Thursday, 1 December 2011
Monday, 26 September 2011
Here is a picture of Curious taken at a fundraiser photo shoot. It does capture her charm and beauty, what a pretty girl and we will see shortly if putting her best face forward will help her find a new home.
Saturday, 10 September 2011
Friday, 12 August 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Ardi came along to our training group gathering and enjoyed following us to set up land marks. A few bumpers got tossed for her and she hammed it up for treats. The real excitement for her was getting to the water marks and for the 1st time in a very long time she did get to bring back 2 birds. At 10 years old, Ardi is still thrilled to get out and bring back the birds. She later had a few long marks thrown with the launcher, which she enjoyed a nice leisurely swim out to and back. She is one happy and tired girl.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
On June 17, 2011 Reese passed the Working Certificate Test at the Saskatoon Retriever Club. Reese ran in the lucky 13th spot in a field of 18 Retrievers.
Neither mark seemed too difficult and the throwers gave every dog a good throw. The only factor that made the long mark difficult was that the dogs were swimming into a very strong wind. The wind caused white caps on the water and when the dogs swam low to fight the wind they seemd to loose sight of the bird. You could see many of the dogs push themselves high up from the water and stretch their necks to see the bird. When they did this it made swimming into the wind difficult.
When the ribbons were handed out 11 of the 18 came away with a pass.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
I’ve found that, sometimes I’m so caught up in getting Reese doing marks or drills that I forget about the importance of line manners. If I allow her to drag me to the line, whine in the blind, cruise the duck pail in training, why would I expect anything different come test day.
It only stands to reason that training sessions aren’t the only place that manners come into play. Poor field or line manners can be traced to poor manners at home. Rushing the door, jumping on people, charging the food bowl or barging out of the crate the minute the door opens, are all signs of little or no self control. If the dog shows little self control in the home environment, how can they be expected to exercise control in the stimulating environment of birds, duck calls and gun shots?
At home I’ve taken a look at the little things that I’ve let slip and have decided to pay closer attention to them. At feeding time Reese is now waiting in a sit for her food bowl to be put down. She is asked to go to her designated spot to lie down when company comes or when I get home, rather then spinning in a frenzy. If she charges the gate or the crate door, I close it. We have gone back to working one of the 1st exercises she learned as a puppy called “Puppy Zen” Puppy zen is puppy self control. In the beginning we just worked at leaving a treat in my hand until invited to take it. It has all kinds of implications for everyday living. So now we are extending it to highly stimulating situations and things of high value, like the duck pail and bumper bag.
We often forget about the basics or the foundation things our dogs learned. When things go wrong in the field, it is a great time to reflect on what’s happening at home.
This is actually step 2 of us getting Reese used to the bike. In these video clips I am going it alone, while my accomplice (Bonnie) video tapes. Reese is doing remarkably well considering the first time out, she barked at the tire pretty much non-stop and has a love affair with barking at moving things.
Reese is wearing a practise harness, the real one will be longer in the back and distribute any pressure more evenly. The D ring that the Walky Dog attaches to will be back further towards Reese's hind end.
The real harness is ready to be picked up and with a few more practises, I think Reese and I will be on the road.
Sunday, 5 June 2011
I had a opportunity to try the Walky Dog, a bike accessory that can make riding with a dog safe and enjoyable. My first dog biking experience was biking with a friends Irish Setters, who are comfortable with the bike and know basic commands like Load up (get the harness on ) Whoa , Left and Right. It was a blast to say the least.
After trying it with the two Setters, we got Reese out, harnessed her up and spent a few minutes walking her beside the bike. Just walking beside the bike was going to be a test, as Reese has always been one to bark at moving objects. Weather it was the vacuum cleaner rolling down the hallway, garage door closing , teeter tipping or anything on wheels, she was sure it needed a talking to. We started by putting the harness on Reese and then attaching her to the bike and we just walked the bike. She barked a little bit, and pulled sideways a bit, but in no time she was keeping a steady distance and pace with the occasional bark. So I decided to get on the bike and ride. Once I got on the bike and started to ride Reese barked the whole time. She only let up when I picked up my speed and she had to concentrate more on keeping up then barking. Surprising though she did not try to pull forward or sideways and did understand when to slow down and turn. I gave the transitions names like “easy” and “left” and “right” but she was really cueing from the bike itself. Heaven knows she couldn’t hear me for the barking.
