Vito in 2010

Same video as in Lance's, just posted again :)

Vito's accomplishments in 2010

Vito's first experience in a trial was doing APDT in August.  I was extremely proud of how focused he was and he quickly got his RL1 and his first leg in level 2.  He has done two days of AKC rally starting in September and it won't be long before he gets his RN.

Vito's debut was the toller specialty.  I wasn't planning on showing him yet but decided I had to since the specialty was here in Minnesota!  I am glad I did as while he had some baby dog moments Vito has done extremely well in every trial and earned his CD this year.  I am debating about what to do with him next but don't plan on doing Open for awhile yet.

Vito hasn't been in a regular obedience class yet this year except for a handful of drop in classes.  My goal for next year is to find him one!  This year 90% of our work was on heeling.  The other time was spent on trying to get rid of him stepping on my foot for the left finish and on the front.  I mostly succeeded on the finish but we are still struggling with the bounce off me on fronts when he is coming from a distance.  Another issues I will tackle next year are halts- not bumping into me.

Vito currently has a decent start to all of the open and utility exercises.  Retrieves need work on a straighter closer front but so far he has no problem with knowing to take the jump both directions from extreme angles.  Broad jump I have gotten rid of the target but are still tossing a treat as he jumps.  The drop on recall has been recently started and I am still using both verbal and hand signal to down him.

He has good signals and strong scent work.  Vito still needs work on building distance for his go out, and has not seen directed jumping yet.  Pivoting and marking is still done with targets, I have not added in the actual gloves yet.

Vito had his first experience in a trial in May doing tunnelers and jumpers.  But I knew we weren't really ready so I consider his first real trial to be in July.  He bounced a lot more than he ran for his first several trials and just now do I feel he is truly starting to get it and run.  He did mainly CPE and managed to qualify for CPE nationals next year held here in Minnesota by finishing up his level 2 titles.

We struggled a ton with his running contacts, with a meltdown occurring in February.  It got better and then we had another one in June.  Fixed the last one with the toy set out again really close to the end this time and was able to move it further away again until I could take it away.  So far all but 2 of his dogwalks in a trial have been good although we don't always get the next obstacle unless it's a jump straightish ahead.  We are still slowly working on turns and I'm afraid we will be forever training it as I don't get down to practice that much.

His teeter was changed from 4ft on to a 2o2o as he started to hesitate at the pivot point a little too much.  Too kamikaze for a running teeter and then too uncertain about the criteria of just stopping on it!  I am much happier with his teeter now!  In his first few trials he would stop and sniff and then switch back and forth between 2o2o and 4on.  He will occasionally still do that to me in a trial.

Also worked on the paw vs nose touch discrimination with Lance in January.  I will never do that again!  Other tricks learned this year were sidestepping on my right, sticky target, pray, limping, penguin (needs lots of help still), hug, ostrich (another work in progress), and jump through my arms.  I also worked on the sidestepping stuff I did with Lance, but struggled a bit more with Vito in learning to walk perpendicular towards me and also with facing out and sidestepping.

In May I went to a introduction put on by the MN Disc Dog Club and was hooked.  At that time Vito had little interest in his disc, only wanting his beloved tennis ball.  I picked up all the toys outside so he had no other options and it wasn't long before Vito became just as obsessed about the disc as his ball.  I created a monster!  In toss and catch competitions we seemed to get worse every trial.  Vito would be so frantic trying to get to it that he would jump too early and while he would always make contact with it, he would rarely catch it.  Many times he will twist himself in weird contortions trying way too hard.

We did make progress at home with teaching a back stall, overs, flipping both directions, and sometimes a vault off my leg (with a grab to the still disc).  Vito is also starting to be able to do his tricks when a disc is out such as backward circles and weaving.

Other Stuff:
Vito's separation anxiety issues have gotten worse.  He is doing fabulous if crated at a trial with people around, and is even doing ok when at work with me.  But he is doing a little bit of howling when left home alone for periods over an hour.  When I analyze the video tape it doesn't look like he is that anxious but he won't eat any of his many bones and just howls.  I'm pretty sure I won't be able to afford it next year, but if a miracle happens I want to take Vito in to see a specialist at the U of MN.

Goals for 2011:
Have a solid running dogwalk WITH turns!
Enter open obedience at our club's October trial.
Prepare a novice freestyle routine for disc.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( December 18, 2010 at 9:10 PM )  

I LOVEEE the video!

