Friday, December 31, 2010
I tried some work on the full dog walk, but the snow is deeper out there and very hard to toss the ball. I switched to the frisbee which skims across the top and that worked pretty well except it skimmed into the horse pasture!! It may take some adjustment. I may try raising the practice planks in the dog yard.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
"The Beautiful Jim Key" about a very smart horse! Similar to Clever Hans, except that I had not heard of Kim Key before????? This is a very interesting book. Kim Key was also a proven case for humane animal treatment because he was trained completely with kindness and food rewards. Humane societies supported his act at events and shows. A very cool horse!!! A wonderful book!!
Strange that Jim Key was not more famous!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
They all loved the tick!!! So glad to have such special toys while the weather is SO lovely.......not........
It's just FREAKIN' COLD out there!!! Even furry Spur had to come running in holding up his cold paws yesterday. YIKES!!! I am SO done with the WIND! Yet, unfortunately it is STILL here. But, at least the sun is out, the horses are able to enjoy a sun bath and roll in the snow. I locked them up during the storm. They would much rather be standing at the tree line, covered in snow and ice and shivering, instead of snuggled warm in the barn, but that's just them. Silly girls strong natural instinct over-powers them at times. Don't really get it, but whatevahhhhhhh...............they have their natural instincts. I have mine. Stay warm and snuggled by the wood stove with a good book. That's my over-powering natural instinct.
Monday, December 27, 2010
And outside it may show better quality, but it is snowing like mad again here this morning, so I am not going out to video anything at the moment.
Here is my test this morning.......
Took about half an hour to load on youtube, but whatevahhhhhh.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Spur, Roscoe and Colby!!
I took like a million photos, again. Too dark, too blurry, too crazy, devil eyes and then the ones that came out great, but while loading them the other dogs got CUT OUT!!! WTF???? Digital issues. It happens more and more. I am hoping I am not wearing out my camera? I mean it isn't the greatest camera. Or did you already know that because I bitch about it all the time?
This photo may have cut out Spur and Colby, but it is wicked cute of Roscoe!! Sometimes he can look SO sweet and innocent. Doesn't he look sweet? Innocent? NO??? Oh, that's just because you KNOW him. If you didn't know him would you not think he was sweet and innocent in that photo???? SO cute, SO sweet.............SO innocent..........yep, that's my Roscoe Rotten Roscoe. Recalcitrant Roscoe. Right On Roscoe!!!!! You sell it, boy. You are sweet as sour apple pie!!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Colby has been wearing her bling lately. Lisa gave it to her when she got her MACH. See the MACH bar behind her!! :D She is such a Princess now. Retired, pampered, that little throw she is sitting on is a gift from Lisa this year. She loves it, so soft and perfect for a Princess (damn, I wish she had full ears)..........
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So, I did manage to get most of my Christmas cards out. Except one for my sweet neighbor who helps look out for and care for old Zeus. He's doing GREAT right now. Fat and happy for the winter!!! We are figuring it has to be irritable bowel issues to have recovered so well. If it was cancer he would not be doing so well. I have to take him in for a re-check on his thyroid. NOT looking forward to that. It is a good time of year, though, since he is staying in the barn a LOT with the bad weather. So I should be able to catch him and when I bring him back he may not leave for several days pouting.
Poor Jewel hasn't been ridden in weeks. Poor Jewel??? Hah, she's happy as can be. Really, does a horse ultimately LIKE being ridden? Nah.........they are grazing animals and what makes them most happy is to just be peaceful and graze all day. I know some, and Jewel is one, who do enjoy heading out on a trail ride. It's exciting and something different and interesting. Horses are curious animals, so they do like exploring. But what would they chose? To graze peacefully all day. I am sure of that.
OK, enough........MUST finish my wrapping and housecleaning..........Rich informs me the other day his folks are coming Christmas day for the night. OK, cool. It IS cool, I love his folks, but the bedroom isn't set up right now!!!! ACK!!! I told him he HAD to help me with housecleaning. That's usually my duty, but with all the work I have he has to help out. He will, he's great about that and he has done most of the shopping. He is a good shopper. He did all the shopping for his whole family. GOOD GUY!!!!!
Monday, December 20, 2010
This was his first time trialing at this location since last winter and I was nervous. It is TIGHT quarters in there and a difficult crate room area and not much room getting to the in gate. As always with little Spur I turn into mush, a nervous Nellie, worried that he will have some sort of melt down and I won't be able to support him properly. We did pretty well, I have to say!!!! :D
His standard run Saturday he was worried. My start line behavior is non-existent at this point still, so he didn't get going that well. But, he wasn't THAT bad. And he got going after a bit and I managed to pull it together. He refused a few things (stress) and I decided to insist. There are times that might not be right, but I felt that he needed to wear his big boy pants and OWN IT, so I insisted. I think it did him good. He had moments of brilliance and we even got some really nice comments. We had many refusals, so certainly didn't qualify, but I was very pleased as he looked pretty proud of himself as we left the ring and that's BIG!
