Saturday, January 31, 2009

two rankings in one year...

APDT rankings are out --

rah is...

17th in the nation for the ARCH level!!!!!!!

two rankings for the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

im on cloud nine :)
we didnt go to the match today - rah has only coughed twice, so i think we are DONE WITH THE COUGH _ ive taken him off atopica for a few days because i think it was suppressing his immune system and im letting him just fight this off.

speaking of this evil koff, one of the other dogs exposed (a dobe that my friend has) is in the ER with pneumonia now, so think good thoughts - i saw him yesterday and immediately transferred him to animerge, he looked like shit. poor tory.

its crazy having these housebound dogs (Even worse with the roo in heat!) is ridiculous - ive cut rah's portions back to his summer meal size (if you recall, rah eats next to nothing because he is so inactive over the summer because he hates the heat and normally is CRAZY in the winter!) - and im taking all the extra weight i can off of him since hes going to be jumping so much and i want him as lean as i can for obedience - a dog his size is going to be rough on the directed jumping, etc - so im keeping him at 90 lbs or so. which is rough on him, he says - its dog abuse.

going to get them up and work on some fronts, retrieves, and drops in a bit. havent worked heeling at all in weeks. that scares me that im showing in 6 days.

so help me god if there is a snowstorm next week and i cant get to training, im going to die.
i have to brave the weather and get to the mailbox and see if i even got into the show. some other people got entries today...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'd like to share the following with you -

BERLINS LIFE IS OVER. she is full of woe. she is never showing again EVAR.

she came into heat last night (we dont want to talk about it) and she has to wear panties again and today she is full of emo about the entire situation. she also ate her pad and lydia had to induce vomiting. mental note - do not let her wear the XL thunder thigh panties unattended.

so she's on the sideline for the next month, she definitely wont be coming with us to see rah show (must make other plans for her). im wondering if she will be ready for march APDT?

my woe for the night? class is cancelled due to snow. I'm NEVER going to get back to class before rah shows. seriously - we haven't worked outside the house in at least 2 weeks - and if he gets into GSA's show next friday, an NQ is to be expected. eeeeeek. there's no class tomorrow night because terry is judging down in wildwood at sand n sea - thank god i didnt enter them or i would have had to eat those entry fees.

but in the midst of all this woe, i have one little itty bitty glimmer of HAPPINESS...

cdsp rankings came out, i didn't think much of it, i only showed rah a handful of times.

my handsome blue boy?
made the Top 20 for his division!!!!
RANKED 11th in the nation in Nov B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

can i get an

Sunday, January 25, 2009

is there ANY way to search blogger for other obedience blogs? i can find 20000 agility themed blogs, but id really like some other competition obedience minded blogs, if they exist. ive found 3-4 other people, but there has to be more of us, right? i know its a dying sport, but id love to find more people....

so, we're still clearing up the cough (now mercury has it). so do at least 5 dogs rah showed with 2-3 weeks ago. and so do tons and tons of dogs that go to doggie day care, one of which has closed down for a few days. and we're on high alert for canine influenza again, and animerge has sent out bloodwork. im not worried about this crew - they are getting better, but its clearly the viral strain as the abx aren't making a damn difference. it just has to run its (long painstakingly loooooong course).

but it means we're housebound. no match show sat. no show today. no classes last week. hopefully we will be well enough in 4 days to go to class this week. we shall see.

RAH HAS A SHOW IN 12 days. we need to get to class!

all we've done is work fronts. fronts fronts fronts. fronts fronts fronts. fronts frontst fronts fronts fronts.

great way to make your open debut - dont take your dog to class or train anything because he is infectious.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


since we're recovering from kennel cough here due to the new foster dog i took in (an 8 + year old dobe girl from PSPCA that has mammary tumors/cancer... did I post here about her??) we're not training this week at class... sad sad sad. we're also missing our match on sat (i will still work it, since im actually judging for half the day!). we shall see what happens for sunday.

been working at home - have rah's front platform built, he seems to get it! now to talk to terry about how to work it and fade it? far from that right now, though...

berlins also doing some nice db retrieves -s hes starting to play with it with her feet though, want to stop that.

i got some videos from people on one of the dog stuff lists, and i watched the anne marie silverton problem solving utility video this am, and it had a minor breakthrough for me...

i dont think rah is a dominant dog in the sense that he's an aggressive dog that will challenge and try to bite me - not ever. he adores me, he's a wonderful, great dog. but he's the type of dog that most dogs don't challenge, or people. he doesn't care what you do to him - he's just large and in charge. corrections dont phase him, he knows what he wants. yes, he has his irrational fear of things hitting him in the butt :) but is he a hard dog? i think so. in some ways, absolutely.

