Saturday, April 26, 2008

outside, you say?

Worked Rah outside today for about 15 minutes - kept it short because
1) I was still in work clothes, which aren't necessarily the best thing for training
2) Berlin was in the yard screaming her head off at me training him
3) there were people riding motorbikes about 100 feet away which was a little weird for me, so I didn't want him off leash all the time around them and didn't want to push it.

Revved him up with his tug toy and got him going, and I think I'm going to have to use his toy more outside, because that really gets him going. Heeled him up and down, and while in the first minute I didn't have such wonderful attention, he popped right back and by 5 minutes in, he was all over me and giving me wonderful attention.

If I do get daring enough to try the BH with him, I'm not going for the schutzhund about turn - I'm just going to do left about turns with him - i will have to work on cleaning those up for him.

Anyway, nice attention, good sits, but poor outs :) he was good though and brought his toys back to me after I tossed them and he was a Very Good Boy.

Worked some stays - 30 seconds sit and 30 seconds down - not allowed to sniff, eat grass, or roll. Very good, very good.

All in all, very encouraging. Tomorrow is the ADA show, I will work him more there, and I am going to try to get the men to do SFE's for him.

Friday, April 25, 2008

squeezing in a friday training session

since I had the day off, Teri asked me if I wanted to meet her at Hk9 to get a little training session in with just the two of us.

Started rah out with directed jumping and he did JUST FINE - i wonder if part of it is that he's a little weirded out by terry, since she is the head honcho out there :) He did both jumps without an issue, so I didn't push it too hard.

Did some quick heeling, just two short patterns, then put Rah away and brought out Berlin to do some attention work, heeling, marking, and db games. She's got a solid "take it" right now, I think I am going to move to a hold now!

put her away and brought rah back out, heeled him a bit more, and did some go-outs and then broad jump and retrieve on flat. he was good on everything, which was nice. then did baby stays with both he and berlin for 5-10 seconds. realized that berlin hasnt really ever been taught stays at all, so i have to start them now :)

much better than last night.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

happy almost end of april

What a weird month this has been - the high of first place, the low of horrible outdoor showing - tonight Rah had definite flashes of brilliance combined with complete insanity.

We didn't make it to ANY classes last night - I had a parvo puppy at work and would not have been sufficiently able to decontaminate myself before heading up to T.D., so I opted out of class since I know many others have young young puppies. So we stayed home and sadly, didn't do much work.

Started tonight with stays, which were atrocious - think last year atrocious. Rah couldn't hold a sit to save his life - but that was because I was talking to Terry and telling her about Ed's judging mishaps... mental note, Rah cannot handle me NOT paying attention to him, or more importantly I think it's focusing on someone else. It's been hard enough getting him to accept that there is downtime where we both just kinda hang out - it's another thing where I expect him to hold a position for 5 minutes while I gab away - he's not ready. Correct handler with prong collar here.

Heeling was nice! He did pretty well, and his halts were for the most part very nice - he had one crooked one, but the rest were straight and right where they needed to be! We went to fig8 afterwards, and everyone was amused at how Rah uses my breast as a bouncing spot for his head - he repeatedly bumps his face into my left breast on the inner post. Which is better than his entire body blocking - I need to keep his attention more and his head up and that will help this. I'm going to get the clicker out and start marking him when it's exactly what I want to clarify.

Played some db restrained games and he did well, except that twice he tried to take his db and go play on his own at the very last minute rather than give it up to me - ahh, an old problem resurfacing. the db is such his fave toy, it's taken me a long time to get him to reliably bring it back to me. he didn't take any laps around the room, but he did require a second command twice. However, his pickups were nice and clean, he was fast and very accurate. Correct handler a second time for not rewarding dog for bringing back db - after I let him tug it and carry it around, he was much happier.

Then we brought out the broad jump and high jump (and i also added in fig8's again) - Rah's broad was beautiful at 56" (just a few inches short of his regulation distance) and we did some maint. on his set ups. His high jump was nice too, he made a few good choices and hard pickups!

