Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Camping!

Yesterday we went camping! We went to a state park that is only about 30 minutes from out house - the last time we all went camping together, we went to this same place. Dad knows this park and this campground really well so he always gets us awesome campsites. He has two favorite spots - the one we camped in last time and the one we got this time. I think I like yesterday's site the best.


Here is the view from our campsite! There is a path on the left side down to the water and it is the perfect kayak launch spot.

Some fishermen were nice enough to take our photo:

After our paddle we went to a little beach so that I could practice my swimming and run around a little.

Here's the path to the lake:

Mom and me hanging out:

We had beautiful weather and this morning the sun came up over the lake and it was chilly - temps in the 50s.

A misty photo - guess we have mist in Ohio too - LOL!

The view of our campsite from the lake:

After breakfast, we packed everything up and stopped at the big beach. Dogs aren't technically allowed, but there was no one around!


Here is a short video of my water antics!


video

Our one night of camping was very fun but very tiring! I kept thinking, "When are we getting in the car and going home?" Mom and I didn't sleep very well in the tent. There was a full moon and we kept hearing noises - probably raccoons. I didn't bark at all but I was very restless. Needless to say, I will sleep well tonight! Camping is tough work!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We met another blogging friend!

At the trial this weekend, we met our blogging friend Sagira! We belong to the same training club but we met through blogging and had never met in person until Saturday! Fun, right? Sagira is a pretty girl with two beautiful blue eyes! She just started competing in AKC agility when the AKC allowed mixed breeds to compete and she is getting Qs and titles left and right! She is already in the excellent level in standard! Go and check out her blog for the funny story her parents tell about meeting the wrong Ricky! LOL! And check out the rest of the fabulous photos her dad took of us!

Yesterday we took the day off from training and went to the park for a nice walk. Today is my class and then after that, we are going camping and kayaking! So I won't be around until later tomorrow to visit everybody's blogs, and I am afraid my Tuesday class post will be delayed too! Sorry! We are excited to go camping tonight because we are finally getting a break in the hot weather - today's high is supposed to be 79 and tonight's low in the 50s. Perfect for sitting around the campfire.

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Sunday, June 27, 2010

GRCC AKC Agility Trial - Sunday

We did go back to the trial today with wet towels for our necks, more cold bottles of water, and a really cool fan that misted too that dad bought us! Mom was not as hot today with the wet towel around her neck the entire time she was there(except for when we actually ran).

The JWW course was very twisty turny at the beginning and ended with a big circle all the way around the ring. Mom was afraid she wouldn't remember the course if she tried for some unconventional path. So she didn't motivate me enough and I skipped a couple jumps. So NQ even though I was really running at the end!


Mom had a complete outside line plan for our standard run and she was so sure of her plan that she forgot the course and left out the yellow tunnel and two jumps - #3, 4, 5! She saw the judges arms going up while I was on the teeter and asked what happened and the judge said, "You left out 3 obstacles!" The judge had to laugh and mom laughed too but come on, mom!! I was doing my job! We got to the chute and the judge whipped her arm up into the air (she gave me no time at all) and after I got the refusal, I went through! So two chute refusals this weekend but also two completed chutes! WooHoo for me! Then just to make the run complete, I skipped another jump near the end. Mom says if I had gone through the chute with no problem and if her messing up had ruined our Q, she would've killed herself - LOL! So 8 tries at Exc A STD courses and only 1 Q!






So that was our super hot trial weekend! Next trial is a Novice/Open only trial held at our club in air conditioning in July and we're going to try Novice FAST for the first time!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Saturday, June 26, 2010

GRCC AKC Agility Trial Saturday

Today's trial was held in an indoor soccer facility that does not have air conditioning! It does not have ceiling fans! It has almost no doors to open! Can I tell you how unbelievably hot it was? Outside it was 90 but with the breeze it felt like paradise. Inside was 90 with no breeze!

And yet grandma and I were real troopers (mom, not so much)!

