I decided that if I wait around for one of my tricks to be ready, I might not be able to participate in tRicky T-Day for a long, long time! LOL! So I got mom to video one of our sessions of me learning how to bring her a kleenex. We were inspired to try this trick most recently by Marie and Dare and by Sam and Marge (I think - sorry if I don't really remember who I saw do it lately)! I want to go on record and say that I DO NOT like the feeling of the tissue in my mouth! But I try any way. I had no problem hearing "Achoo!" and pulling the kleenex out of the box, but I am not yet very good at the "bring it to mom" part. Notice: mom is cheap and we reuse the same kleenex over and over again!
Today was the last class for this session so we ran a course! It started out double, tunnel (tunnel, dogwalk discrimination). Mom did a lead out and was easily able to show me the tunnel. I ran like a pro! No sniffing. No problems. When we were done, Jenn said she hadn't seen me move like that in a long time! :)
We worked on several tricky sections of the course and tried running them with different handling options. That's fun because it makes you try out things you probably wouldn't do in a trial. We got advice on how to see angles between jumps to make turns tighter, how to move laterally away from the weaves and keep the dogs in the poles, how to work on the tunnel/DW discrimination at the beginning of the course, and how to decide between front cross or rear cross. I did everything well until the end of class when we ran the course again. When mom lead out this time, I stopped to sniff something before taking the first jump. Then I left the table before the 5 seconds was up ( a first for me and it made mom smile) and then I skipped the aframe because mom didn't say "frame". She was testing to see if I would just take it as the next obstacle and I didn't!
At the end of class, mom asked some questions about discrimination. Remember last week we talked about calling the obvious end of the tunnel "tunnel" and saying "Ricky" for the less obvious entrance? Well, Jenn said a head check from the dog when you say his name is perfectly normal and what you will get in the beginning. Eventually the dog won't look at the handler in that situation and just know he is to go to the other end. Also for tunnel and dogwalk discrimination, Jenn says teach "tunnel" as the most important verbal and it can actually be the only obstacle the dog knows on a verbal. So then if the dog hears "tunnel" he had better take the tunnel. Then you can put a jump and then the DW and run and have the dog do the DW based on your full out running (to beat him to the other end) and later add the tunnel (at a distance first and then move it closer to the DW) and when you say tunnel, you also usually run slower and the dog learns the difference. Make sense? Don't look for a video of us demonstrating this any time soon - we have to learn it first! LOL!
Next week we have a break from classes and they start again on August 10. Mom and I can't wait because we are learning so much and really understanding more and more every time. It's very fun!
Well, maybe yesterday was beginner's luck because today was a different story! Mom's first plan was to start on the jump at the right of the start line and go in and do 9, 10, then the send tunnel, teeter and work our way out. But then she saw the jump on the left side of the start line and thought it would be a challenge to start with an angled lead out like we practiced in class on Tuesday. So it would be that first jump and then 8, 10 and then the send. So she sat me and lead out and all should've been fine, but I decided to veer off at 8 and sniff. So ok, no worries, mom called me and I jumped the big jump 10 at an angle and then mom said "Tunnel" and I said "Nope, I gotta go sniff this piece of dog fur that looks like food!" After I discovered it was not food, I went into the tunnel and did the teeter so no problem with the send bonus, but the clock was ticking the entire time I was sniffing, and we ran out of time to accumulate enough points to qualify with a 6 second time fault!!! (But notice my blazing fast aframe and finish after the buzzer went off and we had to haul you-know-what to get to the end!)
Mom was blaming herself on the lead out and wishing she would've taken an easier start to the course, but I think I would've sniffed on my way to the tunnel no matter what, so I told her it's all my fault! It was fun to try the lead out and ultimately we don't regret doing it.
Sara wanted to know why we waited so long to try FAST - two reasons - one is that FAST is usually run first thing in the morning or last thing in the day and it makes the regular trial days too long for us. The second reason is that around here, runs usually cost $19 a piece and mom can't make herself write the check for 3 X 19 for one day and then double it for a 2 day trial! Since we couldn't run in excellent STD or JWW this weekend, it was the perfect time to try FAST.
This morning we went to a novice/open only trial held at our club! Thank goodness for air conditioning as it was super hot and humid already at 8:00AM but both buildings were nice and cool. There was one building for crating and waiting and the other building was for running. We ran novice FAST for the very first time ever! The course was fun and mom was secretly very glad to see there was no chute so she didn't have to stress out over asking me to do it. Mom picked a flowy course for me - we started over at the jump on the right side of the start line and then went in those 3 jumps in a row, did a front cross after the jump in front of the aframe, aframe, jump and then tire then the double, jump, tunnel, weaves and panel (the send bonus), teeter, jump and jump! Sorry we didn't write it on the course map before we scanned it into the computer.