Jumpers I really tried to relax. Breath. I opted to try a start line behavior......I held him around the chest with a "Ready? Ready? READY! GO" release and it seemed to work. I have only ever done that once before and on film it looked pretty good!!! I did it that first time because he was wanting to go say high to the leash runner and ring crew and leave me. I simply held him and MADE him stay with me, then released. On film he left the start line really well. So, I tried it again in Jumpers. It WORKED!!! He was still a little worried, but we did fine and he recovered really nicely and ran clean!
Sunday I decided to try that start both runs. And to really relax as much as possible. The start went well both runs, but I can't say I was too relaxed. Better, but still a bit uptight and weird. He did better!!! No Q in standard, but he did better and again had moments of brilliance! Jumpers was PRETTY!!!! He ran happy, pretty fast and clean!!! It looked nice, except for one late front cross, but the rest was awesome and the crowd really cheered us on and he LOVES that!!!! He did GREAT!!
It was a long weekend having to be there first thing in the morning to run Roscoe (he did fine, not great, but fine for a double Q Sunday and a Jumpers Q Saturday) and then waiting to the end of the day to run Spur in Open. But, it was worth it because at least now he is in Excellent Jumpers!!! Phew!!! Still needs two Open Standard legs, but at least he is now in Jumpers.
Roscoe had a little trouble adjusting to the rubber footing. He slipped first run and that bummed him out. All the running he has done on field turf or dirt has spoiled him. He isn't an athletic dog, so good footing is important to him. More than I thought. He did fine, but not his crazy little dirt running Roscoe. It is a tough place to trial with the crate room SO packed and small, crates stacked on top of crates and barely enough room to get dogs in and out, but they did fine!!!! I now wish I had entered some of the other AKC trials there this winter. Spur simply needs as much time as possible at locations. He always gets more and more comfortable as time goes on and it's a slow process. He needs a LOT of time. But, I am so pleased that he does better and better. And we got a lot of nice comments as we left the ring yesterday after Jumpers. Lots of people who had never seen him before commented on how nice a dog he was and how well he ran. That felt good! AND he was the ONLY mixed breed at this AKC trial. Wahooooooooooo!!!!
Friday, December 17, 2010
This one was from a beach walk a couple weeks ago, but the dogs look cold and unhappy. And it's SO dark. I hate my cameras, but buying a new, GOOD one isn't in our budget right now. After all, I did ask for an Ipod, but Rich priced them and at $900, plus $25/month for internet access also isn't in our budget.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I know some people think it's nuts that I let Recalcitrant Roscoe with all those dogs, but you know what? He's fine. First - he knows these dogs. Second - he's much better about dog/dog aggression. MUCH better!!! He can still be an asshole, but with these dogs the worst he does is try to hump the border collies. That's NOT good and I don't allow it. Normally, I might say let the dogs work it out, but when the humper is 9lbs and the humpie is 35/40lbs I put a stop to it ASAP. The humping attempts stopped once everyone was settled. He simply gets over-stimulated when we have that many dogs around and he just doesn't know what else to do. So, does that mean humping is his default behavior???
Yes, I think it is, but only with this crew. And only with the male border collies. He certainly didn't try to hump Page. She would not allow any slight attempt, I don't think. She is clear - "don't even think about it, shit head!!" and her signals are barely apparent to me, she is that clear. She's such a good girl!! The boys kind of shrink at his presence. BAM! knows he needs to behave, but will curl his lip (which Roscoe doesn't respect, dumb ass!!) and Kelso TOTALLY shrinks and it COMPLETELY grossed out by the humping prospect. I tell the boys how good they are and stop Roscoe immediately. Luckily, the idea left his head once everyone settled in.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I'll load a video later. It's a LOT of dogs. Thankfully, it was about 45 degrees in my dog yard yesterday and they got to play and hang outside for a while. They were pretty zonked last night. Lisa came over with her two shih tzu's to help me trim my tree. We let the littles (the ones under 20lbs) into the room with the tree. The bigs are just too big for that small room and the tree. Zep got a bitch speaking from Stella, the shih tzu, so he went back with the bigs. The Pin Heads wanted to stay by the warm woodstove, Colby had designated that her compound and put a 5 foot zone around it/her. Bitch. Jones fit right in, he has stayed with us before. He posed nicely with the shih tzu's.
Sure wish I could figure out how to remove the white eye. Yikes..........possessed dogs!!
Friday, December 10, 2010
This session had an 80 percent success rate. I'll take that since the two jumps were probably more to do with bad throws. With gloves on the ball was sticking just a little and my throws were horrible. One, you can see, ends up under the dog walk. Doi!! That's the one where he stops dead at the end.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This is little Fergie, my newest mid-day dog walk charge. She is now 8 months old and SO sweet!!!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Made it to the grocery store and bought bags of throat lozenges. Now I have to brush my teeth all the time.
First walk was FREAKIN' cold. It felt cold. Little Max seemed happy as could be, not cold for little Max. Max never complains. I wore my new Sahelia winter pants. Fleece inside, smooth outer. SO cozy and warm. And hair doesn't STICK TO THEM!!!!! Sorry winter fleece, you have been outdone! Love my new winter pants!!!!
