Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dad made some mud (we decided to do this on a day when the ground was frozen so we had to make mud!) - he worked at getting the consistency just right - I had to keep putting my foot in it again and again until a clear pawprint was there. And then we put in some plaster of paris. After it dried, dad removed the plaster of paris from the mud and there was a cast of my paw!! Cool, huh?
I also gave mom a card with a tri-color chihuahua on it (closest we could get to a tri-color sheltie!) and when she opened it, dogs barked "jingle bells"! Well mom loved it all - the card and most especially the pawprint! But she says what she loved the most is that dad and I made it for her!
What will we do to top that next year????
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wonder what it is? I am trying to get it out of the wrapping:
But soon it was on to more presents!! (Not for me though):
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
During the next couple weeks mom has some ideas of what she wants to practice with me - as much as the weather will allow - she wants to figure out a way to get me to run with her to the first obstacle in a sequence. I am mostly very slow to get started (more so in class than at home). She wants to keep working on the chute - she already tried a new one with me this morning using a dark green flannel sheet (I went through before she was ready for me and got all tangled up and had to be rescued but it didn't phase me and then I did it a whole bunch of times after that - go figure - don't know what to tell you, mom!). And we are going to keep working on front crosses to speed me up - mom has to keep finding ways to put them in. Luckily we can go to open practice the next two Wednesdays and get in some good use of the equipment at the club. Also we are planning to make a few more jumps so that we can set up more complex jumping sequences in the backyard.
It's pouring rain outside - our morning walk has been postponed - mom doesn't mind walking in light rain but heavy rain is another story. Guess we're lucky it's not freezing rain and/or snow?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Also my favorite trainer Deb is out in Long Beach competing in the Agility Invitationals with her Russell Terrier Bug. We don't know much about how they have been doing but according to the AKC website, yesterday they NQ'ed in both the standard and JWW runs but today they Q'ed in both their runs!!! So that is great news too!
Yesterday mom took me to run in the park even though it was only 20 degrees! There was no wind and the sun was out! And the sun is hardly ever out in Ohio in the winter. We had fun and surprisingly there were quite a few people and their dogs there.
Today we practiced in the yard - it was much warmer outside. We practiced teeter without the 2o2o - I rode it down and as I approached the bottom mom just said ok and we kept running. I liked that! We also did table - we don't practice that much and some times I am a little slow doing my down or sit. So mom made sure she really rewarded the fast responses.
We are working on a lot of new tricks too. Every evening after dinner, mom gets out the cheerios and we practice the new stuff - handstand, hide under a blanket, open the door, take and hold the dumbbell (not really a trick but we may need it for obedience some day), and shake head no. Some things are getting better, but they are all works in progress, that's for sure! We really love kikopup's YouTube channel and all of her videos on how to teach tricks. She really inspires us!
This week we have Wednesday morning practice and then our last class of the session on Thursday. Then we have a couple weeks off and start the advanced intermediate class in January! Can't wait!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
1. Barking at anything that might be a threat to my territory!
2. Chasing cars (and squirrels and birds)!
4. Agility and learning new tricks!
5. Walks in the park on my long line!
6. All my favorite people! (too many to list here - there are a lot of people that I love)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
We've been getting in some agility practice this week in spite of the winter weather. Mom has been setting stuff up in our living room again. We've been using only 4 plungers as weaves because it's easier in the small space we have. I've been practicing entries and distance - mom is on one side of the couch or the other, depending on the set up.
When it's not super cold, we try to do a little practice outside. This morning mom had me doing some pretty fast weaving and also reviewing serpentines with her staying on one side.
Wednesday we did go to the morning practice at the club. Our first time on the course things went pretty well. But the second time we got in there, I found a tasty liver treat that some one had dropped on the floor - and that was the end of my ability to concentrate on what mom was saying. Everything she said to me sounded like "blahblahblah" - I didn't hear "Ricky" or "come" or "jump" or anything like those words. But the smell of liver was so enticing and I could've sworn I smelled it every where! Needless to say, that was the end of Wednesday morning practice.