Exc. JWW was first for me (we got to the trial around 11:00 and I ran this course around 1:00). Mom watched a lot of people run it and when she walked it, she walked a sane path and an insane path (LOL). But she ended up running a sane path with me and I was fast for me and we Q'ed!


Then we waited about 2 1/2 hours more. We went outside for awhile and we even sat in the car with the air conditioning running. Mom kept wetting me down with water (I felt humiliated by that and only slightly cooler for a couple minutes).

The Exc. STD course seemed fairly straight forward to mom - she was relieved to see it started with a jump and the chute was not until later in the course. I started out ok but was a little pokey so mom ran the outside line at #5. Then I saw the chute coming (tricky discrimination between the tunnel and the chute for some dogs) and I almost went in and then after I formally got the refusal from the judge (LOL) I did the chute really fast! Hurray for me!! Mom was super happy too because I haven't done the chute in a trial in a very long time. Rest of the course was good! So NQ but for us, a good job!

And here's the video:





We're just not sure if we can or should go back tomorrow. It's not going to be any cooler. Mom was very proud of how well I did today even with it being so darn hot. But she says she felt sick most of the day and that's no fun. After we get a good night's rest we'll decide what to do. It's tough to decide - be happy things went so well today and let it go at that or go back and try again to build on how well it went today. Decisions, decisions. If only the building were air conditioned! LOL!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Friday, June 25, 2010

Training Challenge Week 3

I wasn't sure if we were going to get out for a training challenge this week. I'm having another bout of my IBS or colitis or whatever you want to call it when you get mucousy, runny poop! Mom tried to help me on Wednesday with more pumpkin and a tiny dose of imodium, but yesterday afternoon I still wasn't better and mom thought she saw blood in my poop. She took me to the vet and he didn't find any bacteria or blood but gave me an antibiotic and something called forti flora just in case. So I really didn't get a diagnosis but I am doing better today. NO poop now. It's always something!

So since I was feeling better and since it was a little cooler outside, mom took me to a soccer field to practice some agility. I had never been to this field before. It is surrounded by major roads (you can hear the road noise in the video). But there are trees that obscure most of the cars from view. After what seemed like an eternity, mom loaded up the car, we drove there, she unloaded the car, and then we gave it a try. I didn't have any trouble doing agility there but I did have lots of trouble coming out of the chute and seeing the weaves when mom was on my right! To be fair to me, we had never tried that skill before and I proved that it is going to have to be practiced. But I saw the weaves when mom was on my left!



We had fun but really only practiced for about 5 minutes! It was hot in the sun and mom didn't want to overdo it since I have not been feeling 100%. She complained all the way home about all that work loading and unloading the car for only 5 minutes of practice. Mom is such a wimp!

If I am feeling up to it, mom and grandma and I are going to a trial tomorrow and Sunday! It is only 20 minutes from here in a soccer building - but last time we were there it was very hot inside and so we're worried about that. If it's too hot we may run once and come home. I am going to meet up with a blogger friend named Sagira who lives in town and we actually belong to the same club but we met through blogging! It will be fun to meet Sagira and her mom and dad in person. Her dad takes great photos so hopefully we'll have one to share with you!

Stay cool everybody!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Thursday, June 24, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

This week's tRicky T-Day trick was completely inspired by a new YouTube friend newbear95 's video of how to teach this trick - it is so cute! We found out about her video through another YouTube friend kikopup. Check out newbear95's video and then watch mine:



I didn't have a hard time learning this trick but we did it a little bit differently than newbear95. I already knew "dig" and I learned that by scratching at a post-it. So then mom transfered the post-it to her leg, then to her arm and then to her back. She told me to dig and then gradually changed the command to "scratch back"! Give it a try and then you too can be your mom's own personal back-scratcher - LOL!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Presents from El'Bow and Hauwii and Sanne!

Hallo allemaal! That's Dutch for hello everyone! Look at what came in the mail for me today all the way from Belguim - a GABE present from El'Bow, Hauwii and Sanne! Oh I was so excited to see what they sent!

