Saturday, 19 May 2012

More training....

I have lots of homework to work on fro the contacts workshop I took part in this morning.
My main problem is that I haven't worked contacts from behind enough,it is a short falling in all my dogs,and one which I plan to change.
I need to build more forward focus into their end position,something I have neglected in Floozie ecspecially,she lacks forward focus on all equipment really.
Its something I did teach her,but then clearly forgot to keep doing.
The dogs need to look toward which ever obstacle I am pointing at if they are in a wait,meaning I will be able to get to any angle when I leave them in a wait on the start line,but they will focus on the equipment I want them to take,and not at me.
Its easy to teach,so I don't know why I haven't been doing it?!

Another problem I have spotted in Floozie lately is related to coming into my side,ecspecially my right to sit on the line.
I realised recently she was looking a bit stressed when I was leaving her to wait.Sometimes getting up and shaking,sometimes going from her sit to a down.
Then I realised why.Its not the waiting,she has been heavily reinforced for that.Its that I pretty much always lure her into my side with a treat,and when I don't she comes in crooked,and I faff around with her,sometimes physically putting her straight.
This clearly makes no sense to her,she is not a dog I lure alot.She has been shaped alot,she likes and I would say needs to figure it out for herself,and then she is clear on it.
So I have been getting her into either side more,on walks,or just at home,and have given my right side the cue of side,she understands 'get in' as the cue for the left.
Funny how I did the exact same thing for Shady and Mookie,and they are perfectly happy to come in tight on either side,just with me patting either hip,no words needed.

That's such a simple thing to teach,why do I neglect such basic things?!!?!?

We have several games to play on the contacts,so no doubt Becky and I will work on them once we get back from camp. :)

I'm supposed to be going to a show tommorow,running Mookie,and its really local,but if I go to work I'll have more money to take to camp!Decisions,decisions!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Its felt non stop this week,and I've definatly trained more than is ideal,but the dogs are well up for it,we have a great time,and its just this week,oh and next,that we'll be doing this much.
Next week is D-Force camp.I'm so excited,its is gonna be F U N!!
That is as long as it doesn't rain all week,seeing as how I'm staying in a tent!

Monday I the girls each had a lesson with Dan,we've all been really working on Mookie's turns,and they are really shaping up.
Flooz did some weaving work,and some sequences,she is really looking brilliant,she is a special dog for real.She has SO much heart,and I just love how damn headstrong she is,just love it!

Tues eve Dave started his Que-me club classes,the girls were in one each.We started each class with some very useful foundation exercises.(Which I really should have been doing for months,why can't I just do my bloody homework!?!?!)
Mookie looked amazing on the sequences we ended doing,she was flying :) I never really know how fast Mookie is,she just has such an efficient easy gait,she gets places quickly,but doesn't have that desperate,fast and furious look about her like Shady and Floozie do.Funny though when someone else runs her and I watch she looks faster than she feels to run.

Then this afternoon I had a lesson with Dave and the girls,worked on contacts,in particular mixing up holding/quick releasing them.
Its so nice training Flooz,I never really worry about anything,cos I know if she goes wrong,and we withold the reward,she just will figure it out,I never worry about demotivating her,which I do think about at times with Shady and Mookie.

I took Bug with me for the afternoon out,and after Becky's lesson took the 3 of them out for a walk with Abbie,Oggie and Wiggy.

So tommorow I'll be working at the kennels and the girls can stay home all day,rest their muscles,and have a rest!Friday too,then Saturday morning I have a contacts workshop which the girls can both have a go in,Sunday I have a show entered with Mookie,but just 2 runs,so nothing too taxing.

Everything kinda happened at once,the contacts was meant to be a couple of weeks ago,but got rained off.So after camp the girls can have a nice week off to recoup.Not they need to mentally,there is not a day that they are not ready to work,love them girls :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


 We had some rare sunshine over the weekend,so after work I grabbed some quick shots with my real camera,not on my phone.
I definatly use my good camera less now I have so many dogs to walk,its just annoying to walk with 3 dogs,and the bulky camera :(
I like this first shot,it shows what the dogs value most perfectly...for Shady and Floozie its tugging,and for Mookie its herding them up,and YAPPING!! If allowed,I hate yapping dogs lol,so its not something she gets to do alot of!!


Look who's nearly got his whole gorgeous black topcoat back!

Bwahahhaha,Mookie stole it and did a runner!!

The small ferret homes.(they come out for exercise in the house everyday)

Bobcat,Sunny and Twinky :)

Mr B!

