Sunday, May 31, 2009

im just feeling a little frustrated with myself right now over how i seem to have the same stumbling blocks repeatedly, and that *im* not bringing enough to the table for my dogs to get the performances i think they are capable of.

meh. maybe show update later. i should be happy, two q's and a placement.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

is it really saturday?


so classes this week -

agility - we started with 20/20 review on the teeter - debbie stressed she doesn't want us doing the whole teeter yet, we can have them start halfway down, and we can even do restrained recalls on there to build speed. continue working 2o/2o separate of the target to ensure solid individual behaviors. berlin, well shes fast and she's hilarious. when in doubt try to play bang it!!! and pick up your target and run!
then we did some jumping sequences - tunnel to a jump with us running with the dog, then worked go on, and go out. with me running she wasn't half bad, but with me moving she kicked into PSYCHO GEAR and she was moving at mach 10, jumping up on me to bite me, and didnt want to go over the jump, she wanted to go over me (and almost did). there's that drive liz thought berlin lacked :) once we focused her, she went over the jump - go on wasn't hard, but getting lateral distance was a little harder.

jumping grid while we ran with her - she's fast and not focused on me, just the toy at the end - so right now he has to do indiv. jumps and refocus on me after each one.

open with rah - lots of heeling. lots and lots. worked the left turns repeatedly to remind them to get their butts in, rah has good hind end motion but it was still good to work him - it also makes him less forgey and in my face - then we did MORE heeling after and we all just about died but when i know a turn or something is coming (as i should in all but a run off) i need to give him a cue a little early so he is ready to move himself.NEED to remember to use this to warm up for shows more. we also incorporated it into circles directly around us in place and rah rocked.

broad jump - he was coming into front but not sitting - just screwing around. if thats the case, he gets a correction for it. but i also need to watch to see if its that im not completing my turn and my hips are still crooked, because he has trouble fronting to a broken picture - no fair to correct him if the picture has changed and its really my fault. did some nice work and he kept his focus well. corrections were simply me grabbing the collar and gentle pop into a sit. im NOT going to correct him for the ones where he scoots himself into correct position, but when hes not doing anything at all, those are lack of effort!

ROH - worked that to a front, rewarding him for a fast front - no box in the picture right now. same thing - if no front, he gets a reminder for it, it needs to be fast. im less concerned about accurate now (Are we exactly where we were 6 months ago?!?!?!?!?!)... now i just want a damned sit in the ring!!!!

fast forward (but still rewing, since im late!) to thurs..

novice - berlin gets moved up! this was the last class of the session (to make things complicated, none of the nights are on the same number of week, and agility and open on wed are different too!), and next week berlin will be moved up to the open class rah works, and ill take rah out of open. hm. maybe i wont for THAT class, since its the day before we show outside?!?!?!?!!?! but who knows...

anyway - worked heeling in a group, she did well off leash the entire time. nice heads up position, very nice left turns (especially in the slow!). then we split the class one group on the inside, one on the outside to work with distraction. she's got a lot more drive in her step, she's maintaining a much better position and she's getting where she needs to be - compared to where she was a month ago, im happy with this. hopefully this translates to her in the ring again. im making much more of an effort to reward her in multiple ways - food, toys, physical praise, verbal praise, you name it - she gets to be silly and rewarded ALL the time for what she does, cause she's so serious.

worked stands - her stand was nice , but when we tried it with a strange man, she moved. first time she's moved in awhile, oh well.

worked recalls - three dogs at once, calling them individually. when she's insecure, she comes to me without waiting - i really need to reinforce her wait.
stays were perfect - 3 minute sit, 5 minute down, including some part of it out of sight :)

open with rah rah - heeling cant remember much, but we worked left turns again and getting them to cue into us.