Mom did her very first lead out in a trial! She only lead out one jump but wishes she would've tried two jumps. I was really good and just sat there until she called me to go! The only part of the run that I didn't like was as I jumped a jump and came around to take the tire, I heard that box that makes noise counting out your points and I looked and saw a bunch of people there and thought I didn't want to do the tire. No worries - in FAST it doesn't matter! That's right - there was no YMCA dance by the judge for me refusing the tire, we just went on and didn't get those points (but who needs them? LOL!). I came out of the tunnel and mom said "Weave!" so I did and then I took the jump after that and before I knew it, I had done the send and gotten the bonus!
I Qed, got 69 points (I only needed 50), no time faults, and I got first place too! Granted there were only 4 Novice B 12" dogs today but I was the only one to Q! Look at me - I'm a FAST dog! :)
We're really sorry but we don't have a tRicky T-Day video for you this week! We are working and working on new tricks but have nothing to video. I don't know how Sara, Misty and Oreo do it every week! We try to hold up our end on the Thursday T-Days but just can't always do it. I don't think we are going to get in a real training challenge this week either (we did walk in the park yesterday and practiced recalls). It's too hot and humid (not for Diana, but for us here - LOL! Just teasing you, Diana) to drag agility stuff around to a park. And I have my FAST trial this weekend. So we are going to let Marie down this week too - sorry!!
Mom has been thinking about angles and lead outs since our class on Tuesday and she set up some jumps at angles and decided to see what I can do. I actually know more than mom thinks I do! We made a very short video to show you - yesterday we tried this for the very first time and I got it on the first try. Then we did it again. Today we tried it twice only and I got it both times. (Just don't want you to think we do it over and over and over and then edit out the bad stuff - in this case, there wasn't any bad! :) ) Wonder if I would prefer lead outs at a trial - mom always thought it would freak me out. Hmmm.. ..something else to ponder!
When we got to class today, Jenn said the focus would be on lead out pushes - mom thought that would be impossible for us. Then I proved her wrong! First though a few thoughts about lead out pushes. A lead out push is essentially a substitute for a front cross and is done (obviously) at the beginning of a course or after the table. So Jenn said the handler should think about where she would place a front cross and that would be where she would stand for a lead out push. She also told us to look at the angles of the dog's path and pick the shortest. Mom wishes she would've paid more attention in geometry class in high school - who knew? Any way, we started with a straight forward lead out past a double and another jump. Then we did one with two jumps that were angled. Finally we tried one where the dog is not in a direct line of sight with the handler and jumps the first jump at an angle and the second one with kind of a parallel approach (instead of perpendicular). It was a directed-jump recall (I think). But listen to this - I did them all! And I didn't sniff once during any of my runs this morning! I think I like this lead out stuff!!!
So I did well today except with tunnel discrimination - that was mom's fault though. First time she totally showed me the wrong entrance. Then the next time, she moved laterally but I was programmed to go in the wrong way and mom didn't call my name or anything! Jenn suggested that dogs learn that the word "tunnel" means take the most obvious entrance to them and that the dog's name means to take the more difficult and less obvious entrance. Mom and I are going to try to work on that and see if we can get it.
We also got to talk to Jenn about a novice FAST strategy for this weekend. She says there are two ways to go about it - run out there and get your bonus and points as fast as possible and exit to make sure you Q - or if you want to use FAST as sort of a training opportunity, then go and try to do as many obstacles as possible and rack up the points (over 50 which is what you need for novice) and don't worry when the buzzer sounds - just run for the exit from wherever you are. You can still Q if you are overtime because they start deducting from the point total. She thinks if the chute is an option, we should try it.
Bindi's mom was so awesome and videoed our class today (Bindi has a hurt back and she couldn't run but we hope she is all better soon!). She shared the videos with us through the Flip share and we hope she doesn't mind if we also share them with you. You can see me doing better than I usually do in class!
We didn't do an agility training challenge this week, but today we did our morning walk in that other neighborhood - the one where we have to cross the busy street to get there. Mom can't believe how difficult it is for her to get out of our normal morning routine of walking in our own neighborhood and doing something different! She and I are both really into routine! Any way crossing the street went very well as did all of our walking on the quieter streets over there. But as we were heading toward home and were on a slightly busier street, a car went by and I lost it. I have the most trouble with cars on a walk when I know we are going in the direction of home! Too exciting! Just as I was recovering from my meltdown, mom looks up and sees this lady jogging by. The lady is someone mom has seen and spoken to occasionally at agility trials. She has a multiple MACH and OTCH dog. Mom smiles and says Hi expecting at least face recognition from the other woman (you know, you recognize a face but don't know the name?). The lady didn't recognize us at all and she said, "Learning how to walk on a leash?" Mom was mortified and mumbled something as the lady ran on. What? I'm three years old and I know how to walk on a leash! So I go crazy a little. Do dogs with MACHs and OTCHs never have any behavior problems? Well, needless to say, FAIL on the walk training challenge! I guess to really get mom and me out of our comfort zone, our next training challenge needs to be that busier street pointed in the direction of home. That would be so tough and it will take a lot for us to get up the nerve to tackle it.
