Pawsitive Vybe Seminar pt 2

Another summary of the Pawsitive Vybe seminar...

I was worried how Vito would take to 4 whole days of being crated most of the day plus camping at night.  He has done extremely well at agility and obedience trials to the point that I can work most of the trial with only occasional visits to check in on him.  Even last year at disc dog matches he could calmly hang out in his crate and watch the other dogs catching.  Vito has camped out once, at the final disc dog event last September and did pretty well with it.

His anxiety this seminar wasn't as minimal as I had hoped but it could have been much worse.  Day #1 was really stressful on him.  Vito was extremely excited upon arrival and remained revved up until bedtime.  I don't think he stopped panting from 9am until 9pm.  An insane amount of yawning occurred.  Thankfully he seemed right at home in the small tent and immediately crashed.  Days #2-4 went better.  Vito was much more calm and settled about the whole thing.  However he still wasn't all that relaxed in his crate.  I had set up a crate right near all the people in hopes he would see it as just another trial but it didn't work.  Thankfully there was very little whining going on and he did lay down for most of it.  But if I was away from the crate for more than 5 minutes he would start trembling.  When I was close by he would sometimes go to sleep or at least try to, but away he was stressed.  I really don't know what the difference was between this past week and every other trial he has been to.

Stress yawn

As expected Vito didn't eat most of the week.  He ate maybe 1/3 of his meals, eating more the first 2 days and none by the last day. 
What food?
I realize I'm not painting the brightest of pictures, but it wasn't all bad with Vito.  He did do some sleeping in the crate when I was close by and thankfully doesn't have any storm phobias.  I shoved treats in the crate during our HAIL storm but I don't think it was neccessary.
Went from hailing to sunny and clear within 15 minutes.

 Lance at least had a fantastic time!  I took him along so I could practice obedience in a new place during our downtime.  Lance has never been a big fan of working on grass that's not cut really short so it was challenging for him.  He did a fantastic job though of working through it and did some very lovely heeling, signals, scent articles, and go outs for me.  Lance was also a complete ham in typical corgi fashion and loved working the crowd.
I am the coolest corgi ever!

His favorite activity was rolling around in the grass.  Apparently every 2 feet was the greatest smell he had ever smelled.

 
This is awesome!

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Pawsitive Vybe Seminar

The boys and I just returned from a 4 day Pawsitive Vybe disc dog seminar!  By far the best seminar I've been to.  Ron and Apryl are the most patient teachers and are great at breaking things down for both canine and humans.

I feel like I actually have a handle on how to throw a disc now which wasn't an easy task. I have always had a really hard time mirroring people or even simply imitating a grip.  Ron didn't make me feel like an idiot when he had to physically move my hands and body for me, over and over again, and even had a ton of innovative ideas on how to get my body to feel the right movements.  And while it only happened once and may never happen again, I even did a body roll of the disc across my arms.

As for Vito, Ron and Apryl really challenged my expectations and set the bar high.  Apparently through management and microshaping I don't have to play Vito's reindeer games on the field.  Anyone who has seen Vito on the field knows that he screams constantly until a disc is thrown, repeatedly punches you as you walk out on the field, can't keep his feet still, and is just all over you until the disc is his.  His brain has splatted and there is no thinking at all.  Words of endearment towards Vito this week were monster, dangerous, a polite-rude, bastard, jumping idiot, pushy, and obnoxious.  Of course they also called him awesome and Ron offered to steal him as he loves Tollers.

We came up with a management plan of keeping discs in my bag until the last second.  Vito will walk nicely on a leash over many but starts screaming as soon as I go for my bag zipper.  Then I must give Vito a disc right away and either tug with him to the middle of the field or let him carry it.  This still results in some screaming but it's muffled by the disc :)  When I'm taking a break I can try telling him "all done" and immediately drop the discs to the ground.  If they're on the floor he doesn't scream at me and 80% of the pushing me stops.  I can just let him pick up and grab as many discs as he wants; just ignore him.  During game play but during a low to just gather discs or think  I need to just chuck discs out there for him to run after.

The training portion of a more controlled Vito is doing a ton of waits during play and having that become a secondary reinforcer.  Shaping eye contact is going to be another huge priority and likely the most important one.  Vito can do the eye contact game with food and with tug toys but has an insanely hard time with a ball or disc.  Ron suggested starting with going outside, putting a disc on the ground, and just working with food.  He won't eat the food at first, but perhaps after a few sessions he should settle in and eat once he learns discs do not always equal play.  I can slowly work my way up and ask for eye contact during a game of disc.

Besides throwing better and getting a more domesticated Vito, I got a few suggestions on improving our catch ratio.  Vito currently overruns the disc and it can be quite dangerous as he then has to fling his body.  I can create a more thinking Vito by having him do rear and front crosses to change his line of travel and get him collecting.  Ron thinks I can even mark the collection and put a cue on it.  I am to avoid doing the standard send around and throw forward right now as that creates the barreling Vito, and instead set it up so he's intercepting the disc.


