Go Click Challenge- Back Onto Object

  This week's challenge was to teach the dogs to put their back feet onto an object. 

 
Lance
 Lance had already been taught to get into this position for his 2o2o in agility but we hadn't worked with him backing onto an object to do so.  But with his great hind end awareness it wasn't that difficult for him.  Due to his obvious physical limitations we couldn't work up to that high of an object :)  But we did decide to work on getting a really fast 2on2off with a box.  In agility he still isn't confident about what I want him to do on the dog walk, (and really who can blame him!) so he has been hesitating a bit before going into the correct position or sometimes offering me 4 feet on instead.  So I figured that this week's challenge would be a good way to practicing driving into his 2o2o!

Vito
Vito has done a lot of work backing onto an object since he was a pup.  I actually had to stop training him to do so since he started to skip a bunch of steps and started doing mini handstands at way to young of an age.  Now that he just turned 16 months, I've been meaning to resume practice on his handstand!  I think we're doing pretty good, he definitely understand the concept at least!  We still have a ways to go though on strength and balance.

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Attempt #6 in Open Obedience

 Well we NQed on the stays again.  Lance made it through the long sit but then sat the entire down stay.  As soon as the whole group was out of sight he sat up.  Now that I spoiled the ending for you, here's my analysis.




Heel Free/ Figure 8: 2.5pts lost for forging and one wide
I was happy.  Lance was attentive from the start except for right before the first left turn where he looked away and almost bumped into me.  Forged almost the entire time, but happy and cute!  I went to the right again on the figure 8 and am happy with the results.  I'm not as worried about that first forge for the inside post if I went left and he easily keeps up with me on the outside post.

Drop on Recall: .5pt lost for front.


Retrieve on Flat: 0 pts lost!
I'm actually really happy since the dumbbell landed right next to the ring barrier and Lance had no problem.  It was extra hard for him since he usually turns right on the pickup but couldn't this time because of the gate.

Retrieve over High: .5pt lost for finish

Broad Jump: 1pt lost for front and finish
Front was WAY crooked to the right.

Sit Stay: 0pts lost
Lance seemed ok.  I told him stay while I was setting up and remembered to cross my arms while waiting to give an extra cue to him and I cued stay in a happy voice when I leftAnd by golly Lance was still in a sit when I came back!  Yay corgi!


Down Stay: NQ
There was a big delay before the start as one of the dogs was excused from the ring for going over to another dog immediately after the release from the sits.  It took a bit and during that time I tried to get Lance to do some simple stationary tricks.  Lance did all the tricks but looked stressed and kept wanting to leave the ring in between tricks (although he responded immediately when I told him he couldn't).  When we were finally ready I set up everything the same as before and left.  When I came back he was in a sit and apparently had been in one ever since the group was out of sight.

Overall
I'm happy.  Lance has come along way since the days he would leave me to heel by myself and I have an attentive and overall happy dog.  We're also not getting docked for EVERY front and finish so that's some progress!  And I'm really excited that he held his sit stay as I would rather have him breaking the down then the sit.  I think the stress just compiles on him so even if he manages to hold the long sit he has a hard time doing a second long stay.  I still have no clue how to help him on this but we will keep plugging away.   Next trial is in 3 weeks and at the same spot.  I'm doing both days then fingers crossed!

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Optimistic!

Lance
Lance has an obedience trial tomorrow and I am excited.  The trial is at my training club and I really think we're going to nail it.  A couple days ago was the club's trophy match so Lance and I got to play in the actual ring, and today was the open ring time open to the public before the big trial.  I took the opportunity to come in and treat Lance once in the middle of each long stay and Lance didn't break or seem anxious at all!  Hopefully it will transfer over to the real day.  Although there were a ton of people there today so I think the atmosphere closely resembled that of a real trial.

Notes from the run throughs:
- Forging.  I did mostly slow time with Lance today to get him to think a bit more.  But during our warm up heeling Lance had really nice position!
- The drop on recall is getting a bit slower.  Lance actually didn't drop during the trophy match so I redid it and it was fine.  But it seems like it's been taking Lance 1/2second longer to drop then it used to.  Still pretty fast, but something to watch out for.
- Really great and fast retrieves!
- We're having better transitions between exercises!  Lance is enjoying his tricks and staying connected with me during the set ups.