ROH - i need to remind him to front and get MY timing right - in the ring i will be thinking it. i cant ask him to ignore the jump and LOOK at me because he needs to see the jump to get over it (you would too if you were jumping something that big), but he needs to be THINKING about me and ready to focus back on me immediately afterwards.

broad - worked on where i set him up - she thinks (terry being she) if i set him up more to the left of the jump, it will allow him to make a bigger loop at the end, and it does - so we will keep working that. im working the other new pieces too, reworking it seems to be working. we shall keep seeing. if i set him up too far, i could push him off the jump so i need to be careful.

flat - worked right next to the broad jump. of course, off leash he took the broad twice. so i put him on the flexi - even then he wasn't focusing on me quick enough so i was going out after him to "surprise" him - but one time he ran too fast and it went out and he pulled the flexi out of my hand and it flew - and it hit him in the butt!! i will say that it was the fastest, prettiest front he had ALL NIGHT! and he wasn't afraid of the flexi after - in fact, he was still dragging it, and i told him to "get it" and he picked it up and carried it around. what a DOOFUS.

moving on to utility - phyllis (one of the local judges, actually who gave rah his second CD leg and who likened him to a fast sports car!) trained with us because her new dog is having trouble with outdoor go outs. it was fun!! she's so nice...

go outs - WOW. nice, straight, fast!!!!! great turn and sits - he even got to do the jumps!!! he just failed to go out once - terry threw a toy when he did his go out (but he still went), but on the next one he "marked" go out, but couldnt make it out because he was staring at the toy. all in all i was VERY PLEASED with this.

articles - poopy. worked them with phyllis. she thinks he's not used to me being so far away for some reason, terry agreed. he didnt work the pile at all until i took 2 steps in, then he worked and found the right article both times, rather than just grabbing and running.

gloves - not bad but i still hover over him for glove three - i need to think less and just DO it. but one and two were good. however, he's still on flexi (because he wants to grab and RUN), and he still shakes the glove to death. i dont know what to do to fix it.

signals - WOWOWOWOWOW. he was perfect. terry has to remind me that he needs more cues when i know the heeling pattern to give him time to move his huge body, but he did well and he NAILED every part, including the stand! we also worked ring entrances and transitions over to heeling. i was totally impressed, as was terry.

moving stand - perfect. perfect perfect perfect. locked in, didn't move a muscle. only did one, because i wanted to end on that perfection.

all in all, a GOOD NIGHT.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Novice "A" lessons
by Jane Jackson (who took her Novice A dog, Murph, all the way to an OTCH)

This article first appeared on the e-mail list, obed-comp. Jane gave permission for Heartland Dog Training Club to use it in our newsletter. It drew the most favorable comments of anything we had ever printed in the newsletter. She has graciously given permission to share it on this web page as well.

Many people have written to me mentioning that they are training their first dog, and wanted to know how I took Murph from Novice A all the way to an OTCH.

I hope you understand that there was no single "magic" technique that brought us success, so there's no simple answer to that question. I realize this is a frustrating answer - I remember asking people with nice dogs how they got the dog's attention or trained certain exercises, and was always discouraged when they couldn't really answer me - but now I understand from training Murph that a short answer really doesn't do justice to the years of hard work, where sometimes moving forward meant taking one step back first. Furthermore, what worked for Murph might be totally wrong for your dog - all dogs are unique.

Still, there are a few things I learned that really had an impact on me over the past few years. Those of you for whom training comes naturally can just skip this, but for those like me (I knew nothing about training when I started), read on ...

Find a Good Instructor
A good instructor isn't necessarily someone famous or the most popular person in your area or has the most titles (although all that may be true). A good instructor is someone whom you admire and respect, whose training style makes sense and is one that you're comfortable with, who has students who clearly enjoy what they're doing and enjoy working with the person (I know people who go to instructors they're frightened of - I just don't get it!). I'm also a firm believer in private lessons, at least on an occasional basis. The luxury of having someone's undivided attention really can't be beat, and since Murph always learned things at a different pace than the rest of the class (we took obedience classes for 1-1/2 years before I discovered private lessons), group lessons were always a source of frustration as we would fall behind the group.

Become an Information Junkie
Electronic obedience mailing lists, seminars, books, videos - there are so many wonderful resources for learning more about this sport and about training. I learned so much by stewarding at trials, and by watching top handlers and how they warm-up their dogs and interact with them in the ring. One caveat - there's so much info. out there, but please don't just started trying all sorts of things on your dog - you'll make him crazy! Sift through and pick out only the ideas that you think match your personality, your dog's temperament, and your needs. It's not just training hard that gets results, it's training smart.

Don't Be Afraid To Back Up
... or even re-train something from the beginning. It may seem like you're taking the long way, but sometimes backing up, breaking down exercises into teeny-tiny pieces and just working on those components or retraining from the beginning are really the fastest route.

