stress two days later Bill my hubby was standing in the open front door talking to a neighbor, I said three times, close the door, then of course bad Lizzie returned and bolted out the front door and took off down the street.  She was like the gingerbread man yelling you cant catch me.  It was can be a full time job keeping a little Lizard type of dog safe.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It Sure does Not Pay to Be Lazy

I seem to be pretty bad at my time management skills, so I figured I will just do a quick post!

I'm in a reflective mood so thought I would share one of my thoughts from the past few days-because I know everyone wants to know what is on my mind ;-).

Cricks and I...well Breeze and Liz also-have been working on heeling, something I was only interested in teaching if I could have help to teach it the same way we taught agility with an emphasis on FUN!  I have been learning with Denise Fenzis online Precision Heeling, then Heeling Games classes.  TA DAAAA we are loving heeling!  All of us!  I think we are going to start the Ring Prep class Denise is starting tomorrow.  I am just going to audit, because I am poor, hahahaha, but I learn well that way.   Denise has the first lesson from the class on her blog entry from July 17th.

So I will get video of our heeling work when I get this time thing worked out.....I'm excited to the meantime.....

CAN I TELL you how happy I am now that Cricks is 3.5 yrs old, and we have stuck our feet into lots of different types of training,  I AM SOOOOO GLAD we were not in a hurry to go on to the "fun stuff" and spent her whole first year in foundation skills-body awareness, learning how to learn, building our bond and understanding each other, recalls, etc.... I have seen the big pay off with the two classes we have been doing, they involve some new things but I keep finding we usually have a little head start in almost anything we have been doing.  For example take this simple skill, going around a pole......

  1. Sylvia uses going around a pole and learning to bend their body as the first step in cik/cap which teaches dogs to use their body, helps prevent injuries, helps with object focus and teaching dogs to go out away from us, and helps with speed and motivation
  2. Linda M starts her jumping course and her jumping course with going around a pole, to help with body awareness, using their body to curve and flex, help them orient to the jump and to help with other exercises she uses to help the dogs focus their head lower while jumping. 
  3. Denise uses going around a pole and pivot work (going around in a circle with the front end on a bowl or brick) to increase body awareness, help the dog learn to move their body so they can turn corners beautifully, etc, and she uses going around a pole and rushing back to heel position to help the dog understand heel position, to add movement and more fun to something that could be BORING,
Not sure where else that particular skill comes into play, but I bet there are some other sports!  I keep finding places where our foundation has really helped.

Now just to keep everyone unbroken long enough so that we can put that great foundation to use and learn ANY advanced skills!!!!!!!!  When I hurt my leg over a year ago, Cricket and I were just starting to gel and work on some higher level skills......sigh......hopefully we will be back working on those soon and hopefully those skills will still there there....I think we will be pretty rusty. 

FOR FUN: I have a picture of why you should take the time to sort out leashes and perhaps put them in a pillow case or bag before you wash them in the washer, hahhahah, might take me awhile to untangle this mess.  I got home from the beach and just threw the entire mess into the wash, mistake!  I should have taken some time to put in the foundation to a good washing experience, LOL, OK very bad but I did try to tie that into my post!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hi Everyone!

                                     The girls saw a jump in the living room and
                                      KNEW life is going back to normal ;-)

I've missed everyone...last time I blogged was last October.  Last May I injured myself and after that I really couldn't do agility while I was waiting to get a total knee replacement, and some how I just found it hard to talk about dog training, agility,etc when those things were just not in the fore front of my mind.  ;-(.  I have to say it was a hard time.. 

So in February I got a left total knee replacement.  I have had a couple of people tell me they had been told that if you get a total knee replacement it as no big deal and you would be all back to normal right away!  Hey I don't know who they were talking to, but the recovery did take awhile, a lot of exercises, physical therapy, doctors appointments, it was a bit intensive for awhile.  The good news is that I LOVE my new knee now, it is awesome and still gets pretty stiff but it is working great.  My other knee has been complaining though because it had to carry more of the load for awhile.  There have been things I did not expect like my balance being really off which has been one of the things that has made training the dogs hard-Cricket is a bit rough and loves to jump on me, and I did not realize how much I had built that behavior into her everyday training, hahahhaha, but hey I love it and now that my balance is better it is ok-- I enjoy her enthusiasm. 

I was a bit bummed because it seems like it has taken me longer to recover then some people-it has taken me a few more months then some and I am just now feeling like I might be able to work toward running.  SERIOUSLY it is not good to compare yourself to others, so I have tried to stop doing that!

So that is what has gone on physically....but the fun stuff is what is going on with my doggies.  They all did very good for a lot of months just being doggies.  They have not seemed to mind at all.  It actually has felt nice in some ways to just enjoy each other. Cricket has grown even more attached and rarely left my side for months, it really is nice to have a doggie to cuddle with.  We  raised another litter for a friend this spring, which I just LOVE doing-I find it so fun and challenging to raise the pups.  I love getting to know the new owners and now watching the pups grow up. 

Now it is time to get back to the things I love and hopefully getting life back to normal.  I started getting itchy to start training the kids again and just finished up the Precision Heeling online class with Denise Fenzi, and I LOVE her!

I hate to make this too long so I will come back tomorrow and I can get into the fun stuff, I am really excited about what we have been learning and the skills we are working on now!
Chloe heading to the beach last week

Sweet Lizzie the Lizard, she plays hard but she enjoys her down time