Happy Birthday Vito!

Vito is a big boy now! I still can't believe that he is 1yr old. He certainly doesn't act as mature as Lance did at 12 months, although I guess that's been true at any age so far!

8wks and meeting the ferrets
9 wks
7 months
9 months
10 months
11 months
And now a video for 12 months!

I am very pleased with how well Vito is doing. He's nuts but is a great little worker and actually has a decent off switch. Well, except for the whole tennis ball issue but we're working on it :)


Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a great Halloween night!

The dogs did remarkably well in their costumes. Thank you to MIL for making them! They traveled to the Halloween Party at our local obedience club and went to the All American Dog Fest fundraiser for Bully Breed Lovers of MN. Lots of compliments :)

Lance loved showing off the crowd and was doing his begging left and right.

It looks obvious to me, but for those still guessing the dogs are Robin Hood and Friar Tuck!


Lance's Open Obedience Debut!

Saturday- Rally Excellent:

I entered Lance in rally today and was happy to find out that it would occur before we went into open. This meant Lance would have a positive experience in the ring and with getting super yummy treats before going into the formal obedience stuff. I was very very happy with Lance's performance in Rally Excellent. Lance qualified with a 99 and took 1st! He lost a point in the halt-call front-finish right exercise when Lance didn't come all the way to front on my first cue, but straightened his butt out when asked again.

Saturday- Open A Obedience:

Heel off leash/fig 8- 1.5pts for some wide turns and then a forge on the first turn of the fig 8
Drop on recall- 3pts for no front
Retrieve on flat- NQ for needing a double command
Retrieve over High- 1pt for nicking the jump and a crooked sit
Broad Jump- .5pt for ticking the jump
Sit stay- good
Down stay- NQ for standing up right as I went out of sight, he then layed back down after a bit.

I am estatic! Lance's heelwork was amazing. Super attentive corgi! I must say that I was glad that the slow time was done at the moment it occurred since Lance just took his eyes off of me when the judge said slow and my change of pace regathered the little corgi's attention. Lance really did great and except for the first turn in the figure 8 where Lance was totally not ready, he pulled himself back together and really had some nice heelwork.

The no front on the drop on recall is new. It happened for the first time in the ring time on Friday night and repeated itself today. Let's hope Lance doesn't start a trend. Really I'm shocked since I very rarely ask Lance to finish after a front and almost never have him do the around finish to do it.

I'll take some blame for the retrieve on the flat. Lance was looking at the judge when I sent him and clearly had no clue what I wanted without a second command. On the return he stopped several feet away from me and I gave a second command for him to come to front. I think he was very unsure of himself and didn't know if I actually wanted the dumbbell or not! Not too worried about this happening again.

Retrieve over the high was amazing. I threw the dumbbell pretty far and Lance ended up going around a pole on his way back. It's hard to tell from the angle of the video, but really it was shocking that Lance actually took the jump on the way back. The crowd gasped as Lance took the jump. The judge even commented that she wished she could give us bonus points for how Lance pulled through on this exercise! Way to save my butt Lance!!!

I was also really happy with Lance's broad jump. I haven't done a ton of practice with this exercise and I'm still at the point where I throw a treat for Lance to target 99% of the time in practice so he won't cut the corner. Lance wasn't exactly perfect with this, but he didn't walk over the boards like I was afraid might happen!

His sit stay was fabulous. The Down stay Lance stood up right as I went out of sight but then laid back down after a little bit. I couldn't even tell that he had gotten up when I came back in. I think this was my fault since I looked at Lance right before I went out of sight. I should have just kept going since my eye contact could have easily confused Lance into thinking I wanted him to come. Stupid handler!

So we didn't qualify but I am more than happy with how Lance did today. In make believe world, Lance would have gotten a 193 if he had done the down stay and didn't need a second cue on the retrieve. And if I really dream, this would have been a 196 if Lance had actually fronted on the drop on recall :P

Heel Free/ fig 8- 4pts off for forging
Drop on Recall- 2pts for standing as I left him and crooked front and finish
Retrieve on Flat- 1pt for crooked front and finish
Retrieve over High- .5pt for crooked front
Broad Jump- .5 for crooked front
Long Sit- NQ for downing at 2mn 45sec
Long Down- NQ for standing at 16sec and then went back into a down

I was very happy with Lance's performance again today. Actually I was kind've astounded that Lance lost 4pts in the heeling since I knew he was forging in the beginning but thought he did a really good job. Oh well! And actually I am much more happy that Lance was forging instead of lagging like he used to do. This means I have a happy, confident dog!