Make the Ring A Happy Place
When I first started going to matches, I'd act like it was a real show and Murph picked up bad habits. Then I was told to use the match to correct him, and Murph learned that the ring was a scary place to be. To make things worse, I used to get really nervous - one match judge helpfully told me that I walked like I was in a funeral march! The end result was that Murph viewed the ring as a scary place where the zombie that replaced his mother would correct him.

To recondition him to think better of the ring, I took him to every fun match I could get to and played in the ring. I still go to as many fun matches as I can - we play less, but still cut loose a bit more than I can at a trial. I want him to feel comfortable in the ring, and taking him to lots of places for run-throughs where I could help him really helped. At the same time, I worked on my own attitude. My responsibility is to my dog in the ring, and if I'm so nervous that I can't walk a straight line, I'm not holding up my end of the bargain (after all, the dog didn't send in the entry!). I also worked hard on my handling - and still do (I'm the one walking around the parking lot with a metronome).

Don't Let Anyone 'Dis You or Your Dog
This ties in with finding a good instructor and is so important. You have to believe that you and your dog can DO IT. If you have an Angolian Basket Weaving Dog and your instructor says that ABWD's can't be trained, find another instructor. Seriously. I spent too much time paying people who told me that my Lab was impossible to motivate and was not "obedience material" - he could probably get a CD, maybe a CDX, but UD was beyond him. The really sad thing is that I started to believe some of that crap myself. Shame on me for not having faith in my dog. Run, don't walk, away from anyone who puts you or your dog down.

Good luck with your dogs!

a threefer

ive been really remiss in terms of these updates, im sorry!!!!!

wednesday - agility first. we worked on 2o/2o on the teeter, i still am using berlins target and she's doing great. to stop her from curving to either side (to look at me) i just flip in front of her and she's perfect. then we also brought the table so that they could jump on the teeter halfway and be straight and walk down (instead of just hopping on in the contact area).

then we worked some jumping again, berlin is having issues with the collection on the first jump and figuring out her spacing and how to bounce them - she's a pain in the butt :)

then we did handling!! we handled debbie's bc shane (the one that finished his CDX this past sunday in rah's class, she's who convinced me to show in open B with her with our A dogs!) - and did a short sequence that was full of front and rear crosses. that way we could see how we do and do not support the jump, give our signals early, etc. it was good to see, because sometimes if they don't take a jump there really is a fast desire to blame them, but here in a highly trained dog we could see it was US (it always is).

went out to eat quickly - then came back for open. i was feeling like poop at this point, so lydia and i shared handling for a bit. i spoke to kathy at great length about rah's performance this past weekend.

in short, rah's flying high in the ring and he can't think. he's having so much fun, and he know he shouldn't be distracted - that he isn't thinking about what his actual job is. he gets so focused, he gets so into what he thinks is coming next, that he cannot even remember what comes next when he's done with what he thinks is important.

the key is, i feed into it with him. he gets up, and i get frantic trying to control him. kathy says i need to slow down and MAKE him wait. instead of rushing through, making him sit and patiently remind him what the next step is going to be. me getting frantic and such just makes him fly even HIGHER - it happens on every exercise. he looks so flashy and he looks so animated, but he's getting virtually uncontrollable at some points because he's past the point of thinking clearly. so what i need to do is be calming for him to bring him back down to earth :)

did some work with the broad jump - im going to be using my head turned a bit and my eyes to hold him, and we worked on anticipation :) we also had to adjust where my eyes go when he's jumping and fronting, to give him clear indications of where to go. kathy also adjusted my signal - i was leaving it up a little too long and it can be scoreable.

did high jump - made him wait again (sometimesi even just threw it and then picked it back up!) and we discussed that he may need a private on how to jump to get things together because he jumps like a freak.

lydia took him for some heeling and front work and worked his drops. and then we screwed around in class for 30 minutes, during which we discovered if i SKIP or GALLOP with rah, he trots instead of pacing ;) don't ask!! we were all on a sugar high, i think...

thursday during the day lydia and i were very ambitious and loaded up my jumps and such and went to the park to do some run throughs. of course, it ended up being about 95 degrees so each dog got one run through and we were all so hot it was terribly hard to focus :)

both dogs would have q'd (i did open for rah, novice for berlin) - some parts weren't lovely, but since it was outside, in a brand new location, with the oppressive heat, not so bad. berlin's heeling was interesting - she avoided the chain link fence so didn't want to do the abouts there, and when i start the fast she lagged for just a second. on the recall she gets so excited sometimes she forgets to front. SFE was lovely! rah's heeling was soso - not paying full attention which means less bumping and forging, but he also misses some cues :) the fronts remain an issuue...