Look inside:

I got lots of cool and creative stuff (Sanne is so very talented!):


I got this very cool cup with my picture drawn on it:

And this neat bag (a treat bag, I think) but mom thought I should wear it like a hat:

And a tug toy:


What fun! Dank je wel Sanne, Hauwii and El'Bow!!!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday's class

At least today's class started out better than last week's! Mom didn't have to get all mad at me because I was less sniffy and a little more focused. Was that because class was about forward motion front crosses? Who knows. We reviewed FMFC at the jump and on the flat.

Some random thoughts: beginning agility dogs need to be taught not to go past the handler's outside arm (inside arm sends forward but outside arm signals a turn). I was taught at first with a mish-mash of ideas so I never learned to not go behind mom or to turn with her outside arm. An exercise on the flat is to have your dog walk in a straight line next to you and you have a treat in your outside hand and the dog never goes past your outside hand. Also a handler needs to be very clear to always go past the plane of a jump to do a FMFC (the shoulder turn and the outside arm can begin on the take-off side of the jump but the cross is performed past the plane of the jump). This is important so that the dog does not confuse the FMFC with the backy uppy. With the backy uppy, the handler stays on the take-off side of the jump and motions the dog over the jump and back next to her. (confusing to write this out). And last, the shoulder turn is the most important part of the FMFC (even more than the outside arm).

(If anybody thinks we got any of this information wrong, please always let us know!)

We did a sequence where we had the aframe and then a jump almost straight ahead but we had to jump from the back side of it and that was tough! The handlers had to get ahead and keep an eye on the dog to call the dog around to the back with a FMFC on the flat and then over the jump.

Jenn put the chute out for me to practice before my trial this weekend. I am happy to report that I went through it all three times (the first time with a little hesitation and the second and third times no hesitation at all)! Jenn suggested that mom make the barrel part of my chute here at home look different. So we came home and mom really tried to disguise it - boxes, a chair, sandpaper in the barrel, my bath tub mat in the barrel(she thought that would scare me since I only see that mat at bath times), a dark sheet, a pool noodle - nothing she did affected me at all!





(Sorry about the poor video - mom even let the camera tilt down half-way through and cut off part of the picture. )

Any way, mom believes now that my problem is not the chute at all but just a lack of confidence at trials or in new environments. So we have to do more of our training challenges and just hope that our confidence grows!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Training Challenge Week 2


You'll never guess where we went for my training challenge this week --- my terrier neighbors' backyard! Yes, all the way across the fence. You know how they always say the grass is greener? Well now we know it's true!

Seriously mom has wanted to try me with agility over in the terriers' yard for quite awhile now and she finally asked the terriers' mom if we could. We had the yard to ourselves for this challenge - didn't want it to be TOO challenging. We took a couple jumps and my chute over there and just did some easy stuff. Mom was surprised because I acted like I do agility over there all the time! And of course, she could barely keep me out of the chute! We did jumps and the chute and then we practiced two-jump sequences - we have been working on 270s because I like to cut in between the jumps. So we did some of those - watch me as I hit the bar with my legs and do a face plant in the grass! (I was unfazed but the fixed bars my jumps have are not a good thing). I am a daredevil (think Miley would be impressed? I hope so! LOL!).






Happy Father's Day to everybody's Dad! Hope you all have a great day!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Thursday, June 17, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

Here's a video of my get in the suitcase trick with a smaller suitcase this time! Stay tuned for Part 3 when we will try to get me to use my nose to open the bigger suitcase and disappear inside!



Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's class

Today's class started out horribly. It was mostly about rear crosses again, but we learned to differentiate between rear crosses where the handler uses lots of forward motion to cue the dog to keep going in a straight line (basically)(I think of these as extension rear crosses ) and a rear cross where the handler wants the dog to turn after the jump kind of tightly in one direction or another (I think of them as collection rear crosses).

