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!