Snoozie Shady.

Snoozie girls :)

Mookie LOVES a shoe,or a trainer,or anything humans wear on their feet!She will always run and grab one whenever she get excited,then she'll run round with it 'woo wooing' her little head off!haha She's such a fun dog!

This is not such a fun game when you first wake up in the morning,and she jumps on the bed with a shoe and kicks you in the face with it!!!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Personal goals....

Its the day after the show weekend before,two shows in 2 days involving a total of around 6 hours of driving in those 2 days wiped me out.
But,I had a great show yesterday.I was at the Border Collie club agility show,I was only running Mookie,and we managed 3 clear rounds out of 3 runs :) That is a record for me! I was running her in grade 3-4 classes,its the first time I've run grade 3/4 classes since Shady was competing,and it was wicked.
They were nice courses which you had to think about,and a couple of times on each course I nearly lost Mookie,I kinda like those runs which are 'on the edge' but still under control :) In my jumping run she turned left after a jump which I had wanted her to turn right on,so we lost alot of time there,but we got 2 seconds places from both of our jumping runs.
 In our agility run all I was interested in was getting,holding and proofing her contacts,which we did,I was SO happy about that,and didn't realise I'd also gone clear till I'd got out of the ring and my friend told me. Interestingy she also said 'oh you shouldn't have held your contacts,you could have won out'.But at what price?Loosing Mooks contacts again? Not a price that I was willing to pay,and I'm VERY happy with myself,for sticking to my own goal :)
 Can't wait to my next show!
Perfect pairs partners in the making :)Floozie and Wiggy,aka Wigfield....from 'Saturday night da da da da da da da da song fame' These girls are just SO much fun,I can't wait till we can do pairs with them!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Catching up...

I have a quick snap I took on Fri morning when I took all of my gang over to play with the Newfies,I dragged all of mine around all day lol,every where I went,along they all came! It made for some very sleepy dogs when I got home in the evening:)
I've been to a UKA show today,I am shattered,even Floozie is tired out,she had 3 runs today,which is the first time she's had 3 runs at a show.
 She was brilliant,fantastic contacts,fast and accurate,and my behaviour around the contacts is good now too.I run straight past,go back in and tug with the dog,but then I would often just release them,so I was making a habit,a chain of behaviours which would in a small amount of time mean that the dog would learn to release after those 2 'prompts' from me.
 Today I remembered to keep things varied,so I went back in to reward them (tug),and then I ran back out and flung my arm about a bit lol,both girls were excellent,yay,I am on my way to conquering my contact problem!Woo hoo :)
 I ran Flooz in 2 seperate steeplechase rounds.(Jumps and tunnels only)I ran all my runs NFC (not for competition)so I could reward with a toy in the ring.I am all about the long term goal these days,I did Shady no favours by only concentrating on the short term.
 The first steeplechase I rewarded half way through,after the tightest turn,then again over the finish jump.But really I could have completed the course with no breaking it down.
The second steeplchase I forgot to reward her in the run,so it ended up accidentally being her first complete run at a show :)My friend Abbie also ran her little working Cocker bitch 'Wiggy' after me NFC too,and one of the ring party came out of the ring afterwards to tell us we had the 2 fastest times in the class :) It was Wiggy's first show,so her and Abbie had done brilliantly :)
 I just did one class with Mookie,an agility run so I could reward her contacts. The problem I have with Mookie in a show is that I have confused my criteria,and therefore her understanding of the behaviour I want in shows. I have done this by being an idiot and releasing her early on some of her contacts.
But NO more!! I had decided to go back in and reward the first contact,then just verbally reward the 2nd,and see what happended on the third,its when I haven't rewarded one that she then creeps down the next one,unsure of what I want. She didn't quite get into position on the 2nd,so I waited till she did,told her she was wonderful,and went on to do the next which was the seesaw,which she got fast and accurate,and I went back in and tugged for her reward.:)She got the course nicely too,but it was very easy.
 Shady came along for a day out,and had a lovely time.I had a really good time,Abbie won her steeplechase with Oggie,and Liv got a 3rd with Leo,her young Collie. I have a KC show tommorow,but I also have a sore throat,so I'll have to see in the morning how i feel,and if I can drag myself out of bed or not! No vids from today cos my videographer was having a day off! (ahemm Becky!)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Bonding with B.....

(apologies for the lack of paragraphs,and sentences running into each other,blogger will not post this post as i wrote it arrgghhh!!) This was B when we first met him at the vets which he'd been dumped at. He had injured one of his hind feet,and the family who owned him at the time apperently phoned one of those 'pets to vets' type services,and when they turned up to collect him,the family just let him out into the street and he was running around until they managed to chase him around and get him into the car! They had him treated by the vet,and then just left him there. He stayed at the vets for several weeks,whilst the legal stuff to make him the possesion of the vets,and rehomable was sorted out,we took him home on New Years Eve of 2009,and we laughed how we would normally be going out partying but instead we were staying home with a new dog that year instead! Photobucket Shady trying to entice Bug to play :) Photobucket He was a skinny boy for a while,and his coat was crap.His paw healed up after a few weeks,and although he has a huge scar,his paw is fine.Funnily enough he had the injury as Boo had on one of his hind paws. Photobucket Mr B and me have always had a kind of an estranged relationship.We got him not long after our beloved Boxer Boo had died,and as Pete and I both wanted to make sure he didn't turn into just 'my' dog,we decided that Pete would do all the work with him. For the first year or so that we had him I was still dog sitting Ella a Boxer,and they used to play for hours,I'd put them out in the garden when the weather was nice and they would just play for HOURS.Both of them puppy/adolescant Boxers,their energy literally had no end,and as the alternative was Ella sitting at her house alone,and Bug just sleeping if he was indoors,it seemed like a perfect solution. Photobucket I had a lot of young dogs all at once,who all loved playing together,and when the weather was good,I'd sit outside with them for hours,just watching them play and interact with each other,the shifting dinamics between them did and still does just fascinate me. [IMG][/IMG] I was looking after Ella most of the day each week day until around 2 years ago,up to just a month or so after Mindy came to live with us. Mindy kinda took over from Ella as being what/who Bug spent most of his day playing or just being with.Of course every day B got at least one good run,but it was always Pete who took him,as I had Shady and Mookie to do,and Mindy when she first came to live here. Bug was really hard work physically on the lead,and trying to get him to accept a head collar was sadly a long drawn out process.The problem was two fold,firstly he was/is incredibly strong physically,but also and worse was that his previous owners had unwittingly taught him that he should use his strength against humans to get his own way. I was lazy at that point and so let pete deal with his exercise. Photobucket The problem was,although I wasn't treating B like one of my dogs,in the sense that I didn't do any of the 'bonding things' with him,which is what creates such special relationships between me and my dogs,I was expecting him to act like one of my dogs,which was totally unfair. With my dogs I walked/ran them every day,trained them nearly everyday,took them to work with me,groomed and fussed them every day,and probably a million other things which I don't even realise I'm doing.With B I'd take hi to work with me,but mostly he'd just be outside playing with Ella or later Mindy.With my dogs whilst I work,I also have little games with them,as they are always bringing me a toy in the hope that I'll spare them a bit of time and have a tug,or game of fetch with them,because no one took the time to fetch,b didn't seek these interactions with me,so we were just rubbing along living together,but not really living together. I'd always described B as having a heart of gold,he is SO friendly,so happy to just get along with everyone,and I'd never blamed him for his sometimes crazy (just hyper and clumsy)behaviour,I always knew and was happy to acknowledge that it was our lack of work with him which made him that way,but I never really felt any great need to change how we all lived,he was happy,that was the main thing. But over the past few months,secretly Mr B has been sneaking his way in to my heart.I think a part of me not getting close to him was the fear that comes along with loving someone as much as I love my dogs. Before B came along,I'd lost 3 of my dogs in 4 years,it was a tough time.Subconsciously I think that was a part of why i kept B at arms length. But no more,B is one of my dogs too now,and I am proud that he is.I'm gonna stop letting Pete do all the fun stuff with him,and take him out and about and to shows etc with me,let him broaden his horizons :) Funnily enough over the past few weeks when he's at work with me,I find him coming up to me with a toy,looking hopefully to see if I'll play with him,I tell him how clever he is,and we have a game,and we let each other in a little bit more with every tug,and fetch we do. I took him and the little girls to the kennels with me whilst I worked today.I usually take the 'Dream Team' and leave B and Mindy for Pete to sort out and walk,but as it is so wet everywhere and the dogs were going to have to stay in the van all day,I don't like to take Shady.Once Shady has had a run in the morning and at lunchtime,he gets in the van,gets all the bedding wet,and the poor 'baldies' have to sit on wet bedding and be cold all day. If I only take the baldies,they dry after a quick towel off,and can then get all snuggly on nice dry bedding.
At lunchtime I played the 'adapted fetch' game I play with the dogs cos I am so scared of breaking them by playing normal fetch.As I am super talented at breaking my dogs,I do kinda molly coddle this lot,so I don't break them prematurely. So I throw the toy,the dogs run off after it,but I throw it more up than away,so the dogs do the running bit,then stand still and look to see where its going to land,so by the time they get to it,they don't do that scarey skid into the fetch,which practically stops by heart everytime lol.I swear when I see them skid like that I can practically convince myself that I can hear their cruciates snapping!
I'm so happy me and the B boy are such good friends now,we were both missing out by not getting to know each other properly :)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Another great day...

