Tag Archives: dog training

Catching up….

I just don’t know what happened to March. It flew by and was very busy. I attended an out of town show, have been training CB in agility and doing a lot of Pilates among other things things. Even though I’ve been busy CB and Kona have still been getting their walks in and we’ve finally had some nicer weather.
Here are some things that have kept us busy of the last couple of weeks in no specific order….

March has had mostly miserable weather but it finally has started to warm up and we’ve been able to get out for some of our longer walks. We also explored a couple new parks; Bowmont and Baker.

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As well as hitting our favorite place for walks – Edworthy Park. The ice formations are pretty awesome right now and make for some interesting photo ops.

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A couple weeks ago I went to a show in Camrose and we drove out from Calgary during treacherous road conditions. I went to help a friend show some poms and her friends chihuahua’s and also entered Kona in 1 Pre-Novice trial and 2 Rally Advanced runs to try and finish his Rally Advanced Title. I didn’t do so great in the conformation ring with the Chi but did better with my friends pom (Remmie) even though I didn’t get any points on him.

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This is my friend’s pom puppy Remmie. Pretty cute little guy.

Kona did well and got his first Q in Pre-Novice and got his 3rd leg in Rally Advanced for that Title and is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RA.  Woohoo! It was a little too close for comfort running between the rings and on the Saturday I ran from the Rally ring to the conformation ring with about 5 minutes to spare. Missed getting Kona’s Q ribbon from the judge (and third in class ribbon) as I left when right as we finished our run but I was able to pick it up after we were all done.

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I didn’t get a picture of Kona in the Rally ring but here he is on the grooming table getting a little touch up before his title photo with the judge.

Last weekend it was really nice and I found a Canine Good Neighbor test to take Kona too – he pass it easily. It was a lot less stressful for me doing the test with Kona than it was with CB last year, I guess my confidence has also improved over the last year.

CB and I have been spending our training time together focusing on agility. I’ve done 3 agility training seminars this month and one of them was with Kathy Keats. It was interesting to do her seminar with a faster dog this year. One of the skills she helped me with was pulling CB through threadles. His speed has picked up but we slow down when the handling is a little more complicated such as where I need to wrap him or bring him through a threadle.

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Kathy has such great insight and the time I got to spend with her was even more amazing than it was last year. I have a better idea of where I need to be to pull CB through a threadle quickly. It was so worth the time and Kathy and a couple other participants remarked how much quicker we were than last year.

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This weekend is going to be a little busy. My agility club is hosting a two day trial and it’s also the weekend of the Red Deer show. I love the Red Deer show, CB has usually done well there but the agility trial is my priority. He only needs one Rally Excellent Q for his title so I entered him in the Friday in Red Deer and then we’re in my club’s agility trial Saturday and Sunday. And I’m also helping in conformation and showing Remmie again. Fortunately the show schedule is working out much better than it did in Camrose as I’m in one ring in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

This weekend is probably going to be too much for CB though with how long we’ll be in Red Deer. I think it might be too much for me…. The weather is supposed to be crap too so the drive to Red Deer might not be that great. Oh and did I mention that I’ve been focusing on agility? When we’ve been practicing our Q ratio has been about 50% with Rally at this level. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes and I hope he (and me!) won’t be too tired on Saturday when we are in the barn.

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Wordless Wednesday #21 – Dog and Pony show

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This is part of a blog hop. To join in and to see who else is participating visit our host, BlogPaws. Make sure to comment and say Hello when you visit other blogs.

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Our experience with Dog-Dog Greetings

I meant to do this post on our experience with Dog-Dog Greetings a few months ago. This was a smaller seminar that was part of the 10 week lifestyles training class we did with Kona last fall. It was good to do this with Kona as we had confined him for several months while recovering from the plate being removed from his leg, and he’s been really hesitant around unfamiliar dogs regardless of size. Since we do go to dog shows where there are lots of other dogs we have been working on his confidence.

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First off I would like to mention that I am sharing a part of our experience with dog-dog greetings. Please note that we had a trainer available to guide us through this, to observe and ensure that we had positive greetings. If you are reading this post and your dog is reactive please contact a trainer/behaviorist for help with your dog. Kona does lack confidence around unfamiliar dogs and we feel that it is important to build that confidence but in an appropriate way. I am not a behaviorist and there is not enough information in this post to guide someone through a proper greeting. Inappropriately matched or executed greetings can go sideways and result in hurt dogs or people.

We had learned at a prior canine communication seminar that a proper dog greeting should go from the muzzle, to the neck and then to the rear. To be able to execute this we needed to make sure we kept the dog’s leashes nice and loose and to keep the greetings as short as they needed to be so that they were positive experiences.

