Contacts and Weaves

Lance is doing great as always in his agility class. I think I'm finally going to enter him in a trial! Since he doesn't have his contact behavior down yet and he can't yet weave (see rants below on both topics) I'm debating about registering him for CPE and doing jumpers. My instructors have said the CPE novice is very easy and Lance is more than ready. But he also has never done agility at a different facility besides the state fair which didn't go so well. I haven't been able to enter Lance into any fun matches besides a few that have been at my club. There's a CPE show coming up mid October so we will see...

Weave rant- Ok I know I don't have full right to rant on this subject since I really don't practice Lance's weaves much outside of class. He's been introduced to the channel method and the poles have been almost closed since forever, but I haven't touched them in ages. Mainly I've been doing 2x2's but only at class.

Well regardless of my right to rant, Lance has progressed extrmely fast with 2x2's and now do 3 sets that are completely closed from any angle around the clock with confidence and speed. I am aware that there is a ton of things to proof still but I figured that since the 3 sets of 2 are now closed and at proper spacing that his means Lance can weave, right? Wrong. Lance has ZERO clue of what to do on a reglation set (same spacing). It's not like he's even doing the entry and pulling out, Lance is completely clueless on anything to do with normal poles. I can take him to the 2x2 set at weird angle and Lance does it with speed and ease, but take him immediately to a real set and Lance is clueless. Idiot. My insturctors have no idea. The only suggestion is that maybe since the 2x2's don't have any stripes and are brown, Lance doesn't see the white and orange poles as being the same??? I'm not sure of what to do with this one. I mean besides practicing more, of course :)

Contacts rant- Ok this one I have been practicing. I admit I've gotten pretty lax the past two weeks when we were a hotel, but before that I was out there almost every day with my board. For those who need a review, Lance has been doing running contacts mainly Silvia Trkman style. Since he was jumping on a completely flat board, and I mean completley flying over the contacts even when flat!, I started teaching Lance to hit a small black mat with his feet while running. Overall Lance has progressed. Lance hasn't flew over the contacts in a long time, but this progress has been extremely slow. Right now the board isn't even knee high and Lance still has only a 80% success rate of hitting his mat and a lower success rate if my criteria were to simply not jump. This is huge progress from where we've started, but it's also been all summer of working on this, and almost 2 months since I got the mat. I really don't know what to do with Lance. I'm not oppossed to teaching him a 2o2o, but I am worried about Lance slamming into the ground to do it, especially on the aframe with his corgi body.

Vito of course is doing amazing in agility class too! He is having no problem with his early movement into the intermediate class (due to my schedule conflicts) and is actually right in the middle of the group. I have also started running with a tennis ball as a reward which has been getting Vito some more speed. Since I haven't been throwing the ball, just handing it to him, I've been able to obtain a nice balance between some speed and still have Vito actually listen to me :)

Last night Vito did the dog walk for the first time since I've really started working on his contacts and Vito did superb!!!! At home his board has been raised to about 6 inches lower than the full height dog walk and Vito is doing very well. He has about a 90% success rate on running over the board (no mat needed) and usually hits a paw in the last foot of the board even. Class was the first time Vito has actually ran across the dog walk to the decent as I place him at the top of the board at home. I did help him out by slowing my pace down as he performed the obstacle, but still I was quite pleased with his performance!

I am also not worried about Vito generalizing his weave poles. I haven't been doing a ton of work with Vito weaving as he isn't even 11 months yet, but in class Vito has been doing a bit of 2x2 work with the poles only slightly open. Well in class yesterday the real weave poles were set up right next to it for the dogs who were ready to weave (everyone else actually) and Vito tried very hard to do them instead! He failed of course, but actually he got the general idea down and did hit the entries right!


Hotel Waudby

Our house has been fairly popular with the dogs recently as we dog sat my parent's dog for one week and then less than 24 hours after being back down to 2 dogs had another friend's dog for a week.

Meet Goose, a 14yr? old border collie mix.
I pleaded Goose off with my parents right before I went off to college as a rescue from the veterinarian office I was working at. I had only known her for a few short months but knew she was my heart dog. Or at least she would have been if I had met her at a different time in my life. So she became my parent's dog who I saw off and on throughout college.

This is Goose at 7yrs when I met her. I love this girl.
I debated about snatching her back after graduation but decided against it because of her age/possible health issues we wouldn't be able to pay for, wanting a dog my new husband and I would be able to bond with together, and wanting a dog to jumpstart my new career as dog trainer. So excuses aside, I got puppy Lance instead.