So first thing we did was (out of the blue by itself) a rear cross at the aframe. I had to run (more like walk) to the aframe and mom was supporting me with forward motion until I committed to the aframe and then as I was going up it, mom snuck behind me to the other side (rear cross in a straight line). Well my commitment point for the aframe was so late that this didn't work very well for us. If you do rear an aframe (or dogwalk or teeter or weaves or straight tunnel), you have to make sure to indicate forward motion to the dog until commitment or you risk pulling your dog off the obstacle.

Then we tried a rear cross of the teeter with a few jumps before it - I got all sniffy and pokey slow and then I didn't want to do the teeter. Jenn had mom put me on the teeter a couple times without rear crossing to make sure I wasn't developing some teeter phobia. After that we were supposed to run a sequence and mom said "Ready, go!" and I veered off and sniffed something I was sure was food on the floor and that was it for mom. She was NOT happy. She picked me up and then tossed me over a jump and said to get going.

Things got better when there was about 20 minutes of class left and we did a couple longer sequences. Mom asked Jenn if she could start out running the outside and then get into position for the skill we were supposed to practice. And that worked. I rear crossed (at jumps and on the flat) like nobody's business. We even got a couple "beautifuls" from Jenn!

Before I forget - here are a couple things to remember when you are trying to do a rear cross with a tighter turn. If you want the turn, you use lateral motion in the direction opposite the one you want the dog to go - like if the dog is on your right, you move to the left before the jump and decel and the dog goes ahead, takes the jump and will turn to the right (putting him on your left). It's ok for the handler to start her lateral motion even if she is ahead of her dog. Another thing is consider how you use tunnels ( all the time, not just with rear crosses). But if you send your dog into a tunnel and want to rear cross the following jump with extension (like a straight line rear cross) stay back and meet your dog coming out of the tunnel so you can drive forward to the jump together. But if you need to turn your dog at the jump after the tunnel, run ahead of your dog and when he comes out of the tunnel show lateral motion and then deceleration to get him to rear and turn.

We tried to make a video to show a little bit of what we did in class (the general idea any way). Mom used just all regular jumps because she was too lazy to get anything else out. In the video we tried to describe what we were doing. Hope it all makes sense!





So even though class started off very poorly, we felt good at the end. Mom is hoping that there is a way to run the outside of the first few obstacles at our next trial - she wants to see if that will speed me up from the beginning. Only problem is that not all courses are set up to make that possible at the beginning. Guess we'll wait and see!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Training Challenge Week 1

We told Marie over a Resqtails that we would do a training challenge with her and try to go somewhere new once a week to train. I didn't go somewhere exactly new this week, but on Friday we did go to Bindi and Clever's house. I was not comfortable there last time so mom thought it was a new-enough place.

Mom brought my target plate and wanted to just work on simple stuff with me. She raced me to my target on the flat, then we added a jump and then two jumps. I tried it with the weaves too. I did do better and was faster and more confident there than last time. I wandered around the yard on my own a little and even went potty. I growled at Clever some because she was bugging me! Mom says she is a very respectful puppy, but I thought she could just leave me alone. Bindi doesn't bother me at all though. We also played the recall game and I had to go running to mom even if Bindi or Clever was already with MY mom. I am still not thrilled about it, but I did it. I even went to Bindi's mom when she called me (it didn't hurt that she had salmon!).

So nothing earth-shattering but a better outing for me than the first time. We are going to keep using Bindi's yard as one of my training challenges until I am much more comfortable there and act more like myself.

It's been very humid and rainy here for the past three days. I don't feel like staying outside for very long. Yesterday mom brought 4 of my weave poles into the living room and I practiced some entries. In the evening I helped mom and dad make a new little addition to our front garden in order to make room for a few new plants (like lavendar that smells so good). There are some bees who apparently have a nest under our front stoop and they were not happy about the digging! They were dive bombing all three of us and dad even got stung! Ouch! I was relieved that it wasn't me! Here's a photo - see the stake in the ground at the left side of the picture? That's where I was tied with my leash so I couldn't chase any cars. I was really good out there and just laid in the shade and watched people and cars go by and never barked or anything. Mom put another flower in next to the irises this morning and now all we need is some mulch to finish it.


