Rally Trials! - Saturday

Vito
Vito's first time entering competing was today!!!  First run, level 1A, we get a perfect 210!  Vito had really good attention and I was pretty happy with his heeling as well.  He was a little slow to sit on the halts and I ended up giving him some verbals.  I also realized that we really haven't done a whole lot of left 270's/360's as we went quite a bit wider then I wanted to and had some bumping.  Of course I also have to realize that he has a different body then Lance so I should probably be walking it differently anyway.

That run ended up in a run off!  I went back in and was really happy with how Vito was doing.  Then we got to the last sign in the run off, a left 270, and I wanted to tighten it up a bit.  Vito tried a little too hard and started to do a backward circle!!!  I realized then that I technically did use the same arm and hand position that I use for that trick, just without the little waggle of my finger that I usually do.  What a good boy!

The 2nd trial, level 1A, we earn a 207.  He again has really great attention and had much faster sits this time.  There was one place he was quite a bit crooked and that was heeling into the wall.  I'm not sure if that was the only place we lost points our not.  I am really happy with how he did though!

Lance
I am very happy with Lance's level of focus.  First trial, level 2A, we get a perfect 210.  Although technically it wasn't really earned as I did a halt-180 right forward instead of a 180 left forward.  Apparently the judge was so enamored with us that she missed our error.  

Second trial, level 2A, we get a 198.  Lance really did not understand the point of the call front, finish sign as he kept going straight into heel position.  It was frustrating, but the snot kept smiling at me and looking cute. On our final attempt I helped him out by pointing my hands in front of my body instead of leaving them at my side.  Earlier in the run Lance also needed a second command to sit after a down.  Other then that though I was really happy with the run.  This earned us our level two title!

Our third run was level 3A and we scored a 207.  I cost us 3 points by going on the wrong side of a sign but Lance was perfect.  I really enjoyed level 3 as it had directed jumping, a drop on recall, and a retrieve!  Super fun!

Overall, Lance did really well and we met our always #1 and #2 goals: having fun, and being attentive.  However, his forging seems to be back with a vengeance.  He has been doing so well in practice and is even allowing me to do much more normal paces rather then all slows.  But wow was his forging bad today!  I think there were several moments when his back feet were aligned with my hip!  I haven no reason to expect that tomorrow will be any better in the forging department.

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Honest Vito

Vito is such an odd dog.  Today was new bag of kibble day and Adam spilled some while pouring it into the container.  Like good dogs, no one moved towards it so I continued to train Lance and did a little bit of work with Chuck while deciding to let Vito clean up the mess for his dinner.  Vito dives in, eats a few kibbles and then comes back to me waiting patiently.  I'm puzzled, but have him do a sit, down, and release him back to the pile.   He again eagerly sprints over to the spilled kibble, eats a few more and comes back.  Each time I have him do a few more tricks and release him to eat.  This repeats itself until the pile is gone!  Poor little Vito must think that he hasn't earned the right to the whole pile, but maybe a sit equals 3 kibbles and well that was a really good beg I just did so I'll eat 8 for that one, and....

I'm a good, honest boy!

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Vito's Agility Turn!

Vito had his very first CPE trial on Sunday, and his 2nd trial overall.  After the last one I felt I wasn't quite ready to handle him, but since then we've really started to connect as a team.

I having fun!

I have a tuggy!

And Lance's cool coat!




Fullhouse- Q
I really wanted to see where Vito's aframe contact was in a trial and to see if he would hold his 2o2o on the teeter.  Well right off the bat I kinda failed him.  I had planned a tight turn to the teeter but Vito took an extra jump on his turn and then ended up crossing behind me to the tunnel.  I was then late in recovering so we kinda bobbled but I eventually grew a brain and handled him to the aframe.  He proceeded to do his "handstand" or 1 touch on the downside which he never does at this height in class.  I only reward 2 hits in class and he is more likely to do only 1 touch on a low 5ft aframe.  He still manged to get one back foot in the yellow at least.  He was a little slow getting to position on the teeter, and did the extra tunnel surrounding the table when I wanted him to table.  Then when I went to get his leash he took my movement as opportunity to do the tunnel again!  Crazy dog.   Really I was happy with this run other then the crossing behind me in the beginning.

