Saturday, July 31, 2010

camp part one....

We survived our day at camp. From 7am-5pm. As promised, the weather was awesome. I wore long pants and a jacket most of the day.

Our first session was on jumping foundation skills. This was pretty much a disaster for us. First, she wanted to see if our dogs had hind end awareness. Well, YOU all know Oreo does. However, he refused to do his "scoot" trick. Oh well. I know from endless work on the elephant trick, he knows he has hind legs.

Then, we did a one jump exercise. Calling the dog over a jump to a target, with a bar on the ground (3 feet in front of the jump for Oreo). She wanted the dogs to do a startline stay.

Yeah, well we don't do startline stays. Oreo wasn't doing it. He immediately got stressed. The instructor said she would hold him. I said that would stress him out. So, she just knelt and fed him treats while I walked to the other side of the jump and called him. He very slowly walked over the jump to me.....We tried again, a little more effort, but not my happy, jumping dog. At least he was taking treats from a stranger.

Next exercise....a line of 5 jumps. Each 3 feet apart. I would wait at the end of the line of jumps and call him from his stay! This really stressed Oreo, and he headed for the exit. She told me to go get him. I called him to "touch", and he came to my hand, I clicked/treated. She told me I shouldn't have done that, because I was rewarding him for leaving the ring. We did the line of jumps both ways, and then he headed for the exit. She told me to go get him again. I brought him back over, and told her that I really feel bad about doing this to him. She said, "He's fine, he's still working for you, he's eating treats, and his ears are up."

Well, I didn't want him to just be fine and working. I've been trying to keep him HAPPY.

She thinks that I have been rewarding him too much for leaving the ring, and need to reward him more for entering the ring. Perhaps, but I think he was in "flight mode". He wanted out of this situation.

Luckily, the last exercise, I was able to run with him, so it went a bit better, but I was ready to go home.

Onto the next ring. This was the contacts/weaves ring. We ran short, 9 obstacle courses. The instructor followed us around the ring while we ran, Oreo did pretty well. He went around one jump, but still kept a good pace, did fast weaves and his new, improved fast dogwalk.

After our first run, the instructor said, "This is a nervous dog. This dog should never do a startline stay. This dog knew exactly where I was the entire time he was running the course. What happened in this dog's life to make him like this?"

I told him that Oreo had been attacked by two dogs.

He said, "That explains it. We don't need to focus on his contacts and weaves. This dog goes in the ring, and is worried if he is going to make it out alive." I breathed a sigh of relief, and felt like someone finally understands my dog, and had him pegged in 2 seconds.

We did 4 runs in that ring, with the instructor lurking the entire time, and Oreo ran really well. After the first run, he never missed an obstacle, and he ran fast, even with his sideways glances.

After the session, I spoke with the instructor about trialing. I told him I was thinking about pulling Oreo from trials all together, until I could get his stress level down. He suggested just entering him in the runs with short courses, like colors and wildcard. I told him how we've been unable to Q in standard level 3. He told me to go back to level 2, or leave the ring after 10 obstacles. He also told me never to enter the ring until the last second, so Oreo won't have time to stress over the ring crew/timer/scribe, etc. Basically, I need to bring him in and run immediately. Luckily, this is pretty much accepted in CPE & DOCNA.

Another woman asked the instructor, "How can I maintain a connection with my dog in the ring?"

He pointed to me and said, "Do what she does."

Wow. That was the nicest thing I could hear. After packing up my stuff to move on to our next session, he told me, "You have a very nice dog."

Yep. I do.

More later.....this is a long post, and I'm too tired to write anymore....

RP Recap

We did it! We finished our 15 day cycle of Relaxation Protocol, with some minor modifications to the program.

Overall, I think Oreo did understand the whole idea was to "relax". By day 10, when we were done with the session, he didn't want to get off the mat. Even when I gave him extra treats for staying in the relaxed state, said "ok", "we're done", walked into the kitchen to put the treats away, he was still hanging out on the mat.

Here is a video I took after our 11th session. Usually, I let him stay on the mat until he was ready to get up on his own, but I didn't want the video to go on forever!

We still need to work on desensitizing the front door. When the protocol began reading "disappear from view", I went into the kitchen rather than go out the front door as I think was intended.

I didn't bother with any doorbell ringing. I stuck to knocking, which still caused some reaction.