Last night was our beginning intermediate class 5. We had the week before off for Thanksgiving. I was happy to be back in the class and only suffered from a little leftover sniffing from Wednesday morning. We have really been enjoying the repeat of this level of class. We like the instructors a lot and feel confident with the skills we are asked to perform. And each time we get more advice specifically for us to run better sequences. Like last night our instructor reminded mom that she needs to do more front crosses with me to speed me up and to really show me where I need to go. Other dogs might do ok with a pull or just running on the same side, but every time mom worked in a front cross, we did better. That's something important for her to remember when she starts walking courses and planning the best route. Also even though I am fairly good at holding my start-line stay, I do much better when mom runs with me.
Mom got to looking at some old video of me when I was just a little pup...she found this video of me playing with my friend Ciara when I was about 2 and 1/2 months old. I was so tiny back then, but pretty fearless! Ciara was also a puppy - maybe 4 months old - but look how big she was already! I miss Ciara but she's a lucky dog - she and her mom moved to a really neat house in the country where Ciara has a huge yard she runs in all day long. It was fun watching the video and remembering......
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Well once again we were inspired by a video that Johann made a few days ago of some of his backyard agility practice. He did a really cool sequence of jumps, tunnel and then weaves at a distance. So mom set up something similar in our backyard but used the tire because she was too lazy to get the tunnel out! We practiced it a couple times yesterday and then got it on video today. We are not super fast or anything, but this was the first time we had tried to do distance work like this. Mom said she was real proud of me!
When we switched and went the other way - weaves and then the jumps - I had never done it before and so that was my first try. Mom knows she could've told me to jump earlier and given better cues, but she was afraid she'd pull me out of the weaves. Next time we try this sequence, she's going to run faster and see if she can get me to go faster too!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday morning practice went well again this week. We set up the chute in the small ring like last time and practiced it starting with the material folded up a little and progressing to full-length in no time. Mom was happy to see that I was still willing to do the chute and last week wasn't a fluke! We also did well in the big ring on the course.
Last night was our agility class 4. The most exciting news to report is that I DID THE CHUTE in class too - different building, different chute, but I still did it! Hurray! As a matter of fact, mom had trouble keeping me out of it. We were supposed to do a sequence where mom blocks the path to the chute so that I would take a nearby jump and I went straight into the chute! Not what we ultimately want, of course, but mom was very happy to see my enthusiasm. We also worked on some difficult weave entries - a jump at an angle into the weaves, a lead-out push to the weaves, and a jump straight on into the weaves where I had to collect and mom had to make sure to stay out of my way. In the contact section, I did my fastest dogwalk yet - I was actually moving so fast that I had trouble stopping my momentum to do my 2o2o and ended up running right off the end of the walk! I was not used to moving so fast! Our instructor said that I look like a different dog!
This afternoon mom set up a little agility course in the house. We had a tunnel in the kitchen, 6 plungers we got at the Dollar store for weaves, a jump, and a short board for a mini dogwalk. It was really fun! Mom would have me walk-it and then send me into the tunnel while she stayed in the living room, then over the jump and through the weaves while she stayed on the other side of the couch. It ended up being a good distance challenge (I'll be ready for novice FAST in no time!!!). We wanted to take video but we couldn't get the tripod far enough away to get a good view. So we took photos instead to show you our set-up.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Then on Thursday night we went to our third agility class of this session. We didn't get to try the chute there because it wasn't one of the obstacles that was out for us this time. First we started with jumps and mom working on her front crosses. Then we went to contacts. We did more a frame/tunnel discrimination. And dog walk. Well, my instructor was so impressed with my improved confidence level that she told us right there and then that we were ready to move on to the next class level after this session!!! Hurray! There are several classes we could chose from - advanced intermediate, a handling class, or novice courses. Mom is thinking advanced intermediate might be good - they split the room up into two bigger sequences (instead of the four sections with small sequences that we have now). Any way, our instructor also told us she thinks we could start doing trials and she predicts we would go straight through novice and get into open with no problems! This was all very exciting news!!! Then we went on and practiced weaves and finally we ended up with teeter and jumps.