Anyways, we had Goose for a week recently but lets just say it did not go well. At her age Goose was more than a little anxious in the new environment. Lots of whining. Not loving the kitty. Remembering that ferrets were pretty cool one moment, and then very upset at their presence the next. It was stressful for both of us. I LOVE Goosey girl but was very relieved to see her go back home. Sorry hun.

Next up was Tucker, an (almost) 2yr old corgi.

This went a bit better. Until Tucker peed on Lance, well tried anyway! Seriously, I caught it on film!

Lance felt sad until he remembered a bone he had stashed in his secret spot.

Tucker followed.

Aw snap, Tucker claimed that too!

And now the little guy knows about the spot too?! What a day. (ok you can't really tell in the picture, but Vito shows up and Lance gives him evil eyes.)

Actually the week went ok. Tucker went to doggy daycare with us almost every day and got very very tired. The dogs pretty much just chilled at home. But Tucker is extreme cuddler. Like he would win an olympic medal for his cuddling skills. Rarely was Tucker not in a lap. We also found he is a pleasure to take naps with. Although I regretted my decision to allow him in the bed overnight when I was awakened by a a corgi trying to curl up ON my back, all four feet!

It didn't help that Opie bit him in the first five minutes the ferrets were brought out. (Picture is of Zoe, not Opie, but this is the best shot we got.)

Tucker spent the rest of the week on the couch whenever the ferrets came out. Preferably velcroed to us whenever a ferret so much as looked in his direction.
Tucker is also apparently nervous of the vaccuum cleaner. I got some treats out to walk him through the process. At one point I found out that Tucker will commit what he feels must be suicide to go after a fallen treat in the vacuum's path. I've never seen a dog move so fast, but I guess when you are trying to dodge death... Food obsessive corgis!

Practice for having 3 dogs maybe? Nah, not yet anyways. Ask me in another 2yrs though....


The ups and downs of training

Dogs are ridiculous.

Recently I thought I would start to teach Lance some jumping tricks, like jump through my arms, etc. (Ok, I know he's a corgi, but he can still do it if I bend really really low!) So I started with the very simple, jump/walk over my leg while I'm sitting on the ground. Should be a piece of cake right?

I tell Lance "over" his cue to jump, and he does the first 2 reps just fine and dandy. I praise and ooh over him for his wonderfulness when all of a sudden he shuts down and ran away. I think it's the presence of the cat (kitty harasses Lance) so I call him back out, Lance does one more and then runs away again. I can call him out, but he won't go anywhere near me if my leg is out. I have no idea why. Lance was acting in almost the exact same way he did when he went through some fear periods during his teenage stage and was scared of me grabbing for his collar (not afraid of anything else, just ME grabbing for his collar).

I, unfortunately, get a little pissed off by this since I did absolutely nothing to shut Lance down. I readily admit that sometimes I lose my patience a bit and do cause Lance to shut down, but this time it was not my fault! So I have Vito do the "trick" a few times, try Lance again and nada. He jumps up on the couch and tries to hide behind Adam. Clearly I am abusing my dog by asking him to try this death defying trick. I remain decently calm and bring out the clicker and decide to shape Lance to interact with my leg in any way he pleases. It take a couple clicks but Lance offers whacking my leg with his paw, which unfortunately for me modifies into scratching the hell out of my leg as he starts to offer his "dig it" trick ON my leg. I smile in my pain and get Lance to offer something else. Lance decides to do a perfect Right side leg lift (front and back leg at same time) using my leg to help, and then offers some backwards pivot over my leg! Since he's now going back and forth over my leg I end the session.

The next session I get back out the clicker and somewhat lure Lance over my leg and have Lance offering wonderful and simple overs. I have no idea what changed. The only thing different I can think of is that I didn't cue Lance this time with the word "over" but he knows and loves this word from agility.

I wasn't really planning on spending time with these tricks, he is a corgi after all, but I think I'm going to have to now to work through whatever issue Lance had. We will see how Lance does on his next session, whenever that may be.

Sometimes I just don't get it.