I do feel like we accomplished something. Not sure what yet, but it was 13 pages of typed tasks! Surely that counts for something! Where's the pomp and circumstance?

What's next? Off to the great outdoors. AKA the backyard. I think doing some tasks in the cemetery where we walk everyday would be a good idea as well. Then, maybe we'll take it on the road and start using it for specific circumstances (vacuuming, front door, neighbor's screaming children, etc.).

Maybe if I ordered a bunch of stuff from the Gap, amazon, and KVpet supply, and Jeff ordered a bunch of stuff from eBay, I could work on guy in big brown truck thing too.

Oh wait...we already do that! The problem is I have to put my book down to train my dogs, because guy in big brown truck always shows up when I'm sitting on my lounge chair reading.

Hmm. On second thought. Those brown shorts are kinda suspicious. Who wears such things, only people trying to blend in with the trees, right? Best to let him think my dogs are vicious.

Jury is still out on whether this will have any effect on Oreo's stress level in everyday life. I think we need to do more work to see. RP is very mundane, tedious and downright boring compared to what we usually do. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe that is the entire point.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

not a fluke

Oreo had another stellar agility class night.

Yea! Last week wasn't a fluke!

This week, he was a bit more stressed when he first got out of the car. I think it may have had to do with my teacher's husband out on the riding lawn mower in close proximity. But, who really knows.

I was able to get Oreo to look toward me, so I could click/treat him for his attention. Then, he seemed to settle.

A few months ago, getting Oreo to look at me would have been almost impossible.

In class, we were working on obstacle discriminations.

Funny though, in my brain, the agility is always secondary. Keeping Oreo happy comes first.

Oreo did awesome with the agility. He got the tunnel/a-frame discrimination (he had to take the a-frame), which was good news. Remember how much trouble we had with that over the winter? He always took the tunnel. Hmmmm. Makes me wonder how long he had been suffering with some pain issues.

My teacher stood in the middle of the ring as judge and a couple class mates were in ring crew chairs. So, that was good practice.

I asked one of the girls if she would feed Oreo a piece of buffalo steak while she was sitting in the ring crew chair. She was wearing a big floppy hat, and is someone who is often at trials, but rarely comes to our class.

Like good ring crew staff, she turned her head to the side to avoid eye contact with Oreo, held out her hand, and Oreo walked over to her without any hesitation and took the meat. I was thrilled.

I won't bore you with all the details of our runs. Oreo had another super fast dogwalk! I couldn't believe it! Plus, I felt like his weave poles are getting speedier too. I had trouble keeping up with him at times. He did some sideways glances at people, but no stopping, or major rubbernecking.

In between runs, I left the door to his pen open so he could go in/out at will. I wanted to give him the opportunity to hang out near other humans/dogs, but be able to escape if needed. He stayed out most of the time, only going in his pen for the occasional drink of water.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't interacting with any humans/dogs, but simply being in their presence in a relaxed state is progress.

Having fresh cooked red meat is certainly helping with this progress.

texting with Jeff

Here is a recent text message exchange with Jeff...

jeff: Did Oreo make my sandwich? More hair than meat.

jeff: Furlogna

me: Yes, he did. I'll tell him to wear a hairnet next time.

jeff: Nice!

oreo: Why do I get blamed for everything?

oreo: I refuse to wear a hairnet!

oreo: I demand a DNA test be run on that fur sample, to prove it was Misty's, not mine.

oreo: Hey! Why don't I have my own cell phone?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

this cracked me up

I came across this video on youtube and it cracked me up. I wanted to share it, even though I should save it for halloween. Make sure you turn the sound on, there's no barking.

And here they are again:


My friend Bob had to say goodbye to his beloved dog, Tippy today.

“She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.” Unknown

Rest in peace Tippy.

wordless wednesday...ok, I have to say something!





I found this treasure on the ground in the dog garden. Hope the birds were done with the nest. Makes me too sad to think otherwise.

Notice how soft mama bird made the inside! I wanted to touch it so bad, but felt like I was invading sacred ground. Eventually, I gave in, and touched the cottony, velvet inside. Amazing.

A work of art, if I ever saw one. Almost magical.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

tricky t-day ~ loop

Well, this double dog trick may not be as entertaining as last week's video, but boy, have I put A LOT of time into it! Months.

Of course, Oreo learned in about two seconds. Misty is still a work in progress. Put the two dogs together, and you have chaos, sibling rivalry, snapping, temper tantrums, you name it. Somehow, maybe it was the cool weather, we were able to get our act together and pull it off, without anyone biting each other's ear off!