His drop on recall was pretty good too. I have no idea why he stood but at least he didn't skip the front this time! I was much happier about his retrieve over the flat although I gave quite the pause between throwing and actually sending him since I wasn't sure Lance was focused. He still came in a bit slow with the dumbbell but looked more confident then yesterday and came to front without stopping today.

For the Retrieve over the high jump I actually lowered his jump height to 8in today. He still qualifies to jump 8 and I thought he might be more confident than yesterday when Lance jumped 10. So his broad jump was also adjusted to 16in (instead of 20). The little stinker looked at the crowd right as I was setting up, but I thought his performance was nice.

Stays sucked. I can't believe that Lance laid down on the sit stay. He has such awesome stays that I really wasn't worried at all about them. And then he goes and also pulls standing up as I leave him on the down again! I'm not entirely sure how I can work out this issue since he never gets up on stays in class. Even when we're working on distractions Lance still doesn't break. I think it's just the overall atmosphere of the show where his nerves are high that is causing Lance to fail the stay. Maybe if I can get some more run throughs in it'll help him out.

So our first weekend of Open Obedience was a failure on paper but I think it was a huge success! I met my goal of having an attentive dog in the ring. I know I need to work on some things even though it may be hard to get Lance to replicate his failures in class. I think I entered one day of a trial in a few weeks and then after that I will take a break and try to iron out some things.


The 7 Groups

Ewwww......Did you just stick your tongue in my ear???? Image by Pete Markham
Image by Pete Markham
There's a little question going around some blogs I frequent and I thought I would play. The question is: "If you had to choose a dog from each AKC group, what would you choose and why? (excluding your own breeds).

Drumroll to my highly stereotyped breed list....

1. Sporting- Flat Coated Retriever. I really like the bounciness, overall engery, and happy attitude of the breed. I haven't met too many in real life but have heard that they have more of a quirky happy, silly attitude about everything- way more then a golden or lab.

A close second would be the French Brittany Spaniel, but they're a bit too small for my liking and technically not AKC registered to count for this poll :)

2. Hound- This is a tough one since I really am not a hound person. I can't stand the constant baying of the scent hounds! I think I would choose the whippet. I would feel like I'm going to break it, but they can be pretty playful and obviously are very athletic. Whippets seem to do wonderful in agility. I'm not a huge fan of their looks, but the black ones can be kind've cute :)
image byPleple2000

My second choice would be the Rhodesian Ridgeback since besides being gorgeous, I feel like they are the least hound-like of the hounds. But Ridgebacks are way too laid back and couch potatoish for my liking.

3. Working- Bernese Mountain Dog hands down! I LOVE these dogs. Such great cuddlers and yet so bouncy! Someoday I might own one, far far into the future. They just make such great foot warmers :)

Second place goes to the Siberian Husky. I love how they talk and of course they are absolutley gorgeous dogs!

4. Terriers- Another hard one, I have always said that I don't like terriers. Although recently I have started to reconsider my true feelings as I do like the high energy crazy dogs and terriers fit that bill to a T. Of course I also say that I like a strong working drive and terriers have strong drive but not really to work (unless it's ratting!) but maybe the working drive doesn't matter if you can harness that motivation. Anyway, the Jack Russell wins. Who knows, maybe I'll even have one some day.

Image by Christian Gildlof
Second place goes to the American Pit Bull Terrier.  I think they are great dogs and have decent drive, excellent family dogs, but still wouldn't want to own one. I just don't like their big heads :)

5. Toys- another group that I'm not really a fan of. I think it's more the people who own these type of dogs than the dogs themselves. A lot of people turn their little dogs into yappy, out of control, little monsters. Winner out of this group would be the Papillion. I think they are super cute, highly trainable, active, and super smart. If they came in a bigger size I would get one in a heartbeat!

Second place goes to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I think these dogs are such sweethearts. Really they are the perfect family dog, not an aggressive bone in their body and are also really easy to train. Perfect therapy dogs!

6. Non Sporting- Hands down this goes to the American Eskimo Dog. Again these dogs are active, smart, and highly trainable. They make perfect circus dogs :) I really think I would have a blast doing agility and obedience with an eskie. Super cute. I can see myself owning an eskie in the far future.
Picture by SheltieBoy

Second place is a toughie. I wouldn't own any of the other dogs in this group, ever. If I wanted laughs I guess I might go