Sunday, February 27, 2011

Double Box Seminar

Max and I went to a double box work seminar today.  I think I took away some awareness on my timing and positional cues that will be incredibly helpful (as long as I can remember it).  None of the information was new to me as Max and I had been to a longer double boxwork seminar last spring but I find as we move along in our journey I get different things out of it.

I considered bringing Rylie as well but I didn't mainly because of Max's new stresses about car rides.  It was probably just as well.  I think Rylie would have done pretty well although he doesn't quite read my cues as quickly as Max he rarely needs more than two attempts at something before he gets it right.  There wouldn't have been time to swap them in and out of the car though and when we work at our training arena Rylie barks for the entire time I am doing a run with Max.

The coolest thing is that we met two other Cavaliers.  One was a black and tan boy with the same sire as Rylie.  He reminded me of Rylie in the way he went hell bent for leather and he was also a face licker.  The other one was a tri boy- and I love tri's.  It was a bit of a challenge to keep the three Cavs apart.  They do know their own breed.

A Golden Lab girl developed a crush on Max.  Apparently she NEVER goes off to visit other dogs but wherever Max was she wanted to be licking his butt.  He didn't complain but he was a pretty big distraction for her.

We learned a lot and a three hour seminar is probably just the right length for us.  Towards the end Max was getting tired of sit stays and starting to wander as I walked the course but all in all he was a VERY good boy.

One little adventure was that my GPS died halfway there.  It wasn't as bad as it could have been because I had printed off directions on Google maps.  I did go out of my way however because after hearing turn left, turn right, I knew I had another right turn coming and when I got to the next town I realized I'd gone too far.  We did manage to get there just in time (which to me=late) and I didn't have time to go to the house and use the washroom so it's a good thing I only had ONE morning coffee.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Training Weekend

Well our afternoon at the arena was a bit of a bust.  To start the afternoon off Max fell off the top of the dog walk (about 5 feet high).  He landed on his feet and didn't seem any the worse for the wear.  I made a herculean (for me anyway) effort NOT to fuss over him and got him right back up - which he did without hesitation and fed him a handful of treats at the bottom.  I thought he might be stiff yesterday but he really does seem no worse for the wear thankfully.

When we got around to the teeter all was going well - we had progressed to the full teeter.  I asked my friend to watch and he did it once when she was watching and then just starting stopping in the middle.  His tail was wagging and he wasn't acting stressed but he was just not interested in finishing the job.  It perplexed both my friend (who has had teeter issues with her older dog) and I.  All we came up with is that the continued repetition might feel like poking him in the eye with a sharp object so any teeter work I do I'm going to stop at two reps and move on to something else.  I can't wait for my trainer to get back because I seem to be making matters worse.

Rylie of course was Rylie - "just tell me what you want and I'm so there".  I'm almost certain he found cat poo to feast on while I was working with Max so I guess I'll have to bring the crate next time.

After the arena I had to go to Petsmart.  The arena is about 15 minutes from home - halfway between home and the city.  For some reason even though I wasn't rolling around on the dirt floor I looked far dirtier than the dogs!  I contemplated going home and cleaning up before heading to a place with people but decided what the heck so off we went.  Of course there were many people and dogs to visit with in Petsmart on a Sunday afternoon.  I take comfort in the fact that none of them knew me!

My body seems to want to catch a cold - I am hoping I can convince it that it's not a good idea.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm Back

Engineering Dad and I were away for a week in the (not so) sunny south.  It was a relaxing holiday but I missed the dogs like crazy.  They stayed with a lovely couple who have been taking care of my dogs since we moved here 11 years ago.  I'm pretty sure they had a good holiday too. I was thrilled this morning to be able to take them out for a walk without boots or coats (well except for me - I'm a bit of a wuss that way).

I think we are going to head to the arena this afternoon for a bit of exercise and training.  I have an idea for Max's running contacts to hopefully remind him he has to run to the bottom as he has been leaping off.  He still hits the contact 95% of the time but a more experienced handler told me at our last training session that it's something I'll want to fix before it becomes a problem and I think she is probably right.  We'll also see how he feels about the teeter after being away from any teeter training for nearly two weeks.

I'll work contacts with Rylie too and some handling exercises for both.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I need to go back to work tomorrow to rest up!  It was a busy weekend here in the nest.  Nothing exciting - just busy.  Saturday morning we went to the arena to train.  Max's retraining on the teeter is going well I think.  Before we were done I had moved to just an 8 inch table under one end of the teeter and he was going over without stopping (he wasn't running but I'm okay with that because I don't want him getting bounced again).  The masters dogs were there practicing so there were a lot of dogs in close proximity.  One BC even decided to come and check Max out when he was weaving and he kept in the weaves - Good boy!  We were set up close to the weave poles and Max did the same thing to another dog despite my best efforts.  I think I'll have to keep him on leash when there are strange dogs around because he's too interested.

The masters trainers were pretty impressed with Rylie's weaves - he really is stinking fast.  Rylie is not at all impressed when I train Max and he lets me know about it in no uncertain terms.  Yet another reason why they shouldn't be in the same class I guess.

I drove into the city to shop (by myself) Saturday afternoon.  By the time I left the mall it had been storming and it was a really miserable drive home.  The socks and hand lotion I got weren't worth that drive.

I had a work project Saturday night and Sunday morning - after that we went to the dog park.  I think dog parks are Max's favourite place in the world because he just runs and runs.  We went back to the arena this afternoon to train by ourselves.  I mostly worked contacts with Max since we needed that.  Rylie just wanted to run and jump.  I tried a decel exercise with him and he caught on the second time.  I was pretty impressed by that.  Max and Rylie both aced the serpentine exercise I set up from our workshop in December.  I hope that had something to do with my timing getting better and not just the fact that they are both brilliant!

I hope both dogs will be tired enough that they will sleep well tonight - I know I will.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Operation Bang for Beef

That's what I'm calling my teeter retraining project.  The board Max is on has a PVC pipe attached underneath to make a mini teeter.  When it tips it makes a really loud bang.  We've been working on rewarding the bang with a hunk of stewing beef.  When I first brought the board back out I thought it was the tip that Max was leery of but after it banged loudly on the floor and freaked him out I realized it was the bang.  We went to putting a mat under the bottom to muffle the bang and now we have moved into the kitchen with full bang for the first time. Max is sitting here waiting to be released (after his reward).

I'm also doing this exercise with Rylie a) because Rylie will not be left out and b) I think Max's tentativeness comes a lot from not regularly practicing.  He can't eat beef though so he kind of gets ripped off in the treat department but shhhhhh - don't tell him.