Wildcard- NQ
Bobble in the beginning as I was late in calling Vito off of the aframe.  He remarkably did come to me and we did a little dance to put him in the tunnel.  He did a very nice pinwheel, allowing me to stay back and let him do it on his own.  Then he shot off towards the aframe and I can't see anything I did handling wise to put him there.  On the very positive side, his aframe was very lovely this time and he even drove to the jump after which is something I am trying to get him to do in practice in order to wean him off of his ball as a target.  He called back to me really well and finished the course.  I was very happy with this run!

Snooker- Q
Vito was way more tired this run but this enabled us to have a pretty good run!  I was happy with how he handled and even more happy with his running aframe!  The only downside was that Vito wouldn't do his automatic down on the table.

Overall
Yay little Toller!  We still have a ways to go in terms of handler focus, but I am very pleased with his performance today.  I need to work on cuing him much earlier, it's just such a big difference compared to Lance.  He wasn't even as fast as he can be in practice so I know I will have even bigger adjustments to do.  I am also estatic about his aframe.  His running contacts got better each time and he was driving to the next obstacle instead of turning to look at me for his reward.   Baby dogs are so much fun!

Ok now it's hot.
I don't think Chuck made it.

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Lance's Agility in the hot hot sun

On Sunday we drove down to a CPE trial.  I guess I've been pretty spoiled so far in our short agility career as this was the first time I've had to wake up at 5am to get to the trial on time and plus it was really really hot!  I can't say I want to do agility outside again for a very long time.

Do you see my new cool coat?

I want it!
Grrr
I win!
Damn it Vito



Fullhouse lev3- Q
First up was the silly little point game of Fullhouse.  Lance was extremely inattentive before I even went into the ring.  He would give me a tiny bit of eye contact, I would reward, and he would go right back to sniffing and plain old ignoring me.  Very odd for Lance, especially for an agility trial. An obedience trial on the other hand...!  The inattentiveness carried over the ring a tiny bit.  We ran ok, he listened decently, but we just weren't in tune and both screwed up at times.  He also did his leap of the aframe and didn't do his 4 on the floor right away, and wouldn't lie down on the table at the end. 

Standard lev2- Q
Thankfully Lance was a billion times more attentive before going into the ring and we had a brilliant run!  I thought the pinwheel had actually a quite hard turn into the weaves but Lance called off the the obvious jump nicely.   I was pretty happy with our 3.96YPS for standard.

Wildcard lev2- Q
Not much to say.  I was happy.  5.41YPS

Snooker lev3- Q
Oh how I love snooker.  I lead out facing the wrong way from what I had walked so ended up doing the course in a tiny bit order then what I had walked.  Still did the order I wanted (7,7,6) but different order of red.   Bad was his not doing the auto down on the table.

Jumpers lev3- Q
I really loved this course.  Very happy with the beginning and the difficult wrap.  I think I was so focused on that wrap that I briefly forgot I wanted to do a cross.  Made it in, but still apologized to Lance for the timing.  Then he pulled off a jump I sent him out to.  I don't think it was anything I did wrong, my arm was still up but I may have turned my shoulders too soon.  Or he could have just been the heat.  It was over 10hrs later from our arrival!

Overall
Very happy!  The first run didn't feel that great, but we seemed connected the rest of the games.  My reoccurring thought though is on his aframe contacts.  I just don't like the way he jumps off and lands in a thud in his down.  The 4 on the floor is supposed to be easier on his joints.  I would like to go to running contacts with him, but when I first attempted last summer progress was extremely slow and frustrating.

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A broken sit

So Lance's sit is broken.  Not his general cue to plant his butt, but his ability to line up straight without wrapping his damn butt behind my leg.  It's always been a little bit crooked now and then but the past month or so it has gotten a ton worse.  Now every single halt or finish he is terribly crooked.  My instructor thinks it may have started around the time he started going to the chiropractor.  Perhaps he was overcompensating before and now doesn't know how to sit straight that he feel better???  I'm not sure, I think I've focused way too much on pivoting to my left and focusing on that hind end awareness that he is adjusting too far now.

My prescription is to do lots of 1-3 steps of heeling and halt.  Lots of side stepping to my left.  And lots of little pivots to the right. 

His heeling has actually gotten a ton better in recent weeks and I can actually walk at a normal pace a lot now!  I was doing tons of slow heeling, only going into a normal gait as a reward for actually being in heel position and not being forged.  Such a pushy little corgi!  I know I still need to put more emphasis on having his head in the right spot over his butt being crooked as he has been forging a lot longer then he's been sitting crooked.  Focus on one thing at a time I guess. 

