OH MY GAWD!!

Miles did the teeter in class last night!!!!!  I’m in awe…utter awe.  Now to be honest he didn’t do the teeter by himself, Melanie restrained him and I went to the end and called him up.  His first attempt was to run by it like “no way can I do that horribly scary thing”, but then he thought about it and jumped up at the pivot and ran up to me.  I then lowered it to about half way before dropping it–SUCCESS!  He did two more reps, both being fantastically fast and happy.  I never did drop it from full-height, but about 3/4 height and he stuck his contact and drove off with his release.  I am SOOOO proud of him for doing this in the middle of class with other dogs doing sequencing all around him.  He really is Fabio!

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Training update 1/24-25/09

Well despite my severe depression and utterly crabby attitude because of the trial cancellation I was able to pull myself out of my funk enough to work on some stuff at home.  My plan for Miles was to progress to dropping the teeter from full-height  and then hopefully start to work towards decreasing the amount of time that I hold the end up for him.  The goal for Rue was to add in using a tunnel to our handling and keep her speed and drive up.  I really need her to want to drive ahead of me to take obstacles…she seems to like to gallop along with me and wait for me to show her where to go.  Not sure if this is a product of something I’ve done (like working on so much shadow handling when she was littler) or if it is a reflection of some lack of confidence in her job.  I also wanted to introduce her to the teeter bang game.

Saturday’s teeter session for Miles was pretty good!  He was quite drivey and I was able to progress to dropping it from full-height.  My teeter recoils a lot more than the alluminum one at PBH and the base moves a lot too.  I’m very pleased that he was able to work despite the differences.  He fell off once due to speed, jumped off from the top for unknown reasons, and launched himself into his 2o/2o too early once.  I never know if these things will affect his later performances, so time will tell when I bring him back out tomorrow.  One thing I do know is that I either need to weight down my tunnel bags more or get better ones as the tunnel is moving and I think this is absorbing a lot of his energy as he exits.

Sunday’s session was even better.  His speed seemed to be faster and I dropped from full-height on each rep.  He didn’t bail at all this time.  I even started to decrease the time that I’m holding up the end 🙂

Rue did pretty good on Saturday.  At first she had some difficulty navigating the new equipment that I had put out (jump wings, triple jump standards, cones, and the tunnel).  She wanted to do tight turns around these bigger standards and couldn’t quite get it at first.  However, she came through and did quite well.  I love her drive in and out of the tunnel and once again she is really into the game.  She did pick up a stick at one point, but I stole it from her and she was right back into what we were doing.  I also experimented with pushing her back before running away from her which did seem to fire her up a bit more.  Will have to see where that goes.

Sunday’s work was not so good.  I accidentally left the cooler and Miles’ ball under the teeter which was waaaaay too much of a distraction for her.  I tried to work past it, but the little stinker stole the ball and ran off with it!  I got her back, but then did too many obstacles in a row which demotivated her a bit.  The next rep she picked up a stick while chasing me–uhhhh, not exactly the drive I’m looking for!  Oh well, you gotta have your bad with your good right? 

She did great with the bang game though!  I actually got some more drive out of her later by using her tug toy, but unfortunately that didn’t get on tape.  I will need to experiment with this more.

CPE trial 1/24/09 – CANCELED

Ok majorly bummed.  We got a whopping 6″ of snow earlier in the week which crippled the area.  It is amazing what snow can do in an area not accustomed to it!  I didn’t go to work for two days because no plows came out to the boonies and they don’t salt the roads which made for some trecherous conditions.  Unfortunately, despite highs in the upper 40’s and mid 50’s towards the end of the week it wasn’t enough to melt the ice on the access road to the trial site.  So the trial was cancelled 😦  I didn’t realize how addicted I was to the sport until now…I literally moped around all weekend and complained about the stupid weather.  Ugh.

Training update 1/18/09

It’s good to be back home and able to do more agility related training after being in NY for so long.  I haven’t been able to do any real teeter work with Miles since early December, so I was curious as to how he’d do.  I also wanted to do some handling exercises with him to test his weaves since he had trouble with them yesterday at our trial.  With Rue my goal was to do more handling with her working on trying to get her to drive ahead of me around the standards and for me not to have to use my hand to guide her around.  I also was thinking of introducing some low key teeter games for her.  So I packed up the pups and headed to PBH…..

I started with Rue and worked on motivational stays first along with some recalls to heel.  She was perfect with all of these–yay!  Next I tried out some handling moves with her.  I really think she’s getting into the game now.  I didn’t lose her at all throughout any of our training today and even at times when she appeared to not know what I wanted she stayed with me and worked it out.  I was very proud of her today.  Here are some videos of the handling we did:

I also introduced her to movement on the teeter.  She seemed a bit concerned the first one or two times I moved the board under her, but after that she could care less!

As for Miles…he’s a rock star.  He played on that teeter like he never missed a beat.  I even dropped it from almost full height!  He’s really loving the release too and driving off the end. 

We did our other teeter games too:

As for our weaves?  He nailed every single one of his entries, no matter what I did….so I think it was just the stress of the trial that couldn’t allow him to think about weaving.

