Miles and Rue at Sugarbush Farm, NY 12/29/08

So here’s the cool update from today.  I rented a ring out in the boonies today that ended up being a 40×80 space inside a really cool barnish type thing.  It had a dirt floor, but certainly had enough space and equipment for my needs.  I’ll be going to run-throughs there this Sunday too.  I didn’t change much of the course set up since it had a straight run of 4 jumps on one side and then lots of other equipment that I could add in once he was comfortable. 
 
Anyway, I brought Miles in and he was definitely stressed with all of the smells and sights.  I stayed outside of the actual ring first and waited for him to give me some attention.  We then did some fun tricks for meatballs and he seemed to settle in.  I then took him in the ring and he was again worried and sniffy.  We did some fun tricks and then I brought him over one jump and had a party.  I repeated the one jump=party a few times then did jump-tire-party, then jump-tire-jump-jump-HUGE party.  I could definitely see him start to relax.  Here’s the video:

 
So then I did a few short sequences with jumps, weaves, and tunnels.  He did great I think!  I also eventually got him on all of the contact equipment and even did teeter games (except for the latest one as I just didn’t want to push it). 


 
Rue did awesome as well.  When I first brought her in she was totally engrossed in the dirt floor–I think she sniffed every particle.  I actually took her in the ring and did my whole “go sniff and wait for attention” game.  We went around the whole ring this way and by the end she was happily walking with me and didn’t want to sniff anymore.   I was able to engage her very quickly and easily in play and then had a fun time doing some cone work with jump standards.  We had so much fun.  She was very fast and drivey and MAN did she want to tug!!  I couldn’t get it away from her towards the end–not sure what I could have done, but I nearly had to pry it out of her jaws.  I felt good about that though because in times past she would have easily left me to go do her own thing. 

The other thing I did with her (that I didn’t video because the battery was dying) was use a teeter plank that they had permantly mounted on an 8″ PVC pipe and shaped her to run back and forth on it.  By the end I had her really running that thing!  She rocks.

We’ll see how the run-throughs go this weekend…..

Miles Run-throughs at Highgoal Farm, NY 12/26/08

I took Miles to run-throughs at an indoor arena the other night to see how he’d be with this type of venue.  It was VERY crowded with dogs and people everywhere and barking dogs crated all around the ring except for one side.  I had to wait for about 50 dogs to go before it was our turn!  I brought Miss Rue in first to play with her and work on focus and tricks.  She did great and didn’t care about the surroundings at all!  I even shaped her to “bow” amoung all of the distractions–little scum 🙂 
 
Miles on the other hand was very stressed when I brought him in to acclimate.  I have NEVER seen him this bad–he was vibrating with fear and shaking all over, poor thing.  I spent some time just doing TTouch and he calmed down enough to take food from me and do some simple tricks at which point we left and then played a little outside.  The rules for these run-throughs were that you couldn’t use food, but you could use toys/clicker/etc. (there is a trial there this weekend, so they didn’t want food on the floor).  I was a bit nervous about how he’d be when I went to bring him back in and I waited until the very last second to go get him.  Much to my surprise he was excited to come out of the car and didn’t fight me to go into the building or into the ring.   Anyway, here’s the video:


 
I should have taken more time and just played with him at first.  He was fearful of the tire for some reason and I let him stress about it WAY too long unfortunately.  I was happy that he was willing to come back to me and get frisky and seemed to want to work, but just couldn’t let go of his fears.  I was conflicted between trying to nag him to connect versus just letting him look around and decide for himself that he wanted to play.  Not sure what I should have done.  He was happy to get his ball, but then didn’t want to come back with it.  On the other hand, he tugged on it with me before the last two jumps.  He also chased the ball towards all the scary people/dogs at the end which was HUGE for him.  Furthermore, he carried the ball out of the ring to his treat bag, ate his dinner outside of the ring, and then barked at me to give him his ball back.  So all in all I think it ended on a good note, but I wish I had been there for him more while in the ring.  I’ll be renting a different indoor ring a few times this week and doing another set of run-throughs at another place next weekend.  I hope I’m doing the right things….

CPE trial PBH 12/14/08: Miles goes 5 for 5!!