as i paraphrase anne marie (who has an amazing accent!)... i dont necessarily think rah is dominant. but if you look at it not as dominant, but HARD

"dominant dogs are very willing to learn exercises when its new and fresh, and perform it very well for awhile – then it falls apart. Then you think its time to return to teaching phase – DON’T – hes not confused, he’s challenging you. (If he was truly confused, he will threaten you – if he understood his job, but was just challenging you for the authority he will look confident) If you mistakingly assume he doesn’t understand, you avoid the corrective phase and just keep motivate and teach – creating a viscious cycle of coaxing your dog to obey you. "

the part in parenthesis is the part i dont think applies to me and rah, since we're never coming to blows. but challenging my authority, yeah :)

i think its hard to know when your dog is confused versus when they are choosing to just not perform the exercise correctly - im still not sure with utility for instance, and im looking to my trainer and we were discussing it with some othe rpeople in class last week when rah wasn't doing articles and directed jumping right. rah did directed jumping PERFECTLy when we used to do it, and he's sucked for the past few months now - so where has it gone? does he not understand (confused) or is he challenging me? we're not working the entire go out - i leave him out there in go out position and walk out to the other end of the ring, but often i cant even turn before he's chosen a jump to go over - he understands???? what the exercise is, but does not wait for direction from me. terry mentioned that his stress (remember he used to fear the jump falling on him after he had a crash with both the high and the bar jump separately) causes him to want to rush this; kris interpreted rah as wanting to get the FUN part out in his quest for self-fulfillment and waiting is boring, jumping is fun. would AMS say that rah not waiting for me to give him a signal to jump as a challenge to my authority - rah perfectly understands what the exercise SHOULD BE (and in fact 2-3 months ago, was doing directed jumping perfectly) but does not want to wait for me to TELL him which jump he should take, so he opts to choose for himself, giving me the finger in doing so?

i can see all three scenarios being correct for rah.

or is it a fourth scenario- he truly doesnt understand what he is supposed to be doing out there - he gets i leave him there and he jumps - but he doesnt understand the waiting for me to signal which one it will be, and doesnt understand the signals.

like i said, its hard to know when they are confused and need to be TAUGHT more, versus when they are perfectly understanding the exercise and just being disobedient. one deserves a correction, the other deserves teaching.

i think thats the crux of dog training, and its the difference between a mediocre trainer and a great dog trainer - knowing the difference.

ah, so much to think about.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

open schmopen

rah's first open trial is in 21 days and counting.

started with stays last night - he was perfect, did them without his collar too. knock on wood there - he's also been pretty good with heeling into the ring for stays with perfect attention -he had been figuring out the second and third times we went in the ring he didnt have to pay attention and i dont want him to get in that mode just in case we ever have run offs - it helped that we had multiple trials in one day.

then while she worked on a stay issue with mulder, i did some warming up and baby go outs. if he cant find his reward he is searching the gates. BAD DOG :) but i am considering going out to the CDSP trial on sunday (in harrisburg) - i cant decide - its a 2 hour drive, but berlin could finish her CD-H and then i could enter rah in open - but he needs a go out for his open runs.

then we did heeling - rah wasnt bad, but he still did his "push your face into moms hand" when he gets too crazed. he was really huffing 15 minutes in (kathy is akiller heeler) and his eyes were turning red, he was so worked up -we did a lot of litle patters - forward right into a halt after two strides, then turns into changes of paces, about turns right into halts. something ive noticed is that at change of paces, rah tends to bounch in and out of them - i want him to stop doing that because it puts him out of position and he hits me when he does that.

after a killed session of heeling that lasted about 20-25 minutes, i was dying, so we broke up into individuals.

started with DOR. rah, in his infinite wisdom?????? i set up for the drop and left him - i had waited a bit because the judge may not send him immediately and he decided that we were ACTUALLY working directed jumping and took the jump???? i put him on the flexi and worked waits and straight recalls for a few, and then went back to drops, his drops were nice and fast- played a few get it get it get it games, then some more formal drops. also threw a few regular recalls in. im working on where i look for his recalls and seeing if that helps where he positions himself, and so far it is.

