Saturday, 31 December 2011


Training dogs is a funny old game,sometimes it goes great,sometimes not,but I believe the dogs can only do as well as you set them up to.
Sometimes I struggle to leave behind my 'foundation' in training,and in just being.Sometimes I want the dogs to do something 'just because' I said so,and you know what 99% of the time they do,because I have trained and conditioned things I want them to do 99% of the time,before I ask them to do it.
I realised I had let Floozie not chasing my other dogs slip a bit,I was getting frustrated and trying to call her off them in a frustrated tone of voice,and unsuprisingly she wasn't coming back to me as fast as I wanted,and still going in for the toy too.
Today I went back to basics with it.Threw the toy for one of the others and immediatly called her in the 'special' recall way,the word Foof (one of her nicknames) in a high voice,guess what?She span on a sixpence immediatly she heard it,EVERY time.Why do I give up on things when they're almost all the way done,and then let things slip again?

Shady came for some training at Becky's today too,and LOVED it.I forgot how intense he is about agility,same as Floozie,the difference is Floozie has been taught to have impulse control,Shady hasn't which makes him seem so much more intense than her,when she would be mental if she'd been allowed to develop that way.
2 things I wanted to achieve today were AMAZINGLY basic things with Shady,(considering this dog was trained and competed and did pretty well),but had never been taught.
Firstly I realised that I must have pretty much always rewarded back from me,instead of throwing the toy forward,or putting a dead toy out for him to drive forward to.
He was always doing his sequence,weaves or whatever and turning immediatly for his reward.
Even when someone was down the end of a sequence calling his name and waving,throwing or dropping the toy where he should have been clearly able to see it,in his head his job was to finish the sequence,then come to me for a reward,what a stupid thing to have taught him lol.
Secondly,I'm starting his contacts from scratch,like he's never seen one before.
Still a 2o2o,but no verbal command from me,same as Floozie and Mookie.The equipment itself is the cue.
You do a piece of contact equipment,you drive as fast as you can to a 2o2o position,ALWAYS.That is my criteria and I am determined to stick to it 100%,none of this letting them keep going if they are in the contact crap!
I have been guilty of that in the past,NO MORE.I am going to go into agility runs with the criteria of just getting the contacts correct,long term success is my goal now,no more letting the last contact criteria go because I'm doing well and want that clear run.
That clear run is not a success in the long run,if I had to trade my contacts for them.
Me not being able to maintain contact criteria is I believe what stopped Mookie and I moving up to grade 4 this past season.We had several 2nds,3rds etc,and had I not been panicking about contacts,and her bless her doing contacts slowly cos she didn't know what the f*** I wanted from her at shows,cost us the time which would have put us first.
Its funny Shady doing all the basic stuff,considering he's the oldest,and the had competed for nearly 3 years,then here comes the younger dogs and they are in some things more advanced than him.

So wwe went back to putting Shady at the top of a lowered dog walk plank,and let him run down to a target.
Shady is a funny boy,he thinks too much sometimes,and gets himself into a panic.I have found that if you literally 'push' him through that momentary panic,he goes 'oh yeah lol,don't have to be scared about that!',and that's it,he's over it.
The more choice he gets in a situation like that,the more it freaks him out.
For instance today I wanted him to reverse (walk backwards) onto the bottom of the a frame.First time he did by accident,got a big reward,and I called him off it.
Next time he did,he went 'oh no I must avoid backing onto that things as if my life depended on it!!' lol.
So he's being very creative at avoiding getting on it,so i had Pete and Becky stand either side of the a frame so he had no choice,but he just manouvered backwards around them lol,so I got him to stand in front of it with a treat right in front of his face and kinda 'pushed' him onto it with the treat,he was sitting on it,but we'll take it,as he wasn't avoiding it.
Next time I do it,he gets straight on it,lol.Then he does it over and over,very pleased with himself indeed! :)Gotta love that boy!
He also realised straight away about the toy rewards not coming from me,but from the end of a sequence.
Then the biggest breakthrough for Shady was that later on when we weren't doing anything,he got himself onto the lowered dog walk plank,which he has never done,we had a little party about that one!
Weird how basic the things I'm asking from Shady are,but he had literally been lured for everything he did until the last couple of months,so for him to go and try out getting on that without being asked shows how much he's changing :) woo hooo makes me so happy for him.