So I went out and got a Walky Dog attachment for my bike. My friend Monica gave me a harness to use, that belongs to one of her setters. It needs some repair, so while I am waiting for it to get fixed I will work on getting Reese comfortable around the moving bike. Tonight we harnessed Reese in an old tracking harness of Kate’s. Bonnie pushed the bike and I followed along with Reese on leash. I clicked and treated her everytime she made a choice not to bark at the tire. It went remarkably well, she did not bark once, although she did look like she was gearing up to bark, she didn’t. We ended this lesson here and will continue doing this until the biking harness is ready. As always more to come.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
The biggest challenge I could see is that Reese has not done a full height dog walk at the training center. We rarely set the dog walk at full height in the building; the flooring plus the lack of room rarely provide a safe approach. Deb and I were very conscious of the slip hazard and handled the dog walk approach by pushing the dog over a jump set parallel to the dog walk up contact. We let the dog square up their approach before we continued on our path along the walk. Both Reese and Rush have good 2 on 2 off contacts, so handling the dismount was fun and fairly easy.
After having success with this sequence we decided to work on having the dogs discriminate between the tunnel and the dog walk approach. We added a set of 6 weaves directly in line with the dog walk, but on the other side of the jump.
In order to set Reese up to succeed, I started close and approached the 2 obstacles with her on my right. I made a deliberate step sideways towards the tunnel with exaggerated movement. I then backed up about 3 feet on every attempt, until I was sending her from about 15 feet away. Then I switched her to my left side and did the same with the dog walk. I was so close to the dog walk up contact that she would have to duck behind me to take the wrong (tunnel) obstacle. I repeated this a couple of times. Then sent her over the jump directly ahead of the dog walk, had her do the weave poles and wrap back over the jump heading to the dog walk / jump combo. I asked her to do the “Walk” but I think I was late and she had already committed to the tunnel. When she came out I picked her up on my left side with out stopping to tug or reward her I spun her back to the sequence. She took the jump with good speed, completed the weaves quickly, as she turned back toward me I directed her over the jump and clearly said “Walk” . In a split second you could see the wheels turn and she glanced at the tunnel, but then took the walk. I was thrilled; we celebrated and tugged, and ended our session here.
As Bud Houston says in his blog, having success once does not mean we own the behavior. I have to say that I was thrilled with Reese’s honest attempts to process the information I was giving her. As always, much more to come….
Sunday, 6 March 2011
The 7 obstacle sequences we were running were taking between 20 and 27 seconds, from the beginning of the lead out to the last obstacle. Some runs went smoothly, and others not so much, but after each sequence I tugged with Reese for the amount of time we spent on the sequence.
This idea came to me after reading part of Marsha Houston’s Blog “The Two Minute Dog Trainer”. In the blog, Marsha talked about working drills, and that often we get so caught up in getting it right that we don’t reward our dogs for their efforts. I like to think that I am not guilty of doing everything "Just one more time" and forgetting to reward, praise and end when Reese still wants to play. So doing this was a bit of an eye opener for me.
Playing for the same amount of time as we worked was very exhausting, but exhilarating for both Reese and I.
1. Reese was totally focused on what we were doing..Before the sequence, during the sequence and after the sequence.
2. Physically, there was no way that I could tug for a full 27 seconds, though I am sure Reese could. So in the play time, I started running with Reese, so she had to stay with me rather then tug against me. She really seemed to like this and surprising to me she did not cross in front of me, behind me, jump on me or miscue to the tug (read bite me).
3. Having to play for the same amount of time that we worked, really had me breaking things down in to smaller, manageable parts. I worked on 3 obstacles and when I got the hard part., I stopped and played.