By walk number four I was dragging. I tried to stand tall, good posture helps, and walk briskly. I mean, that's what I get paid for. I felt my shoulders sag and then............oh no.........I coughed..........OUCH! That SO hurts my throat. Stood tall, walked briskly. I did it, really, I did!
Had lunch, drank "gallons", headed back out. Feeling pretty good! I took one Excedrin Migraine. Those are GREAT! Actually, it's just some acetaminophen/caffiene/aspirin. And one did the trick. I felt energized and managed my afternoon walks and a couple kitty visits feeling pretty chipper. Got home and thought .....wow....I feel pretty good doggies, let's go for a farm walk!!!
They were PUMPED, since they didn't get their morning walk. OK, I felt it coming...........I got colder and colder and my shoulders started to sag.......got all the way to the farthest away and the WIND hit me as I turned back for home. DAMN IT!!!! I started coughing - OUCH. My eyes watered. I tried to call the dogs back to me and could barely squeak out words, my voice is GONE! I just hoped there were no foxes around for them to chase and me to have to yell to recall them. That would not have happened. No voice. No foxes, thankfully, and I managed a weak recall and kept them close to me the rest of the way home.
Now I am drinking tea and contemplating if I have energy for a hot shower. What WAS I thinking???? Supposed to go shopping with Cin tonight. Not sure I can summon the energy. Already told her she might not want to be infected. Maybe that hot shower will re-energize me.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Roscoe, snoozing on his bed in his bathrobe. He gets such a chill, but Colby had already taken the warm bricks. You might think there was enough to share, but that is rare. One usually gets grumpy with the other, so they agree not to share. I guess. That's their business. I don't get involved unless they start fighting.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
That didn't leave me much for the open house at my friend Lydia's craft shop. Oi! Ate too much chocolate at Lydia's.......oink, oink.
Thought about finding a poinsettia and decided I didn't need one. Really, I don't. My house is festive and bright anyway because I love colors and Rich bought a garland I will put up in the kitchen later and, besides, I bought some paper whites. Those always add holiday cheer and a strange smell. OK, so some of them are going to my friend Laura to celebrate her ADCH. But, some are for here!
Took the dogs on a muddy farm walk and decided it might be a good day for baths. I don't bathe them all that often, but Colby sheds like you wouldn't believe for a little MinPin and it helps to really loosen up the dead hair follicles on occasion with a good scrubbing. And they are all a little itchy right now. I think the mold has many dogs with skin issues right now, so a good selsun blue bath would do them good. Spur looks so soft and fluffy!!!!
I stoked the woodstove for them to dry near. It's about 75 degrees in here, but they are lovin' it! I'll try to get some photos.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
My friend Helen took photos this summer, but none of them are just right. I need to try again next year. It's hard to get one where all four of us are looking good. Especially now that Colby squints all the time. Poor girlie.
I decided to only order 20 cards. I'll use the professionally done ones for my mid-day clients and vet clinics and pet stores who refer folks to me. All my other clients will get cards I will have to go buy and I'll print out the photo on our printer and glue it inside. So there. That's my decision and I'm stickin' to it!!
I mean, here it is December first and I haven't done......oh wait......it's the second isn't it?................... I haven't done ANY Christmas shopping. WAaaaaaaaa.............
I promised my Mom a painting of her dog, Joe. Damn, I better get on THAT!!!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Took the dogs for a nice walk on the beach yesterday. Cleared the fog some.
Played ball with Spur. One of his favorite things to do. He loves his ball. I am always losing his ball. The other day I don't know where it went? Usually when we lose it I find it outside the fence. Nope, couldn't find it. Gave up and grabbed another. We have a good selection. It's necessary to always have a ball. He will get a stocking full of balls for Christmas.
My windows are in bad need of washing. I just never seem to have time lately. But, yesterday I spotted his ball out the window!!! Can you spot it? It's about four feet above the bird house stuck in a branch -
Monday, November 29, 2010
O-MY-GOD the world came down upon him. His tailed tucked down, his ears fell, his head hung low.........he melted into a furry mass of worry, worry, worry. Lo is aware this can happen, so she quickly had me do a tunnel and reward. OK, this is all well and good and yes he did that tunnel and got that reward, but that doesn't inflate him again. He deflated and started his paw wringing and I turn into a pile of worried, unthinking mush along with him. We both crumble and melt. We are like a pair of nervous field mice scrambling to escape the sure grip from the circling hawk. It sucks the life out of me and Spur.
It's like my brain goes black. Can that happen? Can you turn your brain a dark color? Maybe not black, there are still some thoughts in there, so maybe a foggy grey? Very foggy.
He seems to recover OK, but just OK. Did a few awesome teeters, where Lo commented on how nice they were. OK, the fog cleared a little. Just a little.
The next day was a USDAA trial. First class........Jumpers. OK, the fog is there and I can't help it. Not his favorite class. Jumps, all jumps. He does just OK. Actually moments of OK, so we are pretty pleased. Each run he does better and his last run was actually pretty OK. No qualifying for him, but moments of pretty OK. I am thinking we are on the road back to inflating and brilliance and color!