With Floozie we did some contacts which she hasn't done for about 3 weeks.No problems with what we did,though she did come off once when she just couldn't stop,you could see every ounce of her being desperatly trying to stay on that contact,she loves her contact position.
What I did not do which I should have was to move awayin other directions other than running straight ahead from the equipment when she was in it,as before Christmas she was coming off when I did it.
Did some very straight forward sequences with her and she was lovely,nice tight turns,and responsive :)
I asked Becky to run her so I could watch her,I couldn't believe how fast she looked,I never really noticed when I ran her myself.
Any of my dogs after Shady doesn't really seem that fast as he has an urgency about him when he runs,he seems to be going so fast cos he's so frantic to get wherever he's going.Where as Mookie just flows around a course,never looking likes she's going that fast or putting any effort,but she's a pretty fast little girl :)

With Mooks we did some box work,nothing too difficult,some contacts which were good,and some sequences.
The biggest break through of the day happened when I was working Mooks.
We were doing a little course where I had to leave her in a tunnel,run away,and pass an off course jump on my right and get her to catch up to my reinforcment zone on my left,(with her passing the off course jump on her right too)to then turn her right into the box.
First 3 times she came out of the tunnel and took the off course jump.
I keep meaning to work on reinforcement zones more with her,and what I learnt from this was that I don't really like doing much RZ work as an exercise on its own,I know it is important,but I just naturally don't really like doing it.
But I really enjoyed on working on it in this context,as part of a course.
I rewarded her 2 or 3 times for coming out of the tunnel into my RZ,and then she had it,so I am definitly going to make some of the foundation stuff which you can do with no equipment,part of training sequences.
That probably sounds weird,because of course you practice them as part of a course,but instead of feeling 'oh God I should really practice RZ'etc,and not doing it cos I don't really like to,I can put them in a course,only need 2 obstacles anyway,and practice them.
Its funny how we as people feel rewarded by different things,I felt really happy when I figured this out,it ridiculous!lol.
I get no positive renforcment from just doing those exercises on the 'flat',and therefore neglect doing them at all,well problem solved...Breakthrough!!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

New log burner...we have it!

Pete fitted the new log burner last weekend,(yay)I thought I'd take a photo of him being a chimney sweep,but I actually nearly gave him a heart attack because when the flash went off,he thought he'd hit something electrical and caused a spark.bwahaha.
I shouldn't laugh,but I did.

Here's his terrified face which I caught perfectly!!

I was sent outside to witness the brush popping out the chimney.Which I did,and got photographic evidence to prove it.
Unfortunatly when Pete pulled the rods back in,the brush got stuck somewhere in the top of the chimney!bwahaha.
It took Pete an hour and a half to remove it the following night and he was furious!lol

Mookie loves to worship the new God in her life :)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas comes to the park....

Last weekend as Pete was smashing the chimney up to make way for the new log burner,and generally making lots of noise and mess I put 4 of the dogs in the kennels for the weekend.
We kept Floozie at home with us,as she's little,plus I would hate to have no dog all weekend.
On Saturday morning Pete and I took her to the local park for a run and photo shoot.The weather wasn't very nice,still frosty so by rights I think we should have blue skies and sunshine,but it was over cast and drizzly.

What did she find to play with?Very seasonal little veg.:)

'Woohoo a brussel sprout!!' (maybe I should buy my dog more toys?!)

'I'm a gonna kill you! bwahahaha'

As you can see the sprout was losing its leaves,and its grip on life:(

This last 'death shake' finished it off!RIP sprout.

So we had to bust out a toy instead.I've had this pretty little toy for a few years,I'm suprised it lasted to long.Notice the word lasted,past tense.

'Come on daddy pull it!!!'

The little pretty toy was suprisingly strong.

Flying Foof!


The local youth club backs onto the park,and I like to see what new graffitti has been put up.i really like graffitti,I wish we had more of it around here.

She's watching a Jack Russell leave who had come over to have a sniff with her.

I asked Pete to pretend...yes PRETEND to throw it so we could get some nice photos of the Foof jumping about looking excited.

This is the kind of shot I was planning on getting,but only managed the 2..

But then he threw it!!!!???? (by accident)

It got stuck in a tree,way too high to recover it!Made me and Floozie really mad!!!!

You can just about see it here,hanging almost exactly in tthe middle of the shot.RIP pretty purple and yellow toy :( ( we were mad at daddy!)