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We have a dog walk!

I think Vito and I are back on track with our running contacts work.  Adam and his parents were nice enough to make me my very own dogwalk!!!  Unfortunately the backyard where we rent has too uneven ground so it wasn't very stable here.  It now resides at my parents house and I have dutifully been making the drive down  a few times each week.


I am still having the ball out as a target, but it is no longer close to the end.  I have even been able to progress to putting the ball after a jump again!  He jumped the first few times but since has been really good.  My only concern is that today it looks like he is jumping on the middle plank sometimes.  I think it's because the boards don't match up 100% so there is a very slight bit of the angled board protruding over the middle.  I'm not sure how he even notices it, but it's the only explanation I can think of as to why he's likely to do it going one direction but not the other.  Thankfully he is still stretching his stride so that he is running all the way down the plank.

Now I'm just debating about how to progress.  Do I work on adding turns by slowly moving the jump and his ball at different angles?  Or do I work on fading away the ball as a target first?  I am tempted to get rid of his target first and do turns second, but I'm worried about Vito not having enough drive for the jump straight out ahead and thus slowing down to look at me and loosing his beautiful striding.  Maybe if I do turns first it's more practice with the reward being after the jump and more practice with him being successful running all the down before I fade the target?  Any suggestions???

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Vito Hastings Disc Dog Comp

Yesterday we went to our 3rd disc dog competition!  It was extremely hot out but Vito didn't seem to mind too much.  My throws weren't quite as good this time and Vito only caught 1 of the 5.  The other 3 he all came in contact with in the air but for some reason bounced them off his mouth, and the last one was just a horrible throw.  In round #2 I had his daddy throw and both did very well, catching 4 of the 5 throws!  My plan is to slowly get Adam to become Vito's disc handler.  I think it would be great for him to do something with the dogs and he sadly has no interest in obedience or agility.


I got first?

Lance and Chuck want to point out that they were there too

At home we are progressing to vaulting off my thigh with me standing up, as opposed to kneeling on the ground.  There are still some times he decides to jump over my knee instead of actually putting his paws on me.  I'm actually quite impressed he can jump that high without vaulting!  And then there are other times where he seems to just barrel right through me.  I am still holding the disc at this point but soon I hope to learn how to float it for him.

He is also getting better about dropping the first disc while running when I cue him to.  Before he would drop a disc when standing near me to get a 2nd disc, but had a really hard time doing so when running back to me.  He does prefer his older blue Jawz disc to the newer green Jawz disc though.

And in my most proudest news, Vito can now do 1 full backward circle counterclockwise when the disc is in my hands!!! It's been so difficult for Vito to be able to do any of his tricks when he gets over aroused, which is basically anytime I have a ball or frisbee in my hand.  He much prefers to stomp his feet and shriek at me :) I still have a long ways to go but his small list of tricks when a disc is out are now:
sit, down, left spin, right spin, leg weaves, and 1 backward circle!

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Chuck 15wks

This past week with Chuck:


I've been progressing his understanding of stay to include much more handler movement.  I can walk around behind him, jump up and down, go about 10-15ft away, and drop food on the floor.  Next week I plan to ask him if he can still stay while I move to sit in a chair and do brief out of sights.

We now have a stand!  Still done 90% of the time with front feet on a raised surface, but it's not a wiggly jump into the air or just plain walking!  I like that he keeps his front feet still to kickback into one.  And as a bonus it has also helped him in his sit-down-sit transitions.  His sit seems to be broken this week as he constantly goes into a down.  If he is already down he just stares at me blankly.  He is better on his little pedestal. 

Tugging open cabinets!  Very very light and extremely easy to open, but never the less he has a little tug.  We still get some mouthing of the rope but Chuck is starting to get the concept of bite and pull back.

Retrieving is also getting much more controlled and purposefully aiming for my hand.  I can throw him off a bit if I have my hand out to the side, but overall he's doing well.  Usually there is no mouthing of the object unless he gets confused and wiggles his butt everywhere.

Practicing "M&M's" or heel-front-side transitions.  He is kind of getting the verbal cue as he starts to move to the correct spot but needs a lure to actually get to a good position.

Chuck is also working on rollover and can do both directions with a lure.  This was actually insanely hard to lure as Chuck would stand up in with the slightest head turn.  Lots of baby steps taken.

