My trick for this week is NOT dumbbell related (although it could've been as I have made a lot of progress with the DB and will have to show you sooner or later - LOL)! I have been working on my new trick off and on for awhile and finally have something to show you. Most dogs stand when they do this one but I prefer to sit!! :)
Mom says I need to get all my feet in that littlest bowl but I think she's completely looney!
I love the jump in place exercise in the video - I could do it all day! What could be easier - stand, boing, get treat, repeat! LOL! For my agility guru foundation friends - does it look like I push off from my back legs and jump like I should? (same video but with some slow motion editing here)
Yesterday I made major progress with my dumbbell (you'll be relieved to know that there is no video of that!). Mom stood up straight and acted more confident and I held on to that DB and walked in a circle a few times (on leash). I only dropped it once. We haven't tried it yet today but I am sure we will.
It was sunny and 25 this afternoon and we went on an awesome walk at the park! Even though mom hates winter, she does like going to the park in the winter. There are very few bikers (there was one though on a snowy bike path - crazy) and joggers (there was one of those too) and cars and people. We got to walk in some places we never go - like on the bike path. We saw an opossum out in broad daylight - poor guy was maybe hungry and hopefully not sick? I met a miniature American Eskimo dog that I had met awhile ago but hadn't seen in months and I actually PLAYED with him a little (until he annoyed me and I had to growl to get him to stop). It was all very fun!
Hope everyone is having a nice weekend! I finished my annual holiday video yesterday so I'll post it soon!
We went to open agility practice at our club again today! It was very fun! I have been so cooped up in the house with not much exercise so it was great to be able to go somewhere and do agility!
Mom warmed me up with obedience and tricks again and then we worked on the double and triple jumps and the chute. I hadn't seen the chute there in many months but today I went through it with zero hesitation! We had a curved tunnel set up so that I could go in the tunnel and come out and do the double (this time set up with wings to make it look different). I did all the jumps - no refusing, no knocked bars. Of course, I am pretty relaxed at the club so stress is not usually a factor.
The woman with the dog who was crashing the triple last week was there today too. Her dog did much better. And mom talked to her quite a bit and found out a little more about their training, etc. After talking for awhile, mom admitted that she had been upset last week at watching the dog get punished for knocking the bars. But the woman said it has been years and years of trying many training options and that since her dog just doesn't care if she crashes, she has had to figure out something to make an impression on the dog. She said she hates it too but the way she is working with her dog now is the only thing that has improved the situation. Mom felt a lot better about it all and was really glad they talked!
Actually the woman was super nice and gave us some good advice. They discussed the possible ETS issue and the woman just said - so what if he has it or doesn't - you still have to come up with ways to help him. (something along those lines). Made sense to mom and me. She also thinks that dogs who don't hold their startline stays are often just stressed (as opposed to super excited to run) and that while she trains the dog to have a good stay, she always runs with the dog at a trial. She thinks mom is getting too far ahead of me and that is demotivating me. Like mom should stay with me when I come out of a tunnel and drive towards the next obstacle (yes, we have heard that before but had been trying other things - always experimenting a little). I did a jump to the tunnel and mom yelled GO GO GO at me while I was in the tunnel and I sped up quite a bit. Also if I come out of the tunnel and am headed for the double for instance, mom should tell me - BIG jump - as I am exiting so I can focus faster on the jump instead of focusing on mom first. And the woman thinks that if I do speed up more and get a little more power I might have less trouble getting over the big jumps or if I take off too early, I will have the momentum to clear the jump any way and have more confidence approaching the jump too. So even though mom has always been a cheerleader for me out there, she might need to do even more and be more assertive about it.
Sorry but we really ain't got nothing! LOL! Mom has been working with me on signals - you know, for open obedience - where I am a little distance away and I sit, down, come on hand signal alone. Some times it seems like I know what I am doing and some times I don't! And we have been working more on holding the darn dumbbell! Look at the video - mom says I know what "hold it" means but she can't at all figure out how to get me to WALK while holding it! (this is a new video from today but it is very similar to our other dumbbell videos - I'm beginning to think mom or me is the actual dumbbell!)
Yesterday we went to open agility practice at the club for the first time since June! It was so cold outside and we needed an indoor activity. I got to practice lots of doubles and triples. Two other people there with their dogs were also having trouble with the spread jumps. Those dogs were crashing them - especially the one dog. If her mom ran with her, she jumped fine. But if her mom lead out and was standing there without moving, then she totally came crashing down right on top of the triple! We're sorry to say that her mom got mad at her for knocking down the bars. We think the dog is doing the best she can but maybe we are wrong since we really don't know them at all. Mom ran with me each time and I once again didn't fly freely over like I used to maybe last year, but I didn't refuse and I didn't knock the bars down. Mom also changed the way the jumps looked by adding extra jump standards or on the triple she took all but the highest bar off and then added the bars. We also had fun doing some obedience in the warm up area. It was good for us and we are going to try to go every Wednesday this month.
Today was our last class of the year and of this session so we ran two courses. There was a double jump that was repeated in each course and I did all of them. Mom supported me and didn't take off running too fast and didn't try any fancy handling - she presented the double to me as well as she could each time and that helped. I didn't fly freely over it but I didn't refuse it or knock a bar or anything.
It is super cold outside so there won't be any demo video this week. And there are only a few points that mom wants to try to remember from today. One is that she is not thinking enough about setting a line for me. Like if a handler is doing a lead out, she should think about the line she wants her dog to take and that will tell her where to stand (or where to do a cross if she is not leading out). With all the things that mom tries to think about, she still is not really looking at MY line! Also the handler has to go past the plane of a jump to encourage the dog to follow and not to back jump (this really needs video to show what we mean but hey, not this week - LOL!). And finally, what about lead changes? Every time Jenn brings up something about the dog being on the left lead or right lead or changing leads mom hears, "LaLaLaLa" and her eyes glaze over. So during the three week break from classes, maybe mom will study that a little bit and then she can help me even more out on the course.