Poor Flooz starting climbing trees to try and find her toy.(we were still mad with daddy)

After the demise of both the sprout and the toy,we had to make do with playing with a big stick...

BOING!! Floozie finds life in mid air a lot more exciting than life on all 4 feet!

Doing her 'tiptoe' for the reward of the stick.

Floozie (and Bug) likes to bring what they find on walks home with them,so the stick came home with us.

'Daddy you've got the lead tied around it stoopid!'

Monday, 19 December 2011

I got 5 on it.....

It has been my 'old year' resolution to get up every day at the same time as Pete,and walk 'my' dogs with him when he walks B and Mindy.
I want to maximize my time by getting that job done and dusted before breakfast,and so freeing up another 45 mins to an hour during the day.
The only problem is Pete only walks them for around 20 mins,and I want to walk a route which takes about 45 mins.I could probably get him to get up a bit earlier and go for the longer walk,but as he leaves for work at 7 fifteen am,and works really hard I feel a bit mean.
So this morning at 4 thirty I woke up and decided I would walk all the dogs myself.It is pitch black till about 7 twenty,and there aren't many/any people out with dogs till its light around here,so I thought sod it I'm gonna go for it.
My dogs are actually very dog social,but Mindy used to be reactive on lead,so I wouldn't go out with all 5 of them if I were expectig there to be lots of dogs about,I live off a street which is a main way for dog walkers to get to a local park,so there is normally dogs about during the day.
I did take treats with me,and occasionally called the dogs all to give me their attention and sit in front of me,which is what I also do when I see a dog.I like to do it alot when there isn't a dog there so it doesn't become a cue to,'there's a dog coming'.
Mindy hasn't reacted badly to a dog in the street for months now,but I keep it at the back of my mind that when she behaves well I reinforce it.
So I was out the door bang on 6 o'clock,the dogs were good,but there were a few problems.
Firstly,I wore a massive feather stuffed puffa jacket,and my seriously hot hat,I was over heating and that took some of the fun out of the walk.
The other problems were that is was absolutly fine whilst we were all trucking,but one stopping for the toilet,well I needed to anticipate it so they weren't pulled along for a few steps until the others stopped entirely too.
Then carrying the poo was a nuisance even though I had bins reguarly,they seemed to plan it and go presicely between 2 bins,so I had to carry it for the maximum amount of time lol!
The last 'problem' was that there wasn't a lot of room for sniffing.It was much easier if we just kept moving.So on the last stretch,I came off the pavement,and walked along a big grass verge and told them they coud get their sniff on lol.
As expected we didn't see any other dogs.Just one person walking,and 2 joggers,who I think might just be more mad than me,jogging at 6 am??!!
I moved all the dogs to the side and asked them to sit as the people passed.The walker commented on how good they were,and both joggers smiled and said hello.
I think all the nutters out at 6 am like to stick together!:)

Sunday, 18 December 2011


After I had a couple of lazy days because of having a tooth out,the dogs need to have a good blast.I combined it with going to the Newfies,and they ran,fetched,tugged and played for a little over an hour,still had plenty of energy of course!

Mookie had the best time!It was her first real off lead in about 3 weeks.I took my chance and let her play ball for about half hour,which was probably too much,but she was/is absolutly fine,and SOO enjoyed herslf!

Damn Newfies always spoil the game!

These are action packed doggies..

And this is a Newfie...
Oh Dylan,stop running around!;)

Just look at him,can't you just tell he's revving up for action?!??!

But even if he gets it,he just walks a couple of steps with it,then SITS DOWN!!

'Come on mum,throw it!!'

Happy little Mookity Moo :)


'Mum get is off her!! She's destroying it!'

Dylna occasionally gets the ball,but all he wants to do is guard it.No one has ever taught him its fun to play.

Bug really loves that Boom Boom ball!

Oh Rosie and Dylan,you wear me out,all that sitting and watching you do!

'I got it!Now who wants to come take it from me?'

'No one??'

I thought it would be a good idea to throw the ball up in the air to get some photosof the dogs in mid air!

But it wasn't,in fact it was quite painful bwahahaha!

This tugging went on for over 20 mins.

Happy B says 'Throw it!!'

Hhhmm Bug is distracted... (and looking like a stuffed dog)

Bug really wants to go get that ball back from Dylan!

Woo go Floozie,look Mookie has the ball in her mouth,and Floozie isn't trying to mug her.
When Floozie mugs one of my dogs,its ugly!Lots of swearing!