Saturday, December 1, 2012
I do however, want to make more of an effort to write more about my training and what the boys are learning, so here we begin – again.
Now that it is winter, there is plenty of time to dedicate directly to training without all those pesky weekend agility trials getting in the way. December and January will be rededicated to retraining our TOTO contact performance, teaching absolute directions (left/right), obstacle discrimination and distance handling. Phew…that’s a lot of training! But we can do it! So, that the training plan, but what do I want to have come from all that training?
2) Have Indie earn his ATChC by the end of 2013. This means directional, perfect contact performance and obstacle discrimination! We still have a few Advanced Q’s to go, so he gets more time to earn them than Travis. (18 Q’s to go)
3) Have Indie place top 5 overall at Regionals, in 16” Regular – also qualify for Nationals if it wasn’t obvious. Why top 5 and not top 10? Well this year it looks like it will be another split Ontario regional – I am NOT complaining – so if there will be half the number of dogs (in theory) then he needs to be top 5 in Ontario West.
4) Have Travis qualify for Nationals. Why not set a Top 5/10 goal like I did for Indie? Well, I want to be realistic. Travis isn’t the fastest dog and he tends to be “over” the fun of agility after about 2-3 runs, even if over an entire weekend. With 6 runs at Regionals, it isn’t likely his stamina will carry him far in to the standings. It isn’t an excuse as we are always working on building drive and stamina, I simply have to accept it as part of his personality. He is a couch potato that does agility because I ask him to.
5) Contemplate Nationals. It’s unlikely that we would go because we would have to drive there and back, and that would be too much time off work. Seems like Nationals will be in Edmonton in 2013 and I simply can’t afford to take 10-14 more days off work next year when I am already planning for 7 weeks off at other times of the year. Not to mention the money….’cause I ain’t made of it.
6) Maintain a minimum 70% Q rate over the entire year. In 2012 the goal was 50% which I exceeded, so with all the extra training and dedication I should easily be able to get the boys up to a 70% Q rate each.
We won’t be trialing as much in 2013 because I want to start competing in rally-o, obedience, nose-work and hopefully (if we can close to ready) tracking. See, no time! I have already entered the dogs in their first rally-o trial in February, thing is, I have no idea how rally-even works. Eeeks! The boys are not ready, but like with agility, we have the winter to perfect our skills. Maybe I can get a crash course from someone or find a group class to get in with. <sigh> Who am I kidding, I don’t have time for that!
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Step 1: Say your verbal cue... "Speak!"
Step 2: Lure your dog to perform the cue...I growled at him.
Step 3: Dog responds...he barks.
Step 4: Get ear plugs....and reward.
Indie is crazy barker. No, thats not true. He is an emotionally reactive barker. It's driviing us a little nuts. So the thought is putting the bark on cue means you can also put the "shhh" on cue. But, you have to bark before you can shhh.
Yesterday was session 1 in which we lure and reward. Today was session 2 and in which I removed the lure. We were about 50% successful without the lure so I expected we will be without it by tomorrow.
Monday, October 1, 2012
2) No demonstrations. I’m a visual learner and in order to learn I need to SEE what you do and how you do it. I don’t think it would have been hard to wrangle up a few dogs to demonstrate his techniques on. While seeing Dr. Dunbar imitate a dog and their behaviour I think seeing a dog would have been more relevant.
3) No handouts. It’s hard to tell the relevant from the irrelevant. Handouts would have at least helped me know when to really pay attention and given a quality document to refer back to - as opposed to my chicken scratch.
4) No visual aids. If there aren’t handouts then there should have been a power point presentation of the material. Videos?
5) The training techniques covered are common place for those who use positive rewards training. What he talked about was the same thing he’s been talking about for decades. Nothing new, nothing revolutionary.
6) He refers the audience to his books and videos for demonstrations and more information. Convenient that they were all made available at the seminar.
Friday, September 21, 2012
There are two online dog-food-review sites that I recommend you use to see how your dog food is rated:
Monday, September 10, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
The summer is almost over - thank goodness!! Not sure if everyone else has been suffering like we have, but it has been hot, hot, hot, in Ottawa.
It was my intention to really focus on getting the boys really proficient at contacts and weave poles but the heat really kept us inside up until about 2 weeks ago. Even now we’re only training out on the field later in the evenings. I’d like to say that the reason that we didn’t train outside in the heat was that my dogs don’t perform well in the heat – which they don’t – but the truth is I am getting old and I don’t do so well in the heat any more. This year I started getting migraines which made much of anything rather unpleasant.
I am however glad that I had decided back in May that we would not trial in June, July and August any longer – specifically because of the heat. I cannot imagine spending a day outside in the heat we’ve been having! But, to all you die-hards, I’ll admit that I was a little jealous and thought of you all often as I sat in my air conditioning as I sipped on some beer.