Oreo gets quite frustrated with how SLOW Misty goes, but he was quite tolerant when we shot this. Maybe Oreo wanted to make sure he got on camera this week after the spotlight was stolen by Misty last week?

Now, I want to try a double dog figure 8. Wish me luck. Maybe by Christmas.

Now, Friendly's restuarant, one of my favorite places to get a greasy grilled orange cheese sandwich, is doing it's own tricks lately. AOL keeps showing advertisements for their new burgers. Each time, I see one, my jaw drops.

Here is Friendly's bacon burger on a soft pretzel. I can see how that might be kinda tasty.

But this one, in between my favorite grilled orange cheese sandwiches, I just don't understand.

Monday, July 26, 2010

mugshot monday



Does anyone know how to cure Tour de France withdrawl? It hasn't even been 24 hours, and Jeff is already wondering what his life was like before the Tour began.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

before the rain & help for a friend!

My rock star(how many days can I keep calling him that?) and I practiced some weave entries in the yard Thursday night & Friday morning before the rain came in.

The video tells the story. I wasn't too concerned about the tunnel entrance to start off, but we did get it right in the end (I think).

Why do I put all my videos to music? I'm thinking ahead. When I'm sitting in a retirement home someday, I am going to have the best home movies out of anyone! Liven the place up a little.

Speaking of keeping things blogging buddy, AC, has been given a spot on Livestrong's Team Fatty (hip dad, you would love this guy's blog!) to run in the NYC Marathon! Wow! How cool is that?

Now, AC needs to raise $3500 for Livestrong, you know, Lance Armstrong's Foundation. (Jeff has done nothing but watch Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France for the past few weeks! He watched the entire thing.) I'm sure many of you have loved ones who have battled cancer, and if you could help AC out with this fantastic adventure, I know she would appreciate it! I know she will certainly train her butt off, to make us all proud!

Here's a link to her post about it, and the website to donate, if you'd like.

Friday, July 23, 2010

my rock star

Thank you to everyone for your advice & support on our relaxation protocol issues. I'm proud to report that we completed day 7, with minor changes. Instead of going through the door, I simply went to the front door and either touched the knob, or turned the knob. Success!

One place where Oreo DOES relax is in his acupuncturist's office. He walks in her office and immediately hops up on the faux leather bench. That's his spot. I must say I get slightly jealous when Oreo looks up lovingly at the doctor, then sighs and drifts off to sleep. Wish I had those magic powers. He has even begun to relax in the waiting room. He lays down, rather than try to jump through the floor to ceiling windows. The parking lot is another story, but that's for another day.

Oreo had his dreamy acupuncture/chiro spa day on Wednesday morning. Then, I brought him home to nap until agility class that night.

Well, I don't know if it was spa day or the steak I was doling out, but Oreo was a rock star in class.
Granted, we made a few mistakes on the courses, but he had some amazing moments. He snuck behind me and drove to the off course tire (INDEPENDENCE! YES!) instead of jump #3. Then, we made a hairpin turn to the weave poles. I didn't even say weave, was nowhere near the poles, but my dog, yes, my dog, flew by me and whipped into the poles.

I said, "Wow! Nice entry!", like I would when watching someone else run their dog.

It was incredible.

Then, Oreo decided to do the weaves again, in reverse, on the way back to jump #6. My teacher thought Oreo had such a fabulous idea, she had my classmates try it! Oreo's such an overachiever.

Then, we tried this exercise. The only part where we messed up was between #4 & 5. I tried to cross, but didn't have enough time and Oreo skimmed the jump, rather than go over it. Then, we did a fun standard course. I brought my clicker and steak with me. I clicked and treated for the first tunnel, and then on the A-Frame, because he stopped for a quick sec to look at my teacher who was acting as "judge". Next up was the teeter. I thought he'd check my teacher out again. She was standing real close.

Nope, he was staring at my hand!

Oreo was saying, "Click! Steak! Now!"

I laughed at the absurdity. What have I created? A food obsessed dog on the course? Great!

We did 12 weaves, a tunnel, then a back to back serpentine of jumps (how fun is that?).

Then, the second to last obstacle was the dogwalk.

OMG, Oreo RAN across it, and did not look at anyone! He was focused, and plowing ahead to the last jump (and more steak)!