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Lance NADAC Trial



Saturday:
Touch N Go- Novice, Q
First course of the day and I was really happy!  He had great drive and I was able to get some moderate distance.  I was also very happy that he dd a dogwalk/tunnel discrimination as he is a bit of tunnel suck.  His dogwalk was a bit slow but he came all the way down nicely.  His first aframe wasn't so good though.  He was in the yellow but he launched and actually collected himself in the air and landed in the down.  Imagine droping a shoe to the ground and watching it land with a thud, but in a perfect down.  His second aframe I gave a more stern verbal and while he still looks like he's leaping he at least landed better.

Jumpers- Open, Q
I thought the run went great, no issues.  Pretty fast for Lance at 4.94YPS.

Regular 1- Novice, Q
This run was immediately after jumpers so I ran from ring to ring.  He did a nice tunnel/aframe discrimination for the tunnel, but it was also the tunnel so I was more confident.  His aframe was also much more in control and a bit slower.  His dogwalk was faster and I thought I would test him to see if I could keep running and still have him do his "floor."  Apparently he couldn't.  A "where's your floor?" and he did down immediately several feet after the dogwalk.  This run got us our NAC title.

Regular 2- Novice, NQ
Not sure what happened in the beginning here.  Lance shot off very fast but ran by the Dogwalk at the 3rd obstacle.  I thought he had some good drive and distance again though through the next section and then we failed the aframe/tunnel discrimination.  I didn't handle it as conservatively as I was going to but I still thought I was pretty clear in my direction.  Guess not.  I then kinda fumbled my front cross in the pinwheel but Lance didn't seem to mind.

Sunday:
Weavers-Novice, NQ
Lance did great, I failed.  I did a great front cross at a difficult turn which Lance read very nicely.  However I then forgot to turn my shoulders for the 180 and Lance correctly started shooting towards an off course tunnel.  I forgot where the course went in that 1/2sec and didn't call him off.  Oh well.  Rest of the course went nicely except for the last weaves.  Lance seemed to just shoot by like he didn't even see them.  When I gave a second cue he immediately tried to dive in but it was too late so his entry was wrong.

Tunnelers-Open, Q
Another great run.  I ended up being farther ahead then I thought I would be so I modified my plan a bit and resulted in Lance taking a wide turn.  But no real errors and I was happy.

Chances-Novice, Q
My first time attempting any distance game with him!  I was very happy that the discrimination in the beginning was for the tunnel and he worked away for me with ease.  It was just novice so it wasn't that diifficult but I was still happy.  He also did his dogwalk "floor" nicely with me continuing to move very slowly.

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Goal Reviews Jan-June

I thought it would be interesting to go through all my monthly training goals for the past 6 months and see which ones we made long term progress on and which ones we just passed by!  Numbered starting from January goals to current.

1. Finishes- Always a work in progress.  We have progressed so Vito usually doesn't step on my foot anymore and Lance isn't quite as forged on the left finish.  I am pretty good about practicing this several times a week.

2.  Random Stays- To help with Lance working through stress on his group stays I thought I would start doing completely random stays around the house.  For about a month I was good at having him do a stay while I was taking a shower, watching tv, etc.  Not sure if it helped at all or not.  He was definently stressed and I don't think I worked on them long enough to get past that.  He rarely broke though.

3. Go Outs-  I started over with Lance and switched from a nose target on the floor to a paw touch on the wall.  I am VERY happy with the results!!!  I'm still working on initial distance but so far Lance can do his first one from 1/2 a ring and easily do entire ring distance if back chained. It's fast and he has a nice sit after his touch.  I've practiced to a ton of different surfaces and Lance is doing awesome!!  Vito hasn't had nearly as much practice but is currently starting out 1/4 of the ring and we have also been doing a lot of different surfaces.  Right now both dogs are working on a better mark and we are practicing with a target on the floor.  I want them to continue looking at the target even when I stand up.  I soon hope to put this in sequence with their go out practice.

4. Side- I wanted both dogs to learn how to heel on my right, including pivoting.  I haven't worked on this in a couple months but when I left off both dog can pivot nicely and overall have a nice close position.  Lance has a better understanding then Vito.