Hope you all are having a good weekend!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Miley's visit!

We had a great time with Miley and her mom! It was unbelievable to look out in the driveway and see them here at our house! We've been blogging buddies with them since April 2008 but we never knew we would meet them in person! It was just so cool!

I can't say that Miley and I were instant best friends but I think there was a certain attraction there from the moment she stepped into my backyard - LOL! I don't have the greatest social skills - I'm not mean or anything - but I don't run and play with other dogs and I am kind of shy. I did have lots of fun barking at Miley while her mom was playing with her (that's my way of showing affection!). And Miley's mom gave me lots of treats so I didn't mind posing for photos or following her around!

Miley was definitely fascinated with my fish pond - it was no big surprise when she tried to step on that lily pad! Silly girl!

Luckily, the tree branch was moved and the electric wires hooked back up, the rain went away and the sun came out! Here are Miley and I just hanging out together while our moms talked and talked and talked! Mom thought talking was much easier and much more fun than typing comments!

Dad (who cooked dinner and cleaned it all up too so mom was free to visit all evening!) came out to take some photos. Miley was leaning over to tell me a secret and to give me a kiss (at least that's how I interpreted it!)

So then I wanted to return the favor!


It was a wonderful visit and I was really sad when Miley had to go! I hope to see her again! Thank you so much Diana and Miley for coming here! We hope you have a terrific time at Linda Mecklenburg's camp this weekend and show everybody how awesome you guys are!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Miley!!!

I met Miley and she is awesome (I think I may be in love)! And her mom is fantastic - she gave me lots of treats and all I had to do was sit!

More tomorrow!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

In about an hour!

Look at what happened at about 11:00 this morning! No wind just some light rain! Just like during the big windstorm of 2008, a tree branch came down on the electric service line to our house and it ripped right off the house again! This time, fortunately, the power stayed on because the line was not torn apart. BUT this all hours before Miley is supposed to be here to play in my backyard!



It's fixed now though - the branch is still out there but the wire is connected to the house again! Whew!

Miley will be here in about an hour!!!!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First class of the new session

Today was our first class in competition silver (last session we were in competition bronze)! Last session was a lot about handling and this session is going to be more on skills - not sure what that means, but we'll find out! I'm sorry to say that I don't have a lot to report about what we learned today. My backyard target practice and ground speed work is not translating to the training building yet. Jenn says it probably won't and mom will have to bring me to the building to work on it. (As well as taking me to other places). I don't know why it is so difficult for us to go and practice in new places but it seems almost impossible to get it done! We must make more of an effort. Any way, I sniffed some - not as much as some weeks - and was kind of slow. But today's class was about rear crosses again and those just don't motivate me! I can do nice rear crosses but they are mostly in very slow motion!

Ok, the advice for the day - make sure you have two separate and clear signals for a rear cross and a rear cross on the flat. So if you are doing a rear cross at a jump, the handler needs to cue the jump with shoulders forward, inside arm and a jump cue - when the dog commits, then introduce the outside arm to cue the turn. BUT when doing a rear cross on the flat, the handler needs to get her outside arm ready sooner (this cross is of course done separately from a jump) as the outside arm cues the dog to the side change. Jenn said a lot of handlers get into trouble when they use their outside arm to cue the jump where a rear cross is going to happen because the dog doesn't know to go forward and take the jump first. Make sense? Did I get that right? We might try to make a video of this later in the week.

We also experienced that when you practice a sequence it's important to get it right the first time. If you don't, and say the dog takes an off-course, the dog becomes pattern trained very quickly and it's difficult to get the dog to do the sequence you intended. Jenn suggested we all do more box work - some dogs wouldn't run parallel to their handler and just take two jumps straight in a row - they were veering off and taking the jump to the side even if their handler was not indicating that jump at all!! Even I got into that act at the end and made up my own sequence instead of following mom. But mom was thrilled with that since I was moving faster and showing my confidence.

Tomorrow is the day - MILEY will be here!!!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Monday, June 7, 2010

Practicing with my new weaves and targets!

