She's starting to lose her puppy fuzz and look like a real toller now! Well, still a golden retriever actually.
Our little pivots and side steps for heel work are pretty hit and miss right now. Lovely some days and other days she is completely insistent that I must want her either between my legs or in front of me.
The Chuck it Launcher experiment continues for trial #2! Results were even more screaming than the first USDAA trial and holy cow he actually RAN in all 8 runs over two days. Many runs didn't just come close to backyard practice speed, but actually were full speed!
In the first run of the weekend he actually screamed a little bit DURING his run! He doesn't even do that at home! And it was jumpers, zero contacts on course! Sadly, no video of that run. But yes, he knocked his yards per second out of the water and the danger we can sometimes be in of not making time in jumpers wasn't there at all.
Q rate wasn't so high. We had an off course in each regular run, a knocked bar in that jumpers run, and another knocked bar in chances.
Touch n Go was my absolute favorite run of the weekend. Personal best of 6.78YPS and fastest time of all dogs. Bonus of a super nice turn off the dogwalk with an off course hoop staring straight at him. Best Vito video ever:
And he even did distance! With a (late) rear cross! Stupid knocked bar prevented him from getting a vary rare chances Q for him.
NADAC trial this weekend. Lance's 4th and 5th day of trialing of the entire year so I was eager to get back to agility with him!
Sadly Lance seemed a bit off all weekend. Slower than normal and pulling off of obstacles. Not sure if it was due to the slightly deeper dirt surface, general aging, or what.
He did 4 run on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. The last run of the day on Sunday was jumpers and it was just sad. Poor Corgi was stuttering horrible and much slower than earlier :(
A few people who have watched our quick meal training sessions have commented on how I'm really not using any commands at this point. I'm just in no rush. Right now her training has very little to do with learning words and lots to do with Py figuring out how to communicate with me and discovering body awareness. If she offers a behavior other than the one we were working on I usually just go with it. I might later regret that I'm letting her hop from one thing to another but right now it's still cute and fun. I suppose that's how most naughty behavior start!
I'm also heavily managing Py's focus when she is out and about with me. We still have our romps at the park where she can just sniff and explore, but pretty much everywhere else when Py is on the ground I'm in training mode. I almost always have a toy or cookies on me to reward her for offering behaviors and for keeping focus on me. If I'm not able to give her that feedback then I'm just scooping her up in my arms. Or in her group class she's either in my arms or in her crate for 80% of the class so that the remaining 20% she can give me full effort. An hour class is too long for any dog, but especially a puppy!
Still working lots on chase me games to try and cultivate a love for running. While Py is still fairly uncoordinated she is sure gaining speed. I can no longer out race her and I've added the words Go Go Go to her tiny vocabulary.
And Py continues to claim the highest point of the couch. She says it has the added bonus of easily being able to see whatever food I'm eating.
The Duck continues to be slightly bigger than the Teacup Labradors of Gracie and Fiona. She weighs 19lbs today!
Lance had a pretty busy weekend at our club's obedience trial.
Saturday we were entered in 3 things- Utility, Open, and Advanced Teamwork.
Went amazing! Happy AND precise corgi! Only point lost other than fronts and finishes with a naughty mouthing of the glove on his front. Actually I thought he was really working his fronts and finishes and was shocked to see him lose points on several. Apparently I didn't see what she saw. Score was still good enough for 2nd place and 3 little more OTCH points to bring us up to 49! The run earned us his Obedience Master 2 title!
Nice run but not quite as great in the precision. A little more forging in heeling and not quite as great fronts and finishes. Down first for stays which of course went well. Then on the long sit he lied down at the 1 min mark. *Sigh. Most frustrating problem ever.
I was excited to see the exercises posted for the class to be the most straightforward ones.
