Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
"Come on Mom. Chase me! Betcha can't catch me!"
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I am trying to teach Oreo two hand signals. If I do a "bowling" hand signal, he should tunnel. If I raise my arm up at an angle he should take the dogwalk/A-Frame.
I'm posting this video to see if anyone (like Diana - our video analyzer extraordinaire) can see other things I could/should be doing to help Oreo know what obstacle he needs to take. Like my feet?
I tried doing it on different sides, using different arms. Oreo was getting the discrimination pretty much every time. He's a superstar. I think a lot of our mistakes in class are due to my lack of confidence. I'm thinking, "Please don't take the tunnel Oreo." He reads my mind, hears "tunnel", and goes in the tunnel. At home, I don't care if we make a mistake, so I have LOTS of confidence!
Hmmm, am I rubbing off on my dog?
Tomorrow, I plan on moving the tunnel to the other side, to see if I can throw him for a loop.
I also tried it with Misty. I figured that would be a good way for me to see mistakes in my handling as well.
Boy, Misty was SO enthusiastic about working with me today. Not sure if she was hungry, wanted the attention, or actually wanted to play agility. I may have to start bringing her to the class before Oreo's on Saturday.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
~My family - You are my support system, my role models, and my biggest fan club. There is no one I'd rather spend time with, and even when I'm not with you, I'm thinking about you. I love you all so very much. You are my world.
~My dogs - You are my sunshine, my joy, my comfort, and my buddies. What fun we have, how you've changed my life! ~My students - You are my inspiration, my challenge, and my writer's block cure. You teach me everyday how to be a better person. How to accept people's differences. Embrace them. You also remind me to be grateful for the simple things in life.
~My blogger buddies - You are my gurus, my cheerteam, my idea sources, and my friends. What fun it is to read your comments, check out your blogs, listen, learn, laugh, commiserate, and empathize with all of you. Every morning, I start my day reading every one's blog. Much more fun than the newspaper!
~My wealth- No, I'm not wealthy by Forbes standards. I don't live in a McMansion or drive an expensive car. Wealth as defined is an abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. I certainly have that. I need nothing. I saw a photo in the paper this week of people lined up at the local food bank. That photo alone made me grateful for my hot shower, flushing toilet, shelter, and plentiful food. It also encouraged me to send that check to the food bank, and look forward to buying gifts for a family in need this holiday season.
On this day, may we all be grateful for what we have, cherish precious memories of those we've lost, remember those who have less, and think of ways we can help those who need food, comfort, warmth and love.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This trick is supposed to create "rear end awareness" in dogs. I am not convinced Misty is aware of her rear end as a result of this trick. I know she likes me to scratch her rear end, but she liked that years ago.
Still, she wags her tail throughout the whole trick, and what more could I ask for.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Not sure why. Wasn't sure what to expect when we got to agility class. I figured he was either going to put that energy to good use, or he was going to shut down completely.
Class was held indoors. The weather was OK, but the sheep had snuck into the agility ring. My teacher was afraid the sheep poop would prove to be an unfair distraction to our dogs.
All I had to hear was the word "poop", and I was fine with being in the building! Didn't want to risk stepping in any.
She had set up a CPE wildcard course that had been used at a recent trial. Wildcard is one of our favorite CPE games. Short, sweet, and you get to choose which obstacle you want to take three times.
Our first run, Oreo did fantastic. Since there were a lot of people/dogs there this week, I did a literal, drop/go/run from the startline. I didn't want to give him anytime to stress on the startline. The course began with us heading away from the people, so Oreo had no troubles at all, even when the course turned and went toward the crowd, he kept his speed up. I was thrilled. Oreo was as fast as he is in our backyard.
We danced that run! People even told me that I looked like a ballerina running. It felt so nice and smooth. Heaven.
We did the same course a second time, but were supposed to choose different "cards", or obstacles. I wanted Oreo to take the dogwalk instead of a tunnel at a discrimination, but he kept taking the original tunnel. We really need to work on those. However, with wildcard, as long as you adjust the rest of your "hand" you can still Q, and we were able to do so.
Another dance card completed. It felt so good to have my speedy, responsive Oreo as my partner.
On our third run, we ran the course backward, minus the wildcards. This had us starting at a tunnel facing the people. There was a person with a large dog sitting about three feet behind the tunnel. Oreo was immediately out of sorts. Wouldn't tunnel, and was scooting around obstacles. I rewarded him for any obstacle he took.
My teacher asked the person to move. Then, Oreo did the course beautifully. I still rewarded heavily for the places where he had trouble before.
Oh, if only we could do agility in a bubble. We'd be superstars. However, I do see Oreo making progress with his shyness. Like my teacher says, every dog that does agility has his own issues to deal with. This just happens to be Oreo's.
