See Lance's Rally Trials

I posted a video of Lance's titling advanced run and excellent debut from this weekend.


The show season begins!

This was a weekend of Rally Obedience as I entered Lance in the shows at Lake Elmo. This is an absolutely HUGE show as there is conformation, obedience, rally, and agility going on at the fair grounds. It's also the first time Lance has been here since last year he hadn't even started showing yet :P I entered Lance in Rally Advanced B

Day 1: There was lots of anticipation today. The show was running about 2hrs late, yay. But finally it is our turn to go and a feeling of dread hits me. Lance is staring into the ring and does not have the greatest attention on ME! But we make it through the course ok. His attention wasn't the greatest, but we managed to do all of the exercises without too much of a problem. At least Lance stayed in a decent heel position even though his focus wasn't 100% on me. I thought for sure our score would be much lower, but Lance qualified with a 94 and placed 4th!

Day 2: The show was right on time today and Lance was more than ready! He had great attention going into the ring and I only lost him for about 2 seconds in the opening stations! There were even 3 pivotish stations (halt-uturn, halt-pivot right-halt, and halt-180 right-halt) to test his skills and Lance aced them! I, however, did not. Since that last pivot sign was right after a jump I had to hurriedly collect my dog before running into the gate and was not directly in the front of the sign. I didn't even think about as I halted-180 LEFT- halt! And since it was a complete 180 I was still facing the correct direction and didn't even notice my mistake until after I finished at the judge had to tell me. So silly handler cost Lance 10 points! No thanks to me, we qualified with a 88, with Lance really earning a 98! This has earned Lance his Rally Advanced title and Sunday we will move up!

Day 3: Since he earned his Advanced title yesterday we moved up to the Excellent B class. I felt a little thud when I saw the "back up 3 steps in heel" sign. I had made a bet with Adam last night that this sign would show up on Lance's 1st Excellent show, and sure enough I won. Like most dogs, Lance sees this move being very hard so I do most of his practice along a wall to prevent his little butt from swinging out.

Well Lance's turn came and he had pretty good attention. Except for a little crooked sits here and there Lance did every sign nicely, including the back up in heel! His moving down, walk around was also extremely fast, especially considering it was right after a jump. It was practically land in a little bit of a run and then hit the deck! When we finished Lance was very confused as to why we weren't leaving the ring. This is our first time doing the honor (a stay, sit-stay in today's case, while the next dog does the course) and Lance wasn't sure what was going on. He had a huge grin on his face as sat and scanned the crowd! And we qualified with a 97 and placed 1st! Lance won some buffalo jerky for his performance today :)

Don't mess with the corgi!


A me update

I figure I owe my blog an update from the actual writer. This past week has been a huge change for my life as I left one job to expand another.

I gave Petsmart notice that I would be leaving my job as lead trainer for the Minneapolis store. I gave them 4 weeks so I would be able to finish up most of my classes and be nice enough to give them plenty of time to look for a new trainer. Well the weeks went by and I am now offically DONE! There are about a million reasons why I left, but really it all boils down to me not wanting to spend the rest of my life as a trainer for a massive corporation who by definition cares more about sales than actual training. Really this decision is nothing new since when I first started I gave myself 2yrs to build up experience and then told myself that I would have to quit after that. And guess what, 2 years is up! While it really was great experience, I am not going to miss it.

And my new adventure? I am starting up board n train and day train program at Dog Days, the daycare I work at! There really aren't too many options for this in the twin cities so maybe this will fill the niche? Owners will be able to have their dog trained while they go on vacation or even just to work, and the dogs will also have tons of playtime! Of course for most owners I highly reccommend that they take group or private classes instead so they can actually learn how to train their dog. But since I realize that not everyone has an interest in training this will still allow owners to have a trained dog with very little work. I'm putting a huge emphais on consultations afterwards on how to not ruin thier perfect dog :)

I'm really hoping the board/day training options will work out. But if they don't I figure I can try to get a training job at one of the local obedience centers in town and try to focus on more behavioral work. So far I have had one board n train dog for a week and it is going wonderful! It is so much fun to just train and not worry about explaining everything to the owners who may or may not listen to your advice :) Buzz, the 9mo collie mix with zero training, has already been free shaped to run over and lie down on a mat, can leave a treat on his paw, has hand signals for sit, down, and come, can wait at any threshold while I go out, and more in 5 days! Week 2 is coming up quickly... Obviously it's not perfected with distance, duration, and distractions but it's still so much fun to see an empty slate learn so quickly.