My criteria in training is for Reese to do things with speed and motivation. So it makes sense to keep things short and fun rather then try to train when she is tired or disinterested. So really Less is More!.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Ardi knows spin and turn. Which Bonnie taught for use in side changes in the Versatility class in Rally O. I do not know which is which, but I do use those verbals , usually just as a warm up and focus exercise.
Since watching the Dave Munnings video “Q-Me” and since there is still over 2 feet of snow on the ground I think it is time for me to teach the directionals to Reese and see how I can use them.
I started by teaching the left turn with Reese in front of me and using a treat pretty much in front of her nose luring her into a tight turn to the left and naming it Left. We worked left for a number of sessions, cutting back on the lure just using a hand motion with the word Left and treated at the end. Then just said the “Left” and pointed the direction I wanted her to go and then treated. Then we got a tug out, played a little asked her to out the tug, then with no body motion or hand motion , I simply said Left and she went left. At this time I am ¾’s of this process through in teaching the “Right” directional.
While teaching Reese, Ardi has been hanging around throwing her spins and turns in. This morning, I say left to both dogs with no body language, and they both get it. Then I say “right”, Reese gets it but Ardi goes left and looks confused. This is interesting to me, because before when asked the dogs to spin and turn. Reese’s reaction was delayed, like she was waiting to see what Ardi did. Now when I say Left or Right, Reese quickly does it and Ardi’s reaction to the word is delayed and wrong if I say right. I feel the pain in Ardi’s confusion , but Reese on the other hand has it pretty much figured out. Stay tuned for more on our progress with the Left and Right turn.
Sunday, 23 January 2011
We entered 2 Gambler Rounds and 2 Standard rounds. Reese had some really good stuff happening despite the allure of the horse nuggets. She held all her start lines, did 6 and 12 weaves and completed one of the main gambles. She also maintained her criteria of a 2 on 2 off on all contacts, except 1. That one was a biggy and despite it having great crowd appeal, it was not so entertaining to me. In fairness though, I don't think they were laughing at the flyoff, but more at her retaliation to the teeter.
The video shows the flyoff in her 1st Standard run and then after the table it goes on to her 2nd Standard run and it shows she remembers the proper way to do the teeter. Even though Reese was over taken by the arena smells and the zoomies in a few places, I was very happy with a lot of stuff she did and it gave me a good indication of where we are with our training.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Sunday, 16 January 2011
This video is of Reese, Ardi and Bliss practising 3 point barrel. They are preparing for the end of January when our club will be performing a number of public demonstrations at Pet Expo. Pet Expo raises funds for the Regina Humane Society and features a number of booths, demonstrations and mini workshops geared to the pet owner.
This demonstration is fashioned after the rodeo event of barrel racing. The object is for the handler to direct the dog around a clover-leaf pattern of preset barrels in the fastest time. In some of our demos we race dog against dog, with the fastest dog winning. While other times we pair kids and dogs, each takes a turn to run the course and their times are combined. The fastet combined time wins.
The barrels are set fairly close together in this video, mostly because of the building size, but they are also placed closer together while the dogs are learning the pattern. Reese and Bliss are fairly young and new to this type of demonstration, while Ardis is an older dog out to get a little exercise. The handlers of the young dogs are concentrating on tightening up the dogs turns to get a better time. Both young dogs are doing well in their training. We will see if they have perfected their performances enough to be included in the demonstrations at the end of the month.
Saturday, 1 January 2011
In 2010, Bonnie and Ardis completed 100 hours of community service as a Therapy team. Together they visit William Booth Salvation Army Home and take part in various St John's program visits.
Ardis and Bonnie have been part of the St John Ambulance program since 2007 when they were successfully certified as a Therapy team. Certification consists of being evaluated by a qualified evaluator. The dog is evaluated on thier obedience and temperament and the team is put through a number of scenarios they may encounter during visitations.
I am very proud of the work that Bonnie and Ardis do in the community and know that they find it very rewarding.
THERAPY DOG PRAYER
"Creator of all things,
Grant us the humility that the works
We behold with our eyes
Through our Therapy dogs
We may accept in our hearts
As a revelation of your love
For all humanity. "