Dad got a new camera a few weeks ago and he has been taking tons of pictures - mostly of bugs! But here are some photos that I have been meaning to share and never got around to it.
A beautiful asiatic lily from our garden:
An awesome hiking trail: Playing in the hose (look at the faces I make! - click to bigify for the full effect!): Zooming: A purple coneflower from our garden: Taking a break out on a walk in a park: Hope you all are having a great weekend!
We decided to try to improve on my "dig" trick this week. I am now digging with both paws!
Silvia Trkman posted her thoughts about why it's important to teach tricks to your dogs - the link will take you to her website - then click on "news" on the left-hand side and then go to the update posted on June 20. It's a great post and it also includes some advice on teaching a few of her best tricks! What she does with her dogs is so inspiring to us!
It's already super hot here! We had our morning walk and about 15 minutes of backyard practice and now I'm trying to cool off in the a/c.
I competed in my third AKC agility trial on Friday and Saturday of this week. The thing I remember most about it all was IT WAS HOT!!!! For the first time mom entered us in two days - usually we just run on one day. But we wanted to try back to back days. Maybe summertime is not really the best time to try that.
The first day started out very hot. The first runs began at 10:00. We got there around 10:15 and did our JWW run around 11:00. It went very well and we Q'ed with a 2nd place and I got my NAJ title!!
Then we went outside and sat in the shade and had some lunch and waited and waited. One problem is that you are waiting for such an undeterminable amount of time. It's not like you can just go and chill somewhere and say, "I'll be back for my second run at 3:00." You have no real idea of when your second run might be so you have to keep going in and checking. It gets very tiring. I was really good about just lying down and resting some. I am quite relaxed in the building - mom took me to lots of trials there before I ever started trialing myself. So I am comfortable in that atmosphere. But it was still exhausting.
Any way, finally around 3:30 it was my turn for my STD run. The course started chute, dogwalk! It was not a good way to start for me - I couldn't get any momentum going. I even got a refusal at the tire when I stopped to sniff. But after that, things picked up and we finished the course. I got another Q and 2nd place and that was it! I got my NA title! So no more novice for me!
On Saturday we got up and had to be at the trial around 9:00. Mom moved us up to Open and we ran our first Open JWW course. It was a good and flowing course and I ran the fastest I ever have at a trial. Mom was even able to do a rear cross with me since I was moving fast enough! I got my first Open JWW Q and even placed 1st!
Right then and there, mom should've taken me home. That was even the plan she had from the night before. Go and try the JWW run while it is still a little cooler in the building and then go home and skip the STD run. We actually did go home for a quick lunch. But mom looked at the Open STD course map and the course started with a couple jumps and looked like a fairly easy course. And we had done so well in the morning. So she took me back to the trial. When we got there, they were running 8" EX so we thought it wouldn't take long to get to Open. Wrong. We still waited over an hour and it got hotter and hotter. Then it was our turn. I didn't even feel like jumping the first jump. I might have gotten a refusal on it - I'm not sure. When we got to the weaves (#8) I walked out after the third pole. Went back and tried again and finished them. Then I stopped on the up plank of the dogwalk (#9) and sniffed something. Got going again and then the chute (#13) - I went in and didn't come out and time ran out! So we got whistled off the course. Mom had to back me out of the barrel and she picked me up and off we went. Needless to say, we are not sharing video of the awful event - we deleted it already. It was just too hot. That was our very first NQ. We're pretty disappointed about it - mom is mad at herself for not just taking me home after the morning run. Guess we're not ready for two days of trialing - especially in the summer!
Ok, now even though we had mostly awesome results from this weekend, mom is worried about me. She is thinking that the messed up Open STD run will make me even less confident in trials and she is really worried about the fact that she had to pick me up from the chute of all things - just when we thought we had been making progress with the chute. She is afraid I thought she was mad at me - but she wasn't mad at all. I still got chicken for going out there and trying - I really don't think she should worry. In my opinion, she worries too much!
The next local AKC trial is in August. We'll have to really think about it - we just might wait until September to try again!
As a little side note - Linda Mecklenburg was running at our trial this weekend. We saw several of her runs and they were a thing of beauty! She is so smooth and quiet out there. She was even running in our classes with her dog Awesome - so sometimes she ran right before me - talk about a tough act to follow. For instance, in the Novice STD run on Friday, my time was around 62 seconds and her time was 32!!! She was running 12" preferred so at least we weren't competing against her (thank goodness)!
So the trial had it's ups and it's downs but mom is so proud of me! We've come a long way but we still have lots more to learn. After taking a break today, it's back to practicing!