I didn't get any video of our runs, but I couldn't resist videoing my dogs in their playpen. They are so silly.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Oreo likes the spot, because he can duck behind one of the trees to keep me from grabbing his ball.
Taking another agility class today. Hoping to be outside for one last time before it gets too cold and the snow starts flying. We've been lucky to have a very mild November.
Hope everyone has a good weekend!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Two nights out in a row. Boy, will I need some couch time tonight!
Oreo had a great class. We did three different exercises. One involved two back to back pinwheels. I was shocked that I was able to remember the course. Highly unusual for me. We all know I have a tendency to forget things, i.e. courses, poop bags, treat bags...
We also did a really tricky jump sequence with back to back serpentines. Again, I was shocked I remembered the course. Oreo did superb. I was able to do things I hadn't planned on, and he read my cues beautifully.
I had him and Misty in their playpen, while another dog ran. I was standing near the pen, and noticed Oreo walking in circles around the pen. It was behavior just like he does when I work with Misty at home. Every once in awhile, he would stop and watch the dog running, then go back to circling.
In the past, he has just stood in the pen. I took this as a positive sign. I think he wanted to get back out there!
After our last run, the humans were all talking, Oreo was hanging out by my side on the course. I decided to see what I could get him to do trick wise in front of a small audience. There was music playing, so we did some dance moves. He happily did weaving between my legs, some spins, and some paw raises. I was impressed.
My teacher mentioned that another instructor once taught a freestyle class at our school, and that I should mention it to her next time I see her. If there is enough interest, she thinks she would start a new class.
So, I'll do that next time I see her. I think Oreo would love it.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
When Jeff came back inside he said, "Your car smells so bad. I gagged when I got in it. Something must have crawled in there and died."
I laughed. Told him it was due to Saturday being so soggy. I was in/out of the car at our agility league, with muddy shoes and wet dogs. The car just needed to air out and dry. It happens every winter.
He said, "No. This is serious. You need to search your car. Something is in there rotting. You need to find it...blah, blah, blah. If you're not going to do it, I'll have to."
Whatever. You're so overreacting. Stop exaggerating.
I get in my car the next morning.
Hmmm. Smells pretty bad. Guess I'll leave my windows open while I'm at work. Give it some fresh air.
Kept them open in the garage that night.
Next morning, no bad odor. Problem solved.
Shut the windows during the day at work.
What is that smell?
Something must have crawled in my car and died!
I start thinking about what it could be.
Food? No. Dog puke? No.
What could possibly make my car smell this bad?
What did I do with the poop bag on Saturday while we were at our league match? I vaguely recollect putting it on the ground by my car. Seeing a garbage bin with disposed poop bags, thinking, "Oh, I can put the poop bag in there." But did I?
Or, did I put it in my trunk to bring home to throw out, like I do at our agility school sometimes?
I think I threw it out.
Did I leave a poop bag in my car since my last class at my agility school....over a week ago?
No, I couldn't have.
Right? I would have seen it.
I get home. Open my trunk, and what do I find?
A lovely environmentally responsible, biodegradable poop bag, that is now biodegrading in my trunk.
I call Jeff and tell him I found the odor source.
Jeff thinks he deserves an apology.
I think I deserve a medal for solving the mystery!
Oh poop. I guess he was right....this time.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Unfortunately, she is not a fast learner like Oreo. Not sure if it is lack of ability, or the fact that I never really taught her how to learn when she was young. As you will see, she gets very excited about the food, and really can't focus on the task at hand.
Here is a video of where Misty is in the progression of saying her prayers. My electronic clicker stopped working this morning. Apparently, it either doesn't work when the temperature is below freezing or I need new batteries.
Hope this satisfies my Misty Fan Club. I prefer posting accomplished tricks, but this is quite charming too. It's Misty. If you make it all the way to the end (I know it is tortuously long!), she does kinda do the trick. Even surprised me.
I taught Oreo this trick using a target stick, not a food lure. Misty is afraid of the target stick. So, I had to resort to treats. Maybe that is why it is taking longer for her.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I had to put a piece of rubber shelf liner on my bench, because the dogs were scratching the heck out of the wood as we practiced this trick.
Here is Oreo "saying his prayers". I dare you not to smile:
I honestly don't know how I can top this video. It was very difficult to get a good camera angle on this trick to show Oreo in all his cuteness, but I just love how he puts his head between his paws, and, well, pauses in thought.
Thanks for the idea Ricky! This has been a fun one to train. As you can see, Oreo has taken his own creative license with it.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
What did I do? Followed the cars on the highway with dog stickers on their bumpers!
We all hit a detour, but made it there on time.