In Vito news, it seems like we have made a major breakthrough this week on his dumbbell hold. Previously Vito would levitate and then I thought that we had fixed his powers of levitation with super glue. And mostly we have stopped the levitation, only occasionally does Vito pop up into the beg position when I'm working on a hold. Bust still, we have struggled all summer to get Vito to hold the dumbbell in his mouth, without rolling it, for more than 1 sec. Granted we have worked our way from .25sec to 1 full second, but still progress has been slow. Besides the hold, Vito is getting a really great retrieve complete with an enthusiastic thrust into my target hand.

This week however, Vito has jumped from the hopefully 1 sec hold to a full 3 seconds!!! It may not seem like a lot, but the fact that I can now count aloud means that Vito is starting to understand the concept and I know I can quickly shape some time now (fingers crossed). The trick? Well after watching a video on youtube where a trainer proofed her young dog's hold by dropping food on the floor, it gave me an idea to do something similar with Vito. I have done a lot of work already with Vito learning that staring at food does not make it fly into your mouth, so I started to hold some treats in my hand and out to the side when I gave Vito the dumbbell. Vito stared at the treats and then quickly to my eyes as he has been taught and did not drop the dumbbell in that second!

I think that this idea has forced Vito to think about something else so he is not focusing on the object in his mouth. I've even been able to lower his food dish to the floor while he is sitting with the dumbbell in his mouth! Of course I release him as soon as the dish hits the floor. And as a bonus, I've been doing these exercises with Lance who already has a solid formal retrieve but could use the proofing. Lance was fooled at first, not with the food out but with the food dish, but quickly recovered and now has no problem but a dirty look on his face!


The sheep can herd themselves

Every night as we are getting ready for bed we follow a certain routine. As soon as one person gets off of the couch at night, the dogs know what is to follow and start waiting patiently for their last outside trip. However, we recently started noticing that Lance has developed a new routine.

Whoever is first ready to finally hop into bed takes down the baby gate to the bedroom (to keep the ferrets out) and lets the dogs into the bedroom with them. The dogs have the choice of where to sleep but Lance always chooses his open kennel and Vito always chooses to start the night on our bed and sometime in the middle moves down to his kennel. As soon as the baby gate is removed, Vito darts in and claims, or rather tries to, his spot sprawled out in the middle of the bed. But Lance has been hanging back. He will not enter the bedroom until the last person is in. It doesn't matter if it is me or Adam, Lance waits patiently until the last person enters and then he quickly darts into his kennel. It doesn't matter if the 2nd person is only 2 minutes behind or 2 hours, Lance waits.
It's kind of like Lance is rounding up his sheep but is too lazy to actually go out and get them. He's basically saying, "nah, if I wait long enough the sheep will herd themselves." What a good little corgi.


Back to the river we go!

Today was the first time going back to the dog park since I had written about Vito losing his mind. We aren't really ready to go back in terms of Vito's training, but summer is coming to a close. Plus I really wanted to show all of you the toller scream :P

Scroll to the end for the video!

Actually we almost didn't make it there. But our delay was thanks to Lance, we can't blame the toller on this one. I usually have the dogs potty before we go somewhere. I don't know why but I just like them being empty before going on a walk or to class, etc. It generally takes Lance a bit longer than Vito since he always knows when we're going somewhere exciting and just can't focus enough to pee. Lance will go off to the grass, sniff around, and then run back pretending he did something. But after being sent back again Lance gives in and then we head off to the car. At least that's the way it goes normally.

Today Lance was doing his little poop walk but absolutely refused to squat or even pee. I waited with him since I will not let him in the car until he makes somewhat of an effort. After a few minutes Lance suddenly takes off through the open gate in the back and sprints to the car (no real worries as the gate is to the back driveway so no traffic). Both of my dogs know the rule that they are NEVER to cross the gate, open or not, unless invited. Every single time we go to the car they must wait for however long it takes me to release them. So needless to say I was pissed! I grabbed Lance and threw him back in the house, waited a few minutes and then tried again. Lance came running out of the house and again sprinted to the gate. Adam thinks he wasn't going to cross the gate until I angrily ran after him but who knows as he definitely did then! Before trying is 3rd attempt I had Lance do some pushups for me, and wait several times while walking in the yard. Then Lance successfully pooped and off we went! I have no idea what the corgi was thinking. Naughty corgi!