got to class a little late last night and started with berlin.
started off with heeling - we worked on heavy distraction. so three people were doing patterns and while we did it, someone else was the judge but walked close, around them, swung their hands. berlin did well - the first time the only thing the distraction caused was a crooked sit, but the rest of the time she was pretty good! then we played recall games with distraction - calling the dogs (4 at a time) with people walking in between them swinging their hands. surprisingly, berlin was PERFECT for this. go figure! then we had fun - and switched handlers!!!! all the dogs did a short heeling pattern first with us, then we traded off and took the dog in front of us - so i got hannah the corgi. who is adorable. i could do a corgi (she was a pemmy, but i want a cardi with a taaaaaaail). stays were nice - she did a 5 1/2 minute stay and a 3 1/2 minute down. we spent a lot of time talking about handling and scoreable things handlers do to screw their dogs up.

open with rahrah. did some heeling with distraction again - he was very pushy and weird and kathy was my partner (yes, my trainer from wednesday nights!) and she made me do left turns with him to back him off. did fig8's going into the high jump like how rah had it this past weekend when he wanted to take the jump. then broke it down for individuals -

it's almost like his front box is becoming a crutch for him now - he doesn't have to think of it, he can just go find the box and do the front on there. so we have to wean off it a bit - so terry said when he is coming now, remind him verbally every time to do a front (and in the ring, think it!) - and if i need to, keep backing up (with a leash pop/reminder - WITHOUT ANGER OR FRUSTRATION) to keep him fronting.

worked broad jump again and terry is adjusting where i stand to give him as much space as possible to straighten out for his front. i felt kinda sick so i didnt work drops or flat.

onto utility - so inconsistent, but he had a great utility class!
we started with articles in the same ring that sharon was working gloves with java. in fact, she was standing virtually in line with rah's path to his articles - so much so that terry had to remind her to stop sneaking forward :) he got the first (metal). second article he found quickly, got concerned he was wrong, dropped it to keep looking and picked up the one attached to the right article. i just sent him back and he found it. did a second leather and terry was right ON TOP of his pile - he turned to come back to me but turned back to his pile immediately and found it nicely. GOOD BOY.

gloves - 1 and 2 were great, my signals were pretty good there. on three, im overthinking it and its screwing us up - when i just GO DO IT, he does it perfectly. need to stop making it harder than it is. and remind him that when i break my hips across the plane, he needs to be up and moving!

then we did directed jumping with distraction. she started rolling tennis balls (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) across the floor when i indicated which jump. then she left the balls out and had a big balloon by the other jump. Rah was LOVELY AND PERFECT and didn't once try to get a ball instead, but he was missing his fronts - terry said that's precisely what happens - gets so excited, and gets so into "working, don't be distracted" that he forgets how to work!

then i did go outs while sharon did signals. rah's go outs were much improved from last week - the first one he missed his sit, so i calmly went out and told him to sit. the next three were lovely, tight, and PERFECT fast straight sits, so i called it on that!!!!

signals - not half bad. i took away the bar, but i need to remember to slow down (theme for us??) and give him a clear wait signal and pause before i leave him. moving stand he did a lovely one and locked up so we didnt do more than one - i messed up the call youur dog to heel, but oh well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ill try to post more tomorrow- i feel like crap right now and apparently my strain of swine flu is virulent, since its making a come back and my throat is SORE SORE SORE.

agility class was fun, berlin has good and bad moments. went out to eat then did open and spent a lot of time discussing rah with kathy and trying to figure out what to do with him and how to make him THINK in the ring. so many good things about him, but he gets SO CRAZY at trials that he just FLIES and he stops thinking.

then we stayed and had some fun, ate cake, and skipped a lot :)

right now ill go to sleep and mope a little over my dog (having a moment here - sometimes it seems like i work so hard at this with them and we make precious little headway)... cough cough cough

Sunday, May 17, 2009

almost but not quite

first, im going to preface this with the fact that i cannot stop coughing still. im not too congested anymore, but the coff is deep down in the lungs now... the tickle is terrible and i can't stop COUGHING.

an almost finished CDX but not quite - so its a no. but i survived open B!!!!! and i have video to prove it.