Not all the dogs were appropriate for Kona to greet. We looked for lower energy dogs and we had two types of positive greetings. Ones where Kona was relaxed and in neutral body position near the other dog, generally in cases where the other dog was considerably larger than him.

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And with smaller dogs we had some great greetings with good progression from the muzzle onward. The photos were good to look at afterward in that we were able to see that we had the leash too tight on more greetings that we realized. Something that we need to keep in mind for future greetings to be successful.

Even though you can’t see either dog’s faces in the photo below, both dogs have a nice curved body position and this was a really nice calm greeting that we let go on for a couple of minutes.

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CB and Kona do greet larger dogs on occasion as we don’t want them barking or reacting to larger dogs when we are on walks or at shows. We do not let them play with dogs that are inappropriately sized to them. As friendly and nice as a bigger dog may be, a larger dog even stepping on a dog CB and Kona’s size can cause an injury.

Resolutions

Have you made any resolutions for the New Year? I haven’t and I generally don’t. I was thinking that I might like to participate in a challenge and was a little tempted by a couple.

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Lexi and Daizy getting a little breather so I could take a photo for their owners.

The first challenge I considered is Jessica’s from You Did What With Your Wiener. She is doing a 30/30 challenge to walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days starting Jan 1. I thought about it but then figured it would be cheating a little since CB and Kona get a 1 hour walk nearly every day and that I also hit the gym/studio for cardio, yoga and pilates classes 4 times a week.

Today for example I did two 35 minute walks, I split the dogs up into two groups so that I could go faster with a smaller group of dogs. I generally walk a pace of 5km/hour and find it a little tricky to keep that pace up with 5 dogs by myself and keep everyone on the safe side of the street (away from traffic). Lexi and Daizy were my first victims and they did 2.88km with me. I love my walktracker app, I just wish I didn’t forget to turn it off when the walk is done most times.

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I found out from Something Wagging this way Comes that January is Dog Training month and that I could participate in a 30 day dog training challenge. Again since CB and Kona trial it would be silly to not to keep up with training, plus we do classes each week and I work on some skill each day even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.

So pretty quickly I lost my resolve to make a new resolution for something. But I do realize that there is something that I’ve not kept up as well as I should. I do a good job of doing Kona’s leg stretches and the mobility at the elbow of the leg he broke has improved over 100 degrees. But that is all that I’ve done. I haven’t kept up the other exercises and I haven’t been keeping up with CB’s conditioning exercises as I should.  So perhaps instead of making a resolution I promise that I will spend the 5mins that each of them need 3 times / week to make sure they stay safe and healthy so that I can play with them in the ring.

Weekend Recap

Wow – what a weekend.

Saturday we were at the wrap up to Kona’s 10 week training class. The “canine olympics” were so much fun. We competed in a team relay (skills centered) event, team trivia and then the fun really started. A musical chairs sit-stay. I’d explain it but I think it would be easier to just show a picture.

The event ended with a stay (sit or down) competition. Kona broke his stay when his neighbor was recalled in – taken out by another black and tan no less.

It was fun nonetheless, and the 1st place team ribbon was the icing on the cake.

Here is his class photo – we happened to be in the “pom” class. Unbelievable that that many dogs can sit still in such close proximity.

On Sunday I had CB entered in the Calgary Agility Association (AAC) trial. I had CB entered in a Standard, Gamblers and Jumpers run just like the last trial. Not like the last trial CB ran. He ran the fastest he has in a trial in a while.

The standard run was first and the first obstacle was the hoop. We definitely need to work on starts because that is where we lost time. He went up to the electronic eye, put his nose past the plane enough to start the timer and then went under the hoop. The rest of the run was fast and he was motivated and was quick thru the chute. We lost time on the weave poles though. This is the second Starters run that we’ve encountered with 12 weave poles and I see that I need to be working 12 as much as I work him with 6.  We didn’t Q but I was so thrilled with how he ran.

Our Gamblers run was a bit of  a mess. Our run was slow and a little chaotic. But our Jumpers run was amazing! CB was really fast, the run was clean and I thought he was quick enough to Q. When I saw the time I was surprised to see we were 8.5 seconds over as he ran so much quicker than the time he was 2 seconds over. But when I thought about it I know exactly where he lost time.

The start – first obstacle was also the hoop and he put his nose in the plane of the electronic timer, started the clock and just stood there, maybe for about 4 – 6 seconds. He was also slow going thru the last tunnel and we lost about 5 seconds in the chute. It was a really great run and I’m thrilled with how fast he was – we are definitely getting there. We’ve managed to build up speed over more than the last half of the course, now I just need to figure out how to get him moving quicker off the start.

