Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tuesday's Class

We're behind in posting this week - today should be tricky but it's going to be about my class instead. Our skills drill this week was about how to teach your dog to get on the dogwalk safely. We were supposed to practice wrapping around a jump standard and then a cone for homework the week before. We warmed up with that and then Jenn put first a wing gate, then a jump standard and then a cone right next to the side of the up ramp. We had to jump and then walk it. We tried it on both ends of the dogwalk (so from both sides) and with just a pull and then with a rear cross.

With the sequences, the handler was supposed to come up with their own plan for their own dog. Most of the time Jenn has a specific skill in mind and will discuss a sequence and encourage the handler to use her handling plan. Any way, mom did come up with pretty good ideas for us for each sequence. On one part though, there ended up being many options and Jenn did explain them. We made the video to show you the approximate layout for the jumps and to give you some of the handling options. (there is not enough room in our yard to get the distances right).

There are 6 jumps and then a tunnel. The first 4 are self-explanatory. The action happens after 4 and between 5 and 6.

1. FC after #4 and serp recall over #6

2. Same thing but fail on the serp recall - LOL!

3. Dog on same side the entire time - push to #6

4. RC before #5

5. RC on the flat between #5 and 6 and then backy uppy fail at #6 - :)

About the past few wordless Wednesdays - since they are wordless, we couldn't explain anything - LOL! Mom thought the photos of me with the daffodils last week were funny - it's true that the daffodils were beautiful and so was I, but she thought it was so funny that for photo after photo, I would just NOT look at her. The first one of me running in the grass from yesterday was taken a couple weeks ago when we did have spring-like weather but I was looking at CARS that were on a road probably a half a mile away! Mom also thought this was funny as here we were in the pretty spot on a trail and having a great walk and I had to go an notice cars going by so far away! Well, duh! And as for the snow photos from yesterday afternoon, well, mom didn't think those were funny at all! HeHe!

Gotta zoom!


Monday, March 28, 2011

A Crate Game

Since we got our Crate Games DVD at Christmas, we haven't practiced nearly as much as we should have. But one of our games I like a lot incorporates my crate into a little living room agility. Mom sets up my tunnel at the end of the couch and then a jump and then my crate and I have to go as fast as I can to get to my crate (I love my crate, btw!). We tried to figure out how to get the set up on video and the room just isn't big enough to be able to get the camera back far enough. So the video starts out and you can only see the crate part (you have to imagine the tunnel and the jump - LOL). Then mom makes you dizzy by holding the camera and following me around the circle. Fortunately she doesn't do that for long! :)

When the weather gets nicer, we have to take the crate outside and see if I can do a similar exercise out there.

It was sunny but quite cold today. I did get to go on a fun walk to Antrim Lake (the place that was the site of one of our training challenges). We still don't go there very often because of all the cars on the major highway. Today I wore my harness and when I started barking at the cars, mom just stopped and waited for me to calm down until we could walk a couple more steps. I have a really hard time handling me moving and the cars moving at the same time. Anyway, the harness helped to keep me from spinning. After a little while I was able to keep walking without barking and then got to be off-leash in the safe area. I listened to mom and came to her whenever she stopped. We met a harlequin great dane who was still a puppy but his head came up to mom's chest (and mom is 5' 9")! And we saw a loon in the lake!!! That was super cool! Seeing one is not an every day occurrence around here - this one must be passing through on migration.

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

tRicky T-Day!

The other day our YouTube friends Donna, Jessie, and Lucy at supernaturalbc2009 posted a video called Does Your Dog Really Understand a Verbal Cue? where Jesse is behind a closed door and Donna gives him commands to follow. It was really cool! Donna issued a training challenge for people to train at least three behaviors their dogs will do on a verbal command only and post it as a video response. So we decided to give it a quick try!

Mom left me in the bedroom and closed the door (except for a tiny crack that she could squint through but I couldn't see her) and she told me to "sit," "down," "sit," and "speak!" I did it!! But I have to say somehow I am better on verbal commands than signals. For instance we are working on the signals exercise for Open obedience and I am having trouble when mom gives the hand signal only.

Any way, here is the video:

We watch almost every video that Donna, Jessie and Lucy make and learn lots of cool stuff! Thanks to them for this fun challenge!

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's class

We went to class today - two weeks in a row - woohoo! Today we had to do zig zag lines. I had never practiced them before. They were based on Linda Mecklenberg's zig zag exercises from the section starting on page 185 in her Developing Handling Skills book. Our exercise had four jumps - at least three were winged (maybe all four were) and they were zigged and zagged. Technically the dog should take the jumps that are within four feet away from him and his handler (four feet is the length of a jump bar) without his handler having to use an arm signal or say jump. For our class today handlers were allowed to use those signals. Oh and the handler runs in a straight line (not moving in and out to help the dog). I did pretty well but I did not like the winged jumps and stuttered a little. Jenn says mom should make some wings for me to practice with at home. (We already found a plan to make them).