got there, my GPS went crazy on the way. show up, unload the car, warm him up a bit. he's jazzed, as always. im stuck in between one of my old instructors and one of the girls i train with, second in the ring after the first set of stays.

get him in the ring, take off the leash - as make our way to the set up point for the DOR, rah spots a piece of food on the floor and DIVES for it - a strict leave it and he comes back to me, judge goes and removes it.

leave him for the drop and rah pretty much anticipates this one. because the judge didnt give a very clear signal and i called it fast, i think she gave me the benefit of the doubt. hes slightly crooked on the front, but dropped nice and fast. (now that i see myself show - relax on the front - arms to side, not so stiff). she comments to me "rather enthusiastic, aren't we"

then we go to the heeling- forgey mc forgerston is present and accounted for. of course the slow drove him crazy, he popped up all over the place, forged even further. both halts were nice though. yes, notice we almost hit the ring gate (and i know i make a face). i cant say anything good about my heeling.

move to fig8 - odd because the judge wasnt very close and thats the first time id had that - and i realized that i hadnt checked to see which side i would be on, so i just guessed :) you can see when we start out rah actually thinks he's going to take the jump and we bump. i need to control my right arm more to stop letting him push me (in general), and i stepped away from him, terry will kill me, on the first two steps. EEK.

ROH - i need to set up further back still, i think. you can see he almost anticipates that too but catches himself. he's not even looking at me as he comes over the jump, so no chance of him hitting that front. its like he doesn't even think of me until we almost collide. BUT HE DIDNT FIGHT ME TO OUT HIS PRIZED POSSESSION. i didn't do a single transition correctly as i had wanted to. which is why i lose rah with the db.

the bj... ahhh, my friend. of course a new problem... :) (DONT STEP BACK TO HIM IN THE SET UP). he's already up and taken a stride before i signal. front is MIA, he nails the finish.

apparently she was very conflicted as to what to do, because she didn't write the score and had a pained look on her face trying to decide what to do...

go to ROF, and yes, besides i start to use the wrong command! and i dont know what he is thinking here, but it's ACTUALLY kinda amazing if you look at it. he didn't pick up the db properly - but he corrects himself while running without dropping the db! of course by then we are too far gone to save the front... but nice finish. and yes, im saying "how did you do that?"... at one point while watching him it looked like he was going to bolt but he didnt...

the judge stopped me on the way out and told me we NQ'd the broad, but that she liked his enthusiasm and don't damper it, it will just take some work to control him. the people at the show loved him :)

so, more to work on. BUT HE DIDNT FIGHT ME TO OUT THE DB.

and i think im going to patent the db flip into the mouth while running...

Monday, May 11, 2009

monday monday...

well i managed to get some training with the dogs again today - had a half day of work (and have a half day tomorrow too).

worked outside again - ive been working mostly just heeling, and then i worked agility with roo.

i need to come up with a plan for my working with them outside - i feel like im just floundering outside - i want it short and to the point, but the heeling patterns are a little aimless since i dont have a ton of space (since the ground is SOAKED the minute you get to the field proper, and i "fall" into it at one point!) so i just have a straight away here. i need to go into the sessions with a definite plan on what i want to accomplish and get it done and end it there.

moved to agility with roo - did straight line recall jumping, then brought her out front and did some contact work on the teeter - the right side is weak weak weak! helped lydia with bunbun too.

of course, the videos. evidence that rah does still creep on the signals (of course he does - i just threw them in there, dont even know why - again, i didnt have a real plan!)

i apologize that i go off screen so much especially in berlins videos - its very hard to remember where the screen is, especially since berlin kept hitting it since it was on top of the meatball container :)

and at one point, i heel into the muddy muck of the field itself and my sneakers get gross so i take them off for the next video ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

some training videos from yesterday, in all their 1.5 minute glory (because google video wont work, all i wanted to do was flicker, so thats what you get... and it has a limit!)

and even some roo

a little private time

yesterday we had a private lesson - i opted to share the lesson between rah and berlin since they both had things i wanted to work on. i got there a little early but it was hot as hell outside and humid, so i waited inside as connie finished up with pippen. of the four privates she gave yesterday, terry worked 5 dobes and only one other breed (a flattie) - i think thats funny :) i like watching other people train, it gives me lots of ideas for things i can do with myself, and the entire process just intrigues me - seeing how other people do things, how they go about looking into their problems, fixing them, interact with their dogs, etc.

