Goodbye Cougar!

The Mountain Lion has left!  We said goodbye to her Sunday evening and her mom was just so happy to see her again.


Made a little video for her mom!

She got to experience the pool before she left :)


I'm the duck?

Umm...?

And I admit the house feels empty with just 3 dogs!  I'm sure Zumi will be enjoying her rest.  Zumi put up with a lot from Cougar even with Cougar finally learning to settle down.


 Although since she's in the thrones of heat Zumi's not exactly going anywhere.
  Xrated!


The boys are still amazing about it.  Lance is basically like a monk.  I questioned him about his saintness and he just stated that he has no balls, duh.  Vito has been doing some flirting back but he's listening super well to my no shenanigans speech.  And Zumi is majorly flirting, but also still quite the bitch about changing her mind if he even looks like he's going to take action.  I'm hoping she will be done pretty soon.

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First Dock Diving Trial

Vito was scheduled to compete in his first dock diving competition yesterday.  That was before his little injury of course.  Timing just sucks.  I decided to take him and have fun anyway though.  Maybe we will regret it, maybe not.  He's done a few laser treatments this last week and has more scheduled and of course zero issues seen since he hasn't done any agility work.

So we went, good plan or not.  Vito has only had the 2 practice sessions before, back in mid March.  Dock diving isn't really something I plan on seriously training for, we just want to dabble.  It was an interesting experience as I haven't been a newbie at a competition in a long time.  Completely clueless on not only how trials run but really the sport in general too!

Unfortunately I thought it was a really sad experience for a newbie.  I've remember my first obedience trial, rally trial, agility trial, and disc dog trial and this was by far the least welcoming.  It's sad when an AKC obedience trial is more helpful and welcoming than this!  I love obedience, but man I know AKC trials aren't exactly new exhibitor friendly!  Really my negative experience wasn't with the sport itself though but with this particular organization.

We were one of the first to arrive at the trial and after finding a place to setup, I walked Vito around the site and went to check in.  It was in a parking lot of a shopping center so I'm sure they had many visitors, but I clearly had a dog in tow and was looking for help.  I was ignored and wasn't sure I was even at the check in table.  I guess I was as eventually I was turned to and was checked off a list.  I excitedly shared that I was brand new(!) and all I got back was crickets.  Shuffled back to our setup to wait for the pool to open for warm up jumps of which I had no clue when that would start.

Vito was actually doing really well with everything.  Until he saw one of the organizers jumping their dog.  Then he began his Toller Screaming!  Was able to keep him mostly under control and calm-ish at the crate.

Eventually heard the announcement that the pool was open for warm up and went to stand in line.  Left Vito with Adam so that he didn't have to lose his mind just standing in line.  Finally Vito's turn!  We went up the stairs and I didn't even know there was a little gate that slid across to prevent the dog jumping off the ramp part until I saw others using it.  Luckily Vito didn't need it!  I really thought he would be hesitant at first so I had him all the way at the edge for our first throw.  Vito screamed his head off and leaped in :)  And then he proceed to keep accidently pawing his frisbee and pushing it under water.  The guy had to get the pool scooper to grab the toy and Vito wouldn't come up the ramp, instead he kept freaking out over his sinking toy and/or trying to get to me up the dock itself.  I apologize several times and state that I'm new but the guy doesn't say anything back really.  I just promised that I'd use a different type of toy later.

After hauling Vito out I get back in line to try again once I see everyone has gone.  But then exit when I can tell there won't be enough of a break before Vito runs for real.  He's listed as second.  Second, but apparently it's really first as the first team is the owner's dog and I don't realize it's not one of the practice jumps.  There's no briefing or anything like at other sports I've been to, we just start.

First throw I hold Vito maybe 8ft back from the dock and release him as I throw it.  He goes 10ft!  And apparently that's 1in over the novice division!  Yay Vito!  I used a bumper toy as I didn't bring any other type of frisbee  and don't really know if another disc would work better with Mr. Flaily or not.  Vito is the only dog around that I see in a life jacket :)

Throw #2 I try having Vito back a bit further and pretty much release and throw again.  But the toy doesn't really get out ahead of him before he takes off and Vito's jump is 8ft 6.

Then we wait.  It would have been nice to get some pointers but nobody talked to us or even gave a welcoming smile.
I didn't have Vito registered for any jumps at the next hour as I wasn't sure what was normal and thought a break would be good.  But since Vito was having a hard time fully relaxing in the environment I thought I would go see if he could move his jump up.  I waited until it looked like the score table was done announcing awards and looked free.  Apparently I was wrong as when I asked my question I was snapped at and told to wait until everyone had picked up their awards.  So I sat on the curb right next to the table and waited.  And waited.  There was a bit of activity but then pretty much nothing.  Finally after 15min of being ignored but obviously waiting I stand back up.  I am at least turned to now and asked if I have a question (not in a polite manner).  Apparently the answer was it's full so we waited.  Vito did relax for a little while before he started getting antsy.  It reminded me of his first few disc dog events where Vito didn't yet understand the structure.  Vito likes rules and routines so it didn't take long for him at disc events to understand about turns and relaxing when it wasn't his turn.  I'm sure that if we go to more dock diving events Vito would start to get it.