The next day was supposed to be Roscoe's Master seminar with Lo. On Friday I told her that and she said she wanted to see Spur back. At least for some of it. I thought and thought, it would have been a BLAST to run Roscoe. But, Roscoe is trained and experienced and Spur needs all the work he can get. I make the decision to bring.........just Spur.
Not sure I have made a worse decision in my life!!!??? I mean, I feel that way now because yesterday was a bad day. I mean, seriously bad. I cried half the way home from the seminar. It was that bad. I felt not only deflated and foggy, but crushed and confused and depressed. That bad, really, THAT bad.
Spur started out OK. I had that flutter of hope. Then, BAM, another burst to our very soft and barely round bubble. I mean this time a TOTAL burst. I stumbled into a jump and knocked it over while he was doing his weaves. He melted into a pile of nervous fur. And at that point I had trouble getting him back. Like a LOT of trouble. He didn't want me to touch him, he didn't want to take a jump, he ran off away from me. It sucked. Seriously sucked. Lo tried to help, tried to get me out of my fog and into SOME sort of positive vibes. Not much worked. We did the best we could to find some glimmer of hope and end on SOMETHING positive each turn. His bubble was burst and there was not much repairing it.
I turned into the handler from hell, reinforcing him when he was slow, or interrupting his speed when it's good, all wrong choices and poor handling and Lo hadn't a clue how to help us other than try some distractions, some restarts, nothing that worked, really. We were spiralling down......... We got the life sucked out of us both yesterday. A big sucking sound around me and Spur...........sqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqquuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiii........big SUCKOLA!
I would take him out to potty and he looked lost. The Pin Heads were home, so he didn't even have them to support him when out in the field for potty breaks. I saw that, I saw him seeming lost and worried.
Everyone was so encouraging, but honestly, I think they were just trying to help. I mean, we were a mess. It was not fun at all. I was exhausted, mentally and physically after each turn. I felt beat up and torn apart. I wished I had brough Roscoe.
It was decided I should run another dog in front of him and was offered Ripp, a big strong wicked fast, noisy awesome experienced aussie. I could use Ripp to make Spur jealous. Ripp is a good boy and will work for anyone. Spur watches me work Roscoe and it TOTALLY pumps him up and makes him jealous!! Working Ripp? It WORKED! We got SOME drive, SOME glimmer of hope, my crazy Spur was back!!! He screamed his head off while I worked Rip. Lo just held his leash so he could watch and he screamed and screamed. I then swapped dogs and got a few obstacles out of him! A few. Hey, I took what I could get and we all felt a little better. It wasn't really coaching us in any way, which is ultimately what I need. I need help when I morph into "handler from hell". I need coaching and tips and ideas.
That was pretty much our day, so while we did end up with SOME good stuff, I cried half the way home. I was exhausted. Nothing feels worse than working a dog that looks like he doesn't want to do it and knowing that you turned into HFH for the day (handler from hell). That feels SO bad. I never know what to do with him when he gets into that funk. I don't want to work him if he doesn't want to do it. What sucks so bad is I know he does want to and has had his moments of brilliance!! But, getting through to me and him when we are in that state seems to be an instructors dilemma. We get lost. It's like we are all just lost trying to figure it out.
We may have to take a break. I wish I could have yesterday back. I feel bad I missed that chance to run Roscoe. Roscoe is eleven years old and his time is limited and he would have LOVED that seminar. And I would not have looked like HFH.
I will regroup, make a plan. Perhaps some time off. Work on tricks and small jump skills perhaps. His contacts are as solid as ever, so that is one good thing. He ran his dog walk over a dozen times of the weekend and every single time he hit his contact perfectly. So, there is that. That's pretty big! I even tossed the ball far in advance and he didn't leap. So, there were SOME good things and I will focus and regroup.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This plank work video has one jump, the very first one. Oh MY!!! But, then he settles down and gets to his business and stays focused.
I added audio for the first time. Not sure why it cuts out half way? Oh well, still learning about video editing. I am a SLOW learner.
This is the fastest he has run his plank or dog walk since his teeter issue, I think! Good Little Spur-minator!!
Friday, November 19, 2010
This morning I check out a new dog walker's website. WHAT????? I start reading the words and think to myself,.......huh......those words look really familiar. I go check out my site. Um, they are the SAME words!!! Some slight alteration, but essentially the SAME!!! You tell me -
From my site -
When hiring me, you can be sure your home and your pets are in the very best hands!! It is an honor to be given the responsibility to care for your beloved pets and to be welcomed into your home. I understand the importance and trust you put in me. Animals are my life, my world and I will treat yours as if they were my own.
From the new chick's site -
When hiring me you can be sure your pets are in the very best hands. It is an honor to be given the responsibility to care for your beloved four legged friends. I understand the importance and trust you put on me and I can assure that I will treat your pets as if they were my own.
It's unfortunate because now I will definitely not refer anyone to her. I mean, heck, at least find someone to plagiarize that lives on the west coast or Texas or Florida or somewhere not in the same area!! Silly girl!
