Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two Tired Dogs

Today was our first agility day in the barn.  It is Max's regular day and Rylie had a makeup class for one that was rained out earlier this week.  I have two very tired dogs tonight and one very tired handler.

The transition to the barn is always interesting.  There are cats that live in the barn - probably rodents - lots of hay, very interesting dirt (or so the dogs would have you believe), well you get the picture.  As the owner had to get in one more time with the hay wagon all the holes hadn't been plugged with hay bales.  There was a Rylie sized hole at one entrance so there were a lot of things to watch out for.  There was only one other dog in Max's class today so we all had a good workout.  Max did really well - he did take off once after something nobody else saw but he stopped dead when I called him and did come back to me.  Rylie always stays where he is put in class because the female border collie has told him off on more than one occasion when he wandered (intentionally or non-intentionally) into her space.

Both dogs had a hard time with taking the correct end of the tunnel.  With Max it was a pretty hard entry but with Rylie he was just convinced I didn't know what I was doing.  Every time I stopped to reset him he looked at my trainer as if to say "you tell the crazy lady I was right and she was wrong".

We have a trial next weekend.  I'm looking forward to it.  I think Rylie and I are starting to gel as a team and I sense more confidence in Max (which probably comes from me gaining confidence).  We have been running a lot of full courses in class and I think that has been helpful to me.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I generally walk my dogs with a regular harness that clips at the back.  I expect my dogs to walk nicely on leash without pulling.  They generally do but there are distractions we encounter where they do pull so I prefer to use a harness rather than have them yank their necks.  I have tried a head halter on Max when I knew we would be walking around major distractions (squirrels).  I have shaped it to the point where he will walk quite nicely with it and it certainly does help  hold his brain in place when we encounter squirrels but I'm not very comfortable (both literally and figuratively) in using one on such a short dog.  I know the proper technique of sliding your hand down along the leash to the end but the problem is that the end of the leash is only 12 inches off of the ground which means either I need the arms of an ape or  I need to bend right over.  This takes more time than it would for a large dog and there is the risk that Max will be able to jerk the head halter (and his neck) and/or I will put my back out.

I know the regular harness reinforces any pulling the dog does do so I decided to try an easy-walk harness.  I've been using it all week on our walks.  I haven't made up my mind about it yet.  I'm used to walking with the leash in a "J" position.  When I do this with Rylie the leash tends to get tangled around his feet.  Even with Max it slaps at his front leg.  Not sure what the solution is.  I also find the leash itself gets wrapped around Rylie's neck as he is in the habit of changing sides a fair bit so I have been doing a lot more untangling than I normally would have to.  Having said that it doesn't seem to bother either dog to wear it.  I can't honestly say about the pulling as we haven't met up with any major distractions on our morning walked this week (well until today when I had them in their regular harnesses and they acted like they had never been walked on a leash in their lives).

I'll give it a try for a week or two more and search out some high level distractions before I make up my mid whether I like it or not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good News

Rylie was back at the vet today and his urine test came back good.  Infection is gone and so are the crystals so yay!  His urine ph is high so I will continue to supplement him with cranberry as I have been doing for the last couple of weeks.

My big boy Max turned three last month.  I didn't actually forget his birthday but time got away from be and it had come and gone before I realized it.  Nearly three years ago we brought home this sweet little puppy.

He's still just as sweet in my totally unbiased opinion :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Max and I went to a gamblers workshop today.  I had second thoughts about it when I realized it was for Master Gamblers and Max has only one advanced Q.

What I found out was that Max follows my body very closely.  By making some minor adjustments in my position I was able to give Max the information he required to do the obstacles that I was directing him to.  I was really amazed at the difference.  I always knew that Max has wanted to do exactly what I was asking so it is really cool to learn how to ask him in a way that he understands.  I hope I can carry my learning into the next trial.