Sunday, July 27, 2008

This past thursday, I let my old may, Tyler go.

His body had been failing him for awhile - it was a hard decision, the hardest one I have had to make - he had no acute disease, no cardio, no cancer like my past dogs - he just had a body that was breaking down. His mind was still there, his heart was still strong, his desire to live was intact - but in a body that was falling part. His last two days weren't very pretty, and I ended up having to carry him almost everywhere, and I knew it was time for him.

Tyler was a brave boy - I heard about him through Louise on HealthDobes, who told me there was an adult black male with flea allergies (ha!) in a shelter on Long Island that needed to be pulled for DVDPA - I of course said I could foster him temporarily, and Chris Hertling went down to the shelter and paid his pull fee, trying to get him to eat. He was a confiscation from a home that had multiple dobermans, and they were left outside- Handsome as he was called then, was the last doberman from the confiscation and was predictably not adopted - he was neither young, nor black, nor suffering from flea allergies

I was nervous when I picked him up - this dog was a bag of bones, in terrible shape and his blue coat was sparse at best, covered in sores, and barely responded to you when you spoke to him - he wouldn't take food, he just kinda sat near you and occassionally licked you. I had brought Rah, and I said that the big thing would be if they got along - I wasn't going to take a dog that tried to fight with Rah. I brought "Handsome" out and they sniffed each other and didn't give each other another thought - it was meant to be. The shelter gave me his paperwork and I loaded him into the car.

It took almost 2 weeks, and discovering that his name was actually Tyler, to get him to eat, and he blossomed. He wasn't an easy dog to live with - he was actually very dog aggressive, very cat aggressive, and not so nice with people either - but he loved my dogs, and he adored Rah and when I brought Berlin home I think he thought that Berlin was one of his puppies Just as Rah matured and grew distant from Tyler, Berlin fell in love with him and would play in her own special way with the old man - understanding how old he was, she would lay on the ground on her back with him, licking his face and playing gentle biteyface.

Tyler had always walked funny, but one day he fell and I was concerned that there was something else going on - xrays revealed he was severely dyplastic. Towards the end, pain meds only touched so much on the pain, but he enjoyed until the very end running around in the backyard chasing Rah and Berlin.

Perhaps the biggest thing he will forever be remembered for is his trip to Nationals last year - he met so many people there, and so many people came up to me and pet him, cried over him, and loved him - he was in heaven. On his best behavior !!!!! he made so many friends, even Phillip Martin came over to me and talked to little old me, newbie to the breed, about how great the old dogs are. And of course, who can forget the uproar I cause when I took my dysplastic 13 year old dog through the WAE - and if anyone knows Tyler, in my eyes he would have passed - because that dog would have protected me til the end, since he had to be locked away from every single handyman at my house!

I never had the heart to send him to DVDPA - I was never convinced he was adoptable and at his age, I didn't think he deserved being bumped around. And somehow, he had picked us to be his family. He loved nothing more than to rest his head on your foot, he would give kisses nonstop, he loved massages and barking at the cats.

Tyler, beans - you are whole again, and you don't hurt anymore. Run hard.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

just a little delayed wonderfulness

ok so it took me awhile to put down in writing the wonderfulness :)

the main things i wanted to work on was rah's straight sits when i halted, which meant i needed to work on my footwork, which has always been a problem.

i left rah in a down and terry had me heel and called some halts. clearly i sucked - she told me to take shorter strides, and go faster. she then showed me what i am doing on my halts and how that looks to rah, who is getting conflicting messages with my halt - i stop, but i am bending my knees so it looks like we are still moving- he doesn't know what to do! i heeled on my own for about 10 minutes and did random halts on my own, and then i picked rah up and started heeling with him. didnt use a leash - just did it all off leash, and worked on my footwork. and voila...

me doing the correct footwork results in rah doing straight sits. rah was probably like - what TOOK YOU SO LONG. it was amazing. terry also started calling turns and talked me through the turns with him and how I was using my entire body to turn him, which made a not so lovely picture. I was able to feel the difference between wrong and right on that as well, and Rah was doing lovely turns by the end. We even brought out the figure 8... by the end she was throwing out toys on the floor, walking right into us, and just in general trying to distract us to get Rah too distracted to sit so I could correct him into the sit (since when he's distracted the first thing he does is not sit), and we worked on him being distracted and how to set him back up and work through it.