5. Scent Articles- Wow, I really stepped up my game and started to work on this!  I still hate training it but I am getting much better at doing the work.  Lance has progressed from just 3 metal articles to now mostly working a full pile.  He isn't fully confident yet, but after the first send he is much more excited and willing.  There is just something about that first one he does where he is a bit uncertain that I want him to bring back the article.  I am just starting to add in some of the formal components to it.  We had a 2 month break because of his cracked tooth but hope to jump back in quickly.  Vito started with no experience and now he too does a full pile.  He still tends to randomly guess at times though.

6.  Disc- Vito went from having zero interest in the frisbee and only wanting his tennis balls to now doing lots of screaming and constantly demanding me to play some disc.  I have learned to throw a decent basic backhand and Vito catches really well.  He can also flip pretty well to his left, kind've to his right, and we are starting to learn vaulting and overs of my leg.  He is also working with 2 discs now and is doing a decent job of switching back and forth.  I try and get out to practice several times a week.

7.  Freestyle Routine- Well Lance does have a song and 1/2 of a routine.  I have only practiced his routine a handful of times but we do work on the components in the routine more often.  I still really want to get on this but I feel like I have no clue what I am doing.  I just really need somebody to give me guidance and push me.  Vito has a song, I think, but no routine.  I actually am not focusing at all on him right now with freestyle.  We might do it in the future but ever since I started disc with him it's taking priority.  We will likely do freestyle disc before freestyle obedience.

Tricks:
1. Touch vs Whack It-  A discrimination test to see if the dogs could learn to interact with an object with just their nose or just a paw.  Results were mixed.  I spent quite awhile on this (a whole month, a long time for me and trick!) and they did successfully get the challenge to about 90% accuracy.  But now they have no clue and randomly guess again.  They can easily get it if I ask for repeated touches or repeated whacks but they can't get it on the first try anymore.

2. Praying-  I haven't done anything with this since January.  But the dogs do seem to have a decent understanding of the trick and need only a little help to get it started.

3. Retrieving a hot dog- nope.  Did a few lessons in January and ended with them doing brief holds of a frozen dog.

4. Cross and Pose of front legs- Vito is much better about holding the position for a tiny bit and not moving his other foot.  However he still needs a very obvious lure (without a treat in my hand) and I need to be sitting on the floor.  Lance progressed to doing pose at quite a distance and sometimes cross at a distance.

5. Limping- I totally spent more time with this trick!  Lance could already do his front left but now he can limp on his front right for a few steps.  Still needs work, but we're mainly there.  Vito can also limp on his front right paw now but only with me standing in front walking backwards.

6. Hugging a toy- Nope.  Totally gave up on this.  I still want to do it though.

7. Circle Another- As a Go Click Challenge I worked on the dogs doing "outs" and figure 8's using each other as posts.  Haven't done it since, but it was a fun couple of days.

8. Crawl- Another Go Click Challenge and one that I occasionally still practice.  Lance is actually getting a decent crawl now and I really want to include it in our freestyle routine.  His backwards crawling is especially good!  Vito is awesome at crawling but still needs more distance work on his moonwalk.

9.  Back onto Object- A Go Click that I haven't done in a long time.  Vito did get much better at his handstand and was starting to do it with a wall behind him.  He definitely understands the concept so it's just a matter of getting some strength and balance work.  Lance just had a couple of sessions of backing onto a box for fun :)

10. Sticky Target- A Go Click that I wanted to turn into a nose bridge for obedience.  I never did finish up and do so, but the dogs do have a really good constant touch where they leave their nose on the target.  I haven't asked for it in a long time but Lance occasionally offers it when I'm working on something else.  I think both dogs really enjoyed this challenge.

11.  2 paws vs 4 paws- A Go Click discrimination challenge where I worked on their 2o2o position for agility, "feet," vs standing on an object, "on it."  I hadn't taught a 4 paw cue before this challenge but I say my dogs kind've know it now. 

12. Penguin- Vito learning to move forward in a "beg" position.  I occasionally practice this one and he is getting a bit better.  But I actually have more so been practicing Lance learning to move backwards in his beg!  Lance is naturally pretty good at it it's been helping my motivation a lot!

Thoughts
Wow, I guess this list really shows me where my priorities lie!  12 Tricks and only 7 "non tricks" with 2 of those being sport goals.  I am sure there are many other tricks that I've started this year and haven't spent more then a week on.  Actually this month alone I've started 2 new tricks, but I'm not sharing until the July wrap up :)

For those of you wondering how much I train, the answer is that I really don't.  I do try and train one session every day, always with their dinner.  Each session is between 2-15minutes long per dog and I probably end up doing it 4 times a week.  With Chuck here now I am really trying hard to force myself to do it everyday so I likely hit 6-7 times a week now with Lance and Vito.  