So I had a great agility week! Mom and I are going to work on the chute again this coming Wednesday and once we think I can do it reliably, we will try run-throughs, a show and go, and then maybe a trial in February!!!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I promise to write a real blog entry soon to catch you all up on what a great agility week we had! But until then, here is a video from our walk in the woods today. The thing about zoomies is you just never know when they might hit you!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Unfortunately this is the best photo that dad could get. This long tailed duck is a female and only the males have the long tails. They are diving ducks and can dive as deep as 200 ft. to forage for food! Sounds crazy to me!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Unfortunately this weekend wasn't all that great. Mom and dad had a lot of what they call "gigs." All that really means is they go to work and leave me at home! But worse than that, grandma went into the hospital on Saturday! Apparently her heart doesn't stay in rhythm and even though she's been taking medicine and under a doctor's care, her heart got out of rhythm and she started to get fluid on her lungs and around her heart and that fluid got infected. She is a little better today but has had tests today and will have more tomorrow. The doctors are trying to find the right medicines to help her. She's in a good hospital so I am sure she will get better soon. If I could go and visit her, I would give her lots of get-well kisses!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wilson and I did get to play outside together but we couldn't chase the ball much because my aunt had planted new grass in the yard and she didn't want us to tear it up (well, I wouldn't with my dainty feet, but Wilson is another story!) Dad got some photos of us - we make a handsome pair!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Behind me is a big woods and ravine - it is so pretty in the fall!
Friday, October 17, 2008
The course was pretty easy from a handling view point - pretty much straight line. It started with a lead out (mom needs to remember to set me up so I can see as much of the course as possible - she set me up pretty straight in front of the jump and she should've set me up at an angle so that I could see that I would be turning right after the jump and going to the tunnel), then jump and right turn into a long tunnel, then jump, and right turn onto the teeter, then black tunnel (I did the black tunnel in practice, but when we ran the course, I wouldn't go in the first time - mom brought me back around and then I went in), dogwalk (probably my fastest one yet and a good 2o2o), tunnel, then right turn to table (awesome down and wait!), then weaves, then left turn to a pinwheel made up of tire, jump, jump, then front cross to the aframe (when we ran, mom didn't do a front cross, she just kept me on her right and sent me up the frame at an angle - we didn't realize that was dangerous. The instructor stopped us and told the entire class that we should make a very straight path for the dogs to get on the aframe so that no dogs would jump off - important thing to think about! So we redid the pinwheel and then mom did the front cross and sent me straight up the aframe -I got up and over the aframe real well even though it was high), then she did a forbidden blind cross (our instructors don't like blind crosses and mom does them without thinking!) after the aframe and sent me into the chute (I am SLOWLY making a little progress with the chute - I still won't just run through it, but I will go if it is lifted just a little bit), then left turn, jump, and jump. That was it!
We have next week off from the class and then the next session starts the week after. We're excited even though we are going to repeat the same class level because we think there is still so much we can learn in this class and from these instructors. Today we have had two short backyard practices - and I have been on fire!!! We did a pinwheels and then teeters making sure I went straight onto the teeter, and some serpentines, and weaves, of course. Too bad mom didn't have her video camera on me - I did my fastest weaves to date! Dad saw them from the kitchen window and he couldn't believe it. Now if I could just be that fast in class....
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Mom and I love this video that shows how to train a dog to cross his paws! We have been working on this trick since we watched the video, and I can do it!! We used a small square of yellow paper as the item that I first learned to touch. And since we don't do clicker training, mom would say "yes" whenever I touched the paper. It took awhile for me to get the idea. But now she can just say "cross" and I cross my left foot over my right. Guess now I'll have to learn how to cross the right over the left? Any way, hopefully Emily won't mind our posting her video. She does amazing stuff with her dogs Kiko and Splash! We love to learn tricks and Emily is a real inspiration!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tonight we started with jumps. Mom was still confused on exactly what a lead-out push is and on how to do it. She asked a lot of questions and thinks maybe she finally gets it. I wait on one side of the jump. She goes to the landing side and faces me with her shoulders toward me and her inside arm toward me but her outside leg points in the direction she is going to go. (Is that right?) Then she can stand still close to the jump and call me over the jump for true collection or she can call me over the jump and start moving in the direction she wants me to go. Or she can lead out farther from the jump and closer to the obstacle we are going to and show me the direction to go. Make sense?