Then we worked recalls and DOR's - proofed him for the dismal "call your dog" fiasco that he fell for last week by having Terry hold his leash and he only fell for it once. He has to learn that while YES they are telling me to call him, I have to be the one doing the calling :) he did some beautiful DOR's though, yay!

took a break and moved to utility. Worked gloves first, but rah is a glove shaker and that needs to be broken - so this week we backtracked him - while he is perfectly capable of working the gloves and essentially full ring, he shakes the entire way back. So right now the glove is on a leash and I am just telling him to hold it and tugging on it and rewarding a solid grip on the glove.

Moved to scent articles and he did well, though we were playing around with his pivots and demotivation, v. restrained find its and such - with a big dog, i want him going out fast and happy, and right now im doing a mix of pivots and restrained.

worked signals, and rah did some beautiful sits!!!!! with no forward motion. for some reason his downs suffered a bit - im going to get the clicker out and click for fast downs from a stand in front of me and see how that works.

go outs were good - he's at almost 30 feet in class, and pretty good with the turn and sit.

his directed jumping was horrible, terrible. we started with the infamous jump that attacked him a month ago, and he acted like a baby - and then he just decided he didn't want to play the game at all and with every over command, he just bolted wherever he felt like it - j but we cannot end on that, so on the flexi he went and he had to go over both jumps once before we called it a night.
time to take a step back - while he's doing lovely DJ at home and doing them at MUCH more of a distance and angle than in class, something about in class is freaking him out. we created a chute for him with a gate and worked him that way, and next week we are just going to set that up first thing and not even LET him be wrong or give him the option of avoiding the jump, because he took the jump earlier in the day without any issue - at this point he just didn't want to do it.

so that's the night. berlin is showing this weekend at the ADA show, and im going to try to get all the schutzhund folk to do SFE's on rah while we are there to get him more comfortable with guys :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

a wrap-up from a bad owner

So Saturday was the show, and it was HOT.AS.HECK. out there - I don't know whose bright idea it was to get to 90 degrees in April in NJ, but seriously folks... by 10 am, Rah was panting his fool head off, I didn't feel comfortable leaving the dogs in the car even with windows open, the hatch open, and my sun screen up, so with K's help we moved all the crates up to the picnic table area in the nice cool shade (where it was much more comfortable. Shame I couldn't show there...)

Clearly many of us do not train enough outside :) Some of the performances were just dismal, including my own... Rah didn't get into the ring until after 12, and right before he got into the ring he saw a big fat bumblebee and he started jumping and snapping at it trying to eat it. I got him in the ring and the heeling pattern started - wasn't so bad. Did the figure 8, also wasn't so bad all things considering - but he didn't sit at a single halt for the fig8 BAD DOBE. At this point he looks like he's going to have a coronary (good thing he's young and healthy, an older dog I would probably pull for fear of heat stroke, but I know my dog and know he's just a panter - his tongue is all the way out of his mouth, he's foaming, and his brain is GONE) - we do the SFE and it's a man and Rah is typical Rah and just shies away - I don't know why this translates in the ring to not liking men doing his SFE< but we really need to work on it. Problem is, when I train, he NEVER shies away, ever. DAMNIT.

Go to the recall and on the way there, Rah stepped on my shoe and untied it - so I had to stop and tie it, and during this time Rah started grazing on the grass. I stopped him, but he kept chomping. I left him in the sit, and called him front, and he came but then just leaned to me, way too hot to live. I finished him and left the ring, bad bad dog. I SHOULD have had him platz and then broken him out and UPPED HIM UP but by this point I think we both just wanted this to be over.

Long sit was ok, he held it... but the damn long down on the grass was too tempting and Rah rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled, and 2 minutes in he just stood up and walked to me. Not a willfull break, more of a "I just forgot I was doing a down" break. My bad for not training him more outside, and we've honestly never done stays on grass - and since he has no grass at home, he had to roll. NO sense in correcting him outside the ring, I need to actually train him to not do it. Bad bad bad bad bad bad handler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rah still took first in the class, but the score was ridiculous and his competition was ridiculous - but the judge originally placed him LAST and I had to see the score sheet and asked him (all innocent like ) why my HIGHEST SCORE in the class was last and the lowest score in class was first :) So we all had to trade ribbons.

