Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crate Games gone bad

Susan Garrett's Crate Games  DVD is one of my favourite dog training resources and if I could only recommend one resource to new puppy owners that would be it.  However Rylie has shown me that it can also be turned around so the dog trains the trainer.

We play Crate Games all the time - my dogs have been well rewarded for going into and staying in their crates.  They sleep in their crates in our bedroom.  Rylie invented a game where he would go into his crate when I was in the shower in the morning.  Of course when I came out he looked so cute he got a treat.  By then Max has usually gone into his crate as well so as not to miss anything,  so of course I use the opportunity to play by calling one of them out and then the other.  Of course they get treats when they are successful.  The other day Rylie decided to take the game to a new level.  I released both dogs from their crates and went downstairs to make my breakfast.  I hear Rylie bark - hubby goes up to see what's up and there is Rylie sitting in his crate.  I hear "Oh mom must have forgotten your treat" and of course Rylie got another treat!  Impressed with his success with his gullible dad he tried it several times with me after hubby went to work.   I may not be able to resist the big brown eyes too easily but the bark is incredibly annoying and not something I want him to learn to do to get what he wants so I just laughed at him and closed the bedroom door so he couldn't play anymore.  He keeps me on my toes - that's for sure.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Agility Lessons Learned

I took Max to a trial today.  He was entered in Starters Standard and Starters Jumpers.  The standard course was a lovely flowing course.  Perhaps a bit too flowing for us lol!  It was pretty much a train wreck!  We were going great guns until obstacle eight which was the table.   Max either flew off or ran over the table - I'm not entirely sure he tried to stop.  We haven't done a lot of tables but he has been really good.  In hindsight I didn't decel at all so he didn't have enough information.  Novice handler with novice dog mistake.  Next was the weaves - Max's weaves are solid so I wasn't concerned - well he popped out three times.  I chose to handle them offside but that doesn't bother him so I'm not sure what went wrong - then there were three jumps which were lovely and a teeter.  I tried to rear cross just as he started up the teeter and he jumped off  - I probably had time to front cross and it likely would have been a better move.  The teeter had a huge bang - Max either flew or jumped (I think he jumped) off.  No big deal but not something I want to encourage.  After that it was smooth sailing until the end.  The positive was that Max continues to get faster - his running contacts were awesome - he ran right to the bottom of the A-Frame and dogwalk, and even with the table and teeter debacles and the three tries on the weaves we were under time.  It was the first time we had done a course without my trainer to walk it with us and Max finished happy.

I was freaked about the jumpers course.  It seemed to me to have a couple of really tricky bits where the dogs would have to discriminate obstacles.  Also Max was the VERY FIRST DOG to run. That has never happened to us before.  Not such a big deal because I don't watch the dogs before us but I had to manage my course walk through.   When I walked the course there was only one spot where I thought there could be an issue and that was between jumps three and four - I was confident if we could get that far we'd be home free.  I watched the more experienced handlers walk the course to see how they were handling the first four jumps and copied them lol.  Max rocked!  The dog that I worried about in the spring because he seemed to have lost his zip ran the course clean at nearly 5 metres/second (the standard course time was 2.8 metres per second).  At this venue starters is a very small group but I'm told only two of the 26" dogs were faster.

The starters jumpers Q was the one I really wanted because it allows me to run Rylie in jumpers at the next trial we are at and Rylie was born ready!  Of course I could run them both in the same class but with the small dogs having such small classes I'd probably have to run the course back to back.  I'm middle aged and not in good enough shape to do that!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wow - This is November!

We took a drive to see engineering guy this weekend.  We decided to take Max and Rylie with us.  I had Max at a B&B when we went to camp last year but we've never stayed at a hotel with them.  I do have to say it was a great experience.  They both travelled really well and our hotel had a patio door so it was easy to take them outside.

The weather was gorgeous!  Who could ask for better weather in November?  Since we had a fair bit of time to kill on Saturday we went for a hike at a nearby Conservation area.  It was just lovely.  It was long enough to tire out the four footed ones (and the two footed ones as well!).  I love finding new spots to walk with the dogs - especially since we do tend to spend a lot of time cooling our heels when we go.  I've walked the waterfront (which I adore) many times and poked into all the nifty little shops so it's nice to find something new to explore.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agility Weekend

Max had a great agility trial this weekend.  Saturday he was in his first ever starters standard run.  He ran beautifully.  Sadly for him the team member whose name is not Max tripped over her feet on the dogwalk and fell down.  This caused Max to want to jump off to lick her face.  To his credit he didn't but it distracted him enough to miss the last obstacle.  We came SO close I entered him in the second standard run.  He ran beautifully again and I didn't mess up either so he was first in his class with a Q.  In fact he was 3rd or 4th fastest of all the starters standard dogs of any height.  He was beaten out by a border collie and a golden retriever.

Today on his standard run he also ran beautifully.  He was beat out by his class mate Peanut but he was 2nd with a Q.

The starters jumpers was at the end of the day.  Each run Max has got faster and I just wasn't prepared for a dog who  decides he knows the line and doesn't check in with the momma.  Consequently I didn't call him fast enough and he took an off course jump.

I was so proud of Max.  This is the first time he's run more than one run in a day.  I was worried that it would be too much for him but I think he really enjoyed himself.