With this new gig my evenings are also free. This is going to allow me to re-volunteer for Hearing and Service Dogs of MN as I help teach their puppy raiser classes 1-2 nights a week. The idea is for me to eventually take over the puppy raiser classes! I volunteered as a puppy raiser for HSDM back in highschool and it was the best experience of my life. Plus it was extremely cool to bring a dog everywhere I went :) I think that being a service dog trainer is really becoming my dream job but there are so few paid positions out there. Hopefully this experience will lead to a job someday, but at the least I'll be helping to change lives!

Oh, and we were *this* close to buying a new car this weekend through the cash for clunkers program. I was pretty much against it since even though our 98 truck is slowly dying, it still has some time left. But we figured that being able to get a new care for $8000 was a good deal! Apparently a lot of other people thought so too as all of the dealerships were completely empty of the cars we were looking for. Oh well!

And now back to your regularly scheduled puppy time! The two have very different goals for the little bed

Fort? No ferrets allowed!


Vito's first run through!

At the big fundraiser held today at my obedience club, I decided to enter Vito in his very first run through. I did the Rally Novice course with lots of treats armed and ready! I also attached the leash to my waist so I wouldn't have to worry about holding it.

As you can see he was very excited and jumpy. I made the mistake of holding the treats in my left hand at the start which I KNOW gets him too excited. Luckily I realized my problem and switched to treating him with my right hand. I am very proud of how Vito did. Obviously he is no where near ready to trial, but his attention was amazing.


Lots of run throughs!

A huge fundraiser was held at my obedience training club today which meant runthroughs! Unfortunately it was held for a sad event, a fellow club member lost her house, 3 dogs, and her cat to a fire :( But there was a HUGE turnout from the community with dog crates stacked everywhere you looked it seemed bigger than any actual obedience trial I've been to. Luckily I got there pretty early and Lance did 3 runs in just over an hour!

I entered Lance in rally obedience first and was more than pleased at his performance. I used zero treats during the run but still had perfect attention! Besides a few crooked sits, and not his best "back up 3 steps in heel" Lance did the best he has ever done. I am looking forward to next weekend and his first rally show of the season.

Shortly after finishing rally, we headed over the agility side and ran Lance on the novice course. I skipped the weaves and heavily managed his contacts, but Lance did superb. He read my handling with no problem and even did the full teeter for the first time there. He stopped and rocked back a little early than I would have liked on the teeter, but I was still pleased. Our only screwup was on the dogwalk where he bailed off when I did a little sidestep. It actually took us 3 trys to do the dogwalk since try number two he didn't even get on at all. After I finished the course I had some time left so I went back to the dogwalk and Lance ran up it before I could even direct him there. I also decided to do one of the advanced sequences that invovled a rear cross just to see how Lance would do. He ended up doing that sequence just fine, although I don't think it was due to Lance reading my handling. Lance actually shot towards the correct jump before my handling fully told him, so either he read me a lot better then I think he can or he just had a lucky guess :)

Next up was a run through on the obedience side again and I had Lance entered in open. They did a break for the group stays before it was his individual turn, so I decided to do his stays first. Unforunately, Lance stood up on the 3min out of sight sit stay. Right at the 2 min mark Lance stood, waited a bit, then walked forward and paused. Before I wound my long way back, I saw the judge tell Lance to sit, which he did, but then stood right away again. She grabbed his collar as I entered the ring and then put Lance back in the line. I think it was just too much for Lance. Not much time had passed since he had ran in agility and he was still panting, plus all the people and dogs everywhere was just too much. So I'm disapointed and will have to work on proofing it a little more, but aren't too worried. For the long down, I stayed in the ring the whole 5 minutes just to play it safe.

Shortly after the group stay, Lance had his turn in the ring again. Like in rally, Lance had perfect attention on the off leash heel and did the best figure 8 he's ever done in a trial/run through. I did give Lance a treat after some of the exercises to reward him as well as having him do some tricks. My proofing for weird throws on the high jump payed off as he managed to retrieve perfectly over the jump today on a not so perfect throw! I am also pleased to say that Lance's broad jump went well. In practice I throw a treat after he jumps 99% of the time so that he goes far enough out and doesn't cut the corner towards me (a big fault) so I wasn't quite sure how he would do without the thrown treat. During the fun match earlier this year Lance went back and stepped on the boards since he thought no treat thrown could only mean that he should do something else with the jump :) But today Lance jumped fine and came in nicely for his front if you take that he sat so close he actually stood on my feet :P

So Yay Lance! It seems like every run through I do Lance gets better and better. Hopefully his performances will hold true for a real trial.


The Stages of Sleep

The following photos were all taken over the course of an evening.

Night night.

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

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