At the end of class we started to try some "bombproof" weave drills. First one, put your dog on a stay and go to the end of the poles. Recall your dog through the weaves and as your dog starts towards you, you walk in the direction the dog is coming. Disaster!!! I thought I had done something wrong when I started weaving and then saw mom coming towards me - so I stopped weaving and wouldn't go any farther. (Mom wishes she wouldn't have even tried this one with me as I was a little demotivated and bummed by it). Oh well, we won't be practicing that one but it might be good for some dogs. Then next drill was the handler leads out or just gets ahead of the dog, the dog starts weaving and the handler runs through the poles to the other side (like around pole 8). We were good at that one. Another one which we didn't get time to try is moving one set of 6 poles at an angle (little bit at first) so that eventually the dog does 6 poles and keeps going into the other 6 but they are angle at maybe almost 90 degrees. Sounds interesting and we'll try it some day.
We want to say thank you to all who left us comments on my last post! We really appreciate the thoughts, advice, support and concern from everyone! I wish I could say we have a plan or we are not still kind of freaking out etc. but I can't. Worrying about whether I do or don't have ETS has taken some of the joy out of doing agility.
But we did do a little triple practice today. Mom taped some of my jump bars with red stripes and then fashioned a triple jump out of three of my regular jumps. When I first tried it, I did hesitate a little and I jumped it close to the right side posts. I gained confidence and was soon sailing over it (although I do take off pretty early). No knocked bars. Here are a few of my tries (there were two single jumps before the triple but they are not in the video):
Mom is planning to make the jump look different every day so that maybe I will get used to weird looking jumps.
A couple weeks ago we made this little video loosely based on our friend Dare's forward sends - mom just wanted to see if I would keep going to the jump as she moved farther back. I am slow but I get the job done! :)
Yes, that's right - I went to my Tuesday class today! Mom can't take me tomorrow so we were lucky enough to get to go today. Different group of people and dogs but the same level class. It was good for me to have class with dogs I didn't know.
Today we just ran parts of an international course (Jenn has some try-out soon). The sequences were pretty difficult and lots of times mom couldn't really see what to do and made stuff up as she went along. So we don't have a lot of concrete ideas to share this week. One thing that we need to work on - keeping me from cutting behind mom to do the weaves! Several times I thought it would be fun to weave instead of go where mom was headed! So I guess we will be proofing that! :) Also the double jump was out and I refused it. Then when mom had me try it again, I stuttered stepped and finally jumped it.
We made a very brief video of the end of one of our sequences from today with a few different ways to handle it. There was a line of jumps before the first one in our video and dogs flew out of a tunnel and down the line so fast that mom couldn't even get ahead of me! HA! Any way, the third jump is taken towards the tree (so it's not a 180 from 2 to 3). The first and second times we do a serpentine (mom didn't see that option at all in class until Jenn mentioned it and then she really liked it), third time is a front cross between 2 and 3, fourth is a push - I'm not sure if that's what it's called - and the last time a rear cross at 2. Oh and by the way, Sara, mom got her hair cut so don't be all distracted by that and try to focus on me - LOL!!!
Remember back in September when I had those awful runs at a trial where I refused jumps and even the weaves? Then Dr. Jan found that my back was sore. Mom thought that would be the answer to my problems. But we didn't tell you all that at that trial, Jenn suggested that I probably have ETS (early take-off syndrome). Mom didn't believe her - but that is why she has been watching my every move - especially when we practice at home - and asking you guys if you see anything when I jump off to the side of a jump or when I face plant, etc. Today at class after I refused the double again, Jenn said something like I have ETS and mom will have to always help me with the doubles and triples (ie. support them and manage them). Mom did not realize that the verdict was in in Jenn's mind and that it was now a foregone conclusion that I definitely have ETS until today when Jenn made that statement. And we have not talked much to Jenn about it. But mom is totally freaked out. We haven't researched it much but there is no test for depth perception in dogs. I don't know that you can get a clear diagnosis. Any way, I can still do agility but the faster I go the harder it is for me to judge distances and depths then. When I knock bars, it undermines my confidence and makes my problem worse so that eventually I may not be able to do agility. We don't know. There is a lot more to my relationship with mom than agility but still.....
I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! I spent the day with my Cousin Wilson! It rained almost nonstop all day but around 2:00PM we had a little break and mom took Wilson and I outside to play. Wilson fetches the ball and I herd Wilson. Very fun!
Any way, finally a post about my class this week. I was very good again and did everything right! The only problem (not a problem for me, but...) was that I am still scanning the floor for food (of course) and while I keep going and don't actually stop (yay for me), Jenn says it is slowing me down and mom really needs to work with me on it (oh no).
Our skills drill for this week was working on the teeter and independence. I have a good but excruciatingly slow teeter. But I can be recalled over it and can be rear crossed, front crossed, blind crossed, and continue to do it when mom is a long way away from me laterally. So if I ever learn to tip it faster - look out!
The main theme for this class was box work. It was not a very tight box set-up and we did well with it. We also had some tunnel entrance discriminations in the sequences we ran.
We made a video of the part of a sequence that we most want to remember. The first time we did it, mom did a forward motion front cross (fmfc) and it worked well but she needed to remember to get her outside arm up sooner as that is what is cuing me to the turn. The other way to deal with this sequence was to do a lead out and be in the directed jump recall position. I didn't know this but this recall is named after the directed jump exercise in open obedience. Now it makes more sense! Until Tuesday, we didn't really know how to do it (even though mom had studied it).