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Vito's Obedience Match and Ring Behavior

There was an obedience match today for novice dogs and open A dogs so I thought I would take Vito.  There are basically no matches around here and apparently I didn't know what to expect.  I thought I would be able to take some treats or a toy into the ring but I guess not!  When I found out I became super stressed as Vito hasn't been to an obedience class in a long time and has only done 2 run throughs at our club, both with plenty treats.  He certainly has never done obedience at a strange club before and never without rewards.  But I figured it was too late to back out!

The facility was very small and very hot.  I set up the crate in the small entry area but Vito ended up hanging out with me, and all the other dogs and handlers, in the actual ring area where it was a tiny bit cooler.  We were second in the ring and I hadn't felt so nervous in a long time.  But he did awesome!!!! 

The run down
I remembered to walk fast and Vito kept his eyes on me 100% of the time!  I thought his heeling was beautiful.  His sit was a tinge crooked and we need to work on not crowding on the left turns but it was really nice.  I even repeated my instructors advice to walk quickly on the figure 8 and it was probably the best figure 8 we have ever done  The judge took off 4pts for our heel on leash and figure 8 although I'm not sure for where.

No points were lost on the stand for exam.  He turned his head pretty far to see the judge but never moved a foot.

The heel free was also nice, and had great eye contact except for at the first turn.  You start by heeling right towards the door to the ring and Vito was a bit distracted for a second.  I gave him a verbal "vito" and he sprinted back to me.  I don't even think he needed the extra cue but since it was a match I figured I should use the moment to train.  From there on he was brilliant.  The "judge" took off 5pts for my extra command, but I always thought it was a 3pt deduction.  Does anybody know?  We lost 8pts total.

His recall was the weakest portion in my mind.  He came a bit slow (for him) although he still ran. His front was way crooked and I couldn't tell if he stepped on my foot for the left finish.  I even specifically watched to see if he would do so but I think with all my stress I just couldn't tell!  We lost 1pt on the recall.

Stays were also great.  I was pretty worried about the group stays considering the temperature and the fact that we really haven't practiced them in a long time.  But no need to worry!

I am so proud of my little toller!  I will be ecstatic if he does this well at a real trial.  We scored a 187 but it honestly felt like a 197!  Well maybe not quite that high, but pretty close.  I suppose that should worry me since I could be completely missing what the judge is seeing in our performance.  Or maybe I am so used to how bad Lance can forge that anything less then that I see as perfect :)

Thoughts on Ring Behavior
Now for a little rant.  I know this trial was for new dogs as they had to be in either novice or open A, but there was a complete lack of manners by exhibitors.  Because of the tight space dogs were very close to each other and none crated.  Some people did a great job and kept their dogs either right next to them or even under the bench.  But then others were clueless.  Unfortunately the woman who walked in and sat down next to me was an idiot.  She sat down about 2ft next to me as she knew the people on the end and then proceeded to chit chat away as her dog continually tried to invade Vito's space.  Vito was in a down under the bench and behaving quite nicely as the dog kept stretching towards his butt.  The woman would occasionally leash pop and yell at her dog but did nothing more about it and never took her eyes off of her friends to actually look at her dog.  I kept scooting farther away and having Vito crawl with me until we were now 6ft with no more room to move and still the dog kept stretching.  I shot dirty looks to no avail since she wasn't even looking our way and kept shoving my foot in between her dog's nose and Vito.  If her dog had seemed anything but overly friendly I would have said something.  Several other exhibitors there also seemed oblivious to their surroundings.  I know some people had Great Danes (there were 3, plus a puppy, cute!  Great to see the non-traditional dogs do obedience!) who obviously need much more space, but letting them sprawl out in the ENTIRE isle and not moving them for people and dogs to walk by is not appropriate.  I did feel bad for the poor danes in the heat though.

Rant 2 is on the use of corrections.  As most exhibitors use traditional based methods I was not surprised to see every dog besides Vito in a choke chain.  But what shocked me was the amount of corrections and the heavy force used outside of the ring.  These were 2 handed, let's jerk the dog off of the floor, type of "corrections!"  I may not be that experienced with the proper use of a choke chain but I'm pretty sure the goal is not briefly hang the dog.  At a trial people are not supposed to use corrections even outside of the ring so I haven't seen this heavy usage before.  I am assuming that what I saw is not normal and hope that most people out there know how to properly use one.

