Tuesday, March 29, 2011

tricky t-day~ hold the bunny

Gee, I hope I don't disappoint anyone this week.  When I wrote that last week's trick was a precursor to this weeks, I think many of you were picturing Oreo spinning around the broomstick, like Gene Kelly did the lightpost in Singin' in the Rain.

It's not happening.  Not yet anyway.  Good idea thought!

What I did shape was Oreo holding the broomstick close to his body, in hopes that he could "hold" other objects. 

This trick is harder than it looks, since it is an unnatural thing for the dog to do. You'll see Oreo keep looking toward the camera. He's actually looking toward the kitchen and my computer. I had my "child sounds" desensitization CD playing very, very quietly. Of course, he could still hear it. Then, at the end, he hears the UPS truck, which ended our trick time.


Monday, March 28, 2011

misty monday~playing

Here is an old video (2006?) of Misty "playing" with a toy. Misty wasn't one to play with toys much. She was good for a couple of fetches, then she'd stand there staring at me, while Munchkin went back and forth, over and over. I think she thought, "I just brought you the toy. Why are you throwing it across the room again? This game is dumb. What is the point exactly? Why don't you scratch my arms pits instead!"

Munchkin was on his last legs in this video, and too arthritic to play.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

dinner wins!

Oreo could care less that I shut his tail in the cabinet door.

Dinner wins.
I had to be quick to get this shot!  By the time I had the camera fired up, his dinner was gone.

Friday, March 25, 2011

my new friends

Oreo has been barking his head off when I let him out in the morning.  One day this week, I saw what the commotion was about.  Last night, while Oreo was resting on the couch, I looked out the window and was able to shoot this video without Oreo even knowing they were there.


My neighbors always hated Misty,because she barked early in the morning. Well, Oreo is carrying on her legacy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tricky t-day ~ cane tapping

OK, this week's trick is a little lame, but I didn't have much time to do anything else!

Oreo learned this trick in a couple seconds.  Although, he won't do more than 3 or 4 kicks without getting rewarded. Spoiled brat.

Although, I admit he is way more graceful than me.  A rockett, I am not.

This is a precursor to our next trick, which will hopefully be ready by next week.


Monday, March 21, 2011

misty monday~lake

My sister's inlaws were kind enough to let us visit and spend a few nights at their lake house...dogs included.  Alan's mom is an animal lover.

These were taken on a fourth of july weekend. The residents of the lake put on a fantastic display of fireworks.

Misty didn't think the fireworks were so fantastic. Neither did my nephew Theo. Alan brought Theo inside and up to his bedroom. Misty followed them in solidarity.

During the daytime though, she was a happy girl.

siamese dogs?
On the trip home...one of my favorite, favorite photos!  Look at how Misty is smiling in her sleep.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

rally class with the shriners

Yesterday, Oreo and I went to our 4th rally class.  I had a video shot, so I can show our behaviorist.  I'm sure she will tell me all the things I'm doing wrong. 

This is a painfully slow video to watch.  Oreo had a lot of trouble focusing. 


In the waiting area was a man, 4 women, a couple border collies, and a boxer puppy who had just had his ears docked.

When the puppy first walked in, I honestly thought he was wearing a shriner's cap.

Kinda looked like this:
Apparently, this shriner's hat contraption is a way of making the ears stand up straight.  It was very disturbing to me, and Oreo, as we had never seen such a thing.  I couldn't stop looking, but then had to turn away quickly.  I thought, how strange, sheltie people want floppy ears, but left to nature, sheltie ears often pop straight up. And the dogs with floppy ears are surgically altered to point straight up. 

Silly humans.  Always wanting to improve nature.

Back to rally.  Oreo was very distracted by shriner puppy and people this week.  I think it may be because the shriner family (2 dogs/3 people/1 shriner) arrived late, and Oreo hadn't had time to get used to their presence.

Although, since Oreo is pretty much always distracted,  I guess I really can't blame the shriners, despite the ridiculous hat.