moved over to do the broad jump - he's doing really well iwth this. so far i have the go out stick on the jump to make sure he doesnt cut the jump and goes over straight, and 2 feet out i put a cone to ensure that he goes all the way out instead of landing and pivoting right there. i also put a cone to my left (his right) from where front would be, to make sure he doesnt over(actually, under) rotate his ass end when he comes in for that front - and he's been coming in beautifully. im also being careful to make sure that i dont stare at him the entire time he's doing this, which is helping him - just looking where i expect him. if he messes up, i leave him in a stand and have him come back in to fix the front, which is working well (he gets the jump part). furthermore, he's not anticipating the jump and waits well now! woohoo.

did ROH - put him on flexi (which he hates, and it showed) - he did nicely and i guided him in to front, wasnt' half bad. if only that would translate to front without the flexi. he's not mouthing his db anymore (less stress over fronts) but he's starting to not want to give up the db, so im showing him that i have rewards for him if he "reaches" with his head and gives up his beloved db. seems to be working well - need to do that again today as a refresher.

worked some on the flat too - doing well (same as over high) on the last one, the db took a nasty turn and when he turned he was coming to me and at the last minute he saw the jump and decided he HAD to take it - so he went over - BUT HE WAS STILL ON THE FLEXI. i saw our open debut going down the drain if he took the jump down (ive been jumping him almost near his comp height, too) - so i tossed my arm up as high as it would go and threw the flexi and it cleared by 2 inches, PHEW and he didn't even know. i also couldnt verbally stop him just in case he didn't make it over the jump because of me...

i forgot to work a figure8, but other than that, it wasn't bad. i stayed for part of utility and worked articles - brought him back to wek 7 and introduced some toys into the mix, and he worked it well. he kept trying to cheat :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

a little detour...

figure we could use a picture post...

first, one of rah's crimmus gifts... from his auntie tamena!

rah is suspicious that despite my promises, his sit stay will NOT be rewarded with my dinner.

meanwhile, his sister is apparently acting a little... slow... tonight and is trying to eat raw spaghetti off the floor. it's not easy.

and the big event of the weekend - their matching jackets FINALLY CAME!
berlin says they even taste good

but not as good as snow

or apparently my deck.


pick on roo time

she tells mercury to back off


little miss has a big mouth.

who did you say was eating snow?

and finally, as my spaghetti cooks, we played db games.
rah says, you really want me to let HER touch it?

i can has sketti now?

please please no more pics

Friday, January 9, 2009

the delay is inevitable

better late than never again, but here's thursdays recap.

got to class - berlin was up first. we started with heeling and berlin did pretty well - her attention is getting much better and im much more pleased with her head position - i dont feel that she's lagging. i do think her left turns could be tighter (more rah-like) because i want to see her snap her butt around like rah, so im going to have to keep working her on that. she sees my cue, but she's small enough that she can just stop moving and that way she doesn't hit me. i actively want her maintaining heel position and driving backwards if she needs to.

we moved to figure 8's - her hind end was a lot tighter there, even though i was going very slowly. much better than the CDSP trial (ha). worked set ups and breaking o ut while terry talked and if the stewards weren't ready.

moved to the SFE. Terry did it in the new way the judges are supposed to and it shocked berlin into scooting her butt outta there the first time, but she was fine the second time. she's still doing a kickback and kick MEGA out to the side stand, so i need to work on that because it will bite me in the ass for utility. transitioned that over to the heel free.

worked fronts - she was much better this time, less paying attention to other dogs and came in fairly straight - she's so nice and tight when she does get to front!
did stays and she was good. then while open worked, i did db work with her - again backchaining her and she was great for 10-15 minutes, im very pleased with how that is working. except i need someone else's hands (lydia) to go to the next level because my arms are only so long :)

the open class was working fronts and finishes, so i popped rah into that and worked them - i didnt do off center, but i worked straight ones each time

went into utility - we started with signals and heeling - first as a group, then we each did an individual run. was was almost perfect for signals (we're at a distance of about 10-12 feet right now) and im happy with that - terry was making fun of him quivering in anticipation of getting to do something he was so eager.

the downside was his heeling - hes not forging now, but his new habit is he's using my hand as a head rest and he's pushing right up against my hand - and when he does it he sidewinds really bad - terry can tell exactly when he does it. my hand is soaked in spit when we're done heeling (since he froths at the mouth when we train- yes, i know he's a dobe). so have to fix that now. he's also started popping up and down during the change of paces - when he knows we're going to get a normal, he starts hopping up in place. argh. he's too smart. when we approcah a ring gate and he knows were going to need to do an about turn, he starts it before its called, too. WHY DOES HE KNOW ALL THIS WITHOUT ME.

articles next, which were terrible - we were working with distraction (rah had objects in his pile) and he didnt work the pile at all, just poked and grabbed and ran. im going to back him up to week 6 or 7 this week and start him over with distraction - he was too stressed and he wasnt working at all. i should have seen this coming a few weeks ago when he was getting too cocky and stopped working the entire pile.