I've got to keep working on this and I want to set up my next private ASAP with her... I'm going to have to videotape the next one!

I'm going to have to do a lot more work just on my own and heeling things without any dog involved at all, just working on heeling patterns, footwork and body position.

WOW. just wow. I hope this progress stays with us.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

cloud 9?

had one of the best training sessions ever today with the private i had with terry and i am positively floating.

im also sweating to death, my head hurts, and my legs so SO SORE, but ill write about it later. it was SO AWESOME.

a day late...

POOR RAH is one gigantic pustule... he's on cipro right now, hopefully he will respond to this. We're running out of antibiotics on earth at this point!

Wednesday night - sad Rah, flyball is over so it was just Berlin for attention. we did some heeling in groups of three and then added in left and right turns. we worked on stand, did some fronts, and did some recalls. need to work on lots of things, but she was overall good, my silly silly girl.

thursday - started with heeling in groups of 2's and i really worked hard to get rah's sits straight, and by the end rah was fixing his sits himself to get himself straighter, which was nice. if only i could keep his attention better, he's been spacey lately. what the heck?

did some recall games also in groups of 2, where i would intersperse calling him with rewarding the wait and he did nicely - he comes so straight, but at the last minute he sits crooked. i need to work on fixing that last iota of the crooked front. my dog is too long!!

ROF was nice - he was funny and added in the high jump on the way out and back once, but i cant correct that since he has "issues" with the jump so i just laughed.

the jump itself was good - he did it at 24", and terry thinks i should just leave him low until right before i show him, maybe he wont see competition height until he's in the ring. broad jump was nice, but the one time he decided to jump it diagonally and he had such momentum going that he almost ran into anne paul's dune and it was hilarious. dune of course was absolutely perfect and didnt even flinch. rah wants to eat her meatballs, by the way. me? i would settle for a river puppy... sigh...

worked some more db games and did more heeling, and then it was time for utility.

started with articles, and rah is silly with them. he consistently is getting the first article wrong - he will go out to the pile, halfheartedly work the pile, and then snatch an article (invariably wrong - this evening it was the article right NEXT to the right article), and then stare at me knowing its wrong. i corrected him verbally, and sent him again to the right article. and then he's like, oh, we're doing scent articles? ok - and i can do 4 other sends and he will execute them FLAWLESSLY - so go figure? i dont understand! terry said that it could be a few things -
1) i could be overscenting the first article - since i am trying to set a routine up, and i always do metal first, i scent that one heavily. i have to watch and see - does he always pick one NEAR the correct article? if so, i could be overscenting and he is picking one that also smells like me. but he should pick the HOTTEST scent, as thats how hes trained, and that isnt the hottest scent out there - but then again, in his defense for that, he never got to the hottest scent, he picked up this one before the hot scent article was even in his "vision".
2) he lacks confidence to work the pile without clear vision as to what we are doing - so my first send should involve him going out to the pile with a small dab o' cheese so he's confident, or do the first send on a smaller pile.
3) maybe try him on leather first?

im going to play around with it today and see how he does. he has a private today, maybe we will work some articles. i dont know, i want to focus on heeling today. when he's wrong, ill leave the incorrect article out there and he never reindicates it, so its very bizarre...

then moved to moving stand, and he was super spectacular - stood first time on command, held it for terry's full exam, but i dont call him to heel, just broke him out with the cookies. then signals and mommy was very silly and forgot that the judge had to tell me to leave my dog :) but he did awesome signals. then go outs and directed jumping which were also very nice, but i forgot to work on him working OFF the cookie last week - oops! then gloves - we did pivots first without any gloves and rah did nice pivots, but when we tried to incorporate them into gloves rah gets a little confused, so i am not going to combine the two of them yet. he knows to mark, but we had problems last night with him marking every piece of cheese and wanting ALL the cheeses.

