Online Classes!

Nope, I guess I didn't fix Zumi's new toy switching issue after all.  She's not blowing off the toy nearly as much but still doing quite a bit of air sniffing and now running slower.

I finally figured out that the sudden issue with her running dogwalk training is stemming from this toy switching preference.  Zumi's running bouncier and slightly less in extension because she simply doesn't care as much for the toy I'm throwing after 2 throws.  Before this epiphany came to me I recently dismantled my dogwalk again and went all the way back to step 1- 2 boards flat on the ground.  But I suppose why we work on the toy issue it's good to be at the easiest level possible.

And in other news I signed Zumi up for a working spot in Silvia's online foundation agility class!  Silvia is my hero of the agility world and I've always wanted to try a class with her.  Some structure would be good for me to start working Zumi on more than just running on a plank after a ball :)

And of course for those obedience/rally people out there, there is still room in MY online Ring Confidence class that started today!


Zumi- Bad Training Habit

Zumi still struggling on learning to adjust her stride for running dogwalk training.  Doing amazing though at zero leaps, all misses are striding over.  Channel weave pole training is going well.  The poles are still very wide and we're about 80% accurate on entries from 10:30 to 2:30.  Going further down the clock isn't happening without help from my body being in the way :)

But in our training sessions I've discovered another naughty problem for the Duck.  Zumi has recently started blowing off a thrown toy to go in search of another one.  She runs after the thrown toy then starts air sniffing and searching for something better.  I didn't think it was that big of a deal when she immediately found a toy hidden in the grass so I switched to playing with that one.  And in doing so I created a bad habit.  Several more times since that first decision Zumi has tried to go off hunting for a new toy in the middle of a session, even if no obvious toy exists.  Even her favorite toys weren't immune to the switch habit.

At first I tried doing a distance down and giving a mini time out before resuming.  After 2 downs I had to quit the session.  And trained Vito.  That pissed her off!  Knock on wood our problem is going away.  I think I ended the session a total of 3 times since the habit started and then just did one down time out on a 4th session.  She's had a few sessions since then with no signs of wandering.

It doesn't really bother me that she wants to switch toys.  I like variety and mixing things up is just fine!  But it does bother me that Zumi will disengage in the middle of a training session to find something better to do.  Training time is a privilege so if she doesn't want to work than she loses her turn.  I have made a mental note though of her preference and will sometimes bring 2 toys out to a training session so I can choose to switch


Vito Utility Dog!

Went back int the utility ring for day #2.  I didn't have quite the drivey dog at the trial that I did on Saturday so I worked hard at getting him revved up outside of the ring before our turn.

The entrance was at the far end, away from the stewards table but closer to more activity.  Pros and cons.  Vito actually did a fabulous ring entrance, complete with a tiny scream as I did a little oppositional push before going in the ring.  Excellent leash removal, and setup right at the entrance.

Unfortunately since the CDSP signal exercise really doesn't involve heeling, judges have the option of either heeling down the length to an about turn and stand, or just a simple forward-right/left turn-stand.  The short setup was picked today and while Vito did a fantastic job of heeling for the short duration, I think he would have done better with the longer pattern like yesterday's run to help him settle into the ring.  The stand was literally done at the 13sec mark.  Something to prepare Vito for in the future!!!

So Vito gave me a blank look on the down signal.  I paused and then gave him a second down signal which he did.  No issues on sit and came quickly on the come.
Nice fast articles.
Go outs he wasn't marking very well.  Did a lovely first send though.  Second send he started to turn  just a bit early.
Gloves we had the exact same issue as Saturday.  Not pivoting with me for a left pivot, just staring at me until I give him a second command to heel.  Then playing with the first glove and dropping it at my feet.  Second glove was nice although we had quite the delay before the send as the judge wanted a chair removed for some reason.
No issue with the moving stand.

Overall I was very happy with the run!  Certainly not as enthusiastic as Saturday's run and I needed to work harder on our transitions and setups too.  But no major stress issues and he still seemed very engaged.

Since CDSP allows 2nd commands as points off versus an NQ, Vito technically qualified and earned his Utility Dog title.  


Utility Q!

The Toller had a CDSP trial this afternoon.  Decided to enter just utility A this weekend since he finished his open "championship" in June.

And he had one of the best runs of his life.  Great ring entrance.  Great enthusiasm on the exercises themselves.  Great engagement during transitions. And great setups.

Did you see we even managed to qualify!  I thought it was Vito's first leg, but it turned out it was his second.  I forgot Vito entered utility a year ago and although he needed second hand signals at that time for each portion of the signal exercise, that is still qualifiable in CDSP as long as you don't talk.  So today was his second leg, and was qualifying even by AKC standards.  The first glove send just made me smile at how much fun he was having!

Looking over the video I see that he did do some looks the judge at setups, but was easily redirected through a nose bridge, placing my hand on his chest or by re-marking where he should be looking. Vito doing a nose bridge/pocket hand so quickly under stress has been a long time in the making!