Wow. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the night. I've been dreaming of dogwalks like that. I was so proud of him.

Best part? We both had fun. The whole night. Oreo was calm, cool, and relaxed.

Was it the morning acupuncture, steak, or the time I spent before class, clicking for his attention while people got settled? I don't know, but it sure felt good.

Our bond got a tiny bit stronger on Wednesday. What more can you ask for?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

circus comes to town

Do they have GED's for relaxation protocol? Because I think we are heading for dropoutville.
OK, we were doing really well through Day Five. I was excited. Thought we were getting somewhere.

Then, came day six. When, I had to open the front door.

Forget it. This threw Oreo so far above threshold, we were done with any sort of relaxation exercise. Let the circling circus begin.

Later in the day, I worked on some desensitization with only the door. We had some success.

So, I tried "day six" again the next day. Same results. Call me ringmaster.

Now what?

There are a lot of door things involved in the protocol. Here are the 4 choices I've come up with:

  1. Continue with protocol, but skip the door stuff.

  2. Continue with the protocol, but use the hallway threshold or closet door in lieu of front door.

  3. Keep doing days 1-5 until we are at a state of relaxation where Oreo can handle day 6. If that is ever a possibility. I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to ring the doorbell without mayhem breaking out.

  4. Dropout, get my GED (i.e. go back to matwork we were doing).

Exactly what is my goal here? I want to teach Oreo to relax, not necessarily deal with door issues. Clearly he has some, but we don't have lots of people coming and going (probably part of the reason why the circus comes to town every time the doorbell rings).

I'm leaning toward choice #2 or #4. What I don't want to do is create stress, which is what I feel like I am doing.

Am I the only person who has dogs that go nuts when people come and go?

Jeff always says, "I don't know why you can teach them to do tricks like circus animals, but can't teach them to stop barking when we leave the house."

Hmmm. Is that the ringmaster's job?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

tricky t-day ~misty learns to dig

Today Misty fans, clap your hands! It has been awhile since Misty has had the camera on her. Poor thing. She is truly the easiest dog to live with, and I love her to pieces.
misty's day
When I decided to start teaching Oreo the "dig" trick (we all know he knows how to dig holes), Misty wanted to get involved. She is doing WAY better than Oreo on this one. Her enthusiasm is hysterical, given the rest of the day she barely moves. I still am not sure how I will fade the paper, since she is pretty much deaf. Therefore, I can't really give her a verbal cue, guess I'll have to work on a hand cue.

Anyway, this video has a lot of fluff. I hope you enjoy watching this, as much as I enjoyed making it. Sorry about the streaky camera lens. I'm finding all my lens need to be cleaned! I think my sunblock has crept onto everything!

You can blame me if this song is stuck in your head the rest of the day, but if you start dancing in the grocery store, it's all on you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

manic monday

(photos intentionally heighten manic feeling :))

Sunday, July 18, 2010

smart phone nonsense

Thanks for putting up with my phone blogging antics the past two days!

Have smart phone, will blog on the go!

There is just so much material out there!

As you could see we spent Saturday night at the local ballpark, watching our team lose miserably. AGAIN. Oh well. I go for the beer and entertainment value. Where else can you see a t-shirt being shot out of a potato gun?
And people spilling the entire contents of their just poured beer in an effort to catch said t-shirt? Hysterical. I mean, the woman was still standing at the concession stand!

We were complaining about the fact that they no longer do the frozen t-shirt contest anymore. Now, that was funny. Have you ever tried to put on a t-shirt that just came out of the freezer?

Many people fled the game early due to a few raindrops, and a fabulous lightning storm that went on around the park. Wimps! Somehow there was a clear ring around the park.
Oh, and you were all right by the way. The mascot was a cat. The team is called the Valley Cats! I'm impressed that I got at least two people, or was it one person and one dog, willing to dress up as Uncle Sam! That's a big deal around here. I live near the home of Uncle Sam. Yes, he was a real person, he's buried here too! So, he is at every game, and appears in the Flag Day parade, which is the biggest Flag Day Parade in America. Yet, I've never been to it! What's up with that hip Dad?

On Sunday, we went to see a model remote control jet show. This was Jeff's territory. They were pretty cool, very fast, and looked so real!

It reminded me of an agility trial. People brought tons of gear, lots of ez-ups tents, had to pay an entry fee to fly their plane. An agility trial for r/c plane buffs.

This guy even had a golf cart for his plane!