It was a miserable day here. Pouring rain. Yuk.
Our first run was a standard run. The building was tight. The floor matted. Acoustics...LOUD! We encountered our first non slatted dogwalk. Can't tell you how many dogs thought it was a teeter, and bailed halfway up the ramp. Weird. Guess they are so used to the slats, they assumed the teeter must be broken!
Oreo seemed relatively at ease waiting his turn. Being it was a small building, we were in very close proximity to other dogs/people. He was still taking treats though, and not shirking away.
However, the minute we left the startline, he was a bit out of sorts as you can see on the video. After Oreo got up on the dogwalk, I think he started gaining some confidence, until the very end when he had to jump toward the crowd.
Needless to say, we got an "E", since I used treats. I'd rather not show this video of my scaredy dog, but here it is. The videos kinda get cut off on my blog, but if you double click on them, it'll bigify on youtube.
I had no idea what to expect for our games run. Would he be more worried, or would he feel better? I had him do some simple paw tricks while waiting his turn. Then, we ran to to opposite end of the building to do our run. I think it was good that the run began as far away from the entryway as possible. We got off to a good start, and I don't think we had any faults (we'll find out the results later). The judge called one, when she thought we went in the wrong tunnel, but then corrected herself. I think we made time too.
Here's the video of our "bowling run". It was a fun game. Two courses of 10 obstacles. You picked which one you wanted to run first. If you got a strike (no faults on your first run) you got bonus points, and then went on to do the second course. If you faulted on the first course, you had to run back to the tunnels, and start the second course.
Confusing, I know. I got lost a couple times on the course myself!
After that run, I was thrilled with Oreo. Being in a new place, indoors, with lots of people, the door opening/closing constantly, that was a lot for him, and he really pulled it off.
Most people seemed to be using the day for training, so I didn't feel alone or silly. I can really see this being a huge help for us in future trials.
One dog pooped on the dogwalk! Now, that takes some balance skills.
Friday, November 13, 2009
For now...it's time to hang out in the yard.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
They provide the course maps ahead of time! How cool is that?
It is especially helpful for the "games" run, which is not a typical game you see in a trial. Now, I can study the rules/map for a few days.
In our standard course there is no table (yea!), but there is a chute. We've never had to do a chute in a trial setting, since all our trials have been outdoors. I think judges tend to leave them out, since it could be a windy day, and chutes can be disastrous in windy conditions.
I pulled our chute out to practice for a few days, since we hardly ever do! Oreo loves the chute. At least at home. I'm hoping he loves it Saturday. Don't think he'll have as much fun as he did in this video. No wonder why my neighbors don't talk to me. They must think I'm nuts! But hey, you only grow old when you stop playing. I'm sure my neighbor's dog wishes he could come hang out with me for a day.
What I didn't realize about joining a league was how many emails would start piling up in my inbox! Oh my goodness!!!! I can't tell you how many emails I have gotten through the yahoo group. Wow. It is a lot to sort through.
I am looking forward to getting started, and seeing how Oreo does at his first new indoor environment.
Now the question is....Should I run like it's a trial or give him treats during our run?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
(Jeff doesn't smoke anymore. So funny to see him with a cigarette in his mouth. Does the US Army really allow 12 year olds to join? LOL.)
I heard this week from one of my former students who graduated in June. He finished his basic and AIT training, and is about to be deployed to Afghanistan. He seems like such a baby to me, but I guess he is the same age as Jeff in this photo.
Wonder if he'll be writing his girlfriend letters, or just sending texts and emails? Won't be the same....they won't be covered in sand.
I set up the course Lian had posted the other day. At least to the best of my ability.
Oreo had some trouble with it, especially the jumps out of the tunnel. I wasn't sure how to best handle them. Therefore, I kept making the same mistake over and over. At least I was consistent.
So, I got out my other dog, ya know, Misty, and tried it with her. Poor thing, got treated like a guinea pig.
I had time to think while running Misty and tried something new! Misty did the whole thing with no problem. I didn't even have a treat to reward her! Of course, she moves much slower.
I finally got Oreo to do it successfully once, then we stopped to play ball, and Oreo spent some time rummaging in the dog garden.
I was going to set up the "shorties" sequence that Diana and other people have been doing, but I feel like we've been doing a lot of agility lately. I don't want to overdo it. Trying to keep it a game.
Early in the morning, the dogs were chasing each other, and it was really fun to see Misty charging through the tunnel to try and cut off Oreo. I remember a day when she was terrified of the tunnel. Now it's playground equipment.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
However, my new tricks aren't video ready yet. The time change has resulted in less trick training time. We're walking instead of training tricks in the morning.