It's Thursday so here is our Tricky T-Day video! This is my newest trick - dig! We used a post-it on the floor for me to target to start out. It didn't take long for me to dig since it's a well-known motion any way. Next mom wants to get me to dig with both paws, but we're not sure how to go about doing that.
On Tuesday we went to our second handling class. It went well and we worked on lateral sends. Mom also asked the instructor what to do about discriminations and the fact that I don't really know (or listen to) the obstacle names. She said the only obstacle I really need to know the name of is tunnel. Mom needs to use her body language to help me to go to the correct obstacle. Then if there are contact obstacle/tunnel discriminations and mom says "tunnel" I had better go for the tunnel!!!! So we are practicing this week - starting out with me standing right in front of the tunnel and then backing up a little and then from different angles. I am doing very well if tunnel is the only thing around. Once another obstacle is near-by then I want to do that one. Guess it will take some time.
Last night was our last novice competition class. We went early and got to practice the chute. I am happy to say I went flying through it. Then when we had the chute in sequences during the class, I also went through with no problem. Now if I can just do that in a trial!
Speaking of trials - we are running on Friday and Saturday this weekend - AKC in the good old horse barn! Two runs per day - JWW and STD. This is my third trial and the first time we are trying to run two days. Friday is supposed to be very hot and humid so mom is worried about how we will hold up. (Although she sees me chase plenty of squirrels in super hot weather so I should be able to do some agility too)!
Well, here it is Thursday already! We still haven't really gotten our act together to play Ludo's Tricky T-Day game. But here is another very quick video of two tricks - elephant - you guys all know that one but we've never shown you my version. I obviously am not into turning around and around. I feel that one turn is good enough for a treat reward - BOL! And then "thank you" which comes in handy when you want to be polite!
Sorry we forgot that it was Tricky T-Day today so we'll try to remember to play on the other T-Day in the week!
Since it's more or less summertime now, we spend far less time in the house and at the computer than we used to. So we get really behind at sharing our activites with all our blogging friends. We've been on some great walks - including a brand new place for me - a huge park about 45 minutes from here. We've been practicing a lot of backyard agility - working on running the down plank of the dog walk using my teeter board on a cement block (in my novice comp. class last Wednesday night, I jumped off the side of the down plank above the yellow twice! - mom was turning and trying to get me to go faster - so I did! - but now we have to work on making sure I know to go all the way to the end), practicing serpentines with two jumps and the tire, and throwing a food container (that bolt holder thingy that Sara told us about once - I can't remember what it was called) out ahead so that I run faster forward through the weaves or over jumps or down the dogwalk board. It works really well, but mom's not sure how that eventually translates into making me faster when she doesn't throw it. We'll make a video soon so you all can see.
Today we started a new class called handling drills and skills and it's held outdoors at the instructor's house at 9:30 in the morning. We had a great time! I was a little distracted when we first got there but I was soon able to focus better. There are only four dogs in the class - and they are all tri-colors! Two Berners and two Shelties! The small class size is wonderful but there are three jump heights so we are constantly running around changing the bars. Today's class was taught by Jenn Crank (her mom Susan is going to teach the rest of the time). It was very exciting to have a USA World Team member as our instructor. She is really good - and nice too. In this class we focused on forward sends and parallel sends. It's hard for me to get motivated to jump when we are drilling the two sends and mom is standing pretty close to the jump - I did ok but not great. I sped up some once we started trying to incorporate those moves into longer sequences. We also talked a lot about turning cues - like deceleration - we are never supposed to use "come," "here," or the dog's name as cues to turn. It should be all body language. The last sequence of the morning was the best for us - Jenn said mom's handling was excellent on that one!!! We are really looking forward to next week's class! (Our Wed. night class overlaps with our new class for two weeks - so we have class twice this week and next).
Ludo had a great idea the other day - he wants others to join in on his Tricky T-Day by posting videos (or pictures or words) about tricks they are working on or tricks they already know. T-Day can be Tuesday or Thursday. So today we are posting a very quick and short video showing a couple tricks I already know - cross paws and bang! I learned cross paws pretty quickly using a target, but bang! took me forever to learn. I knew what it meant but I wouldn't do it! I feel vulnerable when I have to lay on my side like that. So now I do it - but I won't perform the trick out in public yet.
We get most of our trick inspiration from watching YouTube videos. Some of our favorite channels include kikopup, zsianz1, yolle555, xsaricka, katsdogs, and justjesse197. We think it is absolutely amazing what all these dogs know how to do! Mostly these dogs are clicker trained - I'm not - mom didn't know about clicker training when she got me. She taught me a lot of my tricks by luring but she also uses "yes" as a marker word. She has been debating whether or not to start me on clicker training but for now we're just sticking with what we have been doing.
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!