Next was weaves and table. My weaves were faster - even with a wire on for the entry. Luckily I am not bothered by the wire any more. We also practiced fast sits or downs on the table. Mom had been rewarding me when I got released from the table, but the instructor suggested she reward me when I am on the table and then the release is another reward in itself. So we'll try that. Right now I have an awesome wait on the table. Mom could walk all over and I don't get up. However don't know what I might do once I get faster and more confident!
Then it was on to teeter, pinwheel and tunnel. I went across the teeter much faster than last class, but I can't say I am racing across it or anything! We did pretty well with the pinwheel - we practice those at home some. Mom needs to figure out just how far into and out of the pocket she can go and still give me good directions. And my tunnels were good!
Finally we did contacts. Tonight we did some fancy stuff. First practiced discrimination again between tunnel and dogwalk. Then we did some longer sequences like tunnel, aframe, front cross, tunnel, tight turn and right up onto the dogwalk. We did jump, jump, dog walk, tunnel, aframe. Any way it's hard to describe but it was fun. And it's cool that we practice stuff in class that is much harder than the novice course stuff that we will see at our first trial.
So we're pretty excited about how well we did and are starting to really look forward to the next class!
Friday, October 3, 2008
My first area during class was jumps. We practiced table and jumps and a sequence using the tire and a front cross close to the tire. Mom needed to make me turn tighter after the tire so she learned how to move to accomplish that.
Next we went to the weaves and jumps. My weaves are getting better - I am still way faster at home with my stick-in-the-ground poles and no distractions. We also did some straight line jumping to work on my speed (or lack thereof).
Then we went to the teeter and chute area. The first time I approached the teeter, I refused to go up. Mom didn't let me get away with that and put my slip lead on and then I went across willingly. Next time I wasn't fast but I did it on my own. The teeter at class and the one at the club are a lot bigger and heavier than the one I have at home and I am still getting used to how fast they tip and how LOUD they are when they hit the ground! I am making slow progress on the chute - I go in the barrel and don't come back out, but I wait to see mom peek through the end and then I go through even when she lets the material fall down on me. I know I am being goofy - but I will get it eventually.
Lastly we did the contacts. This week the tunnel was under the aframe. That didn't scare me like the tunnel under the dogwalk did. We practiced jump, double jump and either sending into the tunnel or over the aframe. My aframes were much faster after my practice at the club. Now mom is going to work on keeping her shoulders straight and her arm out and then lowering her arm as I go down into the contact area. In general mom needs to think more about the position of her shoulders and about where she is looking. If she gives me good cues, I can definitely follow her.
Our instructor said that I did better last night and seemed more confident and mom seemed more relaxed. Hopefully we are headed in a good direction now. This morning we did some practice in the backyard - the jump sequence from last night with the front cross, some weaves and teeter. It went very well! We have also started to get serious about practicing a start line ritual. Now that the weather has cooled off, we hope to get in lots of practicing before winter. I like agility a lot more when it's cool outside!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
A couple days ago mom took me to the park that has the walking path around the big lake. I like going there because mom let's me drag the long line when we are on the far side of the lake. Then I get to run ahead of mom and sniff, etc. It's really fun. We were having a great time until we were close to the end of the loop - mom was holding my leash and making me walk next to her - and we saw up ahead a medium-sized black dog (possibly a portuguese water dog or a labradoodle or something) off-leash but close to his owner. Mom was thinking that since the dog was off-leash, the owner probably had some control over him and that he was probably a friendly dog. Well, as we got closer, the dog was not listening to the owner (when mom heard the lady repeat her commands to her dog she should've known that the dog was not under control). Any way, that dog came over and growled and tried to jump on top of me. Mom moved me away and the owner made a feeble attempt to get her dog under control and he lunged at me again! Mom swooped me up into her arms and the lady was like "sorry". Mom was really mad but she only said, "You mean you have your dog off-leash when he's that aggressive?" The owner said, "he usually isn't." Right, like little old me made him want to kill some body. Well I wasn't hurt and hopefully won't hold a grudge against black dogs! Plus mom won't be so trusting next time (although she still doesn't want to overreact every time a dog is nearby - that isn't good either).
