Vito's CPE Weekend

While Lance was having a crappy weekend Vito decided to man up and have another great one!

Friday
We qualified 3/4 on Friday.  All had little bobbles, but overall fantastic!  His dogwalk was amazing, most aframes fabulous with 1 decent.  Teeter confident with zero sniffing or hesitation before going into his 2o2o.  Our main problem lies with weaving as Vito just isn't collecting very well in a trial environment and ends up entering at the 3rd pole most runs.  This was the cause of our only NQ on Friday as while I tried to restart him he sprinted into the next tunnel.

We did have one major baby dog moment on Friday.  Daddy was bar setting and decided to hop over the little wall to go outside of the ring to film our snooker run.  Apparently Vito saw this and just went nuts.  Lots of reactive barking at the start line and I couldn't calm him.  When I released him we were heading towards that direction and Vito took the obstacles in his path until we got there and continued his barking display with waggy tail once he jumped on the wall.  I got him back right away and started to finish our run when we were whistled off due to a judging miscalculation.  I got to rerun it again and was happy Vito was calm and in control of himself at the start line.  But he still made the happy run to pounce on the wall where Adam was standing again!  I got him back right away and finished our course.  Idiot!


Saturday
3/4 Q's today but not quite as fabulous as yesterday.  Vito decided to start out the day by happily running to the wall where he found Adam yesterday  but then felt like an idiot when Adam wasn't there and didn't try that again the rest of the day :)  He only got to play with his running contacts once today as the games didn't use them.  And well it wasn't pretty.  Complete flying off the dogwalk!  In his defense I was late with my "left tunnel" cue which really wasn't even needed in the first place and he pretty much leaped as soon as the words were out of my mouth.  But in my defense, come on Vito!  We did layer a jump nicely at the end at least.

Still had issues with entering the 3rd pole in the weaves in standard but were great in snooker.  He also saved my butt in snooker when I forgot the course in the middle of a 3 part #5 combo right after a 2 part #4 combo in the closing.  At the last 2nd I regained a brain, called him and he turned on a dime to fix the course for a perfect 51 point snooker :)

Jumpers was another baby dog run.  He turned as soon I told him "Switch" instead of turning after the jump.  We fixed it, did a few more nice obstacles and then he missed another jump to nibble at his bum.  We finished the 2nd half nicely at least!

Oh, and there was no dogwalk or aframe in fullhouse so Lance got to just have a fun course.   And Vito did get the number of legs he needs to qualify but unfortunately still needs 1 more standard Q to finish up his level 2 title.  We have one more weekend we're entered in before the deadline.

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Naughty Pants

For once that title belongs to Mr. Corgi.  We have a serious problem with our contacts.  Had a trial today and Lance was first entered in Jackpot so while fooling around gathering points I did the Aframe twice.  Both times he gave me the finger with his 4 on the floor criteria.  Taking several strides after he hits ground so that he is more like 5ft from the aframe.  On the 2nd one I used my stern Mommy voice to remind him to "floor" which caused him to creep down, then launch off it, take several steps and then stand for a second before lying down.  His contacts have been getting worse and worse each trial but none as bad as today.

His next run was standard and I decided that if he blew me off again I would remove him from the course.  Well we didn't get very far as the aframe was the 3rd obstacle.  I have no idea what to do about it.  I don't think pulling a dog off course is very effective for the majority of dogs out there.  But Lance doesn't have this problem in class and it doesn't seem to be a stress issue as Lance looked extremely happy with himself each time he launched and ran forward; just not happy with me still standing slow and waiting for him to down.  I know it's not a physical problem as he sees a chiropractor on a regular basis now, just had his first massage 1 week ago and was given such a great evaluation that she doesn't want to seem him again!

I'm sorry Mommy!
Right now I am thinking I am going to stick to NADAC trials where I can re put him back on the contact if he blows it and maybe enter our first ASCA trial where I can do the same thing.  If he is successful I think I will happily run off course and give him a jackpot.  Tomorrow Lance is only entered in Fullhouse so since I can make up my own course I am thinking about plotting an easy course that ends with the aframe.  If he doesn't do it I'll send him back over, if he does I will quickly exit and party with him.