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Randomness

I haven't posted in a while so you guys get a jumbled report.

Two weekends ago now I went to a disc dog fun match.  Vito had fun as always, I threw like I hadn't done so all winter :)  While waiting for our turn Lance played some tree utility.  He had a blast doing go outs to a large tree, although the first time I sent him he happily ran straight to it and then proceeded to sniff around it.  After a few perfect ones I found a triangle of trees that could make great directed jumping, or directed trees.  Lance went out around them beautifully on the "jump" portion but on the go out he told me he couldn't touch the much skinnier tree and instead went around it before sitting.  I wasn't one to argue with him.

This past Friday was spent getting soaking wet at a NADAC trial.  The boys both did weavers and hoopers.  Vito broke his startline in hoopers and I decided I didn't care.  He did well and I was proud of myself for thinking very quickly on my feet to make up a new plan when I found myself forgetting to do a cross.  Lance was an angel.  In weavers Vito got all his entrances and did well even though he wasn't terribly fast.  Lance also made all his entrances but on the last set he kept popping out at that 10th pole until we made it on our 3rd attempt.  No Q since we were overtime.  I was thrilled that Vito seemed perfectly relaxed in his crate in a tent despite not being able to see anyone else and likely not hear anyone else because of the rain.

Sunday I went to watch a running contacts seminar by our own Kory Kaye.  It was great getting to see all the dogs strides and to hear Kory's approach.  Of course we steered the majority of people away from doing a running dogwalk and pushed for the running aframe instead :)  I think the seminar renewed my energy to keep at it with Lance.  She had a lot of the dogs just run run run back and forth over the lowered equipment not worrying about footfalls until they're really hauling.  I think that's something I need to go back and do with the corgi so he stops over thinking and short striding everything.  He is doing well again though with his little mat on the end.  I'm taking it extra slow this time.  At the end of the day when everyone's dog was dead I pulled out Vito and ran him over the dogwalk.  He replicated our issue with turns (a very very slight turn) and we discussed going to 2 seperate behaviors for him (being crazy and having a 2o2o plus having a running) or handling it like I'm going straight, no peeling off or anything until he's in his last stride. 

The boys are also learning how to drum for Silvia Trkman's challenge.  Lance loves it although hasn't quite figured out I'm only rewarding the front feet drumming so he's also spazzing with his back feet.  The toller is still uninterested at training time.  The lab is lazily pattering.

A random picture of Chuck with his binkie

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Vito meds update- 11wks

It's been 11 wks today that Vito has been on Fluoxetine (prozac).  I'm really not sure where I left off in my updates so I'll briefly summarize.

At 6wks it seemed to be kicking in.  Vito slept for the first time EVER when left alone!  He actually did a few times that week.  He wasn't any more relaxed when at work, but at least was doing great when left at home for 20min departures and even 1hr 45min.

Then that weekend was a CDSP/APDT trial and Vito was just flat. There wasn't much life in his eyes and he wouldn't even be his crazy self with a toy.  He also wasn't really eating. 


After  8wks, around Easter, he started to seem more like his normal self.  He's still wasn't as drivey  as he used to be but at least he got excited for a toy and would play with me for short times.  Vito also wasn''t yet eating much so I'm not sure if his lower energy is due to not having any food in him!  Most departures are at 45min and while Vito isn't sleeping anymore he is at least wasn't looking anxious.

At work he was stressed.  He developed a major aversion to going into the crate at work (where he can see me and watch me work) or at the obedience club (where he can again see me).  Tried to avoid it at all costs until he reluctantly comes close and starts shaking.  I switched to a gigantic dog bed at work but he still shaked when tethered.

I quit giving him the Alprazolam (Xanax) when we ran out midway on this week.  I don't think it helped him that much, at least not on 2mg in the morning.

9wks and Vito finally starts eating his breakfast on most days although dinner was about 50%.  Still avoiding his now doggy bed at work and the crates at the obedience club although no longer shaking. 

We started the week out with sleeping during an 18min departure and then ended with major whining and howling on May 7th.  On that trial he was constantly adjusting every 2 minutes although remained on the bed and lying down for most of it.  He started whining at 60min and howling at 100 minutes.  Heartbreaking to watch.  Before being left he had a very busy day full of stress (car broke down) and excitement (thus being picked up by Grandpa, then agility training). I thought he would be exhausted and would sleep the whole time, Vito had other ideas.  Apparently he's not ready to be left  on any days other than normal ones.

After 10wks (this last week) Vito is now eating 100% of his food.  We switched flavors when the bag ran out so maybe Vito will go on a hunger strike again when it's no longer new.  He seems to be getting more of his drive back so I'm hoping we're no longer seeing negative effects of the medication and instead just lingering effects from having no fuel.  I am excited to see how he does this week in class and at home.