We’ve been training very hard over the past two weeks, working our way back up to the full length equipment. It’s only two weeks until our first AAC trial since we starter our summer training hiatus. Both boys have an increased value for being “on” equipment and both have a good “touch” behaviour in 2o2o.
I am actually very impressed with Travis’ progress. He has a great nose touch and maintains the behaviour while I am behind, in front and when walking. We’ve yet to work up to a run….all in time. Indie was a bit of a challenge and I could never get a great nose touch with him. However, once I got him back on the equipment his nose touch improved dramatically. I am attributing it to an increase in drive – once he sees equipment he goes kinda bananas.
We’ll be trialing at new facility on September 3 – Guides Canins - always looking forward to going to new places, meeting new people and seeing a new way of doing things!
Sunday, August 19, 2012
What brings out the best in your dog? What makes him (or her) run faster, turn tighter or just plan work harder?
For some dogs, it’s playing with a favourite toy or a great game of tug with their handler. For others it’s a tasty piece of food.
There is something out there that will make your dog work his hardest for you – we call this “drive”.
Neither of my dogs will work for toys – something I am passively try to change – it just isn’t a priority for me right now. Both train well with food; tricks, obedience, recalls, crate games, It’s-yer-choice games.
I’m sure that I am not alone in the fact that my dogs behave differently at a trial – they are “different” dogs. So, the challenge was how to I train with those different dogs? Simple, I combine my dogs intense love of agility with their insane jealously of each other.
I train one dog while the other is close by. While the one is having a blast, the other is barking and spinning in circles, waiting their turn. When I switch them out the one is all wound up ready to go and the other gets a refill!
Monday, June 4, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
All training of my furry-athletes aside, I am truly blessed to have two great dogs. But since it’s is his birthday, this post will be only about Indie.
This is a dog that truly has a smile on his face all the time! He loves everything (except children, strangers, the bread machine, the vacuum, the gas stove/over, the blender, the doorbell, dump-trucks, large dogs, the lawn mower, windows opening, being brushed, being bathed…) especially working! He loves to go to the agility field and training classes! He loves to play and chase, be cute and make us laugh.
Just this morning he was laying on his back, laughing (kinda a grunt with his mouth wide open), wriggling around. I looked at my husband who just shrugged his shoulders. I figured that he was enjoying his birthday by reliving the moment of his birth. :) Ewww….
He is a bossy little dog, with tones of energy. The unfortunately part is that the more you exercise him the more energy he seems to find. Of course if the weather gets bad and keeps him in for a day or two then he starts to get in to trouble, or at least he makes you think he is thinking about getting in to trouble. He has this look about him when he is listening to one thing, but has is head turned towards another, but an eye locked on to something else. Makes you think he’s going to split in to three and just launch a mass assault!! This look means he is about to get in to something but he hasn’t figured what quite yet (or at least the order)…all while analyzing your tolerance threshold for puppy craziness that he is about to unleash.
Fortunately, much of his destruction is directed at cardboard, most specifically empty paper towel rolls. Sometimes toilet paper rolls will do, sometimes paint colour chips, or the box from a 24 of pop cans. Regardless, the cardboard will be torn up in to teeny-tiny little pieces and distributed evenly across the room. Sometimes he’ll convince Travis that his sort of destruction is fun and then I have riot on my hands when Indie remembers he doesn’t like to share. I thought older brothers were supposed to be the bad influence.
As bossy as he is he is also a marshmallow. He hates being brushed or bathed and gets this pathetic look about him when he knows it is coming. He won’t come to you but he is quick to flop over to expose himself while waving the white tail of surrender. Baths are more tolerable if you let him drink from the hose (a shower attachment for bathing dogs…best purchase ever). He’ll let you know when you have soaped him up enough and it’s your turn to give in to his whim. It’s a give and take relationship, but it works.
Just today I tried to remove a “hitch hiker” from his backend and I guess I grabbed more hair than…
At just two he has proven to be a great family pet, travel companion and willing participant in many crazy doggy activities. While he is a little neurotic, the barking is driving me nuts; he is a sweet, fun loving puppy. Travis was about 2 ½ when he stopped being a “puppy” so I hope we’ll have at least another 6 months of puppy antics before he matures in to an adult dog. There is just something about puppies!!
Indie, people might think that you are a girl (where is that big manly sheltie coat?!?!) but you are my little monkey-man. Love you bunches – enjoy your day!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
While we were away Travis got ahold of a few pairs of nylon, knee-high stockings - successfully eating one. This fact remained unknown until the morning we were picking the dogs up as Travis passed the stocking (fortunately) in his crate. If he had passed it outside we may never have known he ate it - it was during the crate clean out that it was discovered.