Yesterday we went out in the backyard to do some practicing - mom was going to just have me race her to the target and then add one obstacle - but she got overambitious! At the beginning of the video, I am racing mom to a target plate at the end of the weaves. Then we practiced a sequence from last week's class - tire, jump, table. At first we tried a backy uppy move (I think) and then a front cross. The backy uppy maybe got me to wrap the jump tighter but the front cross seemed to make me faster? Then at the end, we put both parts together. Notice I weave faster with the target! But we're happy with my speed through the weaves with the bases!





Going to class tomorrow - it's the first session of a new level - we're excited to see what we learn next!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

PS. I just saw that this is my 300th post! Wow!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

tRicky T-Day! (sort of again) and a Surprise!

A little while ago our YouTube friend Sian asked for people and their dogs to send in clips showing positively-trained good behaviors. So we sent one and were included in the video Sian made this week about dog training that works. The video is a little long but shows dogs doing really well-behaved stuff - I'm near the end - 4:06 to be exact - in case you need to skip - but don't unless you absolutely have to because the video is really good! I am not technically clicker-trained with a clicker but mom uses a marker word. And we can't claim that mom has never in my life used the word "No!" with me, but I am definitely an example of a dog who has been trained predominately with positive reinforcement! (ie. FOOD!!!!) The video is trying to show people that you don't have to be harsh or mean or use things like shock collars to teach dogs good manners. Amen to that!





I was proud to have been included in Sian's video and she plans to make another one. So if you are interested, leave her a message on her YouTube page. Sian is a really talented trainer and has lots of awesome trick tutorial videos! We have learned a lot from her and her dogs!

Now for the surprise!!!! Diana and Miley are coming HERE for dinner and a visit Wednesday on their way to Linda Mecklenburg's camp! Can you believe it? We get to meet them after being blogging buddies for so long! WooHoo - we are so excited and can't wait! Do you think Miley will like me? Do you think I will like her? Guess we'll find out!!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Way behind in posting! (Playdate, wordless Wednesday, Tuesday class)

This would be my wordless Wednesday photo if this were a wordless post!

Somehow we have gotten way behind in our posting! Some days after we read everyone else's posts, we're tired of the computer and don't want to bother with our own posts!

Last Thursday, I had my very first agility play date with my friend Bindi Sue at her house! We take class with her and her mom. Bindi has an awesome backyard for agility and lots of nice new equipment - a rubberized teeter and aframe and nice weave poles. It was all made specially for her! She also has a new sister named Clever who is 11 (?) weeks old. Mom oohed and aaahed over her but I thought she was just a pain and a loud barker for such a little girl! LOL! I don't have much experience with puppies (and would like to keep it that way, thank you!) but Bindi had taught Clever some manners and at least she didn't jump on me or anything.

Mom wanted to get me to run to my target plate but I only saw the teeter, so that's what I did! Bindi tried to take off after me and at one point (not in the video) she actually did the teeter with me. I didn't like that! Then we got to the chute and you can see me not doing it! Mom ran with Bindi and then you can see that I DID do it! I was a little jealous of mom running with Bindi and giving her my chicken, but it didn't have a lasting effect on me as you can tell by my super-slow motion weaving. To be fair, it was very hot and humid even though it was only 10:00 in the morning.


video


We had a very nice time and want to say thank you again to Bindi and her mom for having us over! Mom realized that we definitely need to do much more of these activities because I was just not comfortable at all!

Our classes with Jenn have now moved to Tuesdays and yesterday we ran a course. It was full of challenges - lots of wraps around jumps that involved double fronts or backy uppies. I did ok except I skipped the teeter - mom moved laterally away to show me it was the teeter and not the dogwalk and I just slowed down and looked at her and walked right by the teeter (on the opposite side of it from mom). The only thing I did really well were the weaves - I think it's helping me to have the new weaves at home. So no real big class analysis this week - sorry. We did work on handling options for sections of the course that were difficult but you've heard it all before - LOL!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky