Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bath Time

Hopefully you sleep with one eye open Mom - we don't approve.

Training Weekend

We went to the arena yesterday to train.  There were some dogs there that neither Max or Rylie knew so it was a good distraction.  We got in some good distance work.  Max is still having issues with the teeter - and with the car for that matter.  I do have a plan around that.  I bought a pound of stewing beef separated it into small packages.  I know he loves beef so I'm going to reward him like crazy when he bangs the teeter and gets in the car.  You have to know that I love my dog a lot because the thought of touching raw meat gives me the heebie jeebies.  I do most of my cooking without ever touching the raw meat with my hands!  He's such a good boy - and the way to his heart is definitely through his stomach.  I just have to be patient and not rush him.

Rylie was amazing!  I wish I had a video camera.  When he does the weaves he throws up such a cloud of dust behind him that I think I should rename him Pigpen!  He was great at the distance work and every bit as good as Max at following my body signals.  He got really annoyed when Max was stressing over the teeter because he wanted to show him how to do it!

Today we went to the dog park in our nearest city.  I love this dog park.  I don't want to jinx us but we've never had an issue there.  All of the dogs appear to be with someone (as opposed to some parks where dogs have followed us around and been annoying to my guys without me ever being able to identify who they were with).  Max is Mr. Social and feels the need to say hello to pretty much every dog.  Rylie has a strong preference for black dogs.  I had to call Max out of one scrum of three much larger dogs play wrestling because I was pretty sure he was going to get squashed by accident.

All in all it was a good weekend.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Max has always loved going in the car.  This week when I took him to the vets he wasn't so keen to get in. He had slipped a little bit while jumping in last weekend so I put it down to that and lifted him in.  On Saturday when we went to practice he was his crazy self when he saw me getting ready but then he ran to the car and back to sit at the door.  Again I put him in the car but as our drive was a bit longer I noticed that his lip was quivering.   The same thing yesterday when we went to get his nails clipped (I know - not something that is likely to relieve his stress) and then to the dog park.  He seemed okay on the way home.

I have put this down to being more stressed than I realized in the crating area last weekend at the trial (he rides in his crate in the car).  My thought is to take him for short car rides whenever I can (whenever possible to do something fun - but sometimes just to go get gas or go through the car wash) but I'd certainly like to hear any other advice.  I also took the flexible crate to the arena and switched off dogs in it on Saturday - neither dog was in it for more than 5-10 minutes at a time - I'm hoping that will help.  Both dogs sleep in their wire crates at home and will go in them without prompting whenever I am in the room.  I suppose that is the key though - they can always either see or hear me.

Our next agility trial is in March and I shouldn't have to leave in in the crating area because we are visiting my son and the hotel is very close to the venue.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This and That

We went to the arena today and practiced the tricky bit of the advanced jumpers course from last weekend and the gamble.  Even after a few tries I was still bobbling the handling of the jumpers but both dogs were able to follow my handling and both dogs did the gamble we set up.  It took Rylie two tries but I was pretty excited.  I do think there is something funny going on with Max but I can't put my finger on it.  He's just been acting a little off.  The workout certainly tired him out but it just seemed to give Rylie more energy!

Rylie is a silly boy.  When he wants to play ball he can become quite annoying and bark to get your attention.  As a consequence he gets his ball taken away.  One day I guess he had all of his balls confiscated so ever resourceful he asked to go outside.  He came in with a chunk of ice that he dropped at my feet for me to throw for him.  How on earth am I supposed to resist that?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Agility Weekend

We went to an agility trial this weekend.  Max got the final starters standard Q he needed for his agility dog of Canada title.  It was NOT a pretty run and we have some things to work on but it was good enough.  He also got a Q in his first advanced jumpers class.  I was pretty excited about that.  I had one handling bobble but Max is a good boy and waited until I figured out what I wanted to do.

Rylie had his first ever run and he did awesome in his starters jumpers class.  I thought I could use a rear cross with him but he isn't ready for that so it caused him to have a fault.  I was proud of myself that I could change my plan and hustle my not so little butt to give him a front cross at the next arm change.  Although he  didn't Q he was the fasted of the four dogs in his class.  I was pretty excited about how well he ran.

One of the problems with our training facility is that it isn't large enough to set up  a whole course so the only practice we get running courses in in trials.

I have a plan for the rest of the winter for both dogs - more contact work for Max and mostly handling for Rylie.  We don't have another trial until March.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Well the nest is once again empty of human offspring as we put engineering guy on a train back to school this morning.  Computer Dude left on the 29th and has already put in one week of his work term.

Max and I went to the barn........oops I meant the arena yesterday morning.  I met two of our classmates there.  Peanut the pug/terrier and his handler have about the same experience as Max and I - Peanut is a bit faster though.  The other lady has a lovely Sheltie called Maddie May.  Maddie is a bit more experienced and her handler has a lot of experience - her older Sheltie is a masters level dog.  She set up some gambles for us to practice as Peanut and Max are both in their first gamblers class.   She also said she'd walk the course with us next Saturday and help us plan our route.  Max and I also practiced the teeter and weaves.   The teeter is certainly not Max's favourite thing but I think it's coming along.  His weaves were awesome.

Today I took both Rylie and Max to practice.  Max and I worked some more on the teeter and I had both Max and Rylie run the (very easy) sequences that someone had set up.  I realized that the tunnels have amazing sucking powers for both dogs so I will have to be cognizant of that next weekend.  Rylie really is stinking fast and my brain is going to have to work double time to anticipate what he is going to see - there is no doubt he drives a line.  He did pull off the tunnel today when I called him though (but I only called him because that was the line he saw in our previous try).  The advantage is that the advanced jumpers is the class before starters and they usually aren't terribly different.  I will be able to see where Max wants to drive and hopefully handle accordingly with Rylie.  All in all it was a fun couple of days in the arena because we could work on the things that we needed to work on.

It was interesting training both dogs together.  They haven't both been in the arena at the same time .  Engineering Dad was with me but in the end I had to have one dog on a leash while I ran the other because the one not running  wanted to get in on the action.  I can see if I go alone I'll have to bring a crate because there is no way I'm going to get either to sit on a table and wait patiently for their turn.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Long week

My training has sucked this week.  It's year end at work and I've been putting in longish days.  By the time I get home I'm too tired to do a lot in the way of training.  I have come up with a recipe box with games from our summer recall course - my thinking is that if I'm stuck I can pull a game out of the box.  Over the winter I am mostly trying to work on toy/tug drive and contacts.  We did do some targets this week.  I am having a difficult time fading the target and still getting the nose touch.  I guess that means that we just aren't ready to move on.

Tomorrow Max and I are going to the arena to train.   We have entered our first gamblers class at the trial next weekend and it would be nice to get in some distance work.  We haven't done much  distance work and I have no idea whether Max will be able to do the gamble or not.  My mind thinks that the gambles in starters aren't horribly challenging but I will report back if I've changed my mind after attempting one!  My main goal tomorrow is to work on the teeter and weaves.  Max bounced off the teeter at our last trial.  I didn't have him back on a teeter until last week and he was very tentative, so I'd like to go back and make it more comfortable for him.  We haven't done a lot of 12 weaves ever so I try and practice whenever I can.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week 1

I have been toying with the idea of doing the picture of the week challenge but as some of the blogs I read do one dog a year I had been trying to decide which dog to pick.  Max is the eldest but Rylie is the most challenging for me to photograph (because he's black).  I felt like I was trying to choose between my children lol!  It occurred to me yesterday that since I am the one challenging myself I actually don't have to choose between my dogs - I can challenge myself to post one dog picture a week.  Now I will have to confess that the first picture was taken by my son with his new camera (although he used my lens).  It captures  Rylie's personality so well  that I thought it would be a shame not to use it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Today I went to two seminars that my trainer was putting on.  In the morning I took Max to a handling seminar.  We did a lot of speed circles and several handling exercises that would be easy to set up for this winter if we were practicing alone.  There was a really interesting mix of dogs - there were only six of us, three starter level dogs, a couple of advanced, and a masters dog.  Max and Peanut  - his classmate that always beats him stacked up pretty well with the more experienced dog/handler teams.  We struggled with the serps but otherwise did pretty well.  Max was just beat afterwards.

I took Max home and switched off for Rylie for the flatwork/foundation seminar.  Two of Rylie's classmates and six other baby dogs were there.  It was a review of some of the things we practiced at the seminar I went to last month but it was good practice and Rylie had fun.

I am exhausted.  The seminar location was in an unheated barn and I froze this morning even though we were doing a lot of running.  Even Max was cold and he doesn't get cold normally.  I had him in his fleece coat but finally put him in my lap which helped both of us.  When I went home to switch dogs I also put on my long johns and Sorels.  I dug out the warmest coat we have for Rylie.  He was an angel and didn't fuss at all about being crated between his turns.  The coat seemed to keep him toasty - although it did make him look fat.  His seminar wasn't as physically intense as Max's and he was still full of piss and vinegar when we got home.  I had supper, hot tub, and wine.

We won't have class now until March but we can use the training facility to practice so I think we'll try to do that on a regular basis.

We are in a trial in two weeks - it will be Rylie's first ever.  I'm looking forward to seeing how things come together for us and where our holes are.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011 has started out lucky for us.  It's raining out - which means it has warmed up.  Max and I went for our walk this morning with no boots or coat (for him anyway lol)!  So much snow has melted that along the way we found Rylie's boot that he lost a couple of weeks ago.  Score!  Lest anyone think Rylie wasn't allowed to come with us he  wants you to know that he is a PRINCE and it is not suitable for a prince to go out walking in the rain!  I decided that it wasn't worth the fight today and I'll just throw the ball for him in the house.

A friend of mine has two large dogs and part of their Christmas tradition is that the dogs pull the tree home after they cut it down.  This year she took pictures and it inspired me to have Engineering Dad cut down our tree when we were done with it.  I thought I'd hook up the dogs and try and make it look like they were pulling it.  It wasn't really a successful venture but I did at least get a good picture with my two legged guys who are notoriously camera shy.