Tried to film more on the dog walk, but with the low light the resolution sucks. And I had Lisa zoom in more and that isn't great. I'll have to try again. There is definitely more stride adjustment with the toy tossed after the hit or as he hits than when tossed in advance, but definitely more success. In this film I don't note the jumps, but I think there are two or three. So, percentage in this session is.....um...without counting I think about 80%. This movie is long. Too long and not well edited. If you managed to watch the whole thing note that the sequence is backwards, dumb ass I am. His first runs are last and his last runs are first in the movie. What that shows me is tossing the toy in advance does increase speed, BUT also jumps. Success also increases speed, as too many failures deflates him. There is a balance I need to figure out.
And just for your entertainment purposes.........check out THIS dog!! OMFreakin'G.......this is scary fast! A little too fast for MY liking, but kind of fun to watch. I mean, seriously Muffin Head's is this dog really in control????? A couple of the runs the dog actually glances over at her. YIKES!!!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Spur LOVES George, in that attach to the neck like a tick kind of love....... Poor George. Happy Spur.
Roscoe looks cold, but really it wasn't THAT cold. The trouble is his lovely Apache River dog coat has lost it's velcro sticky, so I have to attach it farther down the velcro and that leaves a gap under his belly. We have two new coats arriving soon. We have a "very sharp" blue plaid coming and a nice, new burgundy one. :D Roscoe gets some sharp new duds!
It was actually a really nice beach day!! If my camera had an auto-flash I think it would have gone off, but it doesn't. I have to trigger the flash if I want it to consider using it. I think it might have used it on this shot.
Not sure why the need to navigate the rocks, but my guess would be something smelled good to eat! I mean, really, does that look fun???
THIS is more like it!!! Poor Roscoe wants so badly to join in the race, but he feels intimidated. He will chase Spur, but when George is in the picture he won't go. Not really sure I get it, because George would NEVER speak to Roscoe. He won't even speak to Spur who attaches like a tick to his neck, over and over and OVER until I can't take it any more. It may have something to do with worry that Spur might not like him joining in. Spur has been a bit more aggressive with Roscoe. Rightly so, but still it's something I have to monitor. Roscoe is nearly 12 years old and Spur is only 3. The elder must be protected. Interesting fact, here, Roscoe now wants to play with Spur more than ever. Does that make sense? Spur beats up Roscoe more then ever and Roscoe now wants to play? Respect? He now has respect for Spur? Roscoe sure is an interesting Muffin Head. I haven't videoed my dogs interacting in a while, it may be time for that. It's all so interesting, if you are interested in that sort of thing.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The foxes are active and everywhere. It makes our walks treacherous!! The other day we headed out on the farm mid-day with five little dogs to meet up with George, the border terrier. In a moment of distraction I lost focus and my dogs took off after a fox in the MIDDLE OF THE FIELD!!! If it were not so scary it would have been comical......two tiny MinPins dressed in their fleece coats and one fancy, furry pap/aussie mix flying across the field after it. However, my thoughts turned to a major dog/fox fight or their path taking them directly into the cow pasture getting the cows running, Spur into herding mode and getting trampled. I had visions of fox bites and cow trampled dogs. THANK GOD they lost it and turned back. I think what happened was the fox crossed the stream and the dogs didn't want to. I was never so happy as to see my fleece adorned tiny dogs and my furry little black tri mix returning. So thankful I sat down in the middle of the field to catch my breath and give them a TON of cookies.
Lisa and the shih tzu's raced after them, too, but luckily Douce was leashed and little Stella just couldn't keep up, so they didn't join in the chase. And even more thankfully George was leashed. George would not have stopped at the stream. :O George has killed bigger ground hogs, so he would have kept after that mangy fox.
This morning and from now on our walks are "on edge". The dogs are leashed a lot more. We pan the horizon for fox, watch the dogs closely for air scenting. This morning we caught them before a chase began. I saw Colby first, air scenting. Yelled to Rich "LEASHES NOW"!!! Spur air scented. Roscoe was oblivious for whatever reason. There is was waiting for us as we came along the road, under the truck. It bolted off, then sauntered slowly. Poor thing looks really mangy, although plenty fat. Probably full of chickens and Nichole's cat. :(
It's a scary place these days, around here. Perhaps the beach will be a safe haven later.
Monday, November 15, 2010
But, my question about saturation regards the GREAT numbers of new pet sitters/dog walkers/dog day cares/training centers/trainers popping up on the scene in the Greater Portland area. Off the top of my head I can think of at least six new certified (in various ways of certification) trainers in this area in just this year alone. Pet sitters and dog walkers number even more. You name it, it's offered. Off leash adventures, group walks, day care training, day care of any kind, training of any kind, in home training, remote training, training centers, group training. It's amazing how many dog related businesses are starting up right now!! You can train your dog to pull weights, to tract scents, to dance, to rally, to do agility, to do tricks, to retrieve and do water sports!! It's all there and available these days!!!
Can the area handle them all? I don't know. I worry a little. I am hearing complaints from my dog friends about some of the area dog walkers taking packs of dogs to off leash areas and not being all that good about monitoring the situation. I hear of people hiring dog trainers and their dogs are not getting the training they need. Aggression is a huge issue right now with dogs for whatever reason and the number of dog trainers versed in aggression are few. I am seeing dogs behind invisible fencing becoming aggressive and the situation snow balls from there until many dogs end up in shelters. Dogs are being given up to shelters for behavior issues in staggering numbers. Our MinPin rescue is full with a long waiting list of MinPins with behavior issues waiting to come in. It's frustrating and disappointing and new to us in MinPin rescue. We used to be able to take in just about any dog that needed us.