Here's what we tried in the video:
1. FMFC - late outside arm
2. FMFC - better outside arm cue
3. Directed jump recall - mom is standing behind the right-side jump standard of #2 and trying to face forward where I would be enroute to jump #2
5. Directed jump
6. Directed jump - mom finally trusted me to take #2 and moves out of position earlier - this is really how it should be
We decided to play tRicky T-Day today instead of our usual Thursday since that is Thanksgiving Day and we will be too busy eating to do any tricking!
So you know how I have been struggling to open the door - well, mom had the brilliant idea that I should learn to open a door that is smaller and not as heavy - my crate door! We worked on this a little yesterday and then today we videoed. That crate door is easier for me to move and then I figured out to go in there and lie down on my own! Mom doesn't tell me to go in or to lie down! Neat huh? We edited the video so you don't see all 5 minutes of us working on it but the two clips of me getting the door pulled open on the first try are for real (not sneaky edits). Now how can I learn to pull the door closed once I am in there?
For anyone who is worried, don't be, I will be posting about my class later in the week complete with my demo video! I don't have a lot of new stuff to tell so nobody get too excited....
I am finally getting around to posting a video of a sequence from class this week. It is not earth-shattering or anything, but something mom wanted to think about, practice, and hopefully remember. Ok, first of all, imagine that the tire is a teeter and the jump/weaves in the background is the dogwalk (that's how it was set up in class). When everybody ran this, lots of dogs were turning wide after jump #2 (the teeter/tire is #1) and looking at the dogwalk. Most of the handlers were moving laterally after the teeter/tire and sending their dog to #2 and then front crossing close to #3 on the landing side. This was causing the dogs to turn wide and possibly even think that #3 was to be layered. So Jenn said for the handler to send the dog to #2 and move laterally and run close to the take-off side of #4 and do the front cross there (downstream). And Bingo! All of us dogs turned nice and tight and not one of us came through the gap between #2 and 3! I think this is a good skill to have and one that could be easily forgotten or overlooked by relative newbies like mom!
Did you all see me coming over the last jump and kind of swerving and aiming for the side of the jump to go over every time? Why do you think I am doing that?
Back to class today! The main subject was like-obstacle discriminations - the two ends of a curved tunnel. We had learned before that to cue the obvious entrance of the tunnel the handler should say, "tunnel" and use the appropriate motion, and to cue the less obvious tunnel entrance the handler should say, "Dog's name," get a head check and then say, "tunnel." It is important to actually say tunnel after the dog's name so that the dog does not think every time he hears his name, he should just automatically enter the tunnel. We are also supposed to practice occasionally saying the dog's name and getting a head check when a tunnel is not involved so as not to pattern train the dog. Remember that the dog's name is only ever used for attention and not as a turning cue.
I did well today! We warmed up with a few extension recalls to heel over one jump and then had to throw in a couple where mom stood to the side of the jump and past the plane and called me to heel next to the jump (I didn't take the jump, I came right to mom!). Then we did the work on the two entrances of the tunnel - I got everyone right! The only thing I missed in the entire class - I had a refusal at the chute because mom moved WAY too far laterally and pulled me off of it!
To end the class we did a skills drill with weave entries - 3:00, 1:00, 12:00, 11:00, and 9:00 - (I think I understand the around the clock thing) and I got all of my entries, of course! :)
There was one sequence we did that we want to practice again so we'll try to video it later this week (it's too difficult to try and explain it with words only). It's raining - our first rain in a long time - so no video today!
Thanks for all the nice and supportive comments about my crash the other day! It's good to know I am not the only jump crasher out there. Just wish we knew what really does cause it to happen!
This evening we went out to do just a little jumping with two jumps - it was dusk but still light enough to see. I did all of my warm up stuff - heeling, tricks, cookie stretches - and then some foundation recalls over one jump. Then I did two jumps straight in a row, then a few 270's and then jump, forward parallel send (as if in a pinwheel) and back to the first jump. I was flying back to the first jump and crashed over it - knocked the bar and face planted and almost somersaulted. I got right up and came for my treat and mom gave me some and then had me jump again - which I did fine. I went on to do a few more jumps including some doubles.
BUT now mom is worried. Why did I crash that jump so spectacularly? Was is bad lighting, was I going too fast, was it a fluke, am I hurting, is there something wrong with my eyesight? I used to never ever knock bars. Now I am more excited doing agility and go faster (especially in my own backyard). Do I just need to learn how to manage my faster speed? I know lots of dogs drop bars but most don't seem to land on their face!
For this week's tRicky T-Day we decided to show you a couple of my new cane tricks (it's not really a cane - it's the handle of an old shovel but cane sounds better). These tricks are still in progress but I know them well enough to show you, I guess. Maybe we'll eventually get an entire freestyle routine together - but mom is not a good dancer - just warning you.
We have had AWESOME weather this week! Don't know why we have been so lucky but it's been highs in the 60s with blue and sunny skies! I can't help but think this will be it for the year. It's supposed to be nice all the way through Saturday! On Tuesday we went to the park, yesterday we practiced agility in the backyard, and today we went to the park again. Tomorrow we are going on a hike with dad! Plus we've been raking leaves and cleaning up the flower garden. Wish we could have this weather all year long - I can't imagine ever getting tired of it!
We've been doing a little of this and a little of that for the past few days. Last week mom started charting some of my training using Sara and Oreo's log layout. It has been interesting - mom forgets to write some stuff down - but it is useful to see what we actually did in a week. For now our columns are labeled agility, strengthening exercises, tricks, walking with cars and other barking issues, and focus/motivation.
We try to do agility only every other day at most and usually still work on lots of foundation jumping and easy stuff. Yesterday we did agility for targets - I LOVE that - target after the DW = super fast DW. Target after the weaves = super fast weaves. I even practiced a pinwheel sequence with a target at the end (= super fast)! No dog could ever beat me if food targets were allowed in trials - LOL!