Later that same day, one of dad's student's moms brought over the latest edition to their family - an adorable 14-week-old Australian Shepherd puppy. Mom thought he was so cute! I thought he was a big stupid puppy and why was he in my yard? Fortunately he was kept on a leash for most of the time so that he couldn't trample me out of enthusiasm. I actually had to growl at him and show my teeth to let him know who was the boss. I had never done that before (but I was still a little shaken up by my dog encounter at the lake.)
Today we went to open agility practice at the club where we are members but where we are not currently taking classes. My trainer Deb paved the way for us to get to go - and it was so much fun! The other people training there on Wednesday mornings are really nice (Deb is there too - you know how much I love her!). We each get five minutes to practice on the course by ourselves - we can practice anything we want. Then after everybody goes, you get another turn. Five minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time but it is plenty. Mom was huffing and puffing after running around for that short a time! We worked on aframe (I was flying over it - compared to what I have been doing in class lately). And the tunnel was under the aframe, so we got to work on a little discrimination. I also tried the teeter there - man, it makes the loudest bang I've ever heard when it goes down. I didn't like that but I think I can get used to it. My weaves were slow today but my jumps were good. I did some lead-outs and Deb says I "come to the hand" really well! All I know is I had FUN doing agility today! We are going to try to go every Wednesday morning now.
Dad had his camera out again and took some photos of me playing with my big red ball this afternoon. So we thought we'd share them with you! I'm practicing my "ugly face" in the first photo! I push that ball all over the backyard!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
We had an awesome time!!!
Here is a little video dad took in our backyard during the windstorm. You can see the power line down in the fish pond garden. (Well, I guess you can't really see it. The quality of the video went way down when it was converted from quick time to something that windows movie maker would accept).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Of course there were some positive things about last week. First of all, we had a great time with grandpa and grandma! We spent four nights there and had wonderful company and great meals! I got to run in their big yard each day - I am even getting better at fetch! I am learning from watching my cousin Wilson! My personal record is 7 times of running way out into the yard and bringing the tennis ball back to mom.
On Thursday night I had my 3rd beginning intermediate agility class. This class was our worst so far! The traffic was really bad and it took us twice as long to get there as it should've. So we were late and had to go from sitting in the car for 50 minutes straight into action at the class. We did weave poles first. I kept entering the poles and stopping after one or two to bite at my leg. Mom discovered that I had a burr in my fur (where I picked that up I have no idea). She got it out and then I did the weaves just fine. No wires, thank goodness. We just worked on getting a little speed. Then it was on to contacts. I did a slow but accurate dogwalk but I didn't want to do the aframe at all. Mom encouraged me but I scrabbled up it on my toe nails - it was awful! The instructor picked me up to check to see if I was sore. She showed us how to stretch out my legs. She thought that maybe I was a little sore (earlier in the day dad accidentally rolled his chair back and I was sleepy and didn't move quickly enough and he caught some hair and some of my foot - maybe that was why I was sore). When we moved to the next station, I did a slow teeter but refused to jump the double. After that we did jumps but I didn't want to do those either. So it was pretty much a wasted class. And after we drove in all that traffic to get there! Mom is starting to wonder if maybe classes aren't the right thing for us. We'll see how it goes tomorrow night.
On Saturday I took my CGC test! Our first "competition"! The very first part went well - accepting a stranger and sitting politely for petting. No problems there. Next - appearance and grooming - I looked good, of course, but this lady leaned over me and went right for my ears to examine them and I did not like that at all! I was very fearful and tried to get over next to mom and away from this lady! I also did not want to have anything to do with her touching my feet! Mom asked if we could go on and do the other stations and come back and try again. (Thankfully mom had watched Johann's video of his CGC test and knew that it was possible to try again! Thanks, Johann!) So we went on to other tasks - walking through a crowd, sit and down on command/stay in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distractions, out for a walk. I did all those with no problems. Then we went back to the grooming one, and there was a different lady there. She was very nice and got down on the ground so she wouldn't seem so intimidating to me. Mom got down on the ground too and I managed to be brave enough to let the new lady touch my ears. Then mom handed the lady my front feet one at a time and I let the lady touch them. Whew!! Passed, but just barely!!!! Finally I did my supervised separation - there was no way I was going anywhere without my mom, so I easily laid there until she came back to get me. Any way, I passed the test! Mom was very proud of me!
More later but for now....
Monday, September 15, 2008