i got berlin out and she had digusting blow out diarrhea, we started warming up. terry said that because berlin is so controlled and serious - she is going to have to be out of control for her warm ups - she wants to see her jumping and being crazy because she can handle it. we did some cooperation -and incorporated her speaking into the warm up and had her popping all over the place, barking and shotting up at me - then shot her straight into a set up and heeled out. no leash at all, if she wasn't there i reached down for a pop, if she was i broke off immediately. terry was able to let me know the minute she hit PERFECT and we stopped and rewarded - kept it very fast paced - moved a lot, kept her running all over, barking, hopping up on me, having fun. asking her to set up, if she starts to windowshop, a quick pop and she will be right there again - but im not going to babysit her anymore. she's starting to rely on my help from the leash, and she doesn't need it - she can be responsible for her own position.

worked her right turns - i make a right then laterally half pass to the right some more while popping her over "with me" and just keep doing it and reward her each time she does it - she loves it. she has to learn that she, i, and we can be wrong and work through it and be fine.

we went to fig 8's- i need to set her up further back, but her left and right posts were spectacular - she pushed around the outer post and ended up in perfect position each time and was marvelous. i was very pleased with that - we ended there. i didnt want to push her further, and she'd done 30 minutes of pretty intensive heeling, and she'd been successful. \

then we took out psycho blue. set him up for heeling - she called us a pattern and we worked on left turns and getting him out of my way - he needs to respect my space and MOVE - she said my warm ups for him need to be repeated left turns to get him moving and yeilding to me so that he will be reminded. then when she called the patterns she had the dreaded slow in there.

when rah does a slow, its like this - and you can see him with his inner battle "why are we doing slow .. .slow... slow... are we done with slow? slow... slow... slow... done yet??? WHY SLOW?? WHY THE SLOW? WHY ARE WE IN SLOW??!?!?!?!!?" - he is popping straight up, he's hopping on his back legs, he's shaking - it torments him to have to slow down!!! and then the minute we get a normal called, he literally explodes - he JUMPS straight up in the air and surges forward, so happy to be moving again. terry was laughing saying she could see how hard it was for him to slow down, it literally kills him to do a slow.

so we worked controlling him - of course this in his actual trial pace - which is not a heeling pace i can keep up for long because it hurts so much. but i have to heel him, she calls the slow, and he has to hold that slow while i straighten up and remind him where he needs to be, and the minutue he gives in and holds that slow, she will call him a normal - but i heel in slow for 2 more steps and THEN reward him with a normal. he can't do the pattern on his own, i have to be the one that determines when we change paces. but it worked nicely.

then we moved to the dreaded pivots... clearly most of the issues have been me, not him. started with the fact that im not positioning my body first, and im looking too far back at him - first because he wasnt sitting, and then he stopped turning because i was looking too hard and overpowering him. so we started back with the basics - me just breaking the plane with my hips and shouluders and him popping up and back and into a sit. rewarded that in heel position, did it a few times. (NEED TO STOP BACKING UP IF HES NOT IN HEEL _ GET HIM TO COME FORWARD). our plan is that even in these baby steps, where he's just doing pieces of the pivot and not a full pivot, he needs to sit at each part - because he can never think the pivot doesnt involve a sit. then the next step was bringing my right foot forward into the T, and he did really well.

we ended there and just talked for a bit. berlin doesn't have the innate deep drive to do this obedience that rah does - rah just finds the obedience rewarding for the sake of it - he's unusual. she's like most dogs. she does it, and enjoys it, but her life doesn't revolve around it. rah lives for this. he wants to do it all the time. terry lamented that if i had rah from a very little puppy and had started his training sometime before 1.5 years old, he could have been unstoppable. i hope he can still be amazing despite all that!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

a little work and some classy class

worked the dogs a little today. actually, twice - maybe to make up for the absolutely nothing they did for the week i was sick????

did heeling at the clinic - worked rah first in the parking lot. tried heeling on the grass, but it hadnt been mowed and it was so soggy i almost killed myself. he did nice - when i stopped and was giving him loose leash he went to sniff but asking him to set back up he went back to me and was heeling with his head up and was with me the entire time. berlin was having a heart attack that i left her so i got her out and she was very nice. i think i just think her heeling is so much better outside because she's forging (i can see her a lot better) but her heads up, she's driving into me and forward a lot more, and she's just much more UP. ill try to get videos tomorrow. it was almost 85 though, so we only worked a short bit.