For strengthening exercises I am backing up the stairs and doing ball work - but ball work only 2 to 3 times a week and never the same day as agility. Mom also is really careful to warm me up before agility and that includes those cookie stretches that were on AgilityNerd's blog a few days ago.
I am learning a couple new tricks (maybe they will be ready for a video on Thursday) and still perfecting others.
Walking in the morning is still a big challenge for me - some times I can sit and watch a car go by and not bark and other times I just can't. We haven't been able to see any progress on the log yet. We practiced going through the garage past the mower a few times last week and there is marginal improvement there. So many issues, so little time! :)
In focus/motivation, we practice lots of startline stays that don't even include a jump - mom tries to get me to run fast to her - and to work me up she tricks me by saying, "oh boy" or "on man" etc. instead of "OK!" We are also doing the go out to the box trick and a little crate games - which I think are really fun!
The new thing we started two days ago was glove work. Do you all remember the articles in Clean Run last March, April and May titled: Let's Play! A Fail-safe Plan to Teach Your Dog to Love Toys? Well, you take an item that the dog has no association with (in this case a knit glove I have never seen before) and teach the dog through many little steps and lots of reinforcement to love that glove! At first I just have to nose touch the glove when it is presented right in front of my nose and then I get a treat! What could be easier than that? Many repetitions and still so easy! Mom is trying to go slow and not skip any steps. I love the game so far! I play with toys and tug and have fun but I am not at all interested in tugging around agility stuff - in the yard, at class or at trials. I think playing with toys and agility are two completely separate things. So mom is hoping she can change that with the glove!
My class tomorrow was unexpectedly cancelled. Too bad because I was really looking forward to it! Mom and I have to say we are enjoying not going to trials though and having time to relax and just work on our own stuff. We did sign up for a trial on January 2nd. We could be going on January 1st too but decided one day would be enough.
I see that some of you are having cold weather and snow even but here we are lucky this week and it's supposed to be sunny and in the 60s. Don't know what we did to deserve it but we're going to try to get out and enjoy it. Winter is right around the corner.
Oreo inspired us to keep working on opening and shutting doors with his tricky t-day videos from a little while ago. I am much better at shutting doors than I am at opening them! Does that say something about me?
I did GREAT in today's class! We started off with a deceleration dogwalk drill - Jenn had our treat and acted as a target and each dog ran the DW to her when it was their turn. We did it about four times, and each time the handler was supposed to stop running farther back from the end of the DW (you know so that eventually the handler can decel and move into position for the next obstacle and the dog would continue and finish the DW on their own). Well, I could've cared less what mom was doing once I knew that my treat was waiting at the end of the DW! I love my targets! I could hardly wait for my turn and kept wanting to take off when the dog before me in line was told to "Walk it!" Mom had to laugh!
After that we practiced some 270 recalls to heel with one jump because the theme of the class was 270s. We were once again glad we had been reviewing recalls to heel - mom knew what to do and how to set me up, etc.
Then we started doing sequences with 270s. First we did the 270 with a pull (no side change). This does not use the recall to heel position. There are 3 parts to the handling of a 270 - first is a forward send to the first jump. The handler should decelerate to indicate a turn but should not move laterally and should not move past the plane of the jumps (see the photo below - the jump bars on the ground indicate the plane the handler should not cross). Dog sends over the first jump then second the handler turns and runs (walks) towards the second jump and this motion pushes the dog around to the back of the second jump, and third - the handler pulls the dog over. Make sense?
The other way to do a 270 is with a front cross (when a side change is necessary) and with a front cross, the handler does use the recall to heel. Everything is the same as above but as the dog comes around the back of the second jump, the handler gets her outside arm up and begins rotating for the FC. When doing a 270 with FC, the handler should not move past the middle of the second jump when she sends her dog to the first jump or she will be out of position for the FC.
Ok, we tried to show you with this video. First we do a couple 270 recalls to heel with one jump. Mom does not like her footwork and wishes she were making her inside leg more obvious to me and making sure she was at a 90 degree angle to the jump. After that, 2 tries at the 270 with a pull - I am such a good demo dog - I do things slowly enough so that you all can see! LOL! And finally we do a couple tries of the 270 with a front cross. Hope we did well enough for you to get and idea. We should've put a jump in at the beginning to possibly increase my speed though.
Mom wasn't sure I would be able to do the 270s with the jumps so far apart but I surprised her and did them all! I got every 270 today and did great dogwalks and aframes and weaves! I jumped 12" and I did the double a few times just for practice and had no trouble with it. Mom is keeping her fingers crossed that I am feeling better finally!!
We love walking during the Fall - the leaves are gorgeous, flowers are still hanging in there from the summer, the air is clear and dry. Mom and I went to my favorite park a couple weeks ago and took these pictures but haven't put them on the blog until now! The first one is our favorite!
This park is only five minutes from my house - I get to go there all the time and I just love it! We are so lucky!
Dad, mom and I went for a fun hike today at one of our favorite places - Clear Creek Metro Park. It takes us about 45 minutes to get there, but boy is it worth it! We had the whole place to ourselves! It was supposed to be a sunny day but when we got there (around 12:30PM) it was cloudy and in the upper 40s. Mom even had to wear ear muffs because the breeze was so cool. It was perfect weather for me though! We did the pet trail - which is a dirt road up to the top of the ridge - and then on our way back we went on the Lake Trail (it technically did not say "no pets"). That trail was awesome - it went through forest and then a hemlock forest and then down to a little lake. We didn't get great photos but here are some so you can see any way.