Trained in the living room last night - I realize that I train Rah's utility stuff most because it's fun and new, and don't work the other stuff anymore because it's boring. That's bad! And I haven't trained berlin at all... abd bad bad bad bad bad bad handler again!

Worked go-outs for Rah, and he's doing really well. Because the kittens are in his training room, we did them in the living room and he did about 15-20 feet goouts and has a nice turn and sit. If I call him off before he gets there (I don't think his ready for this, mental note) he doesn't turn all the way to me because he's still trying to see if the food is there that he missed.

Worked some get closes, some left finishes (which were horrible, he isn't coming back far enough to come in straight - and while his right finish is NICE and WONDERFUL his left one really needs to be serviceable too!), and some auto-sits to keep him nice and tight and straight, which he wasn't in the ring at Harrisburg. Then worked week three of ATC , and he did the entire pile again even though mom screwed up kinda, but he still worked the entire pile just fine.

Today I really do need to work Berlin - and I'm going to bring out the BJ, the HJ, and the bar and work some directed jumping, some open work, and do some heeling outside and some basic attention.

Also going to take berlin outside and do attention work with her there. No sense in having two dogs with the same problem, right?

Friday, April 18, 2008

the odor is overwhelming

Tyler in the past month, has developed gas. Dobermans are known for their gas, and Tyler's has become fairly noxious - it's not terrible and constant, but damn, when he's laying on the ground at my feet, the fumes waft up and hit me in the face something fierce.

two nights of class leave me tired tired tired.

Wednesday night started with agility - far be it from me to say what to do and not do, since I am a virtual novice in agility, but there are certain things from reading, having others that do it seriously, and taking a few classes that I feel I know. we started with weaves, then to chute, and rah did fine. then we did a-frame, and she wants me to let rah jump off the top (hes not bailing - he full fledged jumped off the top of the full height a-frame to get the cookie in my hand) and landed on my arm - thats a lot of weight. then we worked on hit it on the teeter, on table, and then she wants us to use targets for contacts ... but im strict about my sense of target, and she's not targeting - she's using the target area that the dog lays down on and maintains contact with t nonstop until released - thats not a target, thats a separate behavior, so i have to retrain it.

moved to berlins attention class, she did well for her little puppy self - we got longer "rests" and she did well with attention. started with with me's, incorporated her name into it and she's very good with the name game! we did moving attention, stationary attention from front and from heel position, and i cannot remember what else...

took time out for an hour, and then to rah's class. started with heeling - intensive heeling around the room for about 15 minutes. i was so about to die, GOD!!! then we did it OFF LEASH... sore muscles screaming at me, it was hot as heck in there, Rah was panting his fool head off and emitting heat like a little furnace. He did much better off leash than on - I really need to figure out this on lead stuff, damnit - I think I need to go back to double leashing him and he needs to be more consistent. He has a very consistent body and head placement with off leash, but on he is all over the place. I wonder if part of it is me using a very short lead, so every time I move he is all over the place. Next week I am going to try a longer leash and see how that works for him. I am also going to put my hand back into neutral position for heeling.

Then we worked the right turn in the figure 8 -- Rah's favorite part of anything we do in Novice, and his superstar time to shine. Needless to say, we didn't work that long :) He's super for it, and drives around the turn like no other!

Brought out the db and worked holds, and did some short retrieves. Then brought out high jumps and worked cookie marks over the HJ. Then did stays, and the end to a long night.

moving onto thursday night - we warmed up with some heeling, and somewhere along the line i must have stepped on Rah's foot, because after the heeling (Rah wasn't half bad, a little in my face (or more pointedly, all over my body and crooked), when we set up for fig8's I noticed he was bleeding! Poor Rah!