Rant 3 is the shark contrast between the huge corrections outside of the ring and the lack of any feed back in the ring.  Several dogs were leaping at their handlers and biting them, heeling on the wrong side, not heeling at all, etc. and the handlers did nothing.  This one woman was a huge chew toy the ENTIRE heeling pattern and she didn't pause for even a second or even say one word to her dog.  It's one thing if your dog jumps up in enthusiasm and is a bit pushy but if your dog is actually trying to knock you to the ground I would personally at least stop moving.  And since these people were the same ones hanging their dogs just a moment ago outside of the ring for the smallest sniff, where was the corrections here?  Or if your dog takes 2 steps with you during heeling and then stops, maybe you shouldn't finish the entire rest of the pattern without even giving a second cue as your dog stands at the start line looking at you.  Even if this was a real trial, just call your dog people!  Lots and lots of people unwilling to even say the dogs name.  I just feel that the dogs needed some type of feedback instead of leaving them floundering.  Ugh.  (And by corrections, I don't even mean physical ones.  Interrupting and redirecting a dog can certainly be done positively.  But the dogs were stressing UP or stressing DOWN, and needed support on what to do.)

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Panic attack

Today I had a complete panic attack as Vito had to be rushed to the emergency vet.  I had left Lance and Vito in my place as I went up the stairs to talk to the upstairs neighbor.  I thought it would be good practice for Vito to be left alone as he could still hear me.  When I came back down a half hour later I saw Lance but couldn't see Vito from the entrance way.  As I went in I suddenly saw him lying down with his head comletely up a bag of kettle corn.  I yelled but he didn't move as I went over so I pulled the bag off his head to find him panting hysterically.  His tounge was hanging out of his mouth and was very purple, the side of his mouth was covered in drool, pupils dilated, and poop surrounded him.  He could stand but looked very dizzy.  I immediately scooped him up, yelled upstairs for the neighbor to watch the dogs, and sprinted to the car. 

Thankfully by the time I pulled into the ER he was starting to breathe normal.  And when they checked his vitals he was fine except for a sore trachea.  The naughty dog is fine now, just very tired.  I don't think I am quite recovered yet.

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Too hot

I think it's hot in here.

Yes, quite hot.


Lance agrees, I think.

Vito hides in the cooler bedroom.

Even the ferrets don't want to play.
No air conditioning :(

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July Goals

Wow, June really flew by for me.  It was my month "off" for training my 2 boys since Chuck's arrival.  My excuse was that I couldn't train Lance and Vito with the little shark hovering around and getting in the way.  This month I won't be able to have that excuse since Chuck now knows the rules and respectfully keeps his distance when I am working with the other dogs.

July Goals
1.  Prepare Vito for the rally ring!  I entered Vito in the upcoming APDT rally trials the end of the month.  I figured rally was a good place to test his ability to focus in the ring and it allows me to reward him with treats and verbal praise on course.  So this month I will be making sure Vito is good at all the signs and working on his attention during heeling.  I want to try and take Vito out in public this month to work on his heeling.

2.  Resume Lance's (and Vito's) scent article work.  They have had the past 8wks or so off as Lance's cracked tooth hindered his ability to retrieve anything.  I want to get them both back up to working the full pile and add in the formal aspects.

3.  Go Outs for obedience.  Lance has been doing great on his go outs but still needs some work.  I want to a) increase the initial distance Lance can be sent from, right now it's about 1/2 the ring.   And b) Work on Lance holding his mark while I stand up straight.  I plan on showing Lance his mark while I am setting up for the exercise and then remain standing up after the judge asks if I am ready and while I send him.  I will start with a target for this and then transfer it back to our go out.

4.  Vito disc work.  I want to keep doing disc with him most every day, specifically working on playing with 2 discs.  Currently Vito has a somewhat hard time switching between discs and with dropping a disc while running in order to catch the 2nd one.  I also want to work on him flipping to his right better and actually vaulting off my leg when coming from a distance.

5.  and Chuck- So much we want to accomplish that I think it's best I stick to weekly updates.  Plus I don't really feel the need to actually sit down and think of his goals as puppies just progress so nicely.  They have so much to learn that you can really see a difference every single session.  I don't really think out in advance what I want to teach him, he just learns.

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

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