My other training challenge this week has been a socialization one. Mom and I have been taking care of the terriers since Friday while their mom is out of town. So I have been making lots of trips over there to check on them and to let them out. Yesterday we all (mom and us 4 dogs) hung out in the yard and I actually felt comfortable enough to lie down and relax! Then when Indie and Sarabelle started playing, so did I!! This is the first time I have ever played with them - well, it was a lot of barking on my part but I did chase them too! Very fun! Today we took some pictures. Mom had very little success with groups shots but 3 out of 4 isn't too bad!
Here I am watching over the flock! Those terriers always have their noses on the ground and they need me to keep an eye out!
Memphis and Indie:
Sarabelle attaches herself to mom's leg a lot - very annoying to me cause then I can't get close enough to mom:
Here is a very lame tRicky T-Day video that we are posting very late on tRicky T-Day! We are working, working, working on some new tricks that are more interesting (at least to us) but they are just not ready yet.
You would be amazed at how difficult it is for me, an agility dog, to jump through that hoop! I keep getting my back legs caught on it (we edited that out! LOL!). The cane trick will come in handy if we ever try freestyle - I have done this trick before but we added the exciting element of MOM going around in the other direction - very tRicky! :)
Oh and don't know if you noticed but lately we have given up on making videos with titles and just put the mp4 directly onto YouTube. You can watch in HD but can't read my clever captions! LOL again!
It felt strange to be at class again after two weeks - seemed like it had been forever. This week's class was about serpentines and handling them all from one side or handling them using a FMFC. First we practiced the serpentine recall to heel with one jump. This mimics the middle jump of the serpentine if you are handling it all from the same side. Then we did some sequences - first time we had to do the single-sided handling and then the next time through we did FMFC after the first jump of the three. For us it works much better. The other thing we tried was a rear cross with a parallel approach to a jump. This was difficult - we had never tried it before and I didn't read it well. I turned the wrong way and then back-jumped the jump. You know how we mostly practice rear crosses with the dog coming to the jump straight on? Coming to the jump at an angle made it a whole different thing. Jenn told us to practice what she is calling a parallel rear cross with one jump - set up across from the end of the jump (the jump standard?) instead of perpendicular to the bar. Does that make sense? We haven't practiced it yet so we didn't video it! :)
We tried to make a video today to show what we mean. First we do a serpentine with same side handling and then I take another jump and going to the 5th jump is where mom pushes on my line and I rear cross at an angle and then turn around the jump tightly to the right. Then we ran it backwards with same side serp again and then into the weaves. The third time mom did the FMFC.
We will post a little recap about today's class but we wanted to include a video. We haven't made it yet because it has been raining almost non-stop since we got home. So maybe we'll get to it tomorrow!
Yesterday we practiced some dogwalk/tunnel verbal discriminations. It had been awhile and so we videoed it for fun! Some times I get it and some times I don't. We are still using a hoopy thing at the end of the DW so that I run right off the edge. Mom took it away to see what would happen and I jumped from way above the yellow. So far on real DWs at classes and trials, I run all the way to the end. It could be that the angle of the ramps on mine at home is too steep or maybe I am just not confident enough to jump at a trial.
I have been meaning to tell you all and just keep forgetting - at my last trial I earned my first 2 MACH points with my JWW Q! Can you believe it - I was actually 2 whole seconds under SCT! So only 20 double Qs and 748 more points to go!! LOL!
Today we took our training challenge to our neighbor's yard again! But this time we asked her to be out in the yard with us and to bring one of the terriers out too. So that's what we did and my neighbor was also nice enough to video for us!
I had no trouble concentrating on what I was doing! WooHoo for me! After we made the video, my neighbor let one of her other dogs out off-leash - she milled around and I did a few more jumps. No problems with that either. I guess I am too comfortable over in their yard even though this was only the second time I have done agility there.
My ear seems to be better today but I am sneezing more. Maybe it really is some sort of allergy. Thank you so much to all of you for your support yesterday! It is so nice to post something and get almost instant comments and advice from my blogging friends. We really appreciate all you guys!
Can you tell in the photo that my ear is bothering me? I am walking around with my head tilted and my ear down all the time. Sometimes I shake my head and occasionally I scratch at my ear. This has been going on since Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday we went for a walk in some tall-ish grass and then went to the beach and I swam once (no dunking my head - just lots of splashing). Shortly after we got home, mom found a dog tick on the wall upstairs. She gave me a bath and brushed me all over and saw nothing (I am on Frontline too). So did something bite my ear, did I get water in there, did some grass thingy get in, do I have an allergy?