As Travis (immediately following the event) went off his food, vomited what he did eat, and still struggling to pass something besides bloody diarrhea...off to the vet we went.
Our vet feared that they may be another stocking in him, and also some damage from the one we knew he ate might have caused, we were set to Alta Vista.
After x-rays it was thought that while there was some "damage" to his intestines - highlighted by the huge accumulating gas pocket - that he was likely fine. Because of the diarrhea Travis was given sub-cutaneous fluids and some antibiotics for possible infection. We were told that we had a 5 day window before we were in the clear for any more "foreign objects".
While tomorrow is day 5 Travis is looking great - while still a bit tired. He is playing, eating, drinking and being a happy boy. Not to mention normal and regular (timing) poops.
Who knew dog poo could make you so happy. :)
I think next time we go away we will send the boys to our breeders kennel - it's puppy safe there. Not to mention lots of other Shelties to play with.
Monday, January 30, 2012
I'll admit, I was nervous. I have had no experience with breeds that require more "assertive" handlers. I'm not sure I am an assertive handler - but I sure am bossy. :)
Sam came over on Tuesday for a quick visit to see if there would be any problems with our dogs and cats. Indie and Travis were in their ex-pen while Sam looked around. He was less than interested in them. Excellent.
Sam came over Thursday night, and despite everything going well on Tuesday, we decided to keep him separated from our much smaller [and I'm sure tastier] animals. Our pets were confined to the basement by way of baby-gate (the cats were not pleased) and Sam had run of the main floor.
The weekend took some finessing to ensure there were no encounters, but it all went very well.
For just coming in to our home he listened very well - I was very, very impressed. He came when called, followed basic obedience commands and would "wait" for his food until released. He is quite the love bug and enjoys being scratched all over too!
Sam seems like a good boy and only appears to have the same "issues" any dog would in a new home. He loves to go for walks (he would however make someone an excellent jogging partner) loves to play fetch (he doesn't release toys yet so we alternated between two toys to get him to give the one he had up) and appears to have had some basic obedience training at some point (he needs some reminder training sessions though).
Oh, he also preferred drinking from the toilet (no fear, our toilets are pet safe for drinking) which he'll drain quickly and then slobber all over everyone and everything. Eewww!
I wouldn't recommend him for a home with small children (only because of his size and puppy like demeanor) or cats (I think he had some prey drive bubbling up) or a for a first time dog owner but he'll certainly make someone a good dog.
I did learn something from the weekend - I don't want a dog bigger than a Sheltie...ever. Big dogs just occupy too much space - usually the space that I want to be occupying.
Monday, January 9, 2012
The majority of my dogs’ health issues seem to revolve around the bum area – it’s becoming discerning. It is also reaffirming my decision to be childless.
On Thursday morning Travis seemed overly interested in his “hind end”. I knew he had been well enthralled with this activity for a while because his hair was soaked and his “hind end” was very, very, clean. Ewww.
I hoped it was “nothing” because there were no digestive issues and he only licked when he was laying around – if we were playing, or out for a walk he never wanted to lick.
Friday was more of the same but now things were looking red. Ugh. I called the vet and since he wasn’t in distress the earliest I could get him in was Sunday morning.
Saturday was more licking. Ewww…
Sunday morning we headed to the vet. Clearly there was an “emergency” in the office because we didn’t see anyone for almost 30 minutes. We were told that the wait would still be at least another 30 minutes – we opted to stay because I knew we had to. I didn’t mind though – lots of nice people to chit-chat with and friendly dogs to meet. The Vet Techs were also very forth coming with the treats which made things good for the boys.
I am always curious with the dogs weigh and Travis weighed in at 12kg even – down 0.08kg from our last visit. The whole weight thing is weird to me…Travis looks like a big Sheltie, but a Scottie came in and looked like he was at least 1/3 smaller. In fact he weighed the same as Travis. What’s up with that?
Our turn finally came and long story short Travis’ anal glands were “very full”. They had to shave around his bum, which means his skin is now irritated and he has to wear the “cone-of-shame” for the next week or so. Not to mention to keep him from licking this nasty cream that has to be applied twice a day….no kids, no kids, no kids.
The recommendation is that we go every 3-4 months to have things checked out and to re-evaluate the situation as we go. Excellent.
Afterwards – as a reward – we took the dogs to the park. Travis was all full of himself (makes me thing of that first horseback ride in the early spring on a frisky 3 year-old) so clearly the bum had been an issue for him for a while. The symptoms crept on so slowly that ever we didn’t notice a change in this attitude.
Glad he is feeling better though – I love my boy.