Vito
 Vito's back!!!  His obstacle focus has returned and I can barely contain him again!  Recently I've struggled with getting Vito to send ahead for simple rear crosses but now Vito is actually focusing on the obstacles instead of staring at me.  If I restrain him and rev him up he screams, if I ask him to wait he trembles but does, and of course lets out one scream as he goes over the first obstacle.

Running contacts are amazing again!  Like WOW amazing.  No change in stride as he changes from the up side to the middle (which means no scary bunny hops where he almost falls off), and definitely no jumping the contacts.  Absolutely gorgeous runs to the very end of the board, not the slightest hint in a jump, or even the slightest decrease in speed.  I even brought out a brand new toy (tennis ball squished inside a hollee ball) and Vito promptly lost his mind and STILL ran a perfect dog walk.  Can you tell how happy I am!

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Go Click Challenge- Circle Handler

I joined this past weeks Go Click Challenge!  The challenge was to have your dog circle around you, but since my dogs can already do that forward and backwards I modified it.  The result was our first double dog trick!



Lots and lots of fun!  Lance was a hoot.  He was grinning the whole time but really wasn't listening very well.  Plus whenever Lance bumped into Vito (well usually the other way around) during the backward circles he would immediately stop and start barking!  They both really enjoyed the tandem circle is though.  The figure 8's around the other dog and me wasn't as exciting.  But neither seemed to mind doing it as long as they got their kibble!

I'll admit it didn't take any training for this week's challenge.  There was a bit of a learning curve for both the dogs me but they weren't being taught anything new.  The hardest was getting the go around the other dog but since they already had an "out" from agility it didn't take too much work.

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A CPE agility weekend!

This past weekend was our first 2 day agility trial!


Saturday

Full house, level 2:
We start off with a bang!  Full house is a point game so you can make up your own course and I decide to try his very first weave poles in a trial.  We nail them! And the entire course Lance is fast, reads me well, no issues!  I end way under the allotted time with 32 points for a Q and 1st (out of 2!).

Colors, level 1:
In colors you have your choice of 2 courses and the level 1/2 course was fairly straightforward, jumps and tunnels only.  Lance was fast!  We did it in under 14 seconds with zero issues.  Lance also might have ran it at 6.25yds/sec if I read it right!  We get a Q and 1st place (out of 4).

Sunday

Wild card, level 1:
In this game the course splits in 3 sections and you have to decide what obstacle(s) to take, making sure to get 2 "easy" choices and 1 "hard" choice in level 1.  I thought forever about what choices to make since the dog walk was an option but I wasn't quite sure if Lance could nail his 2o2o in a trial yet, and then there were weaves again, and a weirdly angled jump as the choices for "hard."  I decided to be greedy and see if Lance could weave again like he did yesterday.  He did!  Lance was also speedy and had some great obstacle focus.  But alas he knocked 3 bars!  He hit the first jump, and then the last two.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was too far ahead of him?  No Q for us although we get 1st (out of 3?).  4.76yds/sec

Snooker, level 2:
Snooker is becoming a favorite of mine but WOW was this a hard course!  It's a point game where you have to take a "red" jump and then any obstacle, another red followed by any obstacle, and then another red+obstacle in the opening and then you do the set course.  Rules are strict and any deviance from this order results in a whistle off.

I screwed up this time.  After Lance turned the wrong way out of tunnel 4 (I think I called his name to late and he didn't read my rear cross) my brain went dead.  I did manage to direct him to the obstacles I walked in my plan but all the crosses I had planned were forgotten.  I had him on the wrong side of me to the next tunnel which had the potential to send him to some wrong course jumps (which thankfully didn't!), ran on the outside of another tunnel which caused us to almost trip over each other, and I hesitated on where to go and did a really bad rear cross which pulled him off the tunnel.  But some how we manage to play by the rules and get a Q! Also got 1st (of 1!). Good boy Lance!

Jumpers, level 2:
Pretty straight forward course and Lance did well.  No errors, bobbles, or anything off but he wasn't as fast as the rest of the weekend.  Part of that may be due to my brain still not working.  I didn't make any obvious errors but I hesitated slightly around the course and almost forgot where I was supposed to go.  We Q, and 1st (of 1!), 4.69yds/sec. (no video)

Overall!
Lance can weave!  He is also getting great obstacle focus and speed but so far is still listening to my handling.  We qualified on 4 out of the 5 runs too!  I'm very proud of my boy.  This was also our first 2 day trial and our first time doing 3 runs in a day.  Lance was tired by the end but still seemed into it.  I on the other hand was dead.  I also worked the trial so was there for 11hrs on sat and  10.5hrs Sun.  I apparently need work on being able to remember a course when I am tired and need to learn how to recover when something doesn't go as planned.

