Thursday, June 30, 2011


We had another awesome camping weekend (although I'm covered in bug bites).  We took a four day weekend and went to a couple of provincial parks close by.  We got in quite a few bike rides (Rylie has decided to complain about the bike trailer) and the dogs got to do a ton of running on the beach and swimming.  Max got so excited that he forgot that retrieving anything on land is totally against his policy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thunderstorm Seminar

Last night I attended a seminar on helping dogs cope with thunderstorms/fireworks.  It was very interesting and I came away with a few new techniques to try.  Sadly (for my husband and son) the thunderstorm happened last night while I was away and they had to deal with Max barking for two hours.

The presenter is certified in Tellington Touch and Bach Flower remedies, and is an animal communicator so her techniques drew from each of these modalities.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Awesome Weekend

I was really proud of both of my guys yesterday.  Today it was just me and Max.  We were chasing the elusive advanced standard Q and trying our luck at snookers for almost the first time (the first time we didn't last long before being whistled off).

We have been very close in our last couple of standard runs and I told Max that if he hit his contacts a gave me a good teeter we'd head right to the pond for a swim.  He did and we did!  He also came first in his class so that was cool.

Our next run was snooker.  I managed to plan a reasonable flowy path and it worked well for us.  Max was awesome at staying with me - we ended up with more than enough points and finished nine seconds early - another swim in the pond!  We had a second snooker run today.  The most logical path to rack up points involved taking the teeter multiple times in the opening. Most competitors did this.   Since Max has had teeter issues in the past and was tentative yesterday I decided I wouldn't do that to him so we chose another path that only required doing the teeter as the last obstacle.  We got a Q and even though he never wavered on the teeter today I think it was the most fair choice.

It was  a great weekend - it's nice to see things come together - and in Rylie's case particularly see what we need to work on still.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So tired

A very long agility day today.  First Max had an advanced standard run.  I was really happy although we didn't Q - he missed his down contact on the dogwalk  - he was a bit pokey but did everything else really well so maybe he was just being thoughtful.

Rylie's starters gamblers was next - Rylie gets very high and then he becomes unsure so he was tentative to begin with - I had to send him a couple of times each to the tunnel for the mini gamble but he did go.  By the time we got to the main gamble he was all "I got it Mom - not to worry" - and it was much harder than the mini.  We got a Q.  Max's advanced gamble was next.  I mishandled the gamble causing him to take an off-course and be whistled off but he ran really well and got a ton of points in the opening -getting the mini gamble twice without a blink.

Jumpers - Rylie's advanced jumpers was a wild ride.  We are still learning to work as a team  - because he's so fast I ran as fast as I could to stay ahead (breaking one of the cardinal rules of agility - always stay connected with the dog).  Rylie is very inexperienced so in trying to keep up to me he missed a couple of obstacles.  Clearly I need to support him more.  He did run super duper fast though.  I didn't have great expectations for Max's master jumper run.  It was the last class of the day - he is brand new to masters - and we were both beat after a long day.  He ran beautifully and not only Q'd but came first in his class.  We are really starting to come together as a team.  If I had to guess I wouldn't have guessed that Max's only Q would come in his masters class but he always has liked jumpers.

Max and Rylie's new wheels

This is the bike trailer that allows us to have some flexibility when we are camping.  If we are going too far for the dogs to walk they can just pop in the bike trailer.  Here they are after our hike last weekend.  Funny though - even though "I" was the one who biked 14k hauling 35 pounds of dog THEY were flaked out when we got back to the campsite.  I bought it second hand but it had barely been used.  I had originally been looking for a child trailer but this is a pet trailer.  The dogs enter from the back.  Did I mention it's awesome?  The dogs seem okay with it so far.  They are used to travelling in a crate so it's not that much different for them -except Max tends to let me know (by scratching) when the ride isn't smooth enough for his liking.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I love weekends

Last weekend we went camping in our new (to us) motorhome.  It was the first time we've camped in ages and we had a good time.  The dogs enjoyed it too.  I used my brand new (to me) bike trailer and we went on a 14k bike ride with a stop partway through for a hike.

This weekend we have an agility trial.  We've been working hard on training and it will give us a chance to evaluate where we are.  I was so happy with both of their performances in the last trial we were in last month.  It should be a lot of fun.  I was hoping Rylie would be ready for a standard course but his contacts are not quite there yet so he will just do jumpers and gamblers.  Along with standard, jumpers, and gamblers, Max and I will be trying to figure out snooker.

Next Wednesday I am going to a seminar on ways to manage a dog's fear of thunderstorms.  I'm pretty excited about it and hoping to come away with some new techniques for helping Max cope with the stress.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thunderstorms and Birthday Boy

Thanks for the advice.  I'm going to try the thundershirt tighter and get some rescue remedy.  Meanwhile I'll continue with the classical conditioning.

I did call the vet's office the other day to inquire and felt better (in a misery loves company kind of way) to learn that all the vet tech's dogs were up all night barking too and they were as exhausted as I was.  One of my trainer's dogs broke out of her (wire) crate and she doesn't usually get that worked up.  The thunder wasn't THAT loud so it must have had something to do with the pressure change.  Anyway - the vet would prescribe a sedative but I'd have to give it before the storm (which doesn't work with the middle of the night ones) and it doesn't last long.  So scratch that idea.  It did give me another idea though - I might let Max bark and take a sedative myself!

Just over two years ago this sweet little boy (the dog not the kid in case you were wondering) was born and came to live with us 8 weeks later.  We wanted a spunky pup because Max was only 10 months old himself and I knew I planned to do agility with him.  Rylie is SPUNKY (caps intended).  He makes me laugh every day AND he's challenged me to improve my dog training skills.

Rylie has all big dogs in his agility class.  They are nice dogs and they all get along fine but Rylie MUST have his own chair to sit in or be in my arms.  It finally dawned on me that he needs to feel as big as his classmates so I haul a chair for Rylie to each class we go to.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We had a REALLY long thunderstorm last night.  For the last year or so Max barks at thunder.  It has definitely been getting worse lately.  He doesn't show any other signs of stress (drooling, panting etc.) and he will stop his barking long enough to work for treats however that really isn't practical at 3:00 a.m.

I have tried a thundershirt, classical music - and a combination.  I have tried a (little) bit of classical conditioning by playing storm sounds at low volume but he seems to be able to tell the difference.  Last night he woke us up barking before we could even here the thunder.

Anybody have any good ideas?  I was hoping not to have to go the drug route but I'm fresh out of ideas.