BTCA AKC trial Sanford, NC 1/17/09: Miles’ first indoor trial

I must say I was quite nervous coming into this trial.  I had signed up for it eons ago and knew that he would probably have trouble with an indoor site.  It was because of this that I pushed to go to run-throughs indoors while up in NY over the holidays.  I definitely felt like we had worked through some things during these experiences so I was hopeful that this wouldn’t be too big of a stretch for us.  The other thing is that we have moved up to Open, so the course was going to harder, longer, and have 12 weaves instead of 6.    Fortunately I knew some folks there which helped me to assimilate to the site and just relax some.  Also, my instructor was there which made me feel 1000 times better. 

I got there just as they were starting Excellent JWW with about 150 dogs running I knew it would be a while.  I was glad that I had time to get Miles a little used to the environment.  I initially brought him into the building with the ring while they were building the Excellent course and he was mega freaked out…didn’t want to take food, nervous about the door opening and closing.  There weren’t even any dogs in there, just people building the course and waiting to walk it.  I got him to do a few tricks and then left and played with him outside the door.  I repeated this two more times and he got more comfortable each time, but definitely NOT happy.  I spoke to my instructor and she suggested that I bring him into the other building to work on the practice jump.  Her reasoning was that if he won’t do the practice jump then I shouldn’t ask him to run the course.  She went with me to the jump and had me do a few restrained recalls first and then put the jump at 16″ and had him do a couple of reps.  He was happy enough and thrilled to chase his ball, but still nervous anytime anyone opened/closed the doors.  She told me that the majority of stress is coming from me and that I needed to relax–oops!

So I put him back in the car and took Rue out.  She was happier than anything to be out and about.  She even went into the ring building while some of the dogs were running and LOVED it.  She’s a rock star…no fear at all.  One thing I wished I had done was to bring her into the crating area and crate her for a while.  She does need to get used to this and I will make it a point from here on out to crate her with the rest of the dogs.  It’s something I wish I had done with Miles as it does make it a lot easier on me.

Anyway, time came for us to walk the Open course.  It was actually a nice flowy course for AKC…not too many tight turns.  I was a bit concerned about the weave entrance as a lot of the big Excellent dogs were missing the entry.  Of course I told myself that it didn’t matter and that if I could even be so lucky as to have him perform anything up to the weaves I’d be thrilled.  I decided to start with him as usual and to my amazement we were off to the races.  It certainly wasn’t his fastest performance, but he was happy and with me.  He seemed to watch me a lot in the opening which slowed him down and he missed the weave entry twice, but we finished strong and under time! 

Training videos from vacation

I haven’t blogged in a while as we had been up in NY for a prolonged holiday and I was deliberately taking a break from my computer.  Of course I still kept up with the dogs’ training, so here are some videos.  Over the break we worked on several things, one was getting all four feet into an even smaller box.  When we left NC the smallest box they were getting into was about 8×10″ and here they are getting into a 6×6″ box!  I have since gotten them into a 5″ round dog bowl, but don’t have the video to show it yet.

Here’s Miles’ first attempts:

And here’s Miss Rue giving it a whirl first with a bigger box, then down to the little one:

We also worked on skateboarding.  I had been shaping Miles to the skateboard since last Spring at my mom’s.  I don’t have a skateboard at home, so we only play on it in NY.  He had always been on it outdoors and I started with the skateboard on grass so it didn’t move much, then on the gravel road next to the house and eventually out on the road.  Here he is doing it in the basement since there has been so much snow and ice.  It moves faster on the smooth basement floor so he’s a bit more tentative and doesn’t actually get on with 3 feet yet, but that’s the goal.  There’s also not too much room to move around.  Here’s the video:

And here’s the little doodlehead.  She just started skateboarding on this vacation.  I started her right out in the basement, but kept my feet behind the wheels so it didn’t move at first while I shaped her to get on with 3 feet.  Then I let it move a little more and a little more and then eventually she was riding it!  The goal with her is also to ride it with 3 feet and push with one rear foot which she does a few times in the video, but we still need to work on it.

Miles Run-throughs Sugarbush Farm 1/4/08

Miles did fabulous today at the run-throughs!  They were held at that cool place, Sugarbush Farm, that I rented last week.  What a great group of folks there too…it was $15 for 4 standard runs in the morning (they changed the course twice) followed by lunch and then several more runs after that on a gamblers course!  They also provided breakfast of a coffee cake, coffee, hot cocoa, and cider!!  I only stayed for 3 runs though…didn’t want to push it and his last run was stellar.
 
He was a little worried at first just because of the other people/dogs in the building this time, but he came around very quickly so we went into the ring.  I brought him towards the back and just did a couple tricks and then did one jump and rewarded, then two jumps and rewarded, then went on to do everything in no particular order.  You will see him spook at one point and that was someone slamming the door and then snow slid off the opaque roof which is why he looks up.  Again, he recovered quickly–yeah! 


 
The second run I tried to do the novice course they had set up.  As you’ll see on the video, the start jump was very close to the ring gates and it was hard for him to unfocus from the croud.  They also turned off the heater which had been making some nice white noise, so all of a sudden everything else was magnified.  I was proud of him for starting with me and having fun, but we struggled with the last tunnel-jump as it was that same jump at the end as the start. 


 
Our last run was a different course and it was more advanced.  I thought we had a good chance of doing the whole thing, so that’s what we did (except I diverted him away from the teeter).  He looked great except for a small bobble going into a tunnel…I think it was something in the crowd that distracted him.  However, if you’ll notice the door slams a few times and he doesn’t even react. 

Here’s to hoping that he’ll remember these experiences to help us succeed in our AKC trial indoors in a couple of weeks!