I was inspired by some video footage I caught of Oreo in the yard, and thought I'd show an update of our "bow" trick. This has been a very hard trick to fade the treat lure. In fact, I'm learning that any trick I've taught by a lure is hard to fade. So, I'm trying to use treat luring less and less, now that I am more trick training savvy. LOL.
Anyhow, Oreo will now bow if the treat is in my lap. Still somewhat of a lure, but at least I don't have to hold the treat at his nose anymore.
Hopefully we'll have time to work on some of our new tricks this week and show one next Tuesday.
For today, this is what you get (sorry the lighting wasn't the greatest for this video):
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
We broke the course into two parts, and then put it all together at the end.
Oreo did super. I had some trouble with the obstacle discrimination. He was supposed to take the dogwalk, but my body language kept sending him to the tunnel.
On our first run Oreo was super confident. He ran past a bunch of people, and did the teeter without even a glance toward them.
With each subsequent run, his sideways glances seemed to increase. Not sure what the difference was. Maybe he was getting tired. Maybe the people were moving more. Maybe he was reaching his stress limit. Overall though, he seemed pretty happy. He was barking in his pen, and even tried to jump out at one point.
Once we had to wait on the start line, while my teacher was giving some "homework" tips to another classmate. I had Oreo do some dance tricks, and I was surprised at how receptive he was to performing in such close proximity to other people.
Here is a video of our final run. We had one flub at the jump before the obstacle discrimination. Not sure what happened there. Perhaps the area was stressful, because we had revisited that jump several times in an attempt to handle the discrimination correctly. In our previous run, I just kept going after he went in the tunnel instead of doing the dogwalk, but after our run, we worked the jump/dogwalk in isolation. Maybe I should have just waited until our next turn, and tried again.
Also, Oreo did have quite a long stop on the teeter. His longest of the day. If I had been on the opposite side of the teeter, that may have been avoided.
Other than that though, we got our discrimination, and I was happy with our run. I'm always happy with Oreo.
It was such a fun class, and great to spend the day outside in the sunshine, avoiding cleaning the house and yardwork!
Hoping to hear soon that I got into the agility league....if so, our first match is next Saturday.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
What a difference the weather can make! No rain/wind this week. The building wasn't rattling. Oreo was relaxed, happy, and dare I say.....confident.
Oreo had one weak moment when a dog barked and a loud truck drove by at the same time, and he went running away from me. However, I called him to the tunnel (the obstacle he was on), he went in and I rewarded him. Then, we were good for the rest of the evening.
We practiced some teetering in a sequence, and I did some isolated teetering as well. He did pretty good. A few times, I caught him stopping to glance around, but only for a second. I kept my movement going, so I think that encouraged him to go too.
What I found most thrilling last night was Oreo taking obstacles on his own! Without me directing him to go to them.
Now many people would be upset, and correct their dogs for taking off course obstacles, but silly me was thrilled! I was saying, "OK, you can do an extra obstacle!"
Oreo was showing signs of independence. He was working away from me. Showing love of the obstacles themselves. He was playing. Aren't those signs of confidence?
When I had walked into the building, my teacher had asked, "Is there anything in particular you want to work on tonight?"
I said, "No, I just want Oreo to be happy."
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Oreo has always loved his teeter. Almost to the point of obsessiveness. He would go in the yard, and teeter all on his own.
I think he picked up some bad habits, because I never put a stop to it. I didn't know better at the time. I really am new to all this dog training stuff.
At trials, the teeter is often a place where Oreo stops and looks around, especially right before it pivots down. Not good for a dog who stresses.
What does he do in the yard? Walks as high as he can on the teeter before it tips, stops and peruses the yard, neighbors' yard, woods, searching for movement.
After reading that article it all clicked in my brain. I've created this "stopping" problem. However, do I need to go back to square one? There seemed to be an enormous amount of steps in the process.
Yea, let's just go on to the next article about "speed". Another issue.
One part of that article which stood out was something about rewarding speed with speed.
Hmmmm. That gave me an idea.
Today, I got our teeter out, and began throwing Oreo's ball and later his treat tube after he tipped the teeter. The ball seemed to be quite effective. What else is new?
Here is a video of what we did today.
I have also pushed the teeter to the side, to discourage any random teetering on his own.
You'll see we have some table issues. I don't work on table much, since there is no table in DOCNA (love them for that), and CPE just requires a touch and go on the table. However, I think we may have to do some "real table" stuff in our agility league, and that could be quite embarrassing if we don't practice a bit!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here are a few photos from our weekend, which unfortunately was quite rainy.
We heard lots of, "Did you see that kid's costume?" As people walked past us.
I wanted to say, "Yea, he's with us!!!! Isn't he fabulous?"
So no tricks, but I hope you enjoyed the treats.