Heeling involved lots of slow time! Then more heeling for the glove seek back exercise. I wasn't sure Lance knew I dropped something as I didn't even see him flinch but he ran almost straight for it! Then on the scent object he dropped the little piggy on his return but then brought it nicely. The moving sit went well, but I did cheat slightly by turning my shoulders into him. The moving sit is certainly the hardest of the 3 options! Transition changes were oddly the same 3 changes done twice: stand-sit-down-stand-sit-down. The first down to stand I forgot to say his name before the command and he just sat until I repeated my cue. The 2nd time around I remembered to say his name and he did if fine. So our only O point exercise!
Sat- Wildcard Open
Jumped on me nicely at the finish of heeling and played with me on the way to the figure 8. More looking at the stewards coming in and again he had a hard time setting up in heel. But then he did a fantastic job of staying focused and driving for the actual figure 8!
Basically the same issues for the drop on recall, retrieves, and broad jump. Looking around on the setup and slow to sit but great attitude on the actual exercises. Actually I think he did less looking around at each new setup. And for the first time in a recent trial he actually did a beautiful broad jump!
Our "Wildcard" exercise (get to skip 1 exercise) was the long sit. We joined the group stays at the down stay where Vito did his very first out of sight stay in a trial. He seemed confused going into the ring and setting up, and then even more confused when the judge moved us from the end into the middle (in catalog order). But the stay itself seemed relax as far as I can tell.
During awards Vito was absolutely fixated on the stewards with the milkbone biscuits. I could get him to do a sit stay but he would not look at me and barely move to turn away.
Sun- Advanced Teamwork
The big day! Outlook was not high for actually passing the exercises. I just hoped that he wouldn't lose confidence and be hesitant about not knowing what to do. Confidently failing is what I wanted!
So yeah, we failed every single exercise other than heeling for a grand total of 30 something points out of 200! Even the down in motion which he should have nailed, we failed the call to heel portion. I'm not sure what he was thinking!
But awesomeness! I am so happy with how he handled the ring and I think that is the most fun we have ever had at a trial. There was a little glancing around in the heeling but it was even better than Saturday's Open run. And then he got his toy in the ring!!! And then he confidently brought me back a little plastic fire truck on our scent object. Happy, wrong, Toller!
Gracie moved in with her new mom yesterday! Hopefully their training together will continue to go well and she won't be coming back to me yet again.
I had Gracie the longest, by far, of all the service puppies I raised. I admit the house feels really empty without her. Py makes our count of dogs to 3, it really just feels like I have 2 dogs and a puppy. Or maybe it just feels lighter because 4 dogs was a little crazy, at least when one of them is still learning all the rules.
Last family picture. Somehow it seems fitting that she didn't want to come further up and join the others for the shot. She's moving on to more important things.
Since Py turned 12 weeks I've taken her to the nice disc golf park a few times to swim in the lake and run on the paths. She is pretty darn independant on our walks and really doesn't care if she is abandoned while she checks out a good spot. Luckily Pyra really likes her food so she is mostly coming when called and also likes to check in every now and then to beg for some more.
Some more accidental swimming! But only did it once and then has been careful not to get too far in the water.
At this point we're nice and settled with her routines. Almost too comfortable in that it's easy to forget that she's still a puppy and really does need constant watching. But Py knows about watching other dogs train, mostly uses the rock potty area without prompting, chews slightly less on naughty items, and runs to her crate when asked. Too easy.
And on Neurotic Toller days, Vito will even play with her. Meaning he will growl very loudly the whole time and pin her to the ground often. But he's in a play bow the whole time so Py can clearly stop panicking :) Actually she does really well with all the dog's she has met, including Vito. Very confident and bounces back easily from being pushed around.
New thing we worked on this past week was re-visiting hind feet on a box. She had done one session a few weeks ago but then I stopped due to some confusion and struggling with Frog Legs. Frog still sucks, but it's going a little better. I also introduced nose targeting a dumbbell for the start of formal retrieve training. And we've recently started to do some pivoting in heel without her little perch. Biggest hinder in that training is her tendency to auto sit. I've learned from previous puppies that I really don't want the sit at heel introduced so early as it interferes in fluid motion when they're still learning.