What's the answer? I don't know. I LOVE how the dog world is changing. I love the options we have available now for our dogs. I love that our thoughts on dogs are different than ten years ago. Dogs are being given more consideration and attention than ever before. But, is it all a good thing? I don't know. I am seeing behavior issues in dogs like I never saw before. Why? I don't know. What's different? Why the staggering number of dogs in rescue and shelters? Why are the area shelters stating on their websites their shelters are full more then ever before? Especially, when there are so many trainers available? It is an interesting question. We should be seeing fewer and fewer dogs needing rescue, right? Why is it that the number of behavior issues seems to be increasing, yet the number of training and care options are greater then ever? It doesn't make sense to me.
I can only say what I am seeing. And I watch carefully. I am involved in animal rescue and in the dog professional community deeply and thoroughly. I have a "finger on the pulse" and I still can't explain what's going on. The changes in the dog world are huge and seemingly great for the dogs, but something is wrong. There is something wrong with the pulse and I just can't figure it out. What's going on here?
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Just a whole different league, A?
Little Spur yesterday. 10 attemps to get more speed, with three jumps. -
The fun thing about teaching running contacts is the dogs seem to enjoy it. I think Spur enjoys it! I enjoy it! My legs feel it after a couple sessions. I am doing it now every day the weather permits because soon enough the weather will not permit. Damn! I have a lot to undo after letting him run it and jump so much after he had his melt down with his teeter crash. Also, don't trust hoops! I did, for a while, but he could easily leap through the hoops and miss the contact. And I don't think it taught him much even when he did get the contact. Note to self on that one........don't let crashes make you do things you shouldn't do. LOL!!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Mikie, our computer geek friend, came over yesterday to clean up my system. This is an OLD computer and runs slow. Makes doing newsletters a BUMMER DUDES! He said it actually wasn't too messed up. In fact, hardly at all. OK, so I am pretty careful about stuff and we do have a super dread not security protection, but still there are times it is SO slow. He dumped some unnecessary programs, turned off some that were on auto-turn on. Hahahahaha, that sounds kinki!!! But, what I REALLY wanted help with was loading my Sony Handicam program. I tried to load that before and couldn't get it to work. Well, regardless of the minimal clean up needed we still ran out of time.
I love my flip but it doesn't have very good zoom, it has horrible definition. I want to go back to using my handicam. But, I need the program on here so I can edit videos. Just can't figure that out on my own.
Another day. Another day giving me a sore neck doing computer shit. Maybe I won't get a sore neck if we do it on a really crappy day. Yesterday I kept looking outside wanting to be out there doing stuff, instead of sitting in here cleaning up my computer. We did manage a walk while it was doing "disk clean up", but still, two hours inside on the computer during a rare November lovely afternoon sucked.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
What else would I do? Go shopping? NO. Wash windows. NO. Sit around reading.......well.......maybe, but nope I am going to be busy. I can't wait!!! I'll try to get more videos that I can do slow motion with. I can hear your anticipation!!!! ;D
November, it's just gloomy. Yesterday's major storm did some damage to my agility yard. Not huge, I pictured my dog walk tipping over (it's happened before), my tunnels being lost in the woods (they made it to the weeds by the road!), my jumps strewn all over. Yep, they are. The damage? Some of my stick in the ground poles BROKE! First - that's strong wind, some of them have thick bases. Second - that's solid ground!! LOL!!! It is, it is packed sand with some tough grass and I did have to pound the poles in. Still, that's a first. They just snapped! Bummer, man! Oh well, time to put away some of my stuff anyway. Winter.........fast upon us.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I tried to "test" his contacts by running as fast as I could and trusting him, but I do slow down some. Regardless, he NAILED them four times!! I only have two on film, but he did two before that nearly identical. Good little Spur Man!!
Roscoe, kind of down. Not sure what his deal was, he has always liked running there, but he was a little off.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
What I think I see happening is he does a nice, speedy up, then adjusts his stride on the top, slowing a bit to get the right stride down. This is by far the greatest training challenge I have ever had. When I see an awesome running contact I just wonder how the heck did they do it? I mean, I KNOW how Silvia does it. She explains it well, but she makes it sound easy......."just let them run it". OK, she doesn't say JUST that she does explain they need to know when they are wrong and when they are right, but it sure seems to take a lot of time. I do think Spur knows what to do, he just needs to figure out his stride. If I can get THIS speed at a trial I would sure be happy. When I watch these I do see that I am usually a bit ahead. I send into the tunnel and RACE to the end, so I am a bit ahead. In a trial that is hardly ever the case, so I will try that.
Tomorrow I am going to merge some of the trial videos together to compare some of the different handling I use with each dog. I LOVE this new merging ability!! I feel so techogeeky!!!!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
This is my beloved Zeus this spring....