Oreo had a few, brief brilliant moments (his left pivot and 360!). Of course, I messed up more than a few times.

Rally is way more challenging than I ever thought.

This was our course map, in case anyone wants to see what I was SUPPOSED to do.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ice island

After two 60 degree days in a row, almost all our snow is gone.

Except this island in the middle of our yard!

But, we've figured out ways to play ball around it.

Now if only those Christmas decorations weren't frozen in the planters.  They are driving me crazy.  It'll be Easter before I can pull them out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

what a day!

Gorgeous weather today! Over 60 degrees! Still have snow in my yard, but it is creeping away.

Jeff even drove his convertible with the top down!

Oreo was smiling, smiling,smiling today. 

We got up close and personal with our 3 deer friends.  Happy to see they survived this record breaking winter!

Saw two red headed woodpeckers pecking away at the bottom of a tree...got really close to them before they flew away!

Did I have my camera with me for any of this?


That's ok though.  I was able to simply enjoy the moment, without having to focus.

Hope everyone else had a good day.

Check out this touching story from Japan, which shows the bond two dogs can have with each other (both dogs are OK now):

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

tricky t-day ~ flip flop

I saw Ricky do this trick a long time ago, was impressed, but thought, "That's too hard to teach."

Silvia Trkman said the dog should learn it in 4 sessions.

Yea, try 14 sessions! With lots of patience, Oreo and I finally figured it out.

Ricky calls it "cop, cop", we call it "flip flop". Basically, the dog walks with his front feet on top of your feet.

In this video, you'll see the overachiever in me come out. I attempt the trick in reverse....

Oreo must like this trick, because he wanted to do it during our rally class when we were in the ring with all our classmates practicing out new moves (pivot 90 and 1,2,3 steps forward). I think it is a useful trick for trial sitations, because he can feel safe between my legs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

misty monday~welcome home!

You could always count on Misty to welcome you home, no matter pouring rain, sleet nor snow.  Misty was always at the door wagging her whole rear end.  Even if she had to wear a stupid raincoat.

These photos make me laugh. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

rally class

Oreo and I had a good rally class yesterday. 

When we got there I did lots of treating just to get him comfortable.  Then, we went out in the ring to "warm up".  There were a few other dogs/people there too.  I gave Oreo treats again. He wasn't able to focus on me too much, but wasn't freaking out.  Then, he started sniffing in the dirt. 

I know sniffing is a stress signal for many dogs, but for Oreo it is a sign of being relatively comfortable.  If he's able to turn his back on everyone and sniff, he's doing good!

That's when I upped the ante a bit, and started only treating for eye contact.

Our class started with a course.  Oreo gave me some eye contact on our way in the ring.  Plus, he gave me some when we were heeling too.  Although, he wasn't able to do it consistently.  We are still struggling with "fronts".  Overall though, Oreo did excellent, way better than last time, and I had so many opportunities to reward him on course.  We'll keep working on keeping his attention while heeling.

After everyone tried the course, we worked on some new moves, with everyone in the ring. 

The fact that Oreo could do anything with all those people/dogs around made me really proud. 

He had to stop every once in a while to stare at some people, but quickly returned to me.

Here is Oreo practicing his contacts at home:
Oh yea, there was a man taking the class this week.  We see this man at trials a lot, and the sight/sound of him usually makes Oreo freeze/freak out.  I did lots of treating whenever he was nearby, and Oreo seemed OK.  I didn't push it though, and kept a good distance.

Friday, March 11, 2011


My heart goes out to the people of Japan.  The loss and destruction is numbing.

When they call it the ring of fire, they sure aren't kidding.

On my side of the world, the weather has taken a turn for the better.  Turn your sound on.


Since we couldn't play in the back yard, Oreo and I practiced rally moves in the front yard.  It took him a few minutes to figure out what the heck we were doing on the front lawn, but then it seemed to click, "OH.  Those moves we do in the house?  You want me to do them HERE?  OK.  Why didn't you say so?"