worked him outside today and just did go outs and directed jumping and it was so hot. tried to get videos and failed because it was so hot and the video wasn't centered...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

no more outside shows, i swear


it was a HOT HOT HOT weekend!
saturday went well - berlin passed her PTT so now she has more initials after her name, she was graded as passive with the group.
rah also passed his adult temperament test and the judge was surprised he didnt have any protection training, good boy :) he was graded as stable with the group and satisfactory with the aggressor. He also has new initials after his name!

berlin got dumped in her class and took second, but the judge was going to do that - she was dumping all dogs that looked like her, including her bro rudy, and seemed to like the bigger dogs. berlin also moved like CRAP yesterday and was so hot - judging takes a LONG time in the UDC (she was in the ring about 45 minutes total, and she had already been out earlier to do the PTT) so she was HOT... the biggest thing the judge had to say was she looked immature, which is true, especially compared to the other dog in her class :)

come to today... warm rah up, we're looking good. he's attentive, he's bright. i chase the rabbits off the field before we get there, im not too nervous, i can do this in my sleep. i get him in there, judge has shown us the pattern, ive got it in my head.

im ready, rah is in heel, and judge is fiddling with the honor dog (this is a UKC judge - the honor is ALWAYS done in a down, i dont know WHAT he was thinking - its a sit???) but it took about a minute to set her up, so im trying to hang out with rah and keep him interactive with me but i lost his attention, i should have broken him out. that was my first mistake. i need to ask my trainers what to do in this situation here - because my concern was i had already done our training games into the ready to get started position - and he was ready, and we just waited... and waited...

so then we finally start - remember i know the heeling pattern. he gives us the first halt. and doesn't say anything. one second goes by... two seconds... i look at him, and finally he goes "forward" and by now, im just confused - im wondering to myself "In UDC, do I just go forward like in schutzhund????"... so I go forward, he gives me the left, and then the fast... and my fast is RIGHT into the honor dog... and I mean seriously, he has placed the honor dog literally one foot away from the path I am going to take, and I also know Rah crabs and is in serious danger of possibly coming very close to this dog. So I do the only thing I can -- I drift very close to the ring gate and he gives me the about turn and Rah pretty much touches the ring gate, but I had to - I couldn't let him STEP on the honor dog. I know a halt is coming... but it doesn't come... I keep heeling... and he goes... OH HALT. so I halt, and again - we sit there for 3-4 seconds and he hasn't given me a forward. I totally forgot footwork because at this point I am just confused because the heeling pattern is just screwed up and he's not giving me forwards and I don't know what is going on - it's not what he's given me. So he gives me a forward again, and I'm almost at the end of the ring and he hasn't give me the slow!!!!!!!! and literally now I am 3 feet away from the ring gate and he says in one breath slow normal right turn, and I'm like, this is fucking RIDICULOUS, I make the right and rah hits the ring gate again, and he gives me the last halt and its over. It's time for the figure8 and all of a sudden I hear the honor dog's handler go "SHIT" and I know this means one thing... the animals are out.

See, Ray's house has loose animals. Loose guinea hens with a loose rooster and a loose rabbit. This time, it was the guinea hens. The judge just tells me to try to make sure my dog doesn't see and he sends people out to herd them? But of course, now everyone has drawn Rah's attention to it (it was out there the entire time and Rah ignored it) - so now I'm completely thrown off - I try to play games with him, having him speak, jump up on me, turn in circles, but we're failing at the whole "don't see the chickens"... i try to set him up for the fig8 when it's time to start again (about a minute later), but it was very not pretty. do the SFE, get to the recall and my mind is blown, and i dont use his normal command, and he stares at me and... doesn't come. he's NEVER DONE THAT :)so a nice big fat NQ for us.