We walked for a little over an hour and by that time, the sun came out. I got the zoomies really bad at the grassy picnic area and dad tried to get video, but I was way too fast. We did see an amazing flock of migrating grackles - it was very cool - and here is a little video so you can see and hear them too!
Sorry about the lack of a tRicky T-Day video yet again this week! We ARE still playing, Sara and Oreo, so don't give up on us! Thank you for keeping it going all these weeks that we miss!
Serpentines and lateral sends were the theme of yesterday's class. I jumped 8" but there weren't any doubles or triples in the set up for us to try out. We warmed up with some serpentine recalls to heel over one jump. Mom was glad we had been practicing those at home so we had no trouble. Then we did a weave exercise with lateral motion. Jenn had the handlers start close to their dogs at the entries and then move laterally away as the dog continued weaving. She moved the lateral distance farther and farther away but my weaves are super independent ( sorry but I have to brag a little!) and it was no problem for me!
Then we moved on to the actual sequences with serpentines. We discussed single-sided handling and side-change handling. A general rule is if after the serpentine you are heading to any obstacle that is on the same side as the serp entry, then single sided makes sense. If you need to go to an obstacle on the other side of the serp, then side change may work better - so a FMFC. Think about the tightest line possible to help your dog get through the serp. So recalling him at his jump height from the bar and good lateral motion can create tighter lines. The good lateral motion involves having a good send to the first jump in the serp. Handlers need to remember to keep their shoulders straight while moving laterally until the dog commits to the jump. Finally, the single-sided serp handling is a trained skill for the dog and it is appropriate to say the dog's name before he commits to the second jump (I think I have that part right?).
Besides traditional serpentines, we practiced doing the first two jumps and then having the dog come through between the 2nd and the 3rd. It's hard to explain but we made a video and here's what we tried to do:
1. Lead out, single-sided to pull through between the 2nd and 3rd jump of the serp
2. No lead out, regular 3 jumps single-sided serp
3. No lead out, pull through
4. Lead out, double front cross bringing dog between the 2nd and 3rd jump - this is a safer option and is what we would do in a trial
5. No lead out, double front cross
6. Serp from the other direction (sorry you couldn't see the weaves at the end)
I don't understand why the video is the correct size in the preview but when I publish the post, the video is too big. Silly. Sorry but to see the video properly, you have to double click on the center of it and watch it at YouTube.
Dr. Jan wanted to see me jumping a double jump so we made this video for her and just decided to share it with everyone. I had no trouble today and even jumped the jump when mom wasn't looking (before we started working together).
Mom went back and looked at parts of my trial videos from the past few months this afternoon and was sad to see that she had to go all the way back to March 2010 to see me jumping more freely. She didn't realize that I had been having trouble for so many months. She knew that I had refused some jumps but she thought it was her handling or me being slow and not confident or it was just my jumping style (or lack there of). Mom doesn't really know what to think any more.
We are really out of ideas for tricks! There are some tricks that we keep working on from time to time - handstand, limp, open door, roll up in blanket, holding different objects. But these tricks don't seem to get any better!
So because we still want to keep participating, here is our trick for today that I actually learned today! Mom is trying to get me to drive to the box and turn and sit quickly. The first times I tried it in the upstairs bedroom and hallway were the best (of course we didn't have the camera on), then later we moved to the living room and then finally outside. The distance outside is pretty good but it's hard to tell in the video. Also I decided to lie down one time since mom forgot to say sit. For anyone who trains obedience - is this one way to train go outs? And if so, what command do you use and how do you fade the box?
I went back to class today for the first time in 3 weeks! Today's class was all about forward sends. Actually it started out with a startline stay exercise. I had to sit and wait and let mom take off my leash and then put it back on, then sit and wait while she lead out and came back, then do it again while she did jumping jacks and then pounded on the floor and then pretended to release me with a word that is not my release word (ok) and motion - mom said "pizza" and put her arm in the air. All easy for me, I did not break my startline. Any way, you get the idea - proof your startline stays!
Our first sequence was DW, forward send, and then back down a line of jumps that included a double. I jumped 12" and looked fine but refused the double. Mom kept going and I happily finished the sequence. After that mom moved me down to 8". The next sequence had the double in it too and I jumped it at 8". So mom thinks I am either still a little sore or I have lost my confidence about doing the spread jumps since it hurt so much to do them in August and September. Hopefully that is all it is.
The good news today is I did the chute both times!
Random forward send thoughts (nothing new - just reminders):
1. the handler needs to keep both of her shoulders facing forward toward the jump until the dog commits
2. the handler can go as close to the jump as necessary for her dog - send does not mean distance
3. a good forward send helps get the handler into a better position (ahead) to show the dog where to go next (like if you are not changing sides, the handler needs to see that the dog is committed and then turn and RUN)
4. don't forget to practice sends to a jump that is parallel to you (ie. dog is heading toward the jump upright thingy and not heading straight on toward the bar). A "parallel" send is a really good skill to have
We are pulling out of the one day of the trial we were entered in this weekend (Friday). Mom wants me to be stronger and more confident before we trial again and doesn't want me to continue to practice refusing the big jumps. We are going to keep jumping 8" in class for awhile and work at home on getting me going again. There's no hurry now. The next trial we might enter is New Year's weekend. Plenty of time to relax and keep working on foundation stuff.
Mom's getting nervous about our class tomorrow - she's hoping I don't show any signs of my back problem. I told her I am ready and for her to stop worrying!
We fixed 5 of my jumps this weekend and added jump cups (Dawn told us about this website awhile ago and we just got around to doing something about it) so that those 5 jumps are all 12" and the bar will come down if I hit it. Mom wants to be able to monitor my jumping a little better and also teach me that if I knock a bar, it's not the end of the world and I should go on (if I knock bars in trials, I get all weirded out).