1) There are maybe 3 Aerosmith songs that I can stomach, and 2 that I actually like. Rag Doll is one of the 2 that I actually like, so AGAIN, great song choices!

2) August and September were my favorite still pictures.

3) I didn't realize how many tricks they do! My favorite one that I'd like to teach Layla is the one where Vito is putting his paw on your shoulder as you're sitting, like you're sharing a secret.

4) I can NOT believe how huge Chuck got!

5) I somehow missed the Frog Foot post, but it was adorable.

6) Do you have any recommendations on things I can do to get Layla's fronts closer? We do a lot of games and things, for example having her think it's a regular recall and then toss a treat between my legs, but she doesn't sit close enough. She wouldn't NQ, but it's not close enough to satisfy my perfectionism :)

You guys had an awesome year! Thanks for sharing the video - looking at it, I couldn't believe how long ago things happened.

Dexter  – ( December 19, 2010 at 6:16 AM )  

Awesome video! You guys really accomplished a lot in 2010. I especially liked Vito and the frisbee (although not that screaming - OUCH)! You know what? Momma says that trick training is important not just to make your dog happy, but because you never know when a movement will come in handy. Like watching Lance and Vito do their sideways move made her think that would be good for PT. Yuh, and since I know to put my feet on things when asked, she is having little trouble getting me to do the squishy therapy pad thing.

Your posts are always inspiring. Have a wonderful holiday.


Muttsandaklutz  – ( December 19, 2010 at 11:31 AM )  

Wow, you guys have been busy!!! Great job with the video, so fun with great variety. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments with both dogs in 2010. Your dogs are so lucky to have you and so much to keep them busy :-)

Laura and The Corgi, Toller, & Duck  – ( December 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM )  

I love really really close fronts, which also explains why Vito pounces off my foot a good portion of the time. I honestly find it odd that with the dumbbell he doesn't get so close, close enough to not lose points, but not close enough that I like it.

1. Can Layla come in close when she's only 1ft away? If she can then all you have to do is baby step the distance.

2. Is she coming in really close and then rocking back to sit? If so, work on teaching her to sit by moving her back feet in instead of her front feet back.

3. Look at reward placements, I like feeding right up against my body so the dog has to be all the way in to get the treat, practically eating out my crotch at Vito's height :P I do the food toss game you mentioned too in order to build speed and drive.

4. Go back to using a book and work on her pivoting skills in front. If she's standing on the book with her front feet she has to be in really close. You can work on her finding the position of front and maintaining it while you move around in a circle. And if she's doing ok, try asking her to do a mini come and stand on the book.

5. Scootch fronts, and running back. I do lots of back up 1 step, 2 steps, 1 steps, asking for fronts. Then getting the dog reved up and running backwards several steps before stopping.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( December 19, 2010 at 11:49 PM )  

Thanks so much for replying! And for letting me know about it; I might not have noticed otherwise.

She doesn't come any closer when she's 1 foot away. When I try to get her to move closer, she lays down or tries offering up other behaviors. I know that means that she doesn't fully get what I'm asking for, but I don't know how to go about "explaining" it to her.

I'm going to try the closer reward placements. I'd been spitting the treats to her, which explains why she thinks she can sit farther away; she can still catch them.

We never used a book or any platform to teach the fronts - I'd read about it either in a magazine or a book and it looks like a really great method that clearly shows the dog what you want. I'll look into that and give it a try.

I think Layla would LOVE the scooch and run.

Thank you so, so much! I'll let you know how it all comes out.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( December 19, 2010 at 11:50 PM )  

PS ~ I like your idea of jog, pause, jog, release. That one started to trick Layla and then she caught on, but your method would solidify it even further. Thanks again!

Cynthia  – ( December 21, 2010 at 1:40 PM )  

Speaking of fronts... Jet learned with a touch clip on my pants. So he comes really close and noses the touch clip. Though I did fade that really fast, but he still will nose my pants some of the time. But, it brings him in super close for a good front. :)

I love the video! Looks like you have those soft tiles on your floors too. We have some of those over the tiles. So nice for the dog feets.

Achieve1dream  – ( January 9, 2011 at 10:00 PM )  

You have done such an amazing job with your dogs! I wish I had half your talent, energy, motivation, consistency and perseverance!! I'm impressed. It looks like you had an incredible year with your boys and I feel bad I haven't been around to read along with your fun. I hope to do better this year. It's hard to stay ahead on reading blogs because I follow so many. I need to get away from the darn computer lol. Great job!!

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