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CPE Trial

The boys had a CPE trial!  I worked a few classes on Saturday and then actually played today!

Lance:
Lance only had one run today.  I can't afford two dogs even with all my vouchers so while I am trying to get enough Q's to qualify Vito for CPE Nationals (held in MN next year!) Lance is on the sideline.

Apparently on the bench is where he needed to be.  His 4 on the floor after the aframe was horrid.  He leaped and took a few steps off the aframe before actually lying down.  Dogwalk was better at least.  The course itself ran fine but he is stuttering worse than ever.  Lance actually knocked 3 bars in a row on a simple straight stretch.

Vito:


Standard- Q
Yay Vito!  Running pretty fast and listened nicely.  He missed his weave entrance and popped in at the 3rd pole, while trying to redo he took an off course.  Teeter was the best he has ever done in a trial; only a tiny sniff and went right away into his 2o2o and no self doubting by going back to 4 on!  Dogwalk was perfect and great drive to the jump straight afterward.


Wildcard- NQ
Totally my fault.  Since I wanted to test his dogwalk again it meant I needed to push him out to the far jump in the beginning.  Problem was I didn't lead out far enough so wasn't anywhere near the position I needed to be in to prevent him from taking the more obvious jump straight in front after the tunnel.  Weaves were good and dogwalk was ok but a bit higher of a hit.  It was hard to tell from the camera angle if his feet were separated or not.  1st half wasn't caught on film.


Snooker- Q
Daddy was leash running and Vito was very distracted by him at the start line.  It wasn't the fastest but he listened well and we had no errors.  I think I held up my outside arm to cue the wrap too early but he didnt seem to care.  Didn't do his automatic down on the table, chose to sniff instead, but did lie down right away when asked.

Jumpers-Q
I was happy with this run.  He missed the 2nd jump in the serpentine (out) and we fixed it.  I'm pretty sure I was too late with my arm cue.

Overall:
I feel like we are finally starting to be a team when trialing.  He's actually listening to my handling instead of being completely obstacle focused.  We have another CPE trial next weekend and hopefully will get the last of our Q's to make nationals.

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1st Utility Run Though

Tonight I took Lance to his first utility run through!  I have him entered in graduate open in a few weeks to be held at SPDTC so I thought it would be good to get him some practice in that environment.

Lance's heeling was great.  Forgy as usual, especially in a trial, but not as bad as it could be.  He did a great stand even though he was at his worst forging wise and I practically had to reach way forward to stand him.  I decided to go the full distance out and Lance did a nice signal down and then started to sit on my signal but stopped and started to move towards the jump.  I reset him and his down, sit, and come were all great the 2nd time through and I praised the sit.  It's a good reminder that I need to practice all exercises with the jumps out as Lance was clearly confused about what I wanted that first try.

For articles it was hard to get Lance to watch the pile as it was being set out.  So when I did our turn and send (no sit) he confidently shot out but then paused as he veered too far right and didn't see the pile.  He looked for it though and found it before I had a chance to say anything.  He seemed a bit hesitant while searching the pile but brought back the correct one.  His second send was nice but he mouthed a few wrong articles before bringing back the correct one.

Gloves went well, we did #2.  He immediately locked onto the right glove when I marked it and I sent him right away.

Lance's moving stand was perfect, zero complaints :)

I set out his go out from just past the jumps.  I was really happy that he looked on my mark and held it until I sent him.  But the 1st attempt started out well but then he started curling back towards the jump (already past it) as if he thought he screwed up and I really wanted the jump.  I called him off, set up a little bit closer and then he went nice and straight all the way to the gate to touch it!  I walked in to treat, walked back out for the jumping which went well.  The 2nd go out had the same problem as the first, with him again curling back towards the jump.  After calling him back I did the go out from the same spot (just a bit past the jumps) and he went out perfectly, I walked in to treat, and he did the jumping part nicely.  I did a 3rd go out and had no issues. 