Here is the video of me trying the jumps out today - my first time doing more than two jumps in a row since September 26. Do I look ok? A couple times mom thought she saw me add extra strides. Might just be my jumping style though since I am a cautious, want-to-get-it-right kind of dog.
This week we went back to the site of training challenge #1 - Antrim Lake. We couldn't believe that it had already been two months since we were there. We had been meaning to repeat this challenge much sooner. And we should have - I was a B-A-D dog! I did much better the last time we were there. This time I lunged and barked and whined at cars. I told mom what could she expect - I had been resting my back for two weeks and I needed to release some of that pent up energy! So I pulled and barked my way along the path near the highway. Then when we got to the backside of the lake and I was allowed to drag my leash, I did a little better. We went down on the footpath in the woods that parallels the main path (that's where the wordless Wednesday photos came from) and I wanted back up on the main path so badly - every time there was an access, I either ran half-way up it or looked pleadingly at mom - when it finally came time to get back up there, I flew up and scared the poop out of a jogger! Mom apologized and felt bad for the girl. See - I had absolutely no manners out there.
We know we need to repeat all of the training challenges we have done this summer. It was good to get out there and try new things each week but one time didn't solve any of my issues.
Any way, how do all of you who are participating in the training challenge feel about ending the challenge for now and picking it up again in the Spring? We are really impressed by everyone's results this summer! I think we all got out there and got out of our comfort zones and learned a lot! We appreciate all of your support and encouragement! I feel like the training challenge was a huge success thanks to all of you!
I am slowly getting back into agility. Mom has been very careful with me this week. We have been doing warm-up exercises like the ones in Clean Run this month. And we are doing the stretching exercises shown in this Agility Nerd post. I have also been doing a little ball work. I have been jumping one jump and occasionally two and then yesterday I got to do 6 weaves twice! While I was injured we worked on recalls to heel on the flat. Now we are adding a jump. I think I am looking pretty good but mom still wishes I would blast off the startline. She is happy that I seem to be more focused and happy to be working. We made a video - nothing very exciting. First foundation RTH. Then extension RTH. Then backy-uppy RTH. These are the ones we were doing on the flat. The foundation one is the most important one, I think.
My class starts up again on Tuesday. We'll see how I do. I have one day of a trial scheduled for Friday and mom is not sure she wants me to go. That is my last trial until New Year's Day. So either we go and try it or we cancel and give me two more months off from trialing. If I look good in my class, maybe we'll go?
I just came back from seeing Dr. Jan at her house again - she was nice enough to re-examine me to see if my back pain was gone. Well, she said I feel much better! She checked my spine and my knees again. She pushed on exactly the same spot along my lower back that last time brought me to my knees but not today. So she says I am good to go back to my usual routine but that mom should ease me into the agility stuff. Fine by us! We have a whole week to go until our class starts again so we have plenty of time to go slow. The real test will be when I try a spread jump for the first time. We won't do that until next week at least and maybe not even then. Luckily at class we can do as little or as much as we think I can.
Now all I need is for mom to stop worrying! She has been a mess! And even now that she got the good news about me, she is still having trouble letting go of the worry and believing that I am ok. She hasn't been able to keep her mind on doing fun stuff with me - no trick-training, no training challenges, no blog posts. She has been either at work or at home obsessing and worrying about me. I am hoping that she feels better about things soon and that we can get back to having some fun!!
Gotta zoom (apparently I am finally legally allowed to)!
Remember the little border collie puppy Dax that my mom shamelessly played with while she was on vacation in San Diego and I was pining away for her at grandma and grandpa's last month? He would be my uncle Dax, I guess. Any way, he is the already the star of his own video! He is learning how to be a great obedience dog like his brothers Kyle and Kellan. Check him out - he is doing so well and it is really cool to be able to see a master obedience trainer at work with a puppy!
My vet Dr. Jan called yesterday to hear how I was doing. Mom told her I am full of energy and that on Tuesday, I took off in the backyard to chase the mailman at the fence and was running super fast and jumped a hosta with full extension - I flew through the air and it felt so good! Dr. Jan told mom to start trying me just a little with low jumping. So I got to do some warm up tricks - fun! - and then did some recalls to heel over an 8 in. jump and it was AWESOME! I was so very happy to be doing something again! I still have a lot of resting to do but I think I get to do a little more jumping later today. Guess only time will tell if I am healed or not.
Many of you have already been faced with this training challenge or are also facing it right now the same as us. The challenge - no training! And dealing with baby gates and stairs! LOL! We live in a split level house - it's upstairs to the bedrooms and downstairs to the lower level, the garage and the backyard. I usually go up and down these stairs 500 million times a day. Since I am not allowed to do stairs for 14 days (10 more to go - we started counting over when I got the Deramaxx), mom carries me up and down and up and down while moving the baby gates from top to bottom and back.
The no training part of the challenge is really difficult for us! We miss it so much! I jumped my last jump a week ago. (I feel for all of you who have been in rehab for so long - like Miley). We try to work on tricks, etc. but it's hard to keep me from boinging (reminds me of Oreo when he was going through his 3+ months of rest and rehab). Mom started to teach me some crate games - we don't have the official Susan Garrett DVD but we watched this video to get an idea of how to start:
We are also still working on recalls to heel on the flat but just in the house and over a very small distance. I am driving toward mom better now - of course because I am dying to do something!!
One thing is for sure - this week's training challenge definitely meets the criteria of "out of our comfort zone"!
I got to see my real vet (Dr. Jan) this afternoon at her house! Dr. Jan hasn't been my vet for about a year because she had neck surgery and is recovering but couldn't practice. She is not really back to work yet but she is so nice and said she would examine me at her house for free! You all probably don't remember but I like her a lot!