An update on Kona’s Obedience training

I haven’t written a lot about Kona’s current training regimen because we’ve been so busy in training classes there really hasn’t been a lot of time to write about everything that we’ve been doing. He’s been a busy little dog.

Kona is currently in a weekly competitive obedience class and we also have him enrolled in a 10 week lifestyle training course that we go to 3 times a week. We are doing the 10 week course to complement his competitive obedience training. The 10 week course is outside in mostly busy areas, involves a larger number of dogs of varying sizes and energy levels and it has given us a lot of opportunity to work around many types of distractions. Kona was so unfocused/distracted at the AKC summer show I thought this course would be really helpful as we did it last year with CB and it helped him gain more confidence around other dogs.

With the months of confinement we went thru after Kona’s leg surgery he’s unsure of dogs that are higher energy and can sometimes react to them. And in competitive obedience the dogs that are often competing are higher drive and energy so keeping him calm and focused during the group stays is very important.

A couple of the more beneficial aspects of this course has been the seminars that were included. There was a canine communication seminar, canine health, nutrition and first aid seminars, a handling other dogs session, a dog-dog greeting session as well as a choice of reactive dog or dog play session. This course is pretty well rounded and we enrolled more to have Kona around as many dogs as possible than to focus on skills. But the improvement on his skills has been a wonderful occurrence.

The communications seminar focused on the types of different canine postures and signals and set the stage for the dog-dog greetings as well as the reactive dog or play session. The handling other dogs had your pup with 5 other handlers over a two hour period and the pups were put through the paces of skills work with someone other than their owner.

The course is coming to an end this weekend with a Canine Olympics. I don’t expect we’ll be tops for the sit and down stay competitions but I think we’re already winners since Kona won’t react to other dogs breaking their stay around him.

Since this post is already long I’ll follow-up on the communication and dog-dog greetings seminars next week. We had some varied results with that and it’s a post all it’s own.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Geometry

CB and Kona helped out with this weeks topic. We headed into downtown Calgary for some sit stays showcasing some of the city’s geometry. A bonus is that I find using different obstacles and objects for stays really works at reinforcing them and being in the busy part of the city adds a few distractions as well.

This last one is like the “Where’s Waldo” of stays. Can you see Kona is this one?

Tracking Lesson #5

Lucky CB had two weekends in a row of tracking. Just over a week ago we were out and did Lesson 5 (1.5) from Sil Sander’s Enthusiastic Tracking book which we have been slowly working through. Hopefully it wasn’t the last nice weekend – the weather the last few days has been more like this.

A few weeks ago I kind of screwed up Tracking Lesson 4 and jumped ahead in the book by mistake. It was interesting going back to tracks with more bait and no aging.

CB with his nose to the ground following the track.

I set three tracks ranging in length from 30, 60 and 120m, tracks were to be straight and bait at 10m intervals. A couple of things that were interesting – CB  was casting across the track which he didn’t do with Lesson 4 and for several of the food drops he over shot them, came back and then kept going forward. I also took a chance and put in a corner on the third track. The corner was out of necessity as I ran out of park and decided to make a corner instead of cutting the track short. He nailed the turn so I really need to think about what we should be doing next.

Because we have a few agility trials in the next month CB will be on tracking hiatus until mid-November so I don’t confuse him on when he can and can’t track. Not tracking two weeks before a trial seems to be the right amount of time. He really loves doing this and it’s been a great reward for him.

Tracking Lesson 4

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to find a place and some time to take CB for another tracking session. It’s been since Donna’s urban seminar that we last tracked and I wasn’t too sure how he would do. I should know better – this little guy loves his tracking.

Here’s a recap of what we did yesterday.

I laid three tracks at 20, 40 and 80 meters length, all three into the wind and aged them for 8 minutes before we started. The park we tracked in today was surrounded by trees on three sides and I think there was some scent pooling that caused CB to fringe a little. Overall he did great.

The three tracks I laid for CB. Tracks are 20, 40 and 80 m in length.

I should have done Session 1.4 from Sil Sanders’ Enthusiastic Tracking book but I goofed up when I jotted down my notes from the book and took down the track descriptions from Session 2.4. It should have been obvious that I read the wrong lesson as the tracks were to be aged 8 minutes, and we haven’t done any aged tracks yet. The track lengths between the two lessons are the same, but not only are the Lesson 2 tracks aged, there was only one food drop on the shorter tracks and 2 on the 80 m track. This should have been tougher for him considering we haven’t tracked in over a month.

Next Tracking lesson we’ll go back to the Session 1 series, but it did turn out to be a good mistake moving on to a more advance track. CB did great without the extra bait and he actually is following the track.

Wordless Wednesday – RED HOT

I recently discovered that there is a Wordless Wednesday pet bloggers blog hop. Join or check out other bloggers posts at blogpaws.
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