I love those days where in the evening I know that all the dogs have had a really fun day. I took Shady to work with me this morning,and once I was finished I took a couple of jumps out on to the little green in front of my mum's house and did some 1 and 2 jump work,and a 'sort of a grid',just working on trying to get him to understand how to pace himself between the jumps,at varying distances. He was turning beautifully,and although not always perfect on the pretend grid,he was very obviously thinking about what he was doing,and trying to get it right,which is a big improvement on his usual style of 'launch yourself at it at top speed and worry about it later' lol. We had such a good time,just me and Shadders,he really is such a happy soul to be around,and I do very much enjoy how God damn loyal to me he is,he is a real one womans dog.:) After our training session,I took him down to Cinders for a little walk,cinders is an ancient Lakeland Terrier I walk,who is a sod with other dogs,but secretly fancies Shady,I think its cos he plays hard to get with her haha. Next I went home,let everyone out in the garden and had some lunch,stayed in for around an hour,then left again with Bug,Mookie and Floozie. I went over to the Newfies,and let everyone mess around in their huge garden for half hour,before driving down to Dave's I had a great lesson with the girls,they were both turning tighter,so my homework is paying off :)I always feel like Dave makes me see what the girls are capable off when I train with him,lol he makes me laugh,and I loose count of the time he tells me to 'just concentrate!' Once I got back to St Albans I stopped and walked the 3 of the dogs for 20 mins in the woods,gave Pete a ring and he'd cycled Mindy to his mums which is 2 miles from home,spent some time in his mum's with her,where she got spoilt,had a pigs ear,and sat on the stairs watching the world go by out of the window,then he cycled her back.
So everyone had a great day,and I have tired dogs everywhere :) Perfect!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Girls girls girls....

I've had a great training session with my girls today.
I hired the agility arena again today,just took the girls with me. I wanted to work predominantly on turns,specially pivot turns with both girls. Then with Flooz I wanted to work on contact positions,well more specifically quick releasing some,and holding some,and of course weaves. With Mookie it was all about the pivot turns,and then I did some very small sequences with 2 bits of contact equipment in,so I could sometimes go back in and reward and sometimes quick release,this is still my/our stumbling block at shows!I have confused Mookie in the ring at shows by sometimes releasing her before she is in position,and so I have created a creeping down the down ramp behaviour,which is Mookie's way of saying 'I don't know what the fuck you want from me here woman!!!!I am useless sometimes!! Floozie was doing the channel weaves with the bases actually touching around 90% of the time,and there was a normal set of weaves there beside them,and yep I couldn't help myself,so I tried to get her to do the uprights too,and she did them,the first time,the second time it just threw her,so I went back to the channels closed right up,and she was doing really well :) I haven't been able to practice them at home much because of all the bloody rain we've been having,which is a big part of why I hired the arena out today,I really need to expose her to them much more to build up her muscle memory for doing them.After today I don't think it will be long,hopefully I can hire the arena out again on Saturday. Her pivot turn were actually pretty good,even though I'd set jumps up near to the jump I wanted both girls to turn right around the wing on,it caught Mookie out a number of times,cos that girl just loves to loop out,she jumped and turned right or left onto the following jump a few times haha,couldn't catch Flooz out though :) I was also doing alot of RZ work around the equipment,which went really well,Mookie concentrates alot more if you use food for these sorts of exercises,so as she's relearning this stuff,I'll use food not a toy. I left feeling really positive :) and with clean dogs,which is always a bonus! This new girl on the block is Kalli,Shady and her met for the first time today,and Shady really liked her,where sometimes he's a bit grumpy with puppies.
Tommorow I have 2 nice dogs to groom,then in the afternoon me and the girls are going down to Dave's for a lesson,which I am really looking forward to :)