Any way, she watched me walk and checked my neck, my spine, my feet, my knees and my hips. From what she could feel she thinks I have some inflammation in my back - in my spine sort of just above my hips (maybe around L-3 and it's mostly on the right side of my spine). That is the only place that she thought I was kind of ouchy. She does say that my right anterior cruciate is a little weaker than my left but she doesn't think there is a problem there. That's good news! She thinks the twitchy-ness of that right leg could be the pain in the nerve radiating down my leg.
So just like Diana suggested, I am officially on two weeks of rest. No jumping and no stairs. I can still go on walks and even run just a little bit. I am going to take deramaxx for a week too for the inflammation. Then after two weeks we gradually get back to my normal stuff - adding low jumps and progressing to the spread jumps eventually. If I am still not better by then, we have to do x-rays, etc. Of course we are so hoping that rest and the anti-inflammatory will do the trick!
I know we usually do our tRicky T-Day on Thursdays but mom said she would be too busy to help me this Thursday so we had better do it today! We put together a little video showing you my limited progress with retrieving the dumbbell. I am going to get it and bringing it about half-way back but seem to be like those people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time! I can't hold it and walk at the same time! LOL! Forget about holding it and sitting. Mom has tried to get me to do that and I can't! Any advice?
My leg is the same we think. I am not allowed to jump or do stairs (mom has been carrying me up and down most of the time but it's pretty difficult in a tri-level house - stairs to go to bed and the computer room, stairs to the kitchen, stairs to go outside). I am still going on walks and doing some very minimal playing (no jumping). Diana suggested heat 3 times a day so we are doing that. We contacted my vet but haven't seen her for an exam yet. We're hoping for that soon - she said she would have to see me to get a better idea if it is knee, hip, back, or leg. One thing mom realized is that for a long time now when she brushes me, I twitch that right leg and pull it up closer to my body. She thought I was being a weirdo and never dreamed that I could be injured. Until I stopped jumping the other day, that is the only sign I ever gave her of anything being wrong and she didn't really see it. It hasn't been too bad to rest the past two days because it has been raining here. It will be harder when the weather gets nicer again.
We got home from cousin Wilson's house around lunchtime and after lunch we did my training challenge for this week. Nothing too strenuous or demanding today but something that mom does not do enough of - she and I walked my neighborhood walk with dad! I bet you can't believe this is a challenge but it is! I behave totally differently when I do stuff with mom and dad together. Dad's presence gets me really excited so it's harder for me to control myself. We hadn't even tried to walk all together for months and months. I am happy to say I did a good job today! One time I spun once (but did not bark) when a car went by and other than that, I sat and watched each car and then looked to mom for a treat just like I do when it is only me and mom. We all felt good about the challenge and are planning to try it again soon.
I am taking a break from agility for awhile and resting my right back leg. Mom got some conflicting advice over the weekend that upset her but now we have a plan (thanks to Diana who is so good at analyzing video and seeing what is happening) and we're going to rest and see if I get better. Mom is not going to panic or anything. The only thing I seem to be having any trouble doing is pushing off my hind legs to jump - I am acting completely normal where everything else is concerned - so if it is a tight muscle in my thigh then not jumping and using some heat and resting should help. Paws/fingers crossed. I guess it is lucky we have the three-week break from class and if I need to miss the trial on this Sunday, I will. We will wait and see how I am this week. Thank you for everyone's concerned comments from yesterday! We truly appreciate you all!
We had a good day today at the trial! Aunt Laura came to hang out with us and to video our runs! I love grandma but I also love having my aunt with us!
My standard run was good - I did the chute - and I beat the standard course time but I refused a double jump so we didn't Q. Mom thought I ran really well though.
My JWW run went great - I ran pretty fast throughout and mom made a nice save to keep me out of the wrong end of a tunnel and I got a Q! So if it weren't for that dumb double in STD, I would've had my first ever QQ. At least I know I can do it time-wise!
After the trial we went to Cousin Wilson's and we're here now spending the night so we can go to the trial tomorrow!
I don't have a fancy new trick for you all today but we are working on getting me to hop into position for my finish on the left side for obedience (or just for fun). I learned a high nose touch and then mom incorporated that nose touch and my "swing" hand motion and viola - I can kind of do it! (Swing is our word for get into that left-side finish position). I know my final position is not that great for hard-core obedience but I am getting it! Sorry the video is so dark - it was sunny in the room - don't know what happened.
We leave tomorrow for the trial that is near my Cousin Wilson's house. We compete tomorrow and Saturday and then come home on Sunday. It should be fun! It has been super HOT here - today was supposed to set a new record high - and tomorrow will be hot too but then it should cool off and be nice for the rest of the weekend. Hope this trial location has good a/c!
Today was our last class for this session and the next session doesn't start until October 19th! The last week is always running a course and Jenn had a difficult one for us! It started out with that lead out pivot or forward motion front cross that we worked on last week. Then there were challenges everywhere like DW with lateral motion to a serpentine recall (we didn't do that because mom knew I would blow my contact if she didn't babysit it) and aframe with lateral motion to the back side of a jump (mom used a double front). It seemed as though every jump was taken from the side you would least expect! It was fun but mom forgot one tunnel and then directed me in the wrong direction over a jump but I did everything she asked me to do!
Not many new thoughts from this week but just a couple things we want to remind ourselves of:
Backy-uppy -the handler should never stand past the plane of the jump or she may cause the dog to back jump.
Lead out pivot - STAND STILL
Forward motion front cross - use outside arm
So during the few weeks we have off, mom is going to reread Linda Mecklenburg's articles from Clean Run (we have June 2008 as the first one but that is already part 3 in the series) and we are going to work on some foundation handling. I never learned the recall to heel on the flat foundation exercises so we'll start with that. We are also going to review the last few sessions of Jenn's class and practice and review some of the more difficult skills. And we are going to try to increase my ground speed again. Previously we worked on racing to a target and on some speed circles and jump chutes. If anyone has some ideas for us, please let us know. I have gotten faster on course but I really need to RUN if I am going to have a chance of making time in the ExcB classes!