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What a banner day for us!  I’m exhausted, but sooo very proud of my baby boy as he went 5 for 5 yesterday at our local CPE trial.  Miles has never done that many runs in one day and certainly never Q’d that many!!  At our last trial, we entered 4 runs and ended with 2 Q’s, 1 NQ, and 1 stressy run.  Not this time though–Miles was havin’ fun all day!  Here’s the play by play:

First run was Jumpers, our favorite.  The course was nice with a couple little tricks and an off-course tunnel option.  I was the third dog to run (and was all day) so I had to run to get Miles from the car, run back, try to do some sort of warm up with him, and go in the ring.  I decided to try bringing his breakfast in several portions and keeping them in the soft orange cooler ringside for him.  He seems to associate this cooler with his food and a high level of reward, so I thought it might add that little extra for him.  He was so psyched to see the orange cooler and his orange ball that he actually forgot that he was ringside and got a little sassy with me!  He actually wouldn’t give me the ball back whereas in times past he wouldn’t even pick up the ball near the ring due to stress.  I finally got it out of his mouth and put it down since they were waiting for me to enter and the little turd picked it up again to bring with us into the ring!!  I knew this was going to be a good run since he was so fired up and it was certainly that.  Miles was moving so fast and looked sooo happy.  It is so fun to be able to run with him and see the smile on his face.  We finished in 21.84 seconds which gave him a first place and he easily beat all of the 20″ dogs in level 1 and level 2 (both ran the same course).  This time calculates to 5.72yps and probably would have been faster if he hadn’t have looked at the off-course tunnel.  I’ve got to be better about cueing him to turn earlier…I’m just not used to him being so fast and obstacle focused!  No video of this run since I didn’t have time to find someone to record it.

Next up was Standard.  There is no teeter in level 1 CPE which is nice since we’re still not there yet.  My only concern with this course was the dogwalk since he’s iffy with it sometimes, especially the wooden one that was being used since it flexes a bit while he’s on it.  We had a great start to this run, very fast and happy.  I’m not sure what happened with the dogwalk, but he went around it at first.  I may have miscued him or it may have been part of his “oh I’m not sure I can do that one momma” attitude.  However, I re-aligned him and up he went.  Even with that bobble we finished in 32.35 seconds (4.11 yps) with another first by a mile.

Third run was Colors which is a game that has two nested courses of different “colors” and you have to declare which course you’re going to run before you start and then stick to just that course.  The tricky thing about this course was that the starting jump was almost literally in the entrance gate to the ring with only about 6-8 ft of space to start your dog, ugh.  Both courses started with that jump and then you could choose either the dogwalk to the right or the tunnel to the left to start the specified course.  I definitely wanted to start with Miles on this one especially with where the first jump was he would have been way too stressed if I tried to lead out as there were dogs and people lined up right behind him outside of the ring.  He displayed some stress sniffing at first, but I got him to hand touch before pushing him back to start the run.  As predicted, my forward motion cued him to the dogwalk instead of the tunnel and he did what he should have and went up the dogwalk ramp a bit before realizing that I was somewhere else.  He hopped off and then went on to do a beautiful happy run.  Because of the offcourse, we got a 5pt fault, but ended up with a Q and 3rd place with a time of 19.25 seconds (4.31yps).  I was nervous that pulling him off the dogwalk would be detrimental, but he kept a great attitude and didn’t have any issues running with me.  I did a blind cross out of the tunnel which I think pushed him a little wide, but otherwise I am happy to have this new skill in my toolbox.

Next was Wildcard, another game, which is an obstacle discrimination test.  There are three discriminations and they’re labeled “a” or “b”.  For level 1, you have to perform two “a” obstacles and one “b”.   Again the start line was right up against the gate, but this time it didn’t seem to bother him at all!  I chose to start with the “a” tire and then push out to the “b” weaves and the out again for the “a” tunnel.  Miles was fast and loving the whole thing.  He even single stepped his weaves!  Another Q with a 1st place by nearly 2 seconds!  He finished  in 14.82 seconds (5.6yps).  Go baby dog!!!!!

Last run was Fullhouse which is a point accumulation game where you design your own course around getting “3 of a kind” a “pair” and a “joker”.  Single bar jumps are worth 1 point, circles (tunnels or tire) are worth 3 points, and  jokers (in this case double jump, weaves, and a-frame) are worth 5 points.  For level one you need to accumulate 19 points in 32 seconds when the whistle will blow and then you have 5 seconds to get at least on paw on the pause table.  If you get all the points you need before the whistle you can head to the table.  My goal for this game was actually to design a more difficult course, get all 3 jokers and finish as quick as possible.  I really wanted to test Miles a little bit.  Since we’ve moved up to Open in AKC and Advanced in USDAA I wanted to push him a bit here to get him used to more difficult courses.  The danger of staying in Novice levels for too long is that the dog gets used to always taking what’s in front of them.  Since Miles had such a great day up until now and he’s proven in three different show sites that he’s much more comfortable, I thought it due time to try out some trickier moves.  Here’s the video.  I was very proud of how tight he wrapped the double, but he stressed a little before the weaves and it took 3 tries to get him to do them, but we finished in time and got enough points to Q…and he had FUN!

Yes, we had a few bobble throughout the day, but I’m just so proud of Miles and his ability to let it bounce off of him now.  He just recovers so well now.  Further, he stayed with me and happy to run every time even though he’s NEVER done five runs in one day.  I am especially psyched that he was so focused on his ball near the ring.  He was even barking for it and tugging with it!  After our runs, he was very excited to go get his reward from the orange cooler and then immediately pick up his ball to go play some celebratory fetch with me!  A nice little icing was that a couple of women that I don’t even know told me on separate occasions that my Golden is awesome (holy crap, Miles?!)!!