The only thing that threw Oreo for a loop were the new orange safety barrels in the street (to alert people of the flooded road).  Oreo was a bit uneasy as to what they were, since he hadn't seen them before in that location.  Obviously, they were potential dangerous monsters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

what we've been up to

Not much to report here.

Before today's rain, we had just the right amount of snow in the backyard to hide the ice/mud.  So, I've been taking Oreo out to play after work.  The majority of our snow had melted, allowing Oreo's orbee to finally be back in action. Oreo was very happy about that.  Gosh, he loves that ball.

The weather (sloppy roads, ice storms, rain, etc.) hasn't been very conducive to "working the plan".  However, Jeff did bring Oreo to work the other day!  Jeff tells me Oreo did well.  He even sat and offered his paw to one of his co-workers (for treats of course). 

I bought a "children's voices" desensitization CD to help Oreo be less freakish when he hears children.  You wouldn't believe how quiet I have to play the CD in order for Oreo to tolerate the noise.   I can't even hear it at all.  We'll keep working on it, and hopefully when spring finally hits ( in May?), we will have made enough progress for Oreo to deal with real children, who will be overexcited to finally forgo their indoor voices.

Oreo continues to work on rally moves. He does most perfectly indoors, and now I've been able to work on them in the yard.   He does much better off leash than on.  Mostly because I'm fumbling with the leash, clicker and treats. 

In the past, if I treated Oreo while in a heel, he would automatically stop, go off the clock, and I'd lose our connection. My behaviorist pointed this out to me, and told me I need to treat him while we are walking, so he learns to maintain eye contact and the task isn't over.  We've been doing that and it has made a huge difference.  Unfortunately, that means I have to do four things...click, treat, hold leash and WALK at the same time.  OMG.

We have rally class again on Saturday.   Last class, Oreo was very distracted and kept looking around to see what everyone else was up to.  I'm hoping all our home practice will help him focus this week.   Maybe I need to up the ante on the treats I bring to class.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

tricky t-day ~ oh boy

Busy week! Not much time for trick training. Although, we are working on 3-4 new tricks, in addition to our rally moves.

I had a snow day(ice day) yesterday, which made me very happy! March is always a long month for teachers, and the bonus time enabled us to make a quick video.

This trick I didn't need to train. Simply plopped my new gadget in front of Oreo and he knew what to do.

You have to have your sound on for this video. No dogs barking in it, I promise.


Maybe I should use the Mickey button as our new target in stressful situations.

Monday, March 7, 2011

misty monday ~what is this thing?

This is a fuzzy video, but look at how wonderfully Misty handles crazy baby Oreo.  My favorite part is when Oreo gets the zoomies (you'll see a blur in the distance), and Misty stands there watching.  I wonder what she was thinking...."What is this thing?"


Did you see Misty get a couple nips in? But, sweet Misty let Oreo have the toy in the end.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I know how to....

...get Oreo to do an excellent heel; the stick to your leg kind of heel. Carry around this bag of dog treats my mom brought back from Florida.

Once Oreo got a sniff, he wouldn't leave my side (like glue!).

Oreo says, "Thanks food lady!  I love my muffins!  My stupid mommy tells me that I have to wait until tomorrow to try the biscuits (something about me already eating 3 desserts).  She's so annoying! I know you'd give me one of each."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

tricky t-day ~suitcase

I attempted this trick before, but didn't have the proper suitcase for the trick.

Well, I'm going on a couple trip in the next few months. Perfect excuse for buying a trick friendly suitcase.

I think everyone should teach this trick for the sheer cuteness factor. But I'm not sure how dogs like Honey the Great Dane, would find a big enough suitcase! Maybe we could get Honey to pull the suitcase while Muesli (their kitten) is in it?

 Oreo learned this in two sessions...here is the progression.

Maybe I needed to buy a larger suitcase to fit Oreo's ginormous tail!