This is him just the other day.......... He has had a rough summer. Diagnosed with insufficient thyroid disease and now on supplementation. Then developed some sort of irritable bowel disease. He took a turn that looked to be nearly the end. So, we added drugs. Lots of drugs. He is on thyroid supplement, metronidazole for his bowels and prednisone. He's actually doing very well!!!! He is simply amazing, really, as I watch him gimp along the fields and driveway, it amazes me that one of our residence foxes hasn't decided on him for a snack. My thought is that he must smell like death and disease? Or he is feistier than I think! He has been "feral" his whole life, we think. We got him about 10 years ago and put him at about 17 right now? Not really sure he could be older or younger. He has very few teeth left.
I consider him a hospice case and I do wish he would enjoy coming inside to be warm as the weather gets colder. HE has NO intention of coming inside. Every time I bring him in, he wants out. In a big bad way. But, I have snuggle safe disks for his beds, which work really well. I am thankful every time he appears for his meals and medicine!! He has lived a good long life, already!!! His life is full!! He seems to like his drugs
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Spur's PGP. A little slow off the start line. That's a buggar for us and something we need to work on, for sure. Not his speediest work, but confident and happy! Love how he reads the front cross at the jump after the chute. AND TOTALLY love his teeter!! The cause of many of his melt-downs is becoming a "non-issue"!!! That damn teeter hurt his trust in me and has been such a long, hard road back to trusting in me. It was a very loud teeter and it didn't seem to faze him hardly at all!! He cringed a few times outside the ring hearing another dog bang it, but doing it himself didn't seem to bother him too much!! Good Little Monkey Pants!!!
And good little Spur Man for running his contact nicely! Very pleased with both dog's contacts that day!!!
Monday, November 1, 2010
And the dirt. OH the dirt!!! I think Spur would say that field turf is just as nice and I will agree with him cuz it's not dirty, but Roscoe? DIRT!! Muffin Heads, it's just HIS FAVORITE!!! He gets all squeaky and pumped up and runs like the manic MinPin I know he is. He LOVES it!! I love it. It's grippy and soft. I read on facebook one competitor complaining it was hard packed dirt. Huh? I didn't think so at all. I thought it was LOVELY!!! Yes, there were some areas more packed then others, but far nicer than running on rubber. And Spur liked the big trial and busy scene. He feeds of that, for sure. The one down run we had was when they stopped to change the table height and it was all quiet just before his run. I have to try to keep his energy up and the atmosphere charged for him before his run. He definitely likes the busy, loud atmosphere!! Funny little guy!
We had a great time and I only wish we had done both day. Lisa had to get back to grade papers. Next time? Both days. I LOVE that site!! My dogs LOVE that site!! It's dirty, yes. And it was a little cold, but I dressed right. Roscoe did fine. I had his coat and took it off at the last minute. He was happy as could be!
Spur beat him in PGP, which he SHOULD, but I am still happy about that. He should always beat Roscoe, but his worries sometimes prevents that speed at trials. He beat Roscoe by over a second, so that was nice. His turns were tighter, that's all, really. Roscoe was maybe running with more intensity, but because he was he went wide several times. Both boys nailed their contact even though it was the second to last obstacle heading straight for the outgate. Always a risky one. That yeehaw as we finish up can often produce a leap. Nope, both boys ran beautifully right through the contact with perfect hits!! I was very pleased!! I'll post the videos when I get time.
This week, YIKES..........one very busy week for me!
Glastonbury CT horse barn you are in our future!! I won't be doing the November trial there.......brrrrrrrrr.......but, next April that trial site is a DEFINITE in our future!! Dirt, the boys LOVE dirt!
Friday, October 29, 2010
So, now that the weather is good for lots of training I am doing a TON of running contacts because........well.......loser I am I let him jump it SO much as a youngster I have all that to "undo". We are getting there, but damn it is slow. I decided I better get that teeter work going again, too.
I brought out his "bang it" game again. Haven't done that since the "crash", so I was nervous about it. Plus, my teeter REALLY needs to be replaced, the grit is nearly gone so it is kind of slippery, and the ends are rotting, but it's what I have for now and it's usable. Come winter I will take it apart and make a new plank for it.
Spur is doing GREAT with his bang it game!!! He is still a wee bit worried, but he seems to be enjoying the game!! You judge -
I am not worried about his release. He is unlikely to come off too early in a trial and when I did start working on a hold and release he started to worry, so I let it go. I want his teeter to be easy and uncomplicated. I think he will be fine!
We are off today for Y-Agility in CT. Indoors on dirt. Roscoe should LOVE it!!! Spur, who knows. He hasn't seen dirt footing in a while and has never competed in a horse barn before, so it could go either way, as always.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Do you suppose it is a bad thing the license plate has devil numbers on it? :O Someone mentioned they I never had Rich in any of my photos. That's not entirely true. He is in the hiking photos!!
But anyway here he is agin, working piling up our wood!! Most of this is poplar felled during some of those crazy storms we had. It's all good, though, good for next year's wood!!! Feels good to have that there, ready for next year! :D Such a fall work thing to do. Pile up the wood!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Spur, not so much. Just when I say something after the last session that went like this....."Hey Rich! I think Spur is finally getting it!!" and then quietly I say also to Rich......"Hmmm, I have said that before haven't I?".......to which Rich quietly mumbles......."hmmm, uh huh".