Up next:
1)  Kate Moureaux seminar/workshop.
2) Run-throughs in an indoor facility in NY after Christmas where we’ve never been.  This should be a good test for us since he’s never trialed indoors and it’s yet another new arena, but I’ll be able to use food and toys in the ring.
3)  AKC trial indoors in NC in mid-January.

Miles teeter and handling private lesson 12/7/08

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Miles and I had another private with Melanie today before the puppy workshop in order for her to see our progression on the blasted teeter.  Miles has really been doing well with this method and I’ve started dropping it about 4-6 inches from the ground.  I worked on it at home on 12/4 and at PBH on 12/5 and both times he was a little slower than I’d like, but still happy to play.  He was slow from the get go, not after I started dropping it.

Today he rocked!  Melanie showed me a way to work on building up drive for the release from the teeter as well, so we worked on that too.  Basically once he’s gotten his reward on the teeter, I’m to push him back and say “readyyyyyyyyyy” and release him and run to an obstacle or throw his ball.  He LOVED that!  We worked on the teeter in the big field first at 1/2 height and then went over to the small field to the aluminum teeter as he’s actually been liking this one better recently–go figure.  He did great and we actually brought it up to full height after a few reps and he didn’t miss a beat.  He did lose his canter stride on this teeter, but it was gone from the beginning so we’re not sure what to make of that.  Maybe he was just getting tired of it since we had already done so many reps?!  She said he was still driving to the end though.

After the teeter stuff, we worked on some handling particularly working on the “grab the collar” front cross wrap and then a short course on 10 obstacles with a tricky weave entry and a tunnel under the a-frame flip to the a-frame with 10ft of lateral distance.  Miles killed it!  I had some issues with doing the post turn on the double jump and kept pushing him wide to the off-course tire, but his enthusiasm was unstoppable and he kept working despite my shortcomings!

Miles on the Teeter 12/4/08

I was home sick today (GI virus, ew), but couldn’t resist taking Miles out back on such a beautiful 60 degree day–ehhh, it’s Winter people!!  NC is odd.  Anyway, here’s the latest video.  I started dropping the teeter a little at the end for some free-fall.  Miles didn’t seem to mind a bit.  He’s going a little slower today for some reason, however.  Not sure why, will have to monitor this as I don’t want to lose speed at all.  I also added some movement at the end (tire-weave, or just a jump wrap).

Teetering…

Miles rocks!  We didn’t have class tonight as our instructor is out of town, but I brought both dogs with me to PBH so I could work them briefly before and after teaching Pet Obedience.  I saved Miles’ work to after class so that I could use the ring that’s normally occupied by our Novice Sequences class.  We took his dinner (chopped up raw chicken) into the ring and I set up the scary teeter with a chair under the down end and played the bang game with him.  He was excited to play and didn’t care that the teeter was in a totally different spot than it was yesterday.  I did about 8 reps with the chair under the down end and then took the chair away.  Miles didn’t miss a beat and offered to launch himself back onto the teeter for bits of his dinner.  He jumped on at the pivot and then flew to the end.  After a few reps of this I decided to add throwing his favorite ball on release.  WOW was he excited!!  We ended our session with a few turns through the weaves and called it a night.

Rue was amazing as well.  Poor thing has a hurt tummy again today and woke me up last night whining in her crate.  She only made one peep, so I didn’t take her out because she didn’t make any other noises.  When I finally took her out this morning she had very loose stool…guess that’s what happens when you eat unidentified wild animal poop like it’s going outta style–ew.  Because of her tummy issues, we witheld her food for the day.  By the time I saw her tonight she seemed great, but I’m sure very hungry.  It worked to our advantage though because she was VERY motivated to work for the cooked turkey I had with me tonight.  We spent a little while working on some simple tricks outside of the arena and then I got her revved up and sent her around a cone…she was MOVIN’!  We did about 5 reps before she seemed to slow down and start to sniff.  I got her back enough to do another trick or two and then ended the session.  After I worked with Miles I took Rue out again, but this time into the small field.  Again we did some tricks and then I got her revved up and sent her around a jump wing.  She’s never seen a jump wing before, but intuitively knew what to do.  Once again, she was moving really good.  I did a few post turns and a few front crosses trying to keep her reward level high and then we ended with a few tricks.

What I learned tonight:
– Miles is really gaining confidence in so many areas.  I need to keep it in perspective and make sure I don’t push him too fast.
– Rue appears to do best when very hungry.
– I need to end sessions with Rue WAY before I think I need to.  She’s a wee pup after all with a tiny puppy brain.