gloves were next. we worked pivots for 10-15 minutes first - probably his best exercise. ironic because i left pivot him for all gloves, which i dont see most people doing - but he has better butt control with left pivots than right ones, and i stand a better chance of him being straight ( and thus losing less points) by left-ing him for glove 1 and 2 as well as 3. then we put it together with the gloves - he marked and retrieved beautifully, shook a bit on the return, but then he blew the fronts. get him jazzed up and NOT THINKING and he cant find front if it had a big fucking arrow pointing it out.

moving stand - nothing to write home about. put it together with a call to heel for the first time, he got that just fine.

go outs. worked him full distance for the first one - he looked, got to his toy, and stole it and ran. bastard dog. went half distance, followed himout, and told him to sit. when he does, he spits out his go out toy, so i reward him with his other toy. this week we didnt work calling him off the toy at all so as not to confuse him. but he was so bad he got no jumping again. i dont think he got to work direction in like 2 months (and it showed at open training on new years day). terry said to work it completely separate from his go outs for now.

ill say it again. utility is hard hard hard.

rah's first open show is in less than a month.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

open class last night

last night was open - got there early and brought mercury, who was just happy to get out of the house i think :) (lydia comes home tomorrow)

we started with stays - he was fine, but he sat up after the out of sight down when i was in heel position waiting for her to say exercise finished. if he blows our Q for doing that i will strangle him!!!!!!!!!!!

we started with retrieve on the flat, and we used boards to get straight fronts. restrained retrieves first, and he was so jazzed up i had him lifted off the ground he was so keyed up. we had a breakthrough on how he was sitting crooked even though hes coming in straight - hes putting his right front foot more forward than his left after he sits, so its making him crooked overall and we're working on that. then we did some formal retrieves and that was nice. good fronts.

moved to drops - regular fronts mixed with DOR's and he was shaking he was so excited. i have to make sure when he drops that he goes all the way to the ground - sometimes he's so anticipating the call from the drop that he is hovering over the ground - and while other dogs that have hair can get away with it, he's got no hair to hide it ;)

brought out the jumps and the broad jump - his broad jump was LOVELY and he came in perfectly straight so i only did 2-3 of them. very pleased with that. i had one guide on top, one cone at the tip of the guide, and one cone to the right of where he would come in for front to prevent him from rotating.

his ROH was rought - he focused in lovely, he went over the jump each time and even did it when it was a really tough retrieve both times - one was very tight (when he landed he was pretty much on top - the other was a throw where it landed right in front of the crates and he had to go up to the dogs in their crates to get it. but him coming back and getting into front in that short of space isrough rough rough. i had forgotten his front box at work - i need to do all these on flexi's too.

then we did heeling - he's not cutting me off nearly as much, but now he's pressing his face into my hand. but the heeling wasn't bad.

im tired and going to nap before class tonight. had to shop for curtains this morning and also traded cars with my dad, so i have the suburban tonight.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

is it winter outside?

worked the dogs outside today- figured i cannot possibly give up both outdoor trials AND trials to men right now - so rah has to work on one of them. its much easier to train outside than it is to find males that know the sport of obedience or are willing to work and not do weird things around a 100 lb doberman, so outside it is.

anyway, it was only 40 outside, so i spent 20 minutes lugging out all the jumps, the ring gates, etc and setting up a combined open and utility ring. it took forever it seems, and i wish i had a place where i could leave out all my stuff safely - but even in this weather, i wouldnt...

so i end up doing it in the yard as always - and its annoying because i have to do it with all the neighbors watching, interrupting, and walking by. and of course the insane amount of bikers that bike by...

worked on heeling first - he wasnt bad. clicked for attention and hes much forgier outside, but eventually he got back into position within 1-2 minutes and was working nicely - especially considering i didnt warm him up at all (bad mom). then we worked some fronts and he still has no real idea of this whole front box thing and i really dont know any other way to convey this to him. then we did retrieves over the flat, and he did nicely on those - actually came in straight (but he was on flexi, im not going to let him be wrong any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). the neighbors dog came out at this point 20 feet away and started lunging and barking at rah - he was distracted for 10-20 seconds, but i just set him back up in heel and rewarded him paying attention to me and within a minute he was zoned back on me and ignoring that damned beagle. worked broad jump but without all the dohickeys i need to get that right (i left some in the house) he was cutting the corner. i need his jump stick to make sure he doesnt cut that corner too much.