We went to the vet yesterday (yes, 2nd time in 3 weeks) and he looked in my ear and saw absolutely nothing! No infection, no redness, no foreign matter, no water, no wax, no gunk, no smell. He told my mom that my ears were completely clean. I was nervous so I kept my ears up and ready the whole time I was there, so the vet never saw the pitiful looks I give mom all day long. The vet said I may have an allergy and was I licking my feet or anything? Mom said no. He said some times dogs with allergies may shake their heads. He sent us home with an ear cleaner (Epi Optic) and told mom to clean my ear every day for a week and see if it improves. If not, he wants to try an antihistamine (thinking it is an allergy).
Anybody have any ideas? Are Shelties prone to this kind of thing? Mom is worrying herself sick because I look so sad and because I want her to fix my ear and she doesn't know how. Wish we knew if this was some temporary fluke-ish thing that would be over soon or what! I am still eating fine and my balance is fine. I can do my tricks and did a little agility yesterday. And I instigate play but don't feel like playing for long. And barking seems to make me shake my head more.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Today is also my grandma's birthday so Happy Birthday Grandma! We'll be going to visit her later and Cousin Wilson will be there!
We didn't do agility for our training challenge this week so no glitzy video (LOL!). On Wednesday we went to the park and practiced my emergency whistle recall - we have been really neglecting that lately! I did well though. And mom says it's hard to practice with me because I check in with her all the time when I am off-leash so she finds it impossible to surprise me with a whistle! Sounds like a good problem to have!
Then this morning we did a real challenge - we went walking in the neighborhood that is across a busy street from our neighborhood. You know I have a thing for cars. Well in our own neighborhood, mom has been working very hard with me that if I see a car coming, I am supposed to sit quietly and wait for it to pass and then look up at her. If I am quiet (that's the most important part of the criteria), I get a treat. Mom is crossing her fingers right now and knocking on wood, but she thinks I am starting to get it. We've been having more successes than failures, so she thought it was time to try me out in a new neighborhood. (We had tried walking there over a year ago and it was a disaster - I pulled and acted like a crazy dog the entire time). This morning I did much better! I was very good when we crossed the street, I walked right next to mom the whole time we were over there, I sat and was quiet when cars passed by - until we were on our way back to my neighborhood and I knew we were closer to home and two cars passed by at the same time - and well, I lost it for a second! BUT after we crossed the street, I recovered my composure and we walked the rest of the way home. So mom thinks it was a huge success (and believe me, it took a lot for her to get up the courage to give the whole thing a try this morning!).
I am beginning to wonder who these weekly training challenges are for - me or mom? LOL!
Next week we don't have our class so we hope to get out to at least two other places to practice agility. It's going to be very hot here again so training might depend on the weather. This week we had a wonderful break from the heat and humidity. Too bad it didn't last!
If you are checking in expecting to see our tRicky T-Day video, sorry but you'll have to wait until next week! LOL!
Before going camping the other day we went to our Tuesday class. It was all about the backy uppy versus the forward motion front cross. The backy uppy is one of the six recalls to heel in APHS. The backy uppy is executed by the handler on the take-off side of a jump (the handler does not go past the plane of the jump) and is used when the next obstacle in the sequence is also on the take-off side. A FMFC is executed on the landing side of a jump and is used when the next obstacle is also on the landing side. Both involve the handler using her outside arm. The backy uppy involves so many turning cues (shoulder rotation, outside arm, deceleration, turning and facing the dog) that it is imperative that the handler says"Jump!" as a forward motion cue to the dog (and takes a step backward in the direction of the jump). For me, mom has to wait until the last possible second to turn towards me - so her timing is very critical for our success.
Last week we were talking about a foundation exercise where the handler puts a treat in her outside hand and the dog learns to walk in a straight line next to her without going past her outside arm. We asked Jenn about it again to try to make sure we understood it and found out the handler also needs to turn her shoulders into the dog. (Mom was originally looking straight ahead while doing it.) Kathy wanted to see a video of the exercise - we tried and it's here in this video but we sure hope we're doing it right! Also in the video - the handler should be able to keep a dog from going straight ahead and jumping by bringing up her outside arm and turning her shoulders. We're not too great at it yet - as you will see. Then we threw in a backy uppy at the end (at least we think we were doing a backy uppy)!
Sorry for the poor video quality. The Flip takes great HD video but if we want to edit with titles and stuff, we have to convert the Mp4 to AVI to get WMM to accept it. And then there goes the HD quality! (Do you think whole conversations will soon consist of only abbreviations?)
Jenn is off on a seminar next week so we get a break from class.
Wow - only a few more days in this week. I hope we get our training challenge done!!
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!