Other than that, not too much else to report. I did well but was not super fast or anything. Oh, today there was a tunnel that had a table in its curve and as we approached it, mom said "Ricky" to get me to take the tunnel entrance closest to her and I came towards mom and then headed for the tunnel. Mom was happy and did not make sure I was committed to the tunnel before she started to move to meet me at the other end of the tunnel and I thought she was showing me that table and so I hoped up on the too-high table. Ha! So something new to work on! :)

There was a cool part of a sequence that involved the broad jump on a turn and then a tunnel and Jenn showed everyone how they should send their dogs to the broad jump and run behind the tunnel. If we can, we will try to demonstrate this later in the week as it was pretty cool and we want to remember how to do it.

We have lots of daffodils blooming now and these are pretty but the stem came up out of the ground about 2 inches and then it bloomed. Wonder why it is so short? Although flowers and birds think Spring is here and the calendar says it is a fact, we are supposed to have highs of 40 and lows in the 20s with possible snow showers by the end of the week. Hmmm... not what we call Spring exactly!

Gotta zoom!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Tunnel within a Tunnel

The other day we set up the tunnel inside the curve of another tunnel exercise that we practiced in class last week. We have a 6 ft real tunnel and then two kids' play tunnels we put together to be the bigger tunnel. It made the entrances more obvious but we could still practice the skill. The dogwalk was just there to keep the tunnels from rolling backwards.

This was edited down from 9 minutes (you're welcome - LOL) and I did make mistakes but cut those out! I caught on pretty quickly though. The handler should say the dog's name for the entrance nearest her and say tunnel for the farther entrance. The handler should also run straight toward the middle of the smaller curved tunnel for that tunnel. I am thinking mom's handling leaves a lot to be desired! :) (also cut from the video was mom's often repeated "don't eat it" to me for wanting to eat the corn gluten she put on the yard for fertilizer/weed control - I can't help it if that stuff is like manna from heaven to me!)

Last night and tonight I did - get the dumbbell, sit, down, sit, stand, sit, and sit up pretty - all while HOLDING it!! There is hope!

Gotta zoom!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Progress Comes In Tiny Steps

Here is a short video of our next training session on holding that darn dumbbell and lying down. I went from sit to down to sit several times! But now don't ask me to stand from a sit - LOL!

We tried the tea towel holding that Pepper suggested to us - it didn't go so well the first day so I am sure mom will be working with me on that.

Hope you all have a great Saturday!

Gotta zoom!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Dogwalk Practice

We set up the dogwalk the other day and got in some fun practice! We're using those clip and go contact hoops to keep me from being tempted to jump off the side of the board (especially when mom moves laterally). I think I am getting faster!

It sure is nice to be able to practice in our own backyard again!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

tRicky T-Day!

We have a YouTube friend named Sian who is now a facebook friend of our's too and she has a dog training facebook page - the other day she posted that if anyone needs help with tricks they are working on, she would be happy to try to give some advice. So mom told her that we have been working on my rolling up in a blanket for a long time and that I can't get past "hold the blanket, drop it, and roll over." Here's her advice:

ZsianZ1 Animal Training "
Well have you tried training other tricks such as beg or spin while holding something? the problem with the roll over is that it means going upside down with it in their mouth so starting off with something easier first might be the way forward, also start with something smaller in the mouth such as a toy that is easy to hold and then get the roll over with that first. ohhh and another thing is to make sure there is plenty of slack with the blanket... if the blanket is going too tight it can put the dog off, so have him sit further in on the blanket and then hand him the corner. and one more idea is train him to lay on his side and back, that way you can ask for the roll in stages and this should help".

Since the dumbbell is sort of the thing that I am most comfortable holding at the moment, mom is trying to get me to do something other than walk or sit with it in my mouth. The very first day we tried it, I did left and right. But after that, I wouldn't do it any more - I just kept dropping the dumbbell. The most progress we have made is I will lie down and not drop it. Goofy I know, but somehow this whole concept it tough for me! (What happened to the font and size I was using to write this - it changed when I put in the quote from Sian and now I can't get it back).

Some day I hope to have a really good trick to share on tRicky T-Day. We are trying every day, believe me.

It's a beautiful day outside right now - need to get back out there! :)

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

A darker purple colored crocus is blooming now! (bigify to really see how pretty it is). And I had squirrel fur in my mouth today for the first time ever - that's how close I was to catching one in my backyard!

Gotta zoom!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's class

Believe it or not, we went to class today!! It was the first class of a new 7 week session. I think we only went to 3 classes last session. Ridiculous. But today we got back on track. I was a very good boy. Mom warmed me up on the triple - I refused it the first time and then did all the rest including every one in the sequences. What is up with that first time? You only get one chance in a trial so mom keeps telling me.