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APDT weekend!

The past two days have been spent at my first APDT rally trial!  It was a lot of fun, APDT is so much cooler then AKC!  I really enjoyed the extra challenges that APDT has such as the longer courses, married signs, and even weird places where you leave your dog in the middle of the course!  And of course the opportunity to surprise Lance was a treat in the middle of the course was just too cool. 

It was a great weekend with wonderful funny and helpful judges and a great sense of community from the show goers.  I never felt that level of commoderie in an AKC trial before so I don't know if it was APDT, Minnesota Mixed Breed Club, or what but it was nice to feel so welcomed.  Everyone did so well at the show!

Day 1

Trial 1, Level 1A:  209, 1st.
We lost our point on the bonus sign on call front-side step since Lance was crooked.  I side stepped left and surprisingly his butt was crooked left so he actually over compensated with his rear!  I was very very happy!  I think his eyes were on me the entire time except for a little bit on the serpentine.  I completely forgot I could treat until halfway through the course so Lance got one little treat and then I forgot again.

Trial 2, Level 1A: 210, 1st, high in trial.
Lance wasn't quite as attentive in this 2nd trial of the day.  He still had his eyes on me for most of the course, but there were also more quick look aways then before.  I think we've only done a double once before so he's not used to having to perform twice!  I don't know what he would do if we did 4 runs like some people :P  But I was still happy with this performance.  I guess you can't complain too much about a perfect score :)

Day 2
Trial 3, Level 1A: 208, 1st.
Lost 1pt for forging, 2nd pt lost on the bonus for a crooked front.  Again Lance was very attentive except for one small section of the course.  That section is where we lost a point since Lance was not paying attention to my U turn and I almost bumped into him.  I remembered to treat more today though!  This run got us our RL1 title with an award of excellence!

Trial 3, Level 2A: 210, 1st.
Off leash!  Lance moves up to level 2!  So happy with this run.  Lance's eyes were glued to me almost the entire time.  What a great corgi!

Overall
I thought Lance was extremely attentive both days and had a great, confident attitude!  He was always slightly forged but not as dramatically as he can be.  Some of his fronts, halts, and pivots can use some work in the straightness department, like always.  But Lance was just on this weekend!  Really, 2 perfect scores, and 4/4 first places, who could ask for more?

Lance really likes rally and we will continue to play in APDT.  I think the fact that I can talk to him on course helps him a lot, and plus the constant changes of direction makes it so he can't check out on me.  And now that I can give him treats in the ring I hope that this will help associate even greater things with being IN the ring.  Thanks to all who pushed us to try APDT!

Bonus thought
Vito  was at the trial all day on Saturday and half of Sunday and did SUPER in his kennel!  Zero whining even when I was out of sight for a long time.  I even saw him close his eyes towards the end of Saturday!  Of course it helped that he could see people going in and out and Lance was with him for most of the time, but I am so proud of him!

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New job :)

It's time for some personal news on this blog since I got a new job!!!  I am very excited to have been offered a part time position for the local service dog organization as a trainer!   My job will involve polishing up all the dogs who come in from the helpful puppy raisers who have had them since a wee pup.  So each day I will spend time with the dogs and make sure that they will have the skill set and mind set to help a client in the future.

I am estatic.  I started volunteering with them my senior year of high school as a puppy raiser and it was the best experience of my life.  The past 6 months I have been back volunteering with them in their puppy raiser classes and then this opportunity came.  yay

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Early February Training Plans

Update for how I did the past 2 weeks on mid-January's training plans:

1. Finishes-  I got kind've lazy and stopped practicing them that often.  But both dogs are doing really well.  Lance isn't forging as much and Vito steps on my foot maybe 1 out of 5 times now.

2. Random stays- also got lazy.  I haven't completely abandoned them, but definitely didn't make one every day.  I did figure out though that Lance can not handle it when I train the cat first (yes, I'm training the kitty now, will blog about it soon!).  Whether in a stay or not he trembles uncontrollably the entire time!  Apparently I crossed some sort of line and Lance can barely contain himself.  Hasn't broken the stay yet though.  But this type of stay doesn't really count under my "random stay" criteria since the dinner bowls and presence of the clicker means training.