When left at home Vito is still flopping a lot.  It doesn't look like he's anxious but he just can't relax and adjusts his position every few minutes.  Restless might be the word.  He remains lying down most of the time and even keeps his head down.  He did sleep one time last week.  Departures are between 20min-1hr 45mn still.

He is doing a bit better at work but not by much.  Not resisting going to the dog bed and lays down nicely for the 15min stretches he is chained up.  But he's not relaxed.   If I leave him in the cubicle with Lance and/or Chuck  he whines some days but  others I've spied on him NOT lying up next to the baby gate in anxious wait but underneath the desk (perhaps sleeping?),  I think he's more likely to be able to fall asleep when at the cubicle instead of tethered in my training room but he's not reliable enough to not be whining for me to really leave him there even if it's just for 15-20min stretches between checks. 


I'm not sure if we're at the point I should consider upping the dosage or not.  I'm still worried that he might be losing some of his drive and craziness I love about him.  I know that some of his intensity is due to stress such as when he gets over the top going to people's houses.  And I know that his extreme love of tennis balls and discs is almost OCD ish.  But I also want my forgy dog back instead of this one that's more prone to lagging.  And my dog who doesn't get tired  while simply playing obedience but just wants to go go go. 

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Running contacts insanity

If you're not already crazy for even considering doing a running dogwalk, the training is certainly going to the job.


Just when I thought I had a handle on Lance's training he pushes me off the deep end.  Either shortening his stride the entire way until his last one that he extends to happily reach for the ground and barely knick a toe in the yellow, or nicely running until the 2nd to last stride he shortens and then once again happily extends.  I was hoping to be at full height by now and clearly we have an eternity of this torture left. 

I finally decided to add a little mat this week.  I had just started experimenting with it 2yrs ago when I quit on the idea of Lance having a running contact and now I'm back to both ideas.  Don't judge me!  In theory I'm using it more as a reminder for Lance to not stretch over the yellow rather than a pounce on and off object like the pvc box method.  I'm hoping he will keep a natural run through the mat so I cut it fairly long.  Don't tell Silvia Trkman ;)

I have no idea if it will work.  Lance was doing very nicely with it and the board lowered quite a bit.  Then I raised it a little and while he's doing better than what he was doing I'm not sure what to think.  It seems like every time we get to this height Lance starts hitting higher and higher until we're no longer in the yellow at all.
Here's video of the 2nd session with the mat and then today's session:


Any suggestions?  Scrap the mat idea, keep it, go down in height, go up in height...???

And then there's Vito.  I thought Vito was doing really well with his turn training but it was fleeting.  Looking over the videos I think the higher hits started to occur with the 180 degree training.  I compiled some footage from the end of April here:


I think the footage shows him doing well.  He learned to add in a 3rd stride on turns and still hit low.  But f you look at the last two trials from the 180 turn footage (and those weren't rewarded in that session) that's pretty much what Vito is doing now on all turns.  I'm not sure what to do with him anymore.  I'm partly thinking of scraping all tight turn work and going back to doing really soft >90 degree turns to just get him running.  Never work on tight turns again and just hope he won't come off the side when those appear on course.  I could care less if he turns on the flat rather than adjusting his striding on the board.  I only went to turn training since Vito was figuring out if there wasn't an obstacle straight ahead he was going to be turning and he started coming off the side of the board/jumping.  Or is that a really bad idea that just avoids the issue?

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May Goals

I haven't made any goals the past few winter months but despite the little bit of snowflakes I saw this morning I'm hoping spring is here.

April progress:
- The little bit I did was trick training.  I am close to finishing up Chuck's limping and then quickly taught him to bow.
- Lance and I are still struggling with getting him to hold an object in his paws.  I think he understands the goal but is having a really difficult time holding the object tight enough without bringing his paws lower.  Of course if he lowers his paws the object falls.
-Also struggling with the back leg backwards limp.  Lance likes to grumble a lot at me when working on it :) Sometimes I've gotten up to 3 little steps backwards but mostly we have a hard time with 1.
- Vito hasn't done much.  Most of the time he's still not wanting to eat.  I've still done some work with training him to holding an object in his paws despite his unwillingness to eat the offered food.  Vito always begged with his paws straight in the air so had a hard time learning to balance with his paws down.  Doing better and is grabbing the object in close, but often he falls backwards :)  I also did a little work with duration with paw over the nose.



May Goals
1. Disc- Go out to the park at least once a week with Vito
2. Go outs- start really upping the distractions with Lance.
3. Tricks- I might stop the backwards limping thing with the corgi  but I do still want the hugging of a toy.
4. Depending on how Vito is doing with the meds I want to get back to practicing obedience exercises with him.  I just don't want to practice any of it if he's feeling flat.

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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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