I ran JWW first again today. Mom stretched me before my run and she could tell that my right hind leg was tight because I wouldn't let her move it as much as my other hind leg. But I was moving ok and standing on my back legs and doing tricks so she wasn't too worried. I did a really good job in jumpers and ran clean but I was over time by 4 seconds so no Q.
As soon as we finished JWW, mom had to walk the standard course. She was really happy to see that like yesterday, the chute was towards the end when I am building up momentum because I can see the finish line and smell the chicken! Everything went well until mom forgot to front cross after #17 to block the weaves from my sight - I saw them and went to do them again - but mom was able to redirect me before the judge had a chance to start his dance! I went right into the chute - the fastest chute I have ever done in a trial I think! And then we were done! Guess what? I qualified and I got my AX!!!!!!!!! (This weekend was the first time I have Qed in STD since April!)
Here is today's video courtesy of my personal videographer grandma!
Now I am a total ExcB dog which is awesome but also means that I have to get faster or I will never Q again!
JWW was first up for me at the trial today! Mom walked the course more than usual to try to really have a plan and stick to it. We had a weird start because the leash runner disappeared and mom and I walked the leash over to the team that went before us. Then we got into position and off we went. Things were going well until #12 - the triple. I kind of tripped or stutter stepped before it but jumped it. Then as we approached #18 - a double - I don't know - I felt something stiff in my back leg and I refused to do the big jump and then missed #19 too and then just took the off-course for the finish.
When we left the course, people were asking if I was ok or was I hurt or something. You know mom - she was a little panicked. She had seen me trip before #12 but thought she had done something at the end to not indicate the jumps properly. We had Jenn's mom Susan look at me and she thought my right thigh muscle was tight. She showed mom how to do some stretches on me and said that in her opinion, I had a sore muscle but not a serious injury and could go on to do the next run. She said I would tell mom if I was hurt. And as a matter of fact, she said two of her Shelties had the exact same thing!
So mom decided to let me try the standard run. Silly mom forgot that the second obstacle was the DW but recovered in time to direct me to it. She thought she saw me willing myself over jumps (not just taking them easily) but I kept going and had no trouble with running up the aframe. It's impossible to see in the video but I did the chute - I very cautiously entered the barrel but came out pretty fast.
At the end of our run, one of our friends said the judge did not call a refusal! Seriously? Wow! We checked my time and guess what? I qualified!!! Thank goodness for the little bit of extra time you get in Exc. A! We passed the judge in the hallway later and mom thanked him for not calling a refusal on the chute and he said that I never stopped moving! WooHoo! He was a nice man!
Here is the video (thanks to my grandma again)!
Since we've been home, mom has done some stretching with me and I have run up and down the stairs a million times following mom everywhere. So maybe it was just a flukey thing? We'll see. Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow morning all fresh and raring to go!
I am posting about my training challenge for this week early so that the weekend can be all about my trial! Mom decided I needed a fun challenge this time since I am busy with a trial the next couple of days. And she wanted to increase the odds that I would do the chute tomorrow so we spent part of the afternoon driving to different places and just doing it! (Sara and Oreo did this same thing awhile back - sorry for copying!)
First of all, a gratuitous photo of me - hard to believe there is ever water here but some times there is:
Back in the car to go to the next stop:
Second stop (looks a lot like the first but it isn't):
Third stop (ditto what I said about the second):
Fourth stop - Pet People store! I am a bit of a celebrity at Pet People and they were nice enough to let us bring in the chute!
Fifth and last stop:
I am happy to report that I had no trouble whatsoever doing the chute - I did it everywhere! So, ok, agility trial, here I come!!
In keeping with the backwards weave theme from last week, we decided to put it all together into the backwards figure 8 trick - another one we have worked on from time to time and mom has wanted me to do forever - finally it all made sense to me!
Our YouTube friend Sian has a great video on how to teach this trick - check it out here!
Yesterday's class was about blind crosses. With this cross the handler actually turns her back on the dog but immediately makes eye contact again. We started out with an exercise using a blind cross at the end of the DW, then we did it with the teeter and the aframe and last we tried it with the weaves. The handler needs to make sure her blind cross move is completed before the dog finishes the obstacle. BCs can be very effective when used with nonturning obstacles but if timed correctly, they can be used with turning obstacles when the goal is to move in a straight line. The handler should perform the BCs on the landing side of a jump as the dog commits to that jump. BCs should not be used to turn the dog.
If you are having trouble figuring out where to stand for a lead out, think about where you would put in a front cross and then freeze in the front cross position and you have your lead out. A lead out push is a frozen front cross. Also recall to heel positions are intended to be performed at jumps and not on the flat.
A backy-uppy is generally only appropriate if you need to block the choice of taking a jump - like if you have two jumps side by side and you want to pull the dog through the gap (threadle) then you use a backy-uppy. If you only had the one jump and you need the dog to wrap back towards you, you would use a forward send. However, for dogs that are slower like me, the backy-uppy would work better than a send and the handler would just have to run more. Get it? I know video would make it clear but I don't know if we'll get around to it.
That's about it for this week's class. We are near the end of this session. Next week we run a course and then we have three weeks off because of USDAA Nationals etc. It's ok though because I have a trial this weekend, next weekend and then one day the following weekend. Some how trials around here are all happening at the same time. Hope we don't get burnt out!
My name is Ricky (Covewind Little Ricky, AX,AXJ,CGC) and I am a six year old tri-color Shetland Sheepdog. I do agility and I like to learn tricks too! This blog is about all that and some other stuff as well!