Vito gets another go at it tomorrow and my fingers are crossed he will be just as happy to play with me.  Regardless of how it goes, I will at least treasure this moment

And since I know there are at least a few people out there who actually read this blog, I am unashamedly going to push you to sign up for my Ring Confidence class at the Fenzi Academy!  I am new and people are scared of jumping on board!  But I would love to try and problem solve your dog's ring issues and emphasize!  I am blending Denise's lectures with mine and also creating new ones for you guys!


Back to Normal

Well tomorrow ends (*fingers still crossed*) THREE weeks of Vito and the other pet dogs not being allowed at work.  Two weeks was bad enough and then the unexpected third week did me in.  The longest and seriously most desperate 3 weeks of my life trying to manage Vito's schedule and get to work myself at the same time.  A HUGE thanks the amazing dog community as people stepped up that I barely know.  And I was at that grasping at straws level to accept.  It meant lots of driving all across the metro but we made it.

And with the decision made to put Vito back on Clorazepate he actually handled the drives really well.  For the first time in a month he has stopped panicking in cars again.

Vito did pretty well on his adventures, at least so I'm told.   While he's not a fan of change to his routines, Vito does relax pretty well as long as he's not alone.  He doesn't even need to know the person.    Which is good, as Vito only knew 2 of his baby sitters!  Was even good with a no furniture rule at one house!

Discovering doggy beds can be ok after all if a couch is off limits.

I am so looking forward to life resuming back to our "normal" highly managed life.  De-stress me.


Ring Confidence Class

I'm getting excited for my first online class!  Ring Confidence registration begins today at 1:30pm central time.   My absolute favorite topic, although still quite the journey to get Vito fully there.

I would love to see some of my readers join in.  If you're thinking about competing in obedience/rally and haven't yet taken the plunge it's a nice class to prevent problems.  Or if you already started competing and are seeing your dog deflate in the ring, fix it now before it becomes a bigger issue.

My goals for this Ring Confidence class are to

1. Build the dog's drive, focus, and want to for entering the ring.
2. Teach the dog what to expect when entering the ring at a trial so that focus can stay on the handler. 3. Teach the handler how to best support their dog in a trial environment.


Zumi's Training Update

Started Zumi's first several sessions of channel weave poles this month.  Going to be taking it slow and no real weaving action for several more months yet.  But in the meantime we will work entries and independence.  Zumi is excited about any learning that involves running full speed!  The girl certainly has no issues with driving ahead towards the reward line.

Running dogwalk training kinda resumes.  I did some experimentation with reward throwing time and pre placing the reward and didn't find much to go on.  Zumi has learned not to put her cape on and fly but it still boils down to having no clue that she is to adjust her stride to aim for the end of the board yet.  So I might go back to the board completely flat, and actually use 2 boards on the ground and just see if I can get that concept in.  I didn't have any criteria when we are on the flat stage previously other than no leaping.  Mainly assuming that she would get it as we went through jackpot training the best hits and using starting placement to help her out.  But it hasn't happened.  But I decided in the meantime I'll also go back to grafting the plank onto a full dogwalk and work on raising the height.  Zumi has done extremely well with that setup, it was just adding in the speed of the full dogwalk that she couldn't get.

Scent article training has been dying down.  Losing commitment, on my end.  Zumi is at the point where I'm having a mixed article pile with me sitting in front of the pile.  Accuracy is fairly high and only rarely does she get grabby now.

Obedience fronts are coming along pretty well.  Not sure that I'm sold on my experimentation, but I'm moving onto my next step.  I've recently stopped allowing her to shove her face between my legs and have been locking up.  We're getting some accuracy and surprisingly also fading the physical contact faster than I thought.

Trick training has resumed!  Working on a few new tricks for the first time in several weeks if not months.  Starting penguin, wrapping in a blanket, and clean up.


Training in Public

Ouch.  What I thought I was going to be videotaping was Vito choosing to look around a bit on the first session, ignoring me, and then choosing to engage.  Instead we hopped onto a time warp and fell back a year or more on our journey.  The first session Vito didn't engage at all in 5 minutes.  This second session is about 15-20min after the first one.  While Vito seemed to connect a bit better, you can tell that he's really not into it and that becomes even more obvious after he receives a reward.

I used too much pressure to try and will him to play with me and the result shows.  Trying harder than your dog is never helps in the long run and it certainly won't get you trial ready.

Zumi is doing well with focusing in new places.  I pushed her a bit too hard in this session but lesson learned for next time.  With a dog eager to play it's hard to do any lasting damage :)

And finally here is a recent session from Vito training for dinner at home.  I ran into some errors that were very unexpected and apparently were bigger issues than I thought at the time.  I should have either had a higher reward rate for when he was correct, or abandon what he was struggling with and come back to it later when it likely would not have even been a problem.  But Vito was focused and happy and I'll be more prepared if he makes some of the same mistakes in the future.

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

Email: lkwaudby (at)

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