came home and worked agility with berlin - backchaining the direct sends, and did some tunnel work.

hmmm - thursday classes.

novice - with rooroo. i worked her just on a choke tonight, no prong. started with splitting the class up - one person would do an individual heeling pattern while everyone else working fig8's and then fronts/finishes, stands, etc. berlin was first to go with the heeling - i need to make sure im tightening up my arms when i turn, and terry thought that maybe my not walking in straight lines (ARGH) is whats making her have inconsistent positions.

worked her fig8s - worked on backchaining the right outer turns and getting her to push through them and she did MARVELOUSLY through it - by the end the minute i hit that right turn she was pushing into me and running around to get her cookie :) fronts, finishes, were ok - need to work on them she was a little flat. stand was ok. recalls were nice. stays perfect .

open - i didnt really work rah much because i was so tired and couldnt handle three in a row - i switched off between berlin and rah for this class. worked rah for the DOR games, then skipped out on heeling entirely. brought out berlin to do ROF, and she was doing awesome - in fact, she tried to steal eco's db!!! then i brought out the high jump and sent her over an 8 inch jump for the db and she went over without any hesitation and took it and brought it back to a perfect front - i ended on that first one, it was perfect and i couldnt ask for anything better. introduced her again to the broad jump and she was doing well going over for a toss of the food or cookie. worked rah over a few of them as well.

utility - articles were PERFECT - he was raring to go, barking and so eager to go!!!! ran out for the first one, got it immediately and hit a perfect front! sent him for the second, he found the metal article, but wanted to double check the article - but when he went to search the rest of the pile he accidentally kicked the article out of the pile. i thought for sure we were done at that point, but good for him he kept looking for the article and FOUND IT and came back in for a good front!!!! we ended on that - cant get any better!

gloves - 1 and 2 were good, pivot to 3 is still bad. i need to stop leaning over him and just do the pivot and mark it. work on that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

moving stand - needs work. signals - just stood him, and he did some good jobs on that. i need to make sure i stand him, then give a clear wait before i leave him.

go outs - he did the same crap as last week - where he went out turned, but didnt sit. AGAIN. we were so confused. i went to put his front box out there to have something to sit on, and he goes out, turns and does a perfect sit?!?!?!?!? the only thing we can think of is that when we were doing this, we had taken away the thin line that marked the front of his "space" that indicated where he was to turn - and without it, it didnt indicate to him to sit?!?!?!?

who knows what he thinks sometimes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

an interesting thing

an interesting thing has happened these past two open classes that have made me simultaneously VERY happy with my trainers, but a little upset with myself as a trainer. i dont want to be too hard on my dogs, and i want to reward a job well done - and i want to NOT make it too hard on my dog.

ive mentioned that fronts are rah's bugaboo. rah has incredible hind end control - i can pivot him around me in heel position, he can do left turns like he belongs in crufts, i can get lateral movement from him - but on front position, we have issues. part of it is likely dominance, and part of it is just his "ish" - it's just him, and me. he doesn't like being in front, and he backs out of it. he doesn't want to be close, he's not comfortable there. and trying to make them straight is just harder.

his fronts without the db are very nice now - after years of work, and its still a WIP. and i think i mentioned last week that he was a teeny bit off and i went to fix it and my trainer corrected ME and told me that if he makes an effort, comes in close and fast - dont nitpick him. dont make it harder for him than it needs to be - don't make it worse, something thats already so hard for him. when hes trying and thinking SO MUCH, reward him for that, instead of just criticizing what was already actually a really good job by saying "but you were just an inch off, why weren't you perfect?"

she's right. its a fine line. its hard to reward something thats wrong, because its drilled into me dont reward wrong - dont reward bad set ups, bad heeling, etc - but here, i know hes trying. hes working, hes doing his best. this is as good as he can give me right now - hes really doing this as best as he can. correcting him isn't going to make it better, and in fact can just make it worse for him. let him know it was a good effort. when he does it PERFECT make it an even better reward, but little steps.