Just one real thought from today. We did a 90 degree weave entry drill. Two jumps to the entry with dog on the left. The handler should drive straight forward to the second pole and let the dog find the entry on his own. At first the handler was allowed to go as close to the poles as she wanted but then she had to stay back farther each time. I got all my entries!

We did some sequences with a curved tunnel that had a smaller curved tunnel in the curve. So two tunnel entrances on each side! That was interesting. Mom needs to practice that with me (we only have one real tunnel but Jenn says to practice that's all you need - you just start bringing the entrances closer and closer together)- we didn't get it perfect but I want you to know that when Mom said, "Ricky!" I responded to my name!!!!!!

Now that the weather is finally improving (well it's raining but I guess that IS an improvement), videos showing fun elements from my class will be coming back so stay tuned! LOL!

Gotta zoom!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beautiful Cards from Reilly and His Mom!

A couple weeks ago we participated in Reilly's Cowspotdog Blog Giveaway by sending in a photo of me sleeping and we were lucky enough to be a winner!! Reilly's mom makes amazing cards and she sent us some as our prize - my mom is not good at taking pictures but hopefully these give you an idea of how cool and creative these cards are!

They are 3-D - neat, huh?

Mom loves these cards so much that she is not sure she will ever be able to give them away to anyone! :)

Thank you so much Reilly and Bree!!

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts in no particular order:

We only really enjoy doing agility in our own backyard.

I have a new harness - one of those Comfort Flex ones - if I have to wear a harness, it is my favorite so far. I hate harnesses and I used to wear the Walkeez all-fleece one but I have so much fur that mom had to work the harness straps way into the fur to get it to go on far enough back and I really didn't like that. At least with the Comfort Flex there is just the one strap around my middle. I got an XS in case you were wondering and I measured @ 19 in. around my girth.

It is RAINING again - better than snow but with our already super saturated ground it is making quite a mess.

We are running out of trick ideas and don't know how much longer we can keep doing tRicky T-Days. I am always working on tricks but lots of them are in progress and or we are refining things I already know. Did you know tRicky T-Day was started by Ludo back in June of 2009!! Wow!

I am four years old and still barking at cars.

My next agility trial isn't until April 9 - just one day of AKC. I need 6 JWW Qs to get my MXJ and it's going to be a tall order given our lack of trial days, my squirreliness about spread jumps and mom's inability to remember the courses!

Chewing on bully sticks has really helped my teeth! My adult teeth have been stained since a month after they came in and I had some tarter on my back molars. The staining has mostly gone away and even some of the tarter has come off by my chewing! The bully stick works well for me because I can really get it positioned to chew hard with my back teeth (unlike the marrow bones which are fun but bigger). I get Moo! free-range ones from my favorite Pet People store. They are kind of expensive but well worth it if they keep me from having to have my teeth cleaned at the vet.

Remember how I used to throw up yellowish foam quite frequently in the middle of the night? I hardly ever do that any more and I think I have out grown that empty stomach thing.

Where did all the white markings on my face go?

Gotta zoom!


Friday, March 4, 2011

My Excellent Hike at the Lake!

Yesterday mom and dad took me on a wonderful walk! We went to the lake where we went camping last year and actually drove into the closed area of the campground so we could hike on the trails in there. No one was around and we had a great time! It was cold (not for me but for mom who wore all of her winter stuff) like 40 and partly sunny with a cold wind. The trails were muddy and leaf-covered and had various places where you could walk right down to the shore of the lake.

There were lots of limbs down from recent ice storms and I had to work my way around them.

We crossed a couple little run-off streams and one time I totally jumped to the other side!

I am always out in front blazing the trail!

Parts of the lake were still completely ice covered but here the water was high and wavy from the wind.

This is the beach at the campground! I don't like to swim but I sure do like the beach! Look at all the Canada Goose tracks in the sand. Lucky for them they had already flown away because I would've herded them all! I was super excited and got major zoomies - dad filmed it - listen to him laughing and out of breath - you would think HE was the one doing the zooming! LOL!

We were all three muddy and tired when we got back in the car but what an awesome day!!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

tRicky T-Day!

Well, I have made a little progress with getting the tv remote for my sad, sit-around-on-her-butt-can't-get-her-own-remote mom! I can pick it up off of the floor now. I don't like the way the thing feels in my mouth though. So sometimes I just cannot wait for mom to say "Drop it!" But I am doing it, and I am very respectful of the remote - I don't get any slobber on it or teeth marks! :)

It has been cold but sunny the past three days! Sun three days in a row is unheard of here in the winter! I think that is what made the crocus bloom yesterday. One lone little purple crocus, blooming its heart out in our otherwise dead flower garden

Mom and dad took me on an awesome walk today! I will post pictures and a little video tomorrow or Saturday!

Gotta zoom!