I saw a golf cart being used at our last trial by someone to get back and forth from their rv to the ring! See the correlation?

After the show, we went to my mom's to visit with my aunt & uncle who were visiting.

The dogs were home alone for the whole day! First time since I've been off from work.

I think they needed the day of rest. Oreo was so amped up to play ball when I got home. He had more fun than I've seen him have in a long time. Clearly, the dog needs scheduled nap time. He'll never admit it though.

I promise, I'll be back to dog stuff tomorrow. Unless I see something.....

They may look small...

...but these r/c planes go up to 200 mph! Whoosh!

Got style

This couple knows how to have a good time.

Would you...

...wear this if they paid you?

How do they get away with....

...calling this ice cream?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cat or dog?

really, it's ok to relax

Oreo has been doing really well with the relaxation protocol regime. By day three, he only offered me two tricks throughout our whole session. I think he's finally getting the idea that it is OK for him to RELAX. I'm going to give him a treat for doing NOTHING. Imagine that. IMG_2064
Today, Day Four, Oreo got up and walked outside in the middle of our session. I thought maybe he had to relieve himself, however, I found him simply standing around. I asked, "Do you have to go potty?" He immediately began running in circles barking, and then ran back inside. What was that all about? I feel like it was a five year old's equivalent to "This is boring, let's do something else."

I got him back on the mat, using a lot more praise, and we finished the exercises. The protocol does say things may get worse before they get better, so maybe that was the case?

After the session, I immediately took him outside to play ball as his big reward.

I'm wondering what is going to happen in our next session. Day Five has me walking to an entrance and touching a DOORKNOB! Usually the slightest sound of the doorknob will send Oreo into a frenzy. So, this will be the true test to see if our hard work the past four days has paid off.

Oh, and I'm dreading day 11, when I have to ring the DOORBELL! Can you imagine?

Confidence. I need to have confidence that this is going to work. I am determined to make it through the 15 day regimen.

I cheated a bit, and used some of the methods in an every day scenario already, when I was sweeping the floor. Oreo was in the same room where we are now doing the exercises, so I think that is OK. Left to his own devices, he runs to attack the swiffer. For the past few months, I have been putting him on his mat and hoping he does a stay. Rewarding him when he does, but really he has been unable to stay for any good length of time. The allure of the sheep-like swiffer is too strong!

Yesterday, I clicked/treated him for sitting while I walked toward the swiffer, touched the swiffer, used the swiffer for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, etc. Plus, I intermittently threw into the equation the other stuff we've been doing in the RP, like just sitting for five seconds, me walking five steps back, and so on. Wow. It worked, with only a few bobbles along the way. Gave me extra incentive to see this through. If the end result is vacuuming without Kujo invading Oreo's body, I will be thrilled. Not to mention how this will be useful around the agility circuit, in the yard when the neighbor's kids are playing, in waiting rooms, when we leave the house....

At minimum, RP is giving me new tools to use for desensitization, a more methodical way of doing things, and I can see why it was so highly recommended in Control Unleashed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

they tried....


...but even when they added the extra "A", it still spelled "garagage".

I had to make Jeff turn the truck around to go take this photo. He said, "Did it really say gargage?"

Yes, it really said "gargage."

I could not stop laughing when I took this photo. I'm still laughing.

how to make sure... one steals your ball while you take a nap. No one can be trusted around here.

And this photo is for DAD, from tomato gardening with dad. Look! I finally have tomatoes ripe for the pickin'! Yum!
If you ever need help growing tomatoes. Go see DAD. He gives advice with a smile! And he has a soft spot for shelties.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Message sign

I don't go to this church, but their sign always has a really good message (I'm into taking photos of signs lately!).

back to class

Well, we finally made it back to agility class. It was so nice to do agility without the pressure of being at a trial.

I decided to reward Oreo as often as possible, because I think he needs the frequent reinforcement after so much trialing lately. He's been running full courses, and nothing else, since May.

I brought some marinated lemon mustard chicken with me. I focused on rewarding him for contacts, tunnels and weaves, since those are the things that tend to slow him down in trials. I guess the only thing I didn't reward were jumps!

My teacher set up a game where you do ten obstacles, then she called out a color and you had to do one of two finishing courses, depending on which color cones she selected. Got you thinking on your toes.

Then, the second time, you got to run the other course. She had a name for the game, but I forget what it was.