get to the down, which i have little hope he will nail, and its with his back to the chickens, but something seems to have stuck and he nailed it - even when the rabbits come out right in front of him!!!!! we get to the sits, and he nails that, even when roar goes down... so he nailed his sits, but the NQ does it for us.

straight to the next trial, and the heeling pattern starts right next to the ring entrance???? is this judge trying to kILL ME???? so we do the heeling pattern and i have no attention - rah is with me, but not looking at me - he's doing his nice impression of LLW. and pretty much doesn't sit a single time we are out there except the very last time of the fig 8, and it was a LOVELY straight sit. go figure. SFE was fine, i made sure to use the right command for his recall and he did that fine (but crooked), and we made it through. down is ok, get to sits, and both dogs on his right go down, im PRAYING he doesnt... and all of a sudden the tent the handlers are standing under starts to lift up and fly in the breeze!!!! the handler next to me and i JUMP UP and catch it and i think rah thought i was going to throw it at him, so he's like "oh shit!!) and just sits there :) but he qualified - very ugly, and barely (you lose lots of points when you don't sit ONCE in the ring)... but yeah.

he also got stung by a bee AGAIN in between the trials, and then the SAME TENT while we were standing under it later in the day, flew up in the air again and COMPLETELY flipped over while we were under it... poor rah.

im seriously never showing him at rays ever again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

an awesome pasta head

my rahmen noodle was SUCH A GOOD BOY tonight, i love love love good training nights.

started out with stays and again rah was PERFECT. so good! he moved his front feed a bit on the sits, but im not going to correct that at all - he's staying on one position, he's NOT STRESSED and he appears to understand what i am asking of him, so i am pleased. we shall see what happens this weekend when the collar comes off :)

then we did multiple fig8's in a row and then added in halts. rah wasn't bad - i have to remember to push through and really start to signal my left inner post almost as soon as we are out of the right post so that he has a chance to pull himself back because we need that time and that space. good exercise though.

moved to recalls and had fun with them - worked motivational ones, waited a long 6 seconds, then crouched and ran - rah liked this. the last one we did formal, and rah almost broke to come before i called him but saved himself, which was GoOD FOR HIM, he was so proud of himself for it that he came SO FAST to me and actually hit me in the boobs for the front, funny boy.

then we did some heeling and i used the food to keep him tight to me and he had some nice sits ! woohoo! (set up a private for him too, on the 19th).

moved to a new dumbbell game, we did it as a recall, dropped the db halfway between us and the dog and called them, they had to pick it up on the way to us. rah ran so fast that he overshoots the db and almost falls on his face picking it up each time, its so funny, but he came in nice and SO FAST and straight it was awesome.

high jump - did a NICE ONE and retrieved his db, so i did one and called it quits :) cant ask for more than that! not pushing him til he screws up!

broad jump worked him from both sides, had fun, he did a few nice ones, stepped on it twice but worked through it.

on to utility - started with signals, heeled into the stand and he was good for the first one then kept trying to sit (ha ha too much work on his halts!) so im going to just not give him halt footwork for the time being. he did some nice signals after a few fumbles with getting him to stay there without fidgeting (i need to figure out stay v. wait) and then it happened...

when i went to recall him from the sit i backed up and fall over someone elses article pile and landed on their articles. it hurts SO BAD - the metal article in my fat ass!!!!! OUCH OUCH OUCH!

moved onto go outs and directed jumping - good go outs, even did one without any cookie. homework for this week is working him to go out and call him to sit before he gets the cookie. then did two jumps and he did them well without any hesitation - im almost ready to say that our jumping issues have worked themselves out!

articles next, and lydia put out our articles like a real pile and then put out the one i scented. the first one he went out and never foudn the article because lydia had it very far away, so he just picked something and i corrected him, then he found it and brought it back. then he worked the pile the next three times like a PRO and found them all on his own and brought them back to me and i am so proud of him, he's so cute!!!!! yay, good sniffer!

did moving stand next, and then did some work with rah's novice stand.

then called it a night, im exhausted and very sore.