I rarely have the jumps out in practice when I am doing go outs so I thought he might have an issue with running between them here.  I thought I could avoid that by only starting half way but apparently Lance decided to over think things.  We will see what happens in the trial; at least he only has to start from between the jumps.

I am ecstatic about Lance's performance tonight!  It may not have been perfect but this is the first time we have done utility in a new environment and he performed well on every exercise!  It was good to see what still needs some work.  Besides adding some distance to our go out, I think just having jumps out while I am practicing will fix our other issues!  If I can get to some more run throughs I might feel confident enough to start Lance in utility next spring.

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November Tricks

Poor Vito, he is not feeling so hot.  While Vito may not be the fastest eater on earth averaging 10 minutes for just under 1 cup of food (2/3c + 1/4c to be exact, I'm a stickler!), not eating at all isn't a good sign for him.  First he didn't want breakfast, so I put it away.  He came with me to work for a few hours and was eager to perform some tricks for me in my downtime, but still spit out all kibble.  He finally did decide to eat breakfast but then thew up bile at 5 and now doesn't want dinner.


Still doesn't want to miss out on training though!  His always excited attitude still ran through our practice and even wanted to do some shaping.  After every click he would excitedly sprint to my waiting hand, but then not take the offered piece of food.  I'm not really worried about him, yet, I just hope he feels better tomorrow!

For my November trick goal I settled on the very basic jump though my arms.  So far Lance has gone through his avoidance issue that he does anytime I want him doing something new while interacting with a part of my body but it was much better this time and I think we are done with that nonsense now.  I don't need a target or lure anymore and he has even added a cute little twist where he weaves through my legs right after the jump :)

Vito took a bit on convincing that I do NOT want him to pray on my arms!  Even when set up at a distance, he would run up, screech to a halt and pray.  Then he moved on to trying to blast through my arms, just like a video game character who meets a wall and keeps trying to go forward!  But now he's happily going through nicely. 

Since it looks like I need a new trick I decided to reattempt the paw on nose trick.  This is one trick that I just can't get!  I can get my dogs pawing at their nose, even without any aids, but I can not get them to hold it there for even a microsecond!  I suppose I could call it "got an itch?" because that is all I have ever gotten them to do!  So far I am not doing any better than my previous experiences.


And on a side note, I was thinking about how long it takes Vito to actually chew every piece of kibble and calculated that Lance could happily inhale 20 cups of food in the time it takes Vito to eat 1 cup!  That would be one happy, and very sick, corgi!

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Part 2 of Ian Dunbar Seminar!

Since apparently Crystal is going to take awhile to write about he Ian Dunbar experience, I might as well finish up on the other things that really caught my attention from Saturday.

One question I had about his RRNR (basically repeating the cue and walking closer continuously until the dog does the behavior) was if it could inadvertently reward the behavior you are trying to punish.  What first made me ask this question was when Ian was talking about teaching dogs to heel.  A lot of trainers only focus on the negative and are constantly leash popping their dogs for being out of position.  Ian was arguing that not only do we need to reward the dogs when they do the right thing, but that we need to give more constructive feedback such as teaching the dog a word such as slow, or hurry up and then use those cues as information to the dog.

My question to Ian, was that can't a cue that was positively trained actually reward a behavior?  In the same way that a finish can be a reward for a straight front, couldn't a dog learn to forge and then be rewarded by the cue to "slow."  Or as a better example, I think a lot of dogs out there learn to jump up first before sitting.  They jump up to get the owners attention, are asked to to sit, and then nicely fold back down where they receive lots of praise.  They learn not only that sitting gets petting, but as part of a behavior chain they learn to jump first, then sit.  I did try and ask this all to Ian, but either I didn't ask it correctly and he misunderstood me, or he just blew it off because he doesn't think it occurs if you use RRNR correctly.

Another aspect I found interesting on Saturday was that he actually teaches his dogs different levels of performance based on their name.  Ian formalizes disobedience :)  90% of the time Ian argues that we don't actually care if the dog obeys or not.  If he really wants the dog to listen, then Ian uses the dogs full name.  So Rover Sit would be optional.  But Rover Doggy Sit would always be enforced.  And if he wanted pizzaz, a nice tucked it sit, that Ian would use yet a third name to go be before the cue sit.

I thought about it and I do currently have a little system for my dogs. But instead of using a cue to go before the real command, I just use different commands.  If I say sit, down, stay, come, all done, etc then I ALWAYS enforce it.  But if I tell Vito to go relax, just lie down, come cuddle, come over here, no more, then they are basically optional.  I would like it if he would down, or come, but I don't really care if he does it or not.  And if I want precision, then I use his formal obedience cues such as front and heel.  Having more cues makes it a bit more complicated than just putting a different name before the cue, but I would think that it would be easier for the dog to learn what you expect.

And finally, my last observation about Saturday was the use of the command in the praise as in Good Sit.  Now I know that dogs are really great at learning what we want so it probably doesn't matter one bit.  Traditional trainers have always said the command after the dog did it so it clearly can be done that way.  But I still find it extremely annoying.  I believe that dogs see cues as actions.  Sit means to lower the butt to the floor.  And that is why a lot of dogs have zero clue what you mean when suddenly the dog is lying down and then you tell the to sit.  They can't lower their butt any further, so it is like an entirely new command!  By saying Good Sit, I would imagine the dog would hear it as good....Sit rather than as a quality of the position.  Especially in the learning stages when you are naming the behavior, I always give it right BEFORE I think the dog is going to do it, not after.  Just a pet peeve of mine!

Does anyone else get what I'm trying to say about cues rewarding behaviors?
Do you guys have different levels of obedience, and do you think a different name is an easier idea than different cues?

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November Goals

For those of you who don't read my update and goals, I wanted to catch you before you closed out your reader.  I'm looking for some new tricks to teach the boys.  Please respond with any ideas!!!

Update on October Goals
1. Heeling: Work on Lance's forging- Still too early to tell if having Lance go around behind  me and treating on my right is helping.  He does seem to love it though!
With Vito I wanted to work on fast time and turns- Well at the trial a week ago Vito stayed with me on the fast time and wasn't quite as wide on the about turn.  I still want to do quite a bit more work on these aspects with him though.

2. Disc: back stall and reverse chest vault- Vito can do the back stall now with a disc in my hand!!!!  I don't know how to toss a disc to him yet from that position so we have been working on multiple disc catches/drops while he is sitting in front of me.  For the reverse chest vault I really didn't work on it that much.  I was starting it with an exercise ball and likely need to go back to that.  On me he jumps up and does put his feet on my chest, but he's not really sure of what to do.

3. Scent Articles: mostly a failure this past month.  I was lucky if I did them twice a week, some weeks none at all.  But fingers crossed no issues are cropping up.

4. Retrieve:  Closer, straighter front- Some improvement!  I'm moving my hands in front of me to guide him in closer, and he is doing very nice with the extra help.  Without help it varies.

November Goals:
1. Tricks!  I want to get back to doing trick work with the boys.  Anybody have any ideas?  I really can't make up my mind.  Retrieve a hot dog?  Actually complete Vito's handstand?  Back leg limp?  Jump through my arms?  Shake head no or yes?  Please tell me what to do or I won't decide and end up not doing anything.

2. Go outs- Practice Lance's go outs in several new places.  Try and go to a run through and see how he does.

3. Heeling- Continue treating "behind" with Lance to fix forging.  Keep working on control with Vito.

4. Fronts and finishes- I haven't really worked on these in awhile.  Be picky about what I'm rewarding, no reward if he has to fix his position.

5. Disc- Anything I can do in the house.  Back to the exercise ball for his reverse chest vault practice. Multiple catches/drops while sitting in front and start to transfer a catch/drop while on my back.  And without Vito, work on floating a disc correctly.

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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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