Oreo had a good night. I was really happy with the speed of his weave poles, which tend to be ridiculously slow in trials.

On our last run, there were a lot of distractions. Some of our classmates took their dogs up to the pond for a swim, and my teacher's dogs were in the yard, and a lot of barking ensued. Oreo did stop to check out what the ruckus was all about. I like having the opportunity to work through the distractions though, especially in a non trial setting when I can reward right away.

My goal right now is to speed up his contact obstacles, by reducing the rubber necking he tends to do. I used my clicker a lot last night while he was on the down slope of the contacts.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

relaxation protocol

Since I'm on summer break, I'm home more. I'm really noticing Oreo's level of anxiety around the house, or at least his annoying behaviors. For example, I can't even open the dishwasher without him running to it and barking (he literally attacks the box of Cascade), or walk toward the front door, even if I'm just going to the light switch.
"I only bark, because I want to help clean the dishes. I am very good at cleaning things."

I've been using matwork to try and squelch these outbursts, but felt like we needed to do something more.

Today, I finally started the relaxation protocol, that I've been wanting to try forever. It is a daunting task, but since we have a wide open calendar for a few weeks, this is the time to do it.

Day One went well, although Oreo was a bit confused about the whole process. He offered me tricks occasionally, even though the protocol only requires him to sit. For the last three or four tasks, he began to lose interest and walked around a bit. I was able to get his attention and he finished. My only concern is he tends to want to lay down, rather than sit. Seems like a relaxing position, but I thought I read somewhere that the dog is really supposed to be sitting, not laying down.

This was what we did today:

Day 1: Dog's Task

Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step to the right and return
Sit while you take 1 step to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps to the right and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps to the left and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit while you count out loud to 10
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you count out loud to 20
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly twice
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 3 seconds

It's been raining all morning. I want to go to agility class tonight, as we haven't been to one in well over a month! Hoping it clears up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

tricky t-day ~ moonwalk

You got a sneak peek of our Michael Jackson inspired moonwalk trick last week (I am a teenager of the 80's). I was hoping to improve on it a bit this week, but that didn't really happen!

I tried to moonwalk along side Oreo, but he did not like my moves at all! Obviously, the dog does not recognize talent. Maybe if I had had on my white jazz shoes he would have been more impressed? Hard to moonwalk in bare feet.

So, this will be a trick in progress as I try and get Oreo to dance with me, and for him to go further back without need of a reward.

This trick sort of evolved naturally. Initially, I had Oreo lay down and was luring him back with a treat. This resulted in thoroughly pissing Oreo off. Plan B.... I simply started saying our back up command, "scoot", and clicked for any movement backward. Oreo caught on really fast through shaping.

Oreo always prefers to teach himself the tricks, rather than me telling him how to do the trick. Ask him, and I am a stupid human with no rhythm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

my flower...

Why do I find my dog sleeping, on his much too big bed, the cutest thing in the world? You don't have to answer. I know, I am biased and completely won over.

Do you know, sometimes I pick Oreo up, bring him to Jeff and say, "Look, I found a skunk in our house!"

Jeff always says, "You can call him Flower, if you want to." (Famous line from Bambi).

We had a great time at the Bon Jovi concert last night. Still kind of tired. I shot a couple videos with my phone. Horrible quality.

Just in case you're a fan (don't torture yourself with these videos if you're not!), here is what it was like, waiting for Bon Jovi to come on stage. That anticipation is always the best part of the night:

And here he is singing "It's my Life." Believe me, he sounded WAY better in person!

We were in the balcony, in the row in front of an aisle. So, we had no one in front of us. Great view. Although, just about every seat at SPAC has a great view. Fun time. Great show. Highly recommend catching his tour if you're so inclined. I brought ear plugs, but didn't need 'em.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bon jovi Live!

no blues but 2 Q's

Sorry, but no videos of our runs today. Too many things going on at once. Everyone was very busy, due to working and ring conflicts. I didn't want to add any additional tasks to anyone's day. I know how important it is to have time to focus on your dog.

I had to walk my colors and standard run at the same time. That was a first for me.

We ran colors first. The judge was the same one from our very first trial! She is great. Since there were no contacts, she sat down to judge. That made it so much less stressful for Oreo. He flew through the course, and had one of his highest yards per seconds ever. I was thrilled, even though we came in second place. He ran with confidence.