Yesterday 10 tries - 10 successes. And pretty fast. YAY! 100% success rate!!!! I am all like what a great trainer I am and I even posted my videos on the internet and wow, how cool, great trainer, great dogs, wicked awesome running contacts. YEAH!! We GOT IT GOIN' ON!!
Today - not so much. Like three jumps in a row with Rich watching. He comments about strides and adjustments and speed. Yeah, whatever.................it's basically my crappy training that has prevented the buggar from connecting the dots on the dog walk. Dots connected = HIT THE CONTACT as you run real fast over it. It's THREE FEET LONG!!! Connect the dots, little dude!! OK, I try again and he hits it, lots of cookies, but I am deflated. He knows it, he feels it. I am a crappy trainer.
I'll watch my internet videos over and over and hope that I inflate again. It's how this goes.
I know it's a process. I infate, I deflate. The world goes round and round. Spur wins his PGP and PSJ and then barely manages to hold it together for team. The world goes round and round.
Maybe I will watch my videos again.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Unfortunately, she didn't set up that well for seeing the contact, but he nailed it every time and I think his speed is improving. He is certainly faster than Spur on this day, but Spur had just had a wee melt down. When I ran Spur I stumbled over a number cone and kicked it while he was running beside me. OH, dear........he started to wring his tiny paws. But, he recovered OK and in this video you see one of his contacts. It started to drizzle, so these are all I got from the day because I put away my camera.
Good little Roscoe does look to be picking up his speed, though, which is making me happy. He is NOT an athletic dog, his jumping style is poor, he isn't fast by nature, he just isn't. But, the little buggar has heart!! So, one place I think I can get more speed on course with him is his dog walk. So, I am pushing for it lately in training and I think it's working. He looks faster, doesn't he?.............
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I finally figured out how to crop and blend videos!! Now I just need to figure out how to put them in slow motion.
Here is my first editing attempt. Spur's running contacts from late spring at a friend's yard. -
Here is my next attempt. Spur's running contact work from early spring in my yard. I tried to put an annotation where there was a jump and it didn't come through? He jumps one time at second 4 -
This one is from today. He jumps at second 12 -
We changed one thing since the work in the spring. I bought another strike plate so the beeps occur in a greater area. We had some set backs for a while when he starting having good hits, but not hitting the 10x12" single plate. I would love him to hit middle contact, but he most often at speed hits higher up, so I put the two plates on the upper 2/3rds of the contact zone.
We are at about 80% good hits right now. I sure would like a better ratio, but it is the hardest thing I have ever had to train, so I am feeling OK about 80% right now. We have had so many set backs. Major teeter issues that transfered to the dog walk and set us back a LOT. My inability to SEE when he had good hits, so rewards were not always great. The addition of the second strike plate is a big help, I think. And I do think he is slowly having a better understanding of his job. He is a slow learner since so often he is worried, so I think this has taken longer than it should with most dogs? I don't know, but we sure have been at this a long time. I do this work with him daily, now that the weather is good. About 8 repetitions. Summer was WAY too hot, so we didn't hardly do anything contact work and he had a break from it. He seems to enjoy doing it, so that's good!
The ducks make us smile as they munch on something under the water. - And then there is poo. OK, so that doesn't make me smile. This is coyote scat after about three weeks. The rain washed away everything except for the hair? Oh MY! -
Roscoe, he has to mark it every time we pass it. It is right in the middle of the farm road.It was a busy week. VERY busy. One day I walked like 11 dogs! OK, some visits had two dogs, but still that was a lot of dog walks. My phone/email has been "off the hook" busy with calls coming in. I am very pleased and very lucky to be so busy and have business coming in right now.
The weather is GREAT for doing running dog walk work. So, every afternoon I run. And RUN and RUN and RUN. I really need to get back to my jogging, I get so out of breath sprinting a few running contacts. Poor Spur does SO well and then I have to stop and gasp for breath. Damn! When I think I am in good shape, reality sets in. But, the sprinting is good exercise and better than nothing. And I think Spur is starting to get it better. It is SUCH a long process. Of course, because I let him jump it so much when he was younger, just trying to get speed and confidence that is hurting us now. It may always hurt us. I just didn't know what else to do with him when he was in that state at the beginning. If you watched any of his old videos, struggling to even trot around the agility course, you know he was not easy to deal with. Now? We are practicing back crosses!!! It's awesome, he's doing SO well. I would like his dog walk to be faster, but I do think he is starting to understand his job and that's a good thing. And even though he isn't running full speed, it is faster than some people's stopped contacts, so that's cool. I settle for what I have and am happy for that! I think the speed will come. I know he can do it. I really do know that!!!
Today I will try to get photos maybe videos of his teeter work. Yesterday he ran to his teeter as we headed out for our walk (I didn't ask for it!!) and slid right off it because it was covered with frost. :O Oh, damn, I thought that might scare him, but NOPE, he jumped right back on and did a bang it game!!!! YAY!!!!