Throw #3 I tried to have Vito wait in a down stay. Didn't work so well!  And I'm not great at splitting my focus ahead of me vs on my dog and had the worst throw of the event.  Way to low.  Vito jumps 6.5ft I think.  We just keep getting worse!

Throw #4 I try the down stay again.  Still from a very short distance.  Vito does a bit better job and while my throw is late it's at least higher.  Somehow he managed to jump 10ft again!
Since that 1in puts him out of novice and into open we have zero chances at ribbons.



I would do it again.  But maybe with a different organization.  Both Vito and I tried our hardest even though neither of us knew what we were doing.  And this was also a great reminder to smile and be welcoming to newbies at every event I'm at.

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Cougar's Last Week of Training

We're down to Cougar's last week with us.  She's 5.5 months old now and really has been an easy puppy.  Laid back, cuddly, and confident with everything.  Of course that self confidence does get her in trouble!  But Cougar really is starting to "care" and pay heed to our warnings.  Our house is never clean and Cougar doesn't pick up objects to chew on as much anymore.  She's starting to come the first time she's called.  And Cougar did finally tone down the constant wanting to play with Zumi.


Training wise the biggest feat I think I accomplished was getting Cougar to think around food.  My first goal with her was getting her to understand that staring at food did not ever cause it to land in her mouth.  It was all about moving away from food in order to get it.  I have no problems training with her food bowl on the ground anymore and she doesn't get nearly as stuck anymore with shaping.  Still a work in progress but I'm happy with her progress in such a short time!

Other tasks trained:
Heelwork: Great pivots on a perch and mostly is pretty good about doing tight pivots off the perch and a bit of side stepping on both my left and right side.  Does tend to cheat still at times and that pesky auto sit she had can get in the way.  I think I mostly succeeded in breaking that auto sit ;)  We tried some heeling backwards but she's not quite ready for that.

Fronts: Lured between my legs to teach her to come close, straight, and do a tucked sit.  We are now working on getting her position slightly less between my legs.  Cougar is working on angled fronts right now but struggles often.

4 Feet in a box: Something we played with early on but haven't done in a while.  A very hard exercise for Cougar!!!  We struggled with the big box, finally succeeded and never got the smaller box.  Controlling her back legs is hard!

2o2o: Cougar learned that back feet on an object pays.  She can back up to 3 feet to get into position but this is a very hard exercise for her and it makes sense considering how hard the 4 feet in exercise was.  Cougar has only recently started to learn coming forward into the 2o2o position on her box like she would for beginning agility foundations.

Out around a cone: Cougar is working on distance and can still get stuck staring at a cookie in my hand.  Her max is around 8ft but usually we are sticking around 3ft to build more confidence.  Just recently I started rear crosses on the cone and sending sometimes to 2 cones before rewarding.
I found it fascinating with Cougar that it has been difficult getting her to run on either the send or the return.  Even with me running away or throwing the reward she just happily trots after :)

Beg: Just started this last week!  Cougar likes it because she can stare at the cookie.

Reverse through my legs: I started this trick to help with Cougar learning to backup in heel position.  Cougar has a solid 1ft backup to end up between my legs and we're working on both distance towards me and maintaining backing up once she's between my legs.

Scootch: Cougar offered backing up in a down her second week with me and I ran with it.  We had a short distance built up but I haven't visited it recently.

Retrieve: Here is where we made the least progress.  When we first started she of course wouldn't move away from my food hand to interact with an object but we worked through that.  Progressed from nose touches (and quite a few paw attempts) to biting.  And she was just starting to get tiny holds and then we stalled out.  I think her teething played a big role here so I put this on hold.

Moving Downs: Just started!  I think yesterday's session was her 2nd introduction to the concept of lying down from a walk.  With the help of a food hand to keep her focused and I ended up pushing my hand slightly in towards her chest to get more of a fold back as Cougar wasn't consistently folding the way I liked.

Here is a long video of Tuesday's training session, just edited out the times I went to grab more food.

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The Kitty Wheel Progress

Kitty still cracks me up with his wheel.  According to Adam he never uses it if I'm not home.  But as soon as I come home from work he hops on it.  After dinner he hops on it again.  Of course I usually pay him with small pieces of bland kibble.  On average he probably gives me about 20-25sec before stopping to see if I'm looking and then he will keep going for another short burst.  If I decide I'm not going to pay him that session it takes him a few minutes before he gives up.  Otherwise he will go off and on for about 15min at a time.  Good kitty.


I can't say I've ever seen him run on the wheel.  In the videos most of the cats run and love to do so.  Kitty just walks.

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Club Donations

The weekend didn't get to go quite as planned.  With Zumi not being able to attend the trial due to being in heat, just Vito and I trucked it up to St. Cloud.  I had thought he was fully recovered from his minor shoulder injury that was effecting him at the UKI trial 3 weeks ago.  Vito had been on full restriction for not quite 2 weeks and then just limited (no toys, no agility) for another week and was looking great.

But sadly he didn't seem his normal (whatever that means for Vito) self at the trial.  Jumpers was his first run and he knocked 4 bars.

There was a vet there doing massage therapy and I took Vito over for a visit.  Still very stiff in his right shoulder.  She did some work and thought Vito looked afterwards.  We discussed running him in standard to see how it would go.
In standard Vito looked better and was certainly very happy, yay!  But knocked 2 bars.  I scratched him from the rest of the day and knew we wouldn't be back on Sunday.  Vito just likes to make nice donations to clubs now.

So today we went off to get in a chiropractic appointment which actually went pretty well and the vet was pleased with how he looked afterwards.  We will hopefully do a few sessions of laser therapy in the next few weeks and hope that a little more active approach will fix it.

Since I wouldn't even know about any remaining issues he's having if it wasn't for the knocked bars, I decided to just keep him on minimal restriction status for now.  Vito's trips to the parks aren't anything like crazy Zumi's trips.


Why won't you throw something!!!

The Mountain Lion was a good girl!  She came every time I called and checked in frequently on her own.

Cougar follows Zumi everywhere, while Zumi tries hard to follow Vito.  Zumi had a harder time losing her shadow than Vito did losing his.


Group shot!

Oh, hi Corgi!  I didn't see you there ;)

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In Season

I hate being right sometimes.  I've been waiting for Zumi to come into heat again for awhile now.  When the UKI trial was approaching in April I knew that she would hold off.  Because dogs in heat are allowed to compete in UKI agility of course!  I figured she would wait and wait until right before the USDAA trial next weekend.  And sure enough.


Just over 8 months since her last cycle.  I guess Zumi really wanted me to fully realize the pros and cons of doing the ovary sparing spay vs a traditional spay.  Sigh.

There's not a ton of local USDAA (or UKI) trials in this area so it's going to be awhile before Zumi gets to experience her second trial I guess.

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Cougar in the Wild

This weekend the little Mountain Lion went on her first park adventure with my crew.  It was a disaster.  I forgot that Puma's are wild things and aren't meant to be in captivity.  Cougar said it was the moment she had been waiting for.  Within 30 seconds of being let free she managed to find something and run around with it.  I thought it was a stick.  I was wrong.  The Mountain Lion found her first catch, although since she is still a cub it was already dispatched for her.  Squirrel?  Gopher?  Something decently sized at least.  And Cougar was not going to let anyone near her prize.

The other dogs were good.  They all listened and stopped chasing the crazed wild lion and pretty much stood frozen, stunned at her bravery.

Pleading with the lion didn't help, nor did giving the other dogs treats.  We almost got her cornered in some thicker brush but alas she scrambled just inches out of reach.  It took her quite a while to down her large find as we watched helplessly.  I kinda figured she would just lick her lips and we would resume our walk together.  But with the taste of blood she realized that didn't need us humans after all and the cub just sauntered away.

Luckily Adam was along so he could stay put with the good dogs.  And after I realized she wasn't coming back for nothing and was completely oblivious to all my recall tricks, I took after her.  She exited the park completely and while my mind was picturing her being run over by a car, I was also grateful that a lion in suburbia would be easily recognized and could perhaps be tempted to come visit.  I lost track of her as I stood in the driveway of the direction she went and then I luckily surprised her as she came around one of the cars and ran straight into my feet, cursing her bad luck.

Since we had really just arrived at the park and it was too hot to leave the wild creature in the car, I reluctantly snapped her leash back on and proceeded to drag her around on our walk.  Cougar got to watch the other dogs frolic but I'm pretty sure she didn't regret her decision one bit.


Sunday we visited a smaller park and this time she donned the long line of shame.  And she needed it, at first.  While I did not use the long line to ever reel her in, her first few recalls she tried to strain at the end of the line.  And then she realized she really liked cookies after all.

Slowly she earned a bit of freedom in being allowed to drag her long line.  


And really she redeemed herself on day 2.  Of course it helped that she didn't find any tasty snacks on our walk this time.

And now we need to work on that stay too.

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Nosework Week 4

The boys are continuing to practice their new nosework skills and learning about different hiding places for their tin.  Still making it fairly obvious to them where the hiding places might be but adding in some different heights.  And every once in a while attaching the tin directly to one of the cabinets.

Lance is still very prone to grabbing his tin when he finds it instead of doing his nice nose touch.  And I'm not sure how much he's really sniffing the room yet to narrow down his search parameters instead of just searching the obvious locations until he directly stumbles upon the scent.  Overall he's doing a pretty good job of continuing to search without asking for help and is fairly calm.  Lance might false alert or just stare at me if he gets stuck.



Vito is much more frantic in his searching.  Most sessions I can see him doing a more obvious job of sniffing the air for the general location but there's also many more times when he gets way too high and not thinking.  Usually the first search is like that and then if it takes too long to find the scent on later ones.  Typically his nose alerts are pretty good but for some reason in this session he was wanting to retrieve.  Vito rarely false alerts.



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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

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