We set up two rings for Broad jumps, ROF, ROH, etc - Rah did well with ROH with such a small ring, but it was really really tight for him. The BJ was perfect, he went out nicely and turned to me , but I need to work on getting those fronts straight straight straight. I will probably need to get some guide boards out. Same for fronts with the db - he sometimes gets so focused with his mouth/db that he forgets to line his bum up :)

Things were really tight, since we had so many extra people there - then we moved to recalls. Rah was a butthead and every single time Terry said call your dog, he came. So he didn't get to do a single recall, and I made him wait and returned to him each and every time bad bad bad bad bad bad bad dog.

We finished up open with some more heeling, and then onto utility.

Started with scent articles, and Rah started with Week three - he did everything perfectly, yay Rah!!! Then we moved to gloves. He's good with the mark up to a distance of about 15 feet pretty much, even with all three of them out on the floor (I'm honestly not sure how far he will have to do in competition), but he is shaking the glove once he picks it up, so I need to work on that.

Then we did go outs, and Rah did a 15-20 foot go out (off flexi, still since I am a flexi-tard) and is sitting pretty reliably when told to. Terry even took the food away and he did a go out without the food, WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Then directed jumping, and he did very well then too - in training I was able to move him in to almost middle (10 feet), I only moved him in 5 feet in class, but Terry says I should have gone further. However, we did start him coming directly back to me to get his toy rather than me throwing it -- we also started me just giving a hand signal v. a verbal command to go over. Heck, Rah went over once just on an EYE flicker. Terry was happy with that because it shows him really paying attention, woohoo.

Ended on the start of his moving stand, and signals, which we will have to do much more of next week. I cannot believe it's a new week next week, where did this session go?!?!?!?!

Monday, April 14, 2008

train schmain

worked directed jumping yesterday - set up both jumps in the backyard and used a tennis ball as his reward for correct jumps. i was able to get him moved in about 4-5 feet from both jumps and he was still successfully taking each jump on command.

however, being the smartass, flying high sort of trainer i am, i was totally convinced that my dog fully understood the commands to take each jump (no), and that rah would be able to differentiate from where he was which jump i wanted him to take (he couldnt) and we would be doing some semblance of directed jumping on a smaller backyard scale (we didnt)... when in fact, rah really hasnt fully grasped yet that its my arm that is giving him the cue of WHICH jump to take - right now hes just taking the jump i am standing nearest to. oh well, thats why we TRAIN these things, right? remember kim - he's only been training DJ for THREE WEEKS, and we've only working this a total of FOUR TIMES. breathe. take your time.

working the last night of week two of ATC tonight, and tomorrow i will move him onto week three - he worked the full pile very well, and im proud of that. if i had been working him every night as i had originally intended, he would be on week 5 now i think - but alas i am a lazy trainer on some nights and have no desire to do things. bad bad bad bad kim.

rah also did some nice heeling around the backyard last night in the failing daylight - when distracted his auto-sits went out the window, but his positioning wasnt too bad.

right now the puppy is being incredibly annoying, which is surprising because she trained tonight for 45 minutes working attention, releases, marking, db take its, etc. and weve discovered im too fat to do attention work the traditional TD manner...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Post show glory

First, Rah is allergic to NJ. Or my house at least - he's itchy, he has yucky eye goop. Yes, I did contemplate selling my house for 10 seconds before I realized it was purely impractical.

Ah, the afterglow :) First, I am tickled pink that I had COMMENTS in this blog... yay :) If I could figure out how to get all comments emailed to me so that I know when I get them, that would be even better... anyone?

Rah has been enjoying the life of a free dog right now - no training since Friday! He's getting lazy, I tell ya! Today I will get things back out and start working him - scent articles, some directed jumping, and figure 8's I think.

I'm really astounded and very pleased that Rah was able to perform as well as he did - and others are astounded I'm not out there entering him like crazy right now to finish his CD...

First, this was always planned as a test run - to see how far he had progressed, and to see what we needed to work on. I know now he HAS matured a lot, but I also know there are things we need to work on - his transitions and set ups have gotten MUCH better, but some of the training didn't hold up as well in the ring - for almost every set up, I think, I needed to do TWO to get one I was happy with. perfectionist? Yes - but if he isn't straight and giving me attention, I cannot expect a lovely performance from a less than lovely start. And while the figure8 was about 200 times better than it was this same time last month, it can still be better. Seeing Betsy and Dealer in the ring getting the 200 this past week, I want THAT... training with perfectionists means you want that.. *le sigh*

Which brings us to the time of year - it's the beginning of our outdoor show season here, always a drop in entries, a drop in performance standards for some of us (ahem, MOI), and of course a significant rise in the temperature and my sweating. Rah needs a lot more matching and training outside before we can be comfortable showing outdoors, so there's no sense in showing him in a
situation where I am not confident he can perform.

Then we come to those damned scores. Good scores are addicting. The AKC has decided that a dog can continue to compete in Novice A for 60 days after they complete their title before they have to move up to Novice B. The DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) has decided that a dog can qualify for the Top 20 in obedience only once from the Novice class, after that they need to move beyond - a qualifying score is anything above 195, with bonus points for HIT's.

So yes, Rah's score Thursday was a TT qualifying score - if he is capable of producing more, he is capable of potentially qualifying for the TT, which is a huge dream of mine (second only to him getting that OTCH). However, the TT calendar year is July-June, and that means this years is almost over - with virtually no chance of him making it, since there isn't even enough local shows for him to be entered in this late, to get him enough CHANCES< much less are we capable of that rigorous schedule and that level of consistency (which I do not believe we are, yet).

So, if things go well, I'm going after the first dream later this year, and we will seriously start pursuing a place in the Top 20 obedience for the blue blur... but I'm going to have to pick my debut carefully - I like certain venues, I want to be able to show the hell out of him in Novice A before we are forced to go into the B classes.

Did I really just say that?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday April 10th - Lebanon Kennel Club

I'm going to ignore everything else in the world and focus on how well my dogs did :)

First, Rah's hair is growing back. I need to go find some wood in this hotel room and knock on it, but there is definite hair regrowth. Thank you whatever divine intervention has shined down upon us...

Arrived at the show site yesterday at about 9:30 - loaded up the crate dolly with three dobe crates, two training bags, two chairs, the cooler, and other assorted crap... get 75% of the way to the obedience ring (we parked probably about half a mile away - its a HUGE venue) and the damn dolly breaks. Thank you to the kind stranger that helped Lydia and I by carrying the chair and the broken dolly - I ended up loading all the bags into Berlin's VariKennel and carrying it in on my head!!!!

Found our own little corner of the room to crate in - I love this venue because obedience has its own hall devoted just to obedience - separate from the breed rings, and plenty of room to warm up and crate and we are NOT sitting on each others laps!!! It's really a great venue - very big and busy, but good...

And so the wait began... I had calculated out that Novice A logistically should have started at 11:00 or so... and then noon rolled around and the class wasn't starting, Utility was still going on. And Before the class would even consider starting, the judge needed to take lunch, the class would start at 12:45. Meanwhile, Berlin is supposed to be in the ring at 1:30, and both Rah and Mercury (who is in the novice ring right after Rah) have to be in rally as well soon. needless to say, that was 45 minutes of pure hell waiting...

Finally the judge came back from lunch and debriefed us, we all got ready to start, and I was first in the ring. im prepping rah, got him going, threw the db to get him psychotically into this, im doing his "ready????????" game, and all of a sudden as i am ready to go in.. i head "tell #7 she's not going to be first anymore... WHAT? two other people ended up going first because of conflicts . YUCK. break rah out and run back to the crate.

finally my turn... rewarm him up and heel him into the ring and set him up. he glanced down during the setup, but the set up went well. his first one was crooked, so i had to do a second one and that's where i got the glance away towards the judge, but he came right back and i still had him on a "ready? lets go!" so he was jazzed and staring at me intently. i never took my eyes off him and the judge told us to go and we were OFF... first halt i could tell he was too far behind me, so we probably lost half a point there. cant tell if he was crooked because he was too far back. his left turns were pretty good, no bumping. his slow was nice, his about turn supurb, his right was nice, his fast he stayed with me and DIDN"T CHEW ON THE LEASH (but i think his butt came out on this one!) and a normal immediately into another about turn (rah loved this one and into the halt - he was a little behind on this halt as well, but he was straight for this one.

went to set up for the figure 8 and i got lost setting him up and ended up making two turns to set up up and he was crooked - she asked if i was ready and i said no and set him up straight (im proud of that!) and he still had rapt attention on me. he dropped his head a bit on the left on the first inner post and he did bump me once, but he brought it up and his right outer post was spectacular, his first halt was crooked, his second inner post wasn't half bad and his last halt was better. i think we lost most points here - not bad considering they were NOWHERE near 8 feet apart - closer to 6, and i know because i worked figure 8's like no other this past week! took the leash off and handed it to the steward while he kissed my face, and then broke him out of the sit, turned him, and had him get close. asked him to stand and for a heartbreaking 2 seconds, he didn't stand - but then he popped up into a lovely kickback stand that DIDN"T swing his butt out, and i left him, she did her exam, and i returned.

kept him up and heeled him over to the off lead start, and set him up - again the first set up wasn't straight, and in trying to fix it he got lost behind me - i played the "Get it get it" game and he came right into set up. And the heeling started - off leash was better (and FELT better) than on - he was with me in perfect position, our halts were good, he never left me or dropped his head once that i ever noticed, and his slows and fasts were great. his last halt again he was a little behind me, but i was so pleased at this point- at the exercised finished i reached down and rubbed his chest, then heeled him over to the recall.

at this point the judge is talking to me, and she's telling me what a lovely job he is doing, and she's telling me that he did an amazing job heeling. while i appreciate it (YAY RAH!!!!) this is exactly the place I lost rah at nationals, so I just said thank you, and kept talking to rah. I got to the recall, and again the first set up was a no-go - he dropped his head and didn't look at me, but the second one worked THANK GOD and he was there and staring at me with his lovely eyes in perfect heel position. I gave him that wait and just PRAYED he stayed and I got to the end of the ring and turned and his eyes were staring back at me. I called him and he came at me (a little crooked, but he mostly fixed it in the front - he was the tiniest hair crooked) - and then finished him and his finish was straight and she said those lovely two words EXERCISE FINISHED and i broke that bad blue dog out of that sit and let him jump up on me and she turned to me and said "what an amazing job!" and i said thank you and I got my leash and put rah back on and let him tug himself out of the ring.

get to stays, and we're going in catalog order, which means thankfully rah is next to the ring gate and mercury. but the ring gate he is next to is next to the rally ring going on behind him, uhoh....

i put him in a sit, give him a little tension on his sit, and leave him. walk across the ring, cross my arms, and start counting in my head ... and SHIT - one dog is up... SHIT SHIT SHIT another dog is up and rah is staring at them... im not staring rah down, but he's looking at them and looking at me... and he decides to stay, GOOD DOG. i pray heavily until i hear the other most magical words "return to your dog". we get back to our dogs and the judge walks over to the other dogs being excused from the ring and talks to things handlers for another minute, explaining what is going on. then she comes over to us and starts talking about the down... finally i interrupt her and tell her politely - "excuse me, but you haven't told us exercise finished yet!" - she laughs and finally ends the longest novice sit on earth!!!!!

rah at this point has been bumping my hand going "HEY MOM WHERES THE COOKIE", so i break him out, turn him, and set him back up, reassure him we've got one more thing to do before i give him all the cookies... and put him in the down. walk across the ring and start counting. while my sit count was accurate, by my down count, we did a four minute down - the longest down on earth, i swear to god. she tells us to return and at this point im praying DOWN DOWN DOWN since rah's fave time to break is at exercise finished on the long down... and she says it and i GRAB HIM and WE"RE DONE!!!!!!!!

she tells us who qualified, and we get back in the ring and...

RAH TAKES FIRST PLACE WITH A 195.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for his first CD leg!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

the sunday match show

went to the match show this morning - i was able to get rah 2 spots (i could have gotten him more, but i was tired, so was he, and i was concerned i may have seen him limping, so two was our limit today!) for novice run throughs, which was good for us considering he's entered this coming week!

im VERY pleased with how he worked... so was judy, who was our judge today - she said since the last time she judged us (she's VERY critical!), she's seen a TON of improvement and she was very happy with it, which made me even happier that someone else could see it too - especially someone that doesn't see him work every week! i think she last saw him in january, so that was nice.

we did ring entrances, and that was good for him, he did two nice set ups. his on leash heeling was so-so - definitely qualifying, a crooked sit in one, but not the rapt attention he can give, and he went wide on the about turn near the entrance.

his fig8 was MUCH better than it normally has been - that was an area i saw a definite improvement this time, and so did judy - he had his head up, he didn't bump into me nearly as much as he normally does, and he was good!

SFE was perfect, transition to off lead was very good -

his off leash heeling, though, was phenomenal, which was AWESOME< yay rah!!!!! with me the entire time, head up non stop, perfect position, straight sits, i was so pleased! judy says i screw him up with the leash, which is totally true...

recall was good, i screwed up his finish by moving his hands so we fixed that, and he held his stays, GOOD BOY (they were open length)... so that would have been a qualifying run!

the second run we had an issue setting up for the fig8 because his boyfriend simon was coming in, and rah was focused on him, so he needed to be reminded that we were working here, but all in all, it was very similar to the first run.

im pleased with how it went, and if he can do that in the ring next week, i'd be happy. fingers crossed.

time to nap, watch a movie, then clean the house and work scent articles and more figure 8s!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

heeling schmeeling

thursday night classes... aka tire rah out night :)
did three classes again, added in the drop in rally class since if i am daring, i will be bumping him up to advanced rally at the harrisburg shows next week and we need the practice, especially after the "i am askeered of jumps" episode last week, i couldnt let that be our last jump experience in the ring...

rally wasn't bad. the first course was a blend of novice, advanced and excellent but with no jumps- he did very well and did all the exercises as needed, even the call front without having to step back, without any issue. all off leash, yay.

second course, they added in a jump and thankfully rah had no issue with it. his attention was a little more sporadic because we had the dogs for the next class (novice) coming in, but i was able to get him back just as i would have to in the ring, without any real loss of points except for right after the jump, as predicted, when he goes right past me and i have to reign him back in. i guess i will have to settle for that right now rather than the alternative, which is controlled but risk him hitting the jump and freaking him out.

rested for novice and he just watched... berlin slept.

stays were ok - rah held 2 min 45 seconds while quest did db retrieves outside the gate right behind him, but broke at the very end when quest kept hitting the gate and shaking it right behind him. i dont blame him, its hard and its rah's biggest fear - to his credit he went right back and held his sit. 5 minute down was just fine, yay rah rah. hopefully novice sits/downs will be a non-issue, keep all fingers and paws crossed...

open came and we started with recalls simultaneously with other people - games, drops, full recalls - rah did well, came in pretty straight and for the most part was straight. if i am too close to the gait he will come in avoiding it and go off to the opposite side a bit, so i will have to keep that in mind but usually i will never be that close. i didnt play too many games - i dont do them with him, his big game is actually the wait game - he gives me wonderful attention when i leave, its more that he never wants to hold his wait, hes always poised and ready to come on the drop of a hat and i need to reward his waits more than his recalls :)

then we moved to individual exercises. rah did a nice figure 8 using the little hint that linda told me wednesday night, and i worked them for about 10 minutes straight - he was tired, but he gave me some nice pieces i was happy with. moved to high jump, did some cookie marks and a few full db retrieves and ended on a tough retrieve where the db was all the way to the left and rah chose to do the right thing, always a hard thing to do!

rah did two perfect broad jumps, and i didnt ask for more than that - just maintenanced the pieces.

finally got to heeling and i was tired by then, but rah was ok - nothing super spectacular, but it wasnt terrible either, i just dont remember anything that sticks out in my mind :)

started utility with his scent articles - because ive been working not enough, hes still on week 2 of ATC but he worked the full pile flawlessly, so im moving him up to week three after he works the pile this weekend 1-2 more times.

then we moved to directed jumping - he did well with the high jump, which hes fine with - i have to remember to make my command firm and prolonged, i cannot drop my hand. teri said i can start to move him in a bit this week, and back a bit. ill do that tomorrow...

he didnt want to do the bar at all, but thats because its the same jump that attacked him last week. she did a restrained jump and he was fine with taking that.

go outs are funny- hes so ridiculous with the look that he never understand yet that cookies come from heaven (teri) so he waits for me to put them there, then he loves them. but im a flexi-tard so she took him off the flexi and had me do them with just a tab, which he was much better with, he did them from half the ring (15--20 feet or so?) so good for rah. im going to have to work him intermittently between directed jumping i think, with him forgetting i put cheese out on the gates so he can understand when i tell him look, that the cheese is there...

then gloves - rah was meant to do gloves. i give him that mark and he starts to quiver he wants it so bad i set them up about 15 feet apart each and worked them each in succession for about 5 retrieves each from a distance of 10 feet and he was able to retrieve them each without any problem, so i was worried for nothing!!!!!

god, i love a natural retriever. and im glad i worked that stupid mark game so heavily. guess i should work on teaching it to the puppy more...

tonight i worked fig8's for 30 minutes outside in the driveway (in crocs -not recommended because they really hurt your feet!) and rah REALLY did well, im so pleased, so very pleased with how he did. by the end i had such wonderful position out of him...

i gotta get to training the puppy, i feel like she should be much further along than she is...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

welcome back to classes...

Classes started back up last night at TD... drove very very very fast and hit traffic, but decided to enroll into Agility as well (beginners) - missed the first 15 minutes, but not much of class. The instructor is nice (and just took third in her division at AKC invitationals with her dog, Demon), and they said Rah (and Mercury) are too advanced for beginners but not ready to move up, but I'm ok with him being in this class. We did some targeting the teeter, some tunnel working both sides, some walking the weaves, and then some a-frame. It's a large class with lots of down time but I'm ok with that.

Then Miss Thang started Attention class!!!! This isn't her blog, but she did pretty well for a 6 month old puppy who doesn't have a huge attention span, certainly not the worst in her class and she didn't bark the entire time, which was good :) Not bad, puppyface :)

2 hours later, finally got to Rah's class - started out with the about turn-into-sylvia-bishop-turn up into you to get fast about turns, Rah does that well but always steps on me :) My b iggest issue was taking too long to set up in between exercises because I missed the start of a few runs.

Then we went to the mother of all Fig8 exercises - 10 cones set up and we just do 10 continuous figure 8's... its fun and very confusing for some but quite a work out... and by the second run, I was able to work it and actually get some good form in myself and TA DA - linda gave me a compliment!!!!
(science nerd interjection - compliment or complement... I first used the wrong one!!!)
She told me I did a marvelous one -- YAY ME!!!! I need to work on his left (inner) posts more, but I will work it and hopefully we will get there... she wants me to point at my face when we do the inside post and hopefully it will back rah up and have him look at my face from back there...

Then we worked transitions and ring entrances, which Rah likes, but he bit me in the face, which was a big unhappy face for me. Then we worked db, which made him incredibly happy, especially since he is apparently the only dog in the entire class that has a formal retrieve.

The class was REALLY small last night - maybe only 9 or so of us.. I wonder if it will really remain that small, or if some people moved on. I didn't think they were ready, but who really knows. I wonder if I will be ready by next session to move on... I guess I just don't have any real gauge of where I am according to their standards...