it was a GREAT training night and im very pleased with how he worked...

rah's first entry is in - august 31st, morris hills dog training club. commence "finish rah's CD" and "kim's hopes and dreams of getting him into the TT".

there. i said it out loud. im afraid to admit it, kinda. but i think he could do it. so does my trainer. i can only pray...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

sundays at the homestead

i felt really industrious with rah today and worked him not once, not twice, but three separate times. of course, i had to split it all up because its hot as hell and humid outside today, so we were panting after 10 minutes each time!

first we worked on attention outside and left turns into the halt - we NEED to get his halts straighter because that is where i am losing 3-5 points each show at - his crooked halts. bad bad us. i need to set up a private (took a break to email terry to set up a private - my next private with linda is set for the 24th).

worked on his heel position - i brought back cookies in the left hand, kept his head up and him back, and just turned left repeatedly, and threw in halts. 95% of his halts this way were perfect, nice tuck sits with him completely straight or even overcompensated butt in (which i dont care about - overcompensation in the ring turns into just right), which was great.

later on i brought him out and did some go outs and some glove retrieves - he can do a short mark, retrieve and if he shakes i verbally correct him and he is supposed to come straight back up into my face to get his cookie.

im exhausted and very hot.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

a woo and a boo

ended up skipping training on thursday - after running errands on thursday, we went out for dinner and ended up with some stomach aches and didn't feel much like training and instead needed to stay on the couch moaning and groaning.

today came straight home from work, let the dogs potty, and then headed to the match. berlin adjusted to the building and then took and passed the CGC!!! woohoo for her, my good dawg!

then i had about 5-10 minutes to get rah out and warm him up (oxymoron, it was about 90 degrees and 100000% humidity today, in the prethunderous state all day) before he had his first ring time. i got him out, brought him in the building, and platzed him while i looked in his bag for a second leash and a proper toy for him, and a young girl came in with her crazed lab who wanted to come up to rah and sniff him. rah said in no uncertain terms that rah really didnt WANT to be friends with the lab, and i told rah to leave it and platz. the lab again, came right back over, and i told the girl to get her lab off of rah. rah then stood up and turned and REALLY TOLD THE LAB to leave him alone. i didn't correct rah (no reason to - he was being a dog, and was quite controlled - all he did was growl!) and he was within his right to growl at a large, idiotic intact male lab who was mounting and pawing at him and invading his own personal space.

i then warmed him up and played some games outside the ring, then finally got our ring time. i am happy to say we had nice attention going INTO the ring, and setting him up. our heeling on lead was horrendous, IMO - his halts were ridiculous and crooked off the wall. he dropped his head right before we stepped off, so i broke him out and started over, kathy (im very happy with that run through, she was VERY critical) was a tyrant over us and worked us hard - i was sweating! i think im going to set up a private with her. moved to the figure 8 and she had us circling for what seemed like forever and she gave me some good suggestions that i do wrong to fix rah.

moved to his SFE and he screwed up BAD RAH but nailed his second one. heel off leash he was better but still not perfect and she had us do left after left after left and finally he NAILED a sit and she said BINGO that is the sit he is capable of. so that is what we need to work on. then we did a recall but i didnt call him, i just waited him and went up to him for holding his wait while she said "call your dog".

i do think i need to set up a private with her - she had a lot of input on my hip angles, w hich cue rah off on why he cannot halt straight. and why cant i stop right???

Thursday, July 3, 2008

bad mommy

i realize i never posted about last thursdays evening classes, but suffice it to say rah was rocking it and he did awesome at pretty much everything! woohoo rah rah.

last night berlin had attention 2 and she was pretty good - we did some left turns and she was double leashed and she is already swinging her butt over, what a good little girl.

rah had his second to last flyball class and my trainer thinks rah needs to get himself on a team now! so now i am off to email the two teams in NJ (how we, as one of the most populated state, have only two teams is beyond me) and see if they want rahrah. cheryl said he's a very fast dobe and any team would want him...