Here is the map. I chose the square numbers course. I didn't think doing the tunnel at the beginning was a good opener. Oreo is always happier jumping. I know I picked the right course.

Next up was Standard.

Oreo got off to a great running start... jump, tunnel, .... then my, smarter than an honor student, dog saw the second tunnel and thought, "That's a stupid idea, I just did a tunnel, shouldn't we be doing a jump? I'm going to go do that jump over there. Oh wait, why is my mom hanging out by the tunnel? Hmmm, I guess I'll just watch the dogs running in the colors ring for awhile until she gets with the program and meets me at the jump."

I waited for Oreo to reengage with me. It seemed like forever, but I'm sure it was only a few seconds. Eventually, he did go in the tunnel. He did some more rubber necking on the dog walk, and a quick one on the A-Frame, but I thought we might actually pull this run off. We got back to the troubleseome tunnel. Oreo went in, and I ran to meet him at the other end. Next thing I know, he is running next to me. Guess I ran before he had really committed to the tunnel. My bad. So, I went on to the teeter and we finished. NQ AGAIN, due to "Failure to complete an obstacle." MAJOR fault!

We sure are setting a trend. I think this is our 3rd try. Maybe our 4th? Why do they have to use such harsh words as "failure" and "major"? Surely no special ed teachers are writing the rulebooks. I would say "opted out of obstacle fault" instead.

Wildcard walk thru was going on as soon as we were done. I was sweating. At this point, any sunblock I'd put on my face was down at my belly button. It was nice having my runs close together, but a break would have been welcome. Towel please!

Same quiet ring by the corn field as Colors. No contacts. The judge is still sitting down! We can do this!

I opted to do 3a, 6b, and 9a. The more jumps the better. My teacher's husband was doing ring crew, and he moved to the chair furthest away from the course for Oreo. Plus, I made sure to run the course so I was on the outside when ring crew was around.

Oreo did great! No looking around. He was focused and just about equaled his YPS from his colors run. Plus, we got our handlers level 2 title!

At this rate, I predict we will be at level 5 handlers, and still stuck at level 3 standard. Exactly whose standards are we trying to meet anyway? Clearly, they are not someone I want to meet!

I was talking to a fellow sheltie owner. I told her Oreo was very shy and wasn't really into trialing. She said, "Well, you sure couldn't tell from your last run."

That was the best part of my day. We didn't earn any blue ribbons, but I was really proud of my little black and white dog. He had 2 really awesome runs! And standard? Well, someday we'll get that elusive level 3 standard q. Unfortunately we need 4 q's to move up to level 4. OMG.

I can't believe no one (except my aunt) has guessed who we are seeing in concert tonight. Did you mute my videos?

busy day

Took my last dose of the evil doxycycline yesterday morning, and am ready to get back to my real life.

First up? A CPE trial this morning! I'm still going to take huge precautions to reduce sun exposure, in case I have lingering effects from the doxy. My burn from almost two weeks ago still hasn't healed completely.

Oreo and I are signed up for Colors, Standard and Wildcard. I plan on doing Colors and Standard, and then see what Oreo's mood is like. If he is relatively stress free, we'll go ahead and do the wildcard run. Oreo always Q's both colors & wildcard, so hopefully he is doing ok and the weather isn't too hot/humid/stormy.

My only fear is the size of the trial. Over 180 dogs and almost 600 runs. I'm hoping the fact that it is at our school will help lower Oreo's stress level.

I'll try and twitter our progress today.

Next up? I've got to come home and take a nap!


Jeff and I have plans for tonight. I'm so excited! We're going to a rock concert. Can you guess who we're seeing? I gave you hints this week....did you catch them?

Getting up at the crack of dawn for our trial, and then staying up past my bedtime, later than I have in over a decade....I should be certified luggage on Monday. Wasn't that a great day to schedule my annual physical?

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'll stop whining

OK, I'll stop whining about the heat.

Just look at what this warm weather has brought to my local farmer's market:

Yum! This is what makes summer so grand...the fresh food! Sweet corn, berries and turnovers filled with fresh cherries and blueberries! I've been waiting for months to have one. They are so delicious (I'm all about the icing).

No more buying produce that says "product of Thailand", at least for a few months.

And I don't know why I bothered giving Oreo a bath yesterday. He hadn't even dried off yet, and look at his nose:

It's a good thing he is cute. The little rascal.

There have been many pet products recalled this week. I thought I'd share, just in case you hadn't seen them: