Sunday, June 29, 2008

the words to the day.

dog show was great. woke up at 5:15 am (to a power outage, what the hell?), was on the road by 6:15, made it there before 8, plenty of parking and crate space. it was a smaller trial, only about 40 dogs there total. each level probably had about 30 or so dogs in it. rah and i LOVE this venue, so i will have to remember to show there as much as possible!!!!! (slight regret at skipping yesterday but after finding out that the jump was only a 3 foot wide standard, im not too sad!)

hung out until 11 or so, finally started his class - the original judge was hospitalized earlier this week so linda sperco ended up judging, and she's super hard about some things, especially her bonus lateral fronts :) ha! rah had a perfect run - good attention, nice rear end awareness, great snappy downs, pivots, etc - wonderful until the lateral front bonus, and since pretty much NO ONE except peg's dog did it right for linda (she wants the entire dog to move at once, not with the front end leading in the slightest), no one got full points - but rah was good enough for first place in the class, which finished his RL1 title and gave him high scoring rescue!!! WOOHOO!!!

marylyn (one of berlin's breeders) came to see rah go in the first trial which was awesome (it's AWESOME that they support me even with RAH, isn't it???) and while I walked the course she had Berlin out and stacked her and berlin looked awesomely beautiful. my pretty little girl!

i debated on if i wanted to move him up for the second trial to level 2, or just to the B classes in level 1, and i ended up being brave and going to level 2- and was handsomely rewarded. lynn c. went first before me and got a 209 and joked with me that she left the door open since she had a crooked front on the angled front- and that she did - rah went and peg came up to me and said - ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. and he was - off leash and all, he was amazing - for a perfect score of 210. his head never dropped once, he was with me the entire time in perfect heel postion, he had wonderful pivots, and needed no extra coaching, cheerleading, etc. im even proud of how we handling the set up, since we were too close to the start sign and peg made us move back, after he was already off leash. what was nice was having so many people come up afterwards and comment on how marvelous a job he did - other trainers from the area, other competitors, peg said he was the nicest working dobe she has seen. im so proud of him!!

and all of this on his birthday! so we left with 6 ribbons, a basket for high scoring rescue (the ribbon for this was MIA, oh well), two BEAUTIFUL collars from Bad Lu that I have to see if I can get exchanged for Rah's size and potentially in a different color, and I won a no spill water bowl in the raffle. Not bad at all :)

I'm very proud of the way my birthday boy worked - he got handsomely rewarded with birthday cake and a whole chicken when he came home!

a butt kicking day.

I promise he doesn't always look this angry. But Rah kicked butt today at the rally trial. I will write more, but yeah - he kicked butt.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the anxiety sets in

Ah, when do I stop being a novice handler???

maybe it's the upcoming shows this weekend that have set off the newest rounds of stress, maybe its my competitive nature, I don't know - but I feel as if I'm failing my dogs and we should be doing better than we are right now.

I feel as if Rah's heeling and his attention are really lacking lately - the last few times we have been working they have really left a lot to be desired.

Things I need to work on:

straight sits/halts
setting up/transitions

go outs
starting articles (once she has a good retrieve)

I feel that berlin should be further along than she is too, that I haven't done enough for her...

worry worry worry worry worry.

a private moment

Had a private lesson this morning.

Started off discussing my stays and how they will translate into the ring. She suggests instead of ignoring that th eis on a different collar, make a big deal - he will have a different collar for stays, and I will make a big deal before he goes in for stays about changing his collar from the one he did his heeling, etc in to the one he will do his stays in.

Then we discussed how we go into the ring. She says (of course) that its me causing his lack of attention when we first walk in the ring, not him - that first it's my nerves, and I am disconnecting from him - it's not that he is scanning the ring, it's that *i* am, and he's just taking cues from me. Makes sense, right? And that when he doesn't want to sit, his avoidance is not necessarily that it's a breakdown and lack of visible cookie, it's that our connect is gone - I need to break him out of position, walk away, and reconnect with him away from where we need to be setting up and then reattempt the sit.

Then we worked on heeling, and she heeled him a bit and it looked good - must be nice to be over 5'10" and heeling my dog :) but she gave me some GOOD exercises that rah really liked that will help with his forging and eventually straighten him out for his sits!!!

no flyball last night (cheryl was sick), berlin had her first attention class and she rocked - did her first real heeling. i need to play more games with her.

im exhausted and my head hurts due to the weather so i am going to go lay down before classes tonight.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday - the new thursday

Better late than never, right?

so where were we on thursday...
the high jump. Rah was hilarious with the high jump. right as we had set up the jumps (high, broad, etc) rah was in a stay, and lydia decided to test the waters as rah was in the stay right by her high jump by setting mercury up to do a cookie retrieve, and rah broke his stay to chase the cookie - i corrected rah with a quick stim, and he went back down. but later on, after the broad jumps, when i went back to that high jump and tried to get him to do a high jump, he went over and wouldn't pick up the cheese. he went over the jump, refused the cheese and came back over. then i tossed his riot stick, he went over, wouldnt pick it up, and came back :) finally i just tossed his db and he went out, got it and brought it back - i think its is first db retrieve over the high in over a month , at least!

moving to utility, we broke it down and did articles alone one at a time with terry acting as the judge like it was a show. aussie lady (for the life of me i can never remember her name, i feel like its karen but i cannot remember) went first and rah worked his gloves. gloves are going to be a problem because he shakes them, grrrrrrr STILL. worked a few signals and a few moving stands, then his shot at articles.

he did ok with terry putting out his articles and placing my scented one - however, with terry standing over the pile, he feels too much pressure (he's working week 6 - no cheese on any article) - and he just grabs randomly without sniffing at all. the minute she backs off the pile, he goes out there and he will work the pile, correctly finding the article, indicating it and bringing it back to me.

then worked go outs - his "look" has lost a little of its intensity these past two weeks, so i am going to have to work on that a bit, but his turn and sits were SO NICE AND TIGHt.

and then wonder of wonders - he did two absolutely perfect, jumps for the directed jumping - one high, one bar. WOW. good job rah. we ended on that, i was very proud.

all in all, a pretty good night of training, i was happy with that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

another thursday night...

oops, starting with a little wednesday. Berlin was off from obedience for one more week, so it was just Rah for flyball :) we did some boxwork with the real box, then we did some full lane runs with the box at the end, and rah had a blast. then we celebrated one of the dogs birthdays with doggie cupcakes and rah ate his and another dogs that didnt want theirs, and wanted more. the cupcakes were goooood (all natural, peanut butter) and yes i tasted :)

yesterday rah was not bad :) we started with stays, and rah was electrified, didn't need a correction at all, and he did VERY well with some VERY heavy distraction, what a good boy! then we did some paired heeling patterns, which was ok for us - nothing special, we weren't doing anything spectacular. did some figure8's (HUGE mutiple 8 in a row!) ones and rah was VERY nice for them, getting out of my way and really respecting my space, but a gate banged at one point and we both got distracted, and terry reminded me that if something like that happens i need to keep my focus on him, because if i get distracted, then he does too.

we did the db game then - all of us in a row, tossing one at a time and then running away to get a fast pickup.

broad jumps were VERY nice - he got distracted by kathy tossing secret's db right next to him for 2 seconds, but i got him back and he did 2-3 lovely BJ's just fine, and i called it quits on that.

crap, im going to be late for work. ill finish this later!!!!!!!! reminder for me: high jump, them onto utility

Sunday, June 15, 2008

whose dog is this?

so i dont know if he is making up for yesterday, but i brought rah out to work today and whose dog am i working?

didnt refuse a single jump. didnt break a single stay. didnt break a single wait. jumped with enthusiasm - so much that he almost took a header when he was jumping on the grass.

who is this? where did rah go?

part of the email I just sent one of my trainers...

setting up a private for Rah...

part of the email as follows:

The main things on my mind I'd like to work on/talk to you about (sorry this will be long):

Food. I don't know when/if to fade some out. It's in my mouth, I rarely have any visible at all. He works well in the ring and at shows without it and I haven't seen him really notice it (indoors at least) not being present - outside is another story, but I don't train him enough outside. But before we go in the ring, I do so many games at this point I'm wondering if they are necessary, but almost superstitious to stop. They get him amped up - maybe it is just what my dog needs? We play a lot of the "ready to go in the ring?" game and I drop cookies and then heel a step and break and release and do a lot of attention games outside the ring.

Inside he's been doing well when I have shown him - his attention has been much better, but as we enter the ring he still gazes around the ring until we set up - as soon as we heel he's looking at me, but the first steps in are not on me. Transitions are much better, though - it is as if once we move, .

I still fear his set ups, because when he is distracted the first thing I lose is his sit - he never sets up, and he looks away from me, stands next to me, and just avoids the entire situation - as if by not looking at me, he can just pretend I am asking him to set up and sit in heel position. It hasn't happened in awhile, but it happened this weekend when we trialled for his BH. I play the "get it get it get it" game and it snaps him out of it and he chases my hand and sets up - but I fear the day when the game doesn't work - and I feel like at this point, on some level my dog should just set up when I tell him to.

His stays - I feel like I have tried almost everything ... a dog that consistently breaks stays is frustrating and scary for both me and other competitors, and rah does it because he feels like it.

ok, enough of the psychology of his training. the mechanics - his crooked sits, fronts, and stands. his forgy heeling actually calms down a bit in trial situations, and we only seem to loose points on crooked sits and crowding in the fig8. of course, this is the novA ring and in the B ring the judge may not be so kind, right?
and of course his jump issues - the refusing, the breaking the wait, his need for counseling. You do have a nice comfy leather chair for us both to lay in to talk, right?

TTry again next time!

Ah, Rah...

I should start keeping a list of almost, but not quites...

I also should really start thinking twice about trialling outside. I know part of it is me psyching myself out, but for real. I hate being hot, my dog hates being hot, I sweat like mad, and its gross. And my dog melts.

It started with me driving in and seeing a domesticated pet rabbit on the field and dying a bit on the inside - I chased it off the field and threw rocks in its general direction, threatening to make stew with it if it showed its little rabbit face (its John's daughters rabbit - don't ask). Of course, the dog before Rah, right in the middle of his routine, it hops its little bunny self out onto the field...

Rah was flat, I didn't have attention heeling. he stayed mostly with me, but it was more like loose leash walking. It's SO LONG... his left about turns were horrendous, and he didn't want to sit - his prime avoidance behavior. His figure8's were actually quite nice, go figure, and his off leash wasn't terrible, he didn't run away from me (my fear) but he was just in general not pretty. Then, as I set him up for the sit in motion, Rah gets stung by a bee. Lovely - he starts spinning in place, afraid to sit down, afraid of the ass monsters (those who know Rah, know his insane obsession/hate of bugs, his insane fear/paranoia about things touching/hitting him in the back end - this is a combo of both) - I get him back, but the minute I start heeling he darts in front of me for a small circle. I call him back to me and we start heeling and thank god he actually comes back and we do the in motions and its OVER. Ugly, but over. Only the long down.

UGH. the long down. Apparently the point of this is that your dog does a down. For rah, this lasted about 30 seconds before he started eating grass, rolling on the ground, and then started chasing chipmunks, bees, and other assorted bugs. Needless to say, we did not get enough points to make it to the second portion. If he had done the down, we could have passed - but the down killed us.

Poor Rah. It just wasn't our day. watching some of the other people, i could have made smarter decisions for rah, which would have helped him out. part of it was my inexperienced nature in this game, him being my first BH attempt - sherry didn't bother with the schutzhund or left about turns - she just did the regular right about turn and had the judge comment and yell at her, but that would have definitely helped rah out and made our routine smoother. some people also had their hands in what i thought were not allowed positions for some portions which are kinda double commands, but also would have helped rah out. i was very concerned with following the rules to the T, so i didnt know what i could "get away with". in the future with rah, some of these things may be places where i take a hit rather than rah, as the judge put it. smart handling to cover for your dog, ya know?

this judge was also one of the most strict judges ive ever seen in the bite sport world, which kinda wow'd me! ive seen dogs leave the field and still pass their BH's! no doubt, rah and i did not DESERVE to pass, i am not complaining - the judge was very nice and helpful, and he gave me some good things to work on, and he was very nice to me on the back half while rah was (not) doing his down. (ha!)

I will say though, I've had it with the stay issues - I pulled out his e-collar, and we had a session. This is getting to be a safety issue, not just an obedience issue - if I tell you to stay and walk away, this could mean a car coming one day, or anything else of the like - I NEED him to understand that when I say stay, I do not mean it is an option to get up and walk away just because you feel like it. He doesn't take this seriously. I've tried everything else I can think of, from the 300 peck, clicking him, feeding him, special methods from the front and finish list, morgan spectors timed schedule (i dont remember if he clicks it, but i know i did it without the click), tension stays, backties, opposition, having someone else treat him, having someone else correct him. he understands i want a position, but doesn't seem to understand that MOVING IS NOT AN OPTION from that position.

got to see some great friends, some new faces including someone from the dobe boards (yay!), made some nice new connections, and got some new inspirations. learned some new things about my dog and myself, and need to get back to work :) and hopefully gave some other people a laugh. would have loved to come home with a TT. more training, better handling, im sure we will get it in the future. and im DEFINITELY going for a winter/fall trial next time. enough of this sweating stuff...

Friday, June 13, 2008

light at the end of a thursday night

new session of open/utility thursday night.

while the novice class finished up, i worked on rah's in motions - he was having some issue clarifying for himself when i wanted a sit and when i wanted a down, so i got out a clicker and clicked him for the right ones, and that helped (and got speedy results). yay rah.

started with stays for open. 3 minute sit, 5 minute down (and i had my back to him). woohoo. please rah, remember that for the weekend.

did some heeling - i interspersed some schutzhund style heeling for rah (in arm position, about turns, etc) and told terry to ignore him if he/we look funny for that, and rah did well - ok position, straight sits, nicely done blue dawg. worked some fronts, straight and on the angle, and rah did well. then we worked some finishes and rah actually game me some good left finishes too, which was amazing :) i may actually be able to use some of them!

broke into individual exercises. i worked high jump first (eek!) and i got TWO (TWo!!!! TWO!! 2!!!!!) retrieves of a cookie with no refusal, no breaking the sit, no hitting the jump) at 24 inches out of him, so terry said call it quits at that! and i did, i was pleased!

moved to broad jump, rah did that nicely - two or three good ones, did some maintenance for set ups and waits. worked retrieve on the flat, he did that well, and even got to me with some hard fronts ( i turned 90 degrees for him to find me).

worked a bit more heeling, then we ended the class.

started utility with articles, and rah started week six...

WEEK SIX IS ARTICLES WITH JUST MY SCENT NO CHEESE. rah was 3/4 !!!!! he actually had the 4th article no problem too, but terry walked right up to his pile, so he was stressed by her presence and just picked the first article he could see! when i corrected him verbally, he went back to the pile, actually worked it, and found the correct article and brought it to me. yay rah, i never thought we would be here! i guess terry wants me to get a tie down mat and move to that next?

go outs next - because rah likes his go outs so much, terry wants to use them as rewards for his directed jumping (slightly backwards for most dogs), but he didnt avoid ANY of the jumps (good for you rah!)so i got one jump from each side - he didnt hold a wait on EITHER side, but he did them both. then we did go outs - he was funny about the go outs because he went over to the bar jump first to sniff it (yes, itw as even the bar jump that attacked him the very first time!!!!!)

worked pivots, go outs, moving stand on our own while others did go outs and DJ> then did a full set of cheese in lieu of gloves since rah still cannot handle full gloves without shaking (any clue how to fix that??). stupid me forgot he was not on a flexi until he was halfway to the first cheese, at which time he wanted to go out after ALL the cheese.... im going tow ork on the glove shaking this week for real. then did some heeling into signals...

still very nervous for this weekend. but a very good class makes me feel more hopeful for us!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

the butterflies are taking over

im really getting nervous for the BH's this weekend!

to take my mind off, we shall discuss flyball.

skipped berlin's drop in last night - first cause i was tired, second because my shoulder is killing me, and third because i could save 25 bucks and put it towards gas this weekend.

flyball was nice - did our first sorta real runs. rah did awesome - over 4 jumps, got the ball, and came back to me. and with his new toy, the frenzy ring, he actually came to me and PLAYED after the run, instead of just chewing on the ball. he LOVES this. next week she said we will be ready to potentially start introducing some passing.

i hope he gets onto a team.

worked rah in some BH stuff today. im really afraid for our left about turns - there are 4 of them in the routine, and rah isn't going to be paying enough attention to do them nicely. bad rah. but his schutzhund turns suck too because hes a putz. he did a SIM and DIM just fine which is good, and his front was perfect. offleash was ok too.

i think im just mostly afraid to have to do this in front of some big names in the doberman world, and in front of berlins breeders. in front of people whose opinions i really value, and in front of people who are legit famous and people who matter in the dobe world.

or maybe i am afraid rah will take off and run away in the middle of the woods at ray's place.

im wondering if entering rah on both days was a mistake. we shall see. im wondering if this entire weekend was a mistake.

Monday, June 9, 2008

do dobermans melt?

i can honestly say that for the past two days i haven't trained my dogs AT ALL.

its been close to 100 degrees outside and about 100% humidity. they only want to move from couch to couch, and pant even doing that.

it can stop being this gross out now...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

retro on the past week

wednesday night with the rooroo - super as always, good attention, did nice loose leash, a 2 min downstay and sit stay, and we did some real heeling as well. she's such a good puppy. also did a stand for exam! worked on "get close". i need to perfect her stand without extra cues from me, and more on her fronts.

rah's flyball class -w e worked recalls over the jumps, which rah loved loved loved, and boxwork again. fun fun fun.

no classes thursday and i havent dont much except work on BH stuff this weekend. rah's been a butthead, and it is now way too hot and humid outside to train. ugh.

Friday, June 6, 2008

the doubtmonsters

errrrr worked rah outside on my front lawn and it wasnt so pretty and im afraid for this whole BH/TT thing this coming weekend. what was i thinking?

pros: he didnt run away from me

cons: everything else?