Our club's obedience trial is coming up this weekend and we're offering the Advanced Teamwork class again this year. Basically it's Utility+ for those not familiar with the class.
Have I mentioned recently how much I love having my own yard and my own agility equipment? I haven't had the time to use it as much as I hoping this summer due to my teaching schedule, a few strained muscles, and of course trials.
Having the ability to practice agility outside of the club has dug up a huge hole in Vito's jump training. I have a bar knocker. The issue hasn't really been there at trials except for a little bit this last weekend. And at his agility class he rarely knocked bars as well. But it had been starting to crop up recently at his class the last few months. Mainly on tight turns. Now at home it's been showing up constantly.
I've come to the conclusion that Vito just doesn't see keeping the bar up as part of his criteria in jumping. It wasn't/isn't so much of an issue if he's not running full speed. But when he's very excited his brain kinda falls out and he doesn't make much effort at all to not hit the bar. Since at home he's extremely excited to play agility and earn his ball there is mass screaming and mass bar knocking. I've gone back to 1 jump exercises and his success rate is not high. Perfect if I bring out food as reward, really bad with any toy. I've been trying to slowly raise the height of the bar and have almost zero handler motion, but progress is incredibly slow.
And just like that the socialization window is starting to close as Pyra turns 12wks old tomorrow. Nagging questions of whether we went enough places, met enough people, experienced enough different noises, surfaces...
Pyra did go to her first agility trial this weekend! Mainly stuck in her crate (quietly!) but she did come out for some tugging and a few treats. Going back and forth between the two rewards certainly needs some more work. The Duck is all about food these days.
And we knew it was inevitable but she made it up to the taller couch this week. Vito's couch. He's still doing a pretty good job of pretending she doesn't exist!
Only 1 new trick was practiced this past week. Pyra has been learning to back up towards me, to return to being between my legs. We are pretty consistently up to about 2ft now, with a treat tossed out to reset her.
Py also started her first Puppy Agility class this last week. It'll just be fun to have her in a group class while working on those important foundations.
I was talking to a friend a little while ago at the club about the Chuck It and how I avoid using one with Vito and avoid walking the dog's where there's any possibility we can run into another person who has one. Chuck it= brain explosion. And then of course the light bulb went on as I clearly have not been utilizing Vito's #1 reward. So I ordered a mini Chuck It launcher which arrived just in time for the trial this weekend.
Oh the screaming. Vito's Toller Scream at trials has been lessening quite a bit in both intensity and duration. This weekend he was not shy. Although since it was an indoor trial it wasn't exactly set up to use as an easy motivator. We made it work, loudly, and then after each run I ran outside in the cold for a few actual throws.
We got our 2nd Master Gamblers Q! 2 Q's in 16 attempts, well overdue! I think the gamble had a pretty high success rate on the teeter-switch away to the far end of the tunnel. Most people drew their dog over the line to them and then resent them out from a stand still but Vito doesn't exactly go far from me in trials. We ran it "in flow" and he actually did it without any hesitation.
Standard was a nice happy run. Normal slower trial teeter, weaves, and table but overall he was running on his faster side. Knocked a bar right on a front cross right after the teeter and it looked like just a really awkward take off.
Last run of the day was our 2nd time attempting Fancy Standard and our 2nd Q! Fun and fast course with quite a few off course opportunities but not a ton of collection needed.
First run of the day was snooker and apparently it was too early for both of us. Not nearly as much screaming as Saturday and I over-snookered and took Vito by a jump in a 3 part combo. Realized my mistake and was able to smoothly correct it, but then that put me on a different line and my plan briefly fell out for a second. Just as it came back to me Vito jumped the wrong way and then back jumped to come back to me.
Next run was Steeplechase and he was screaming loudly again! Nice, happy run except for knocking a bar on a 180.
Our last run was Standard and this had even more screaming. And then Vito RAN! He even did his teeter faster and then loudly sassed me on table! Sadly he knocked the second to last bar. Definetly my favorite run of the weekend though!