and then last night - we were working over the high jump and kathy decided to add distraction in to rah - as he went for the db pickup, she tossed a tennisball toy and it flipped up and actually hit him. rah never saw what it was, just knew that something from behind him came up and hit him - he grabbed the db by the side (not the bar) and rah to me - at the same time that another dog cut him off in his path to get to the jump, so he had to go around them, but he still managed to get over the jump. when he landed, the db fell out of his mouth, he stopped, picked it back up (correctly), and came in, and sat in front. i sat there, and i started to say something about how it wasn't right and my trainer stopped me immediately and said pretty much said "YOU REWARD THAT" - think about HOW HARD THAT WAS for him to do his job!

and she was right.

he didn't think twice about not retrieving that db for me - he had a job to go out and get it, and he didn't even consider not getting it, even though it was under a gate and something came out and hit him while he was retrieving.

and then he couldnt get to the jump, but he still changed his path to get over the jump.

then, he dropped the db - but he knew he had to bring it, so he stopped to pick it back up -

and remembered he needed to bring it back to me in a front - not a perfect front, but a pretty good one all the same.

so why shouldn't he be rewarded? no, it wasn't perfect. but that was a very hard set up, something he will hopefully never see in competition, and he did a pretty good job.

i need to be better to him- because he needs to know that even though he didn't nail the LAST part - all those pieces before hand (while not perfect) were REALLY good efforts on his part to salvage what could have been a disaster. A lesser dog would have just refused the db, would have just left the db when hit, would have just ran around the jump, would have just left the db on the ground, and rah could have easily just have skipped the front. ALL of those were really good choices.

i need to remember to reward the steps still - and not just the end result.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

my first day standing

i made it to work today. it was a big thing.

agility class was harsh. so was open. i had to sit down a lot and cough up lung pieces :)

agility- we started with the teeter and shaping 2o/2o - berlin was a superstar and got it immediately with her target. will continue to work at home with many objects, and ill also start it with the teeter as well. she's weird though - she does one behavior right - you'd think she'd rush to repeat it ad nauseum to earn her reward (considering she was right the very first time - it's not like frustration caused her to want to stop working - she literally got it right the very first time and earned her click immediately - the only dog to do so). no - she gets distracted and does other things. ill have to see if increasing her rewards next week changes that?

then we started with straight line jumping, working recalls, and eventually sends. berlin was a butthead, so we need to work this. she did half the line of jumps, but skipped the last one :) so ill have to make her a jump chute. to her defense she hasnt had a lot of foundation in jumping at all, so ill try to work that this weekend as well. not bad for a dog that hasnt worked at all really in 2 weeks. the jumps were working susan salo methodology of collection and extension.

in the end i brought rah out and did some work with him, and did some fake threadle-type things.

open ill get to later. i cant stop coughing

Sunday, May 3, 2009

cough cough cough

so training updates. how about the short sweet version, since i have the plague or something?

no agility this week (did i say that already?). open - hmmm. was open. heeling, fronts, db, blah blah blah. cough cough cough. worked off center throws, thats all that i can remember.

novice - did separate heeling patterns, berlin did pretty well. worked on finishes, and im trying to get berlin to pop up every time!!! must remember not to do too many in a row. everything else was... just not so remarkable enough to stand out.

open - discussed how to work him with the front box and without, and interchanging. when hes making efforts to get to me in front, dont nitpick him for straight if hes close and trying. it will COME - accept that if its the littlest iota right now, dont let him lose the enthusiasm for it by ruining the entire exercise. did lots of fig8s. lots of heeling.

utility - worked a lot on moving stand and signals - really have to drill this no moving feet thing. he seemed to improve within class once he remembered what we were doing :) we worekd distraction - having people working and walking right behind the dog while i did them, and then people right behind me waving hands and making noise when we did them.

go outs - rah decided that he wouldnt turn and sit - he would turn and stand. it was a battle of wills, and it was purely because he wanted to do the jump. so we battled that in our own way. what a brat.

articles were lovely - we did three dogs at the same time and their piles all converging on each other and they ran towards each other to do them. in fact at one point i was talking and rah decided it was too long to wait and he went out and did his article without me. terry said dont correct him for that.

gloves - started out shitty and then i just worked on getting our pivots back.

i couldnt move for 2 daysbecause i am teh ded. today i feel a little better because the congestion in my chest is breaking up - worked berlin on finishes and some agility stuff in the living room (poorly, its too small in here). worked rah on pivots.

now im exhausted.

Friday, May 1, 2009

swine flu delay

i trained wed (no agility class, deb had a drs appt) in open, and last night in novice, open and utility -
but updates are being delayed because i have swine flu. or something.

cough cough. sniff.