then we went onto utility and worked his go outs. THEN THE SQUIRREL CAME OUT. rah couldnt think with the squirrel nearby. he was so focused on the squirrel we just stopped training for 2-3 minutes and he needed some major leave it focus on mom work. back to go outs - hes still not fully grasping this whole go ALL the way out and turn when i say turn - sometimes before the toy, sometimes after. hopefully it will click in soon. then did directed jumping and he tried to pick his jumps again.

ended with some heeling which he was ridiculously keyed up for and so crazy that he was jumping up and almost biting me but very happy, and then signals.

utility is goddamned HARD.

then brought out the baby girl - and while rah is a battle to work outside, i do believe this dog was meant to be outside? her heeling was BETTER outside than it was inside - she was positively floating, she was launching herself into heel position, she was so cute, she would get distracted and then be like NO WE WERE HEELING and she would look at me and JUMP back into heel and wag her tail at me like "i remembered!" not bad for my baby girl. she barely took her eyes off of me. her set ups were beautiful, and she had the pizazz that ive seen lacking sometimes at class when she gets bored doing the same thing over and over again.

so looks like ive got a lot more training outside to deal with - one because its his achilles heel, one because she loves it :)

im exhausted now.
in one of the LJ groups, some people were talking about exercises to teach heel. and i realized i needed to work on berlin's left turns, so i recorded some of our working 2-3 weeks ago...

working the baby girl -
she's trying to figure out what i want in this tiny space :) she tucks nicely at the end of this video, good hind end movement.

the end result - some nice butt tucking for the lefts -

and working the noodle man.

here is his left box - working left turns repeatedly and incorporating backing up into each turn.

more left/heel work.

and we turn in circles until i get dizzy.

a recap of the new year day

it seems all i do is run late here...

new years day was open training at hunterdonk and i took both dogs and pretty much was there for 4 hours. i brought my homemade monkey bread (which was a huge hit!) and it was nice - i was able to train for 10-15 minutes then sit down, hang out for a bit, and then train again.

started with rah - i set the entire ring up, and then worked on ring entrances with rah, taking the leash off, and heeling him over to a set part to start the heeling. did that for 10 minutes or so, then worked fronts, DOR, ROF, and ROH. his fronts are still so so. qualifiable but not perfect. im going to lose most of my points there.

put him away and brought out the baby girl - worked her mostly on heeling - she had nice attention but she was a little distracted by the new dogs at first. i did some moving attention, some cooperation, and she settled in nicely. im working on moving her position forward a tad (i know, terry will KILL ME) and keeping her active and attentive.

break time, then brought rah out. worked fronts with rah again, then i started heeling practice with him, left pivots, etc. then we started go outs - turning him off the toy. then we did directed jumping and he was a total screw up. elsie said the distraction of new dogs, and having a 4 foot wide jump was oto much for him.

put him away, brought berlin out and moved the jumps closer - worked her on some baby directed jumping. she did well there.

brought rah out, worked on retrieves and did scent articles. he nailed them.

called it a day.

im sure there was a lot more, but i just cant remember it. i know i did signals, i did set ups, etc. but... just cant remember too tired...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

a little privacy

had the private lesson yesterday - went well.

started with berlin - she took the db happily for about 10 minutes, but we were trying to get her to move with it - she was clearly confused. we tried a bunch of things. first, getting her to move with the db in her mouth with food, then luring her with a second db. tried restrained recalls with the db - in the end we ended up using a second leash to put under her chin and i just grabbed her flat collar and we trotted around the room - the faster she moves, the less she thinks about the db. her problem is the minute you reward her at all, she thinks its time to out the db! shes clearly confused, so we used as little force as possible (though after awhile she stopped taking it, so i did place the db into her mouth) - we didnt have to do a forced retrieve.

then we went to rah - and we worked his broad jump and his fronts together. hes been anticipating his signal on the broad jump because he loves it so much, so if i just hang out next to the jump and dont send him, he eventually just takes the jump - we worked that out (i was afraid the judge being there saying "send your dog" would just make it worse), then we worked on his route after the jump and to get to front. i have his front box made, so we spent an hour doing that. bless his soul he will do that repeatedly over and over again - and he was so silly! she was setting up cones for him to have a barrier on the side to prevent a wide turn, and he decided that they were to be gone around as well. he did well with the front box a few times, but when he gets jazzed up or is moving fast thats when he cant be bothered with the box.

i ended up working them for about 2 hours, and we have open training later today for new years day. im exhausted and didnt sleep well last night... a lot more details went down in the class, but im too tired and lazy to write them all down.