3. Go Outs-  This one I actually practiced!  As previously mentioned I am switching Lance's criteria, and starting with Vito, to a paw touch on the wall.  We haven't worked on adding any distance over 10 feet, and usually stick within 5ft.  But I introduced the concept of taking a straight line, a quick paw touch to get their click, and then a sit while I walk over and present the treat.  Vito is doing beautifully.  Lance is starting to understand that I just want one paw touch instead of both paws slamming at the wall.  When I switch to a baby gate this helps him somewhat, but he still doesn't really care if he slams the baby gate to the floor. 
   For those not in the obedience world, a go out involves the dog going the length of the ring in a straight line away from the handler.  When the dog gets a far enough distance away, the handler cues the dog to sit whereupon the dog turns to face the handler and sits awaiting further instructions.  The hard part is teaching the dog to go out to essentially nothing!  There are many ways of teaching this skill but since all rings have a barrier that the dog will run towards, many people teach their dog to interact with the barrier in some way.  Then in a trial the handler simply tells the dog to sit before the dog reaches the barrier.  Of course there are a ton of issues that crop up but that's another story!  Lance is my first dog so we will learn our mistakes as we go :)

4. Tricks- again didn't do much with tricks.

Ok so I really only focused on 1 out of my 4 planned goals.  But I did do a lot of work on side (heeling on the right) which was an unexpected and unplanned goal.  I simply had no idea that Lance and Vito had no clue how to pivot on my right.  Already posted about all that though :)

The New Plans for early February:

1.  Go outs- start to add in distance.  Make sure that Lance doesn't start arching in herding dog tendency.  Continue to practice on lots of different walls, baby gates, whatever so help them generalize the behavior.

2. Side- actually teach my dogs how to heel on the right.  This includes straight line work, pivoting, side stepping, everything.  Use a high rate of reinforcement and don't try to add in too much duration.

3. Random stays-  Recommit myself to actually doing random stays around the house.  Lance needs more work on me going out of sight in these random stays since he is doing much better with the normal ones.  Try to be creative in where and when he does them.

4. Tricks- Since I sucked at trick training in January I think I'm going to pick only 1 trick to focus on.  I may do other tricks but in my normal whenever I get around to it type of way.  Lance's trick-  Hugging a toy.  Vito's trick- limping.

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Learning how to pivot on my right

I am currently working on putting together a freestyle routine for Lance.  I have no idea what I'm doing and am going back and forth (repeatedly!) between two songs but I am having a blast sequencing his heel work and tricks.  What I discovered today though is that Lance does not have any concept of "side" (heeling on the right) like I thought.  While he will walk with me in relative position he has no clue how to pivot, side step, back up, or really do anything on my right side.  So back to the drawing board and since I have never taught Lance to pivot on my right I thought I would share the experience of Lance learning.  The video's not meant as a how to, more of a compilation of some of the steps and then their first session of the pivoting in side.



I start teaching pivoting for heel and side on a block.  Lance already knew that his job was to keep both feet on the block and how to pivot his back feet while in front of me in both directions so most of the work was already done.  If you have not taught that yet then start shaping now!

I then aimed to use luring to get Lance to move into Side position and heavily reward him standing on my right.  Moving the treat to his right shoulder caused Lance to turn his head to get it and do a little pivot.  Since Lance already knew how to physically pivot clockwise I was quickly able to get him doing it with me and without a visible treat.  This morphed into a new hand signal and my attempts to do it without the block.  I think we did a pretty good job!

I then aimed to teach him to side step on my right.  I couldn't remember how I taught Lance to side step on the left so I winged it and thought I could use his new right side pivot skills to get him to move sideways.  I started by luring him, treat to his right shoulder blade, but this confused the crap out of him :)  So then I started asking him to pivot on the right and once he got going I quickly took a direct step to my left.  This kind've tricked Lance's body into doing a side step!  He isn't straight at all but he is at least starting to get the concept of moving his back feet to keep parallel with me.

I realized afterward that my new hand signal is very very similiar to my hand signal to limp on the left leg.  Hence Lance's leg being off the ground a lot in the video!  I'm thinking my pivot hand signal needs to change!

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

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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