Well once we make it the to the dog park I could tell I was going to be easily able to get footage of Vito's scream. There's a long trail heading to the river and we happened to pass a woman holding a chuck it in her hand. Oh the horrors! I was able to grab Vito as he danced around her but then he started some low screams as I dragged him in the opposite direction. Once to the river both dogs ran straight in!
Vito actually wasn't horrible today. He started out horrific, but quieted down somewhat quickly. Lance was pretty annoying today though. His bark is thankfully much deeper than Vito's squeal but he certainly let the world know he was there today!

Align CenterJust throw the ball!
I am naughty corgi, I will push you down and steal the ball!
Of course, like always, Lance really didn't want the ball itself. He just wanted to bark and run after the toller running after the ball.
So what?
Vito was pretty polite when the ball was put away in that he switched to very quiet whining and focused more on a sad pleading face.
Are you really sure there's no ball?
What if I wait way out here for it?
Actually Vito continued to tremble a bit whenever we stood in one place. We didn't bring the ball back out but he certainly tried hard to make it so!

While the video might look a little crazy, I actually feel that this one of our better outings with the ball and water. Vito actually took some cheese from me today and only spit out about a third of them. He came to me pretty well too but I guess we ran away from any competitors we spied out there.


The ferrets excellent adventure.

A few times a year, like once or twice, the ferrets are taken to the great outdoors aka the backyard. It's hard to find the perfect weather as ferrets do not do well in the heat or cold, so September is a good month for these outings.

We quickly found out that having all five out at once was way too hard. A rotation system was devised with 3 out 2 in.

Even then it was hard to keep them out of the bushes!

I see a bush!
I'll beat you to it!
Ahh, I can't reach it!
Damn obstacles!

I told you I'd beat you to it!
I'm coming too!
I see another bush over there!
Ahh, you can't drag me out of here!
Oh crap! How did he get here?!
I'll bite em for ya! (and she did)
None shall pass.
But alas it was time to go back in.

Wait, is that another bush?!
aw, so soon?


The Dogs Go to the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

Today the dogs and I went to the MN State Fair to do some demonstrations with the Twin Cities Obedience Training Club. We had the 12-6 shift where obedience and agility demos were alternating every hour. Given that over 1.5million people come to the MN fair every year (no joke) and that it has the largest daily attendance in the U.S., I was just hoping that my dogs wouldn't go nuts with all the food and people everywhere.

For obedience I usually handled Vito and had Adam take Lance. I figured I could control the beast easier if he lost his mind and that Lance would be fine if he knew Adam had treats. But the two dogs did amazing! Both of them had almost perfect attention even as other dogs were losing it to the hidden cheese curds hiding in the grass. In the first round Lance forgot what he was doing, twice, as he was supposed to be retrieving his dumbell over the high jump. Basically Lance confidently flew over the jump and then paused as he looked around and had no clue how he got there. I was successfully able to direct Lance to his dumbbell and save some face :P Lance also did some great drop on recalls there and heeling. want cheese curds!

Vito also had really great attention during the demonstration. And surprisingly he maintained a "decent" heel position during the demos which were much much longer than the 10 steps that I usually ask him to heel for. The crowd was unable to distract Vito during the stays and he even retrieved his dumbbell for me minus me asking for a sit at the end since I didn't want to risk him levitating.
Wait, do I see a fried candy bar on a stick?!
During the agility portion Vito showed off his pivot on a box trick as they went through some of the foundational stuff we do with the dogs. He kept his front feet on the box nicely and pivoted his back end extremely fast around! Vito didn't run the courses at all, but between one of the demonstrations I took Vito out and worked with him on some of the equiptment. Apparently Vito is further along than I thought since he had zero problems following me on the small sequences and even did his very first serpantine with no problems!

Lance ran the agility courses, minus the weave poles, with a little more difficulty. The first time on the field Lance wasn't really with me but some how managed to take everything in the right oder. I have no clue how he was able to do so since I don't think he even looked at me. This was quite suprising since I thought Lance would be quite slow and sniffy when distracted. Instead Lance was in full gear and sprinted his way around the course. The second time through (about 2 hrs later) the course was changed and it was a bit harder. Lance really wasn't focused that well and right at the start almost took off back the tent. Lance missed several jumps completely but I just kept going. He definetely didn't do the serpantine part at all. Oh well, at least now I know where Lance is at in his agility! On the positive side he had a great performance on the full height teeter and didn't do a flying corgi on the dog walk!

Overall I'm extremely proud of how both dogs did. They met a lot of people and were extremely patient about being poked and proded every 2 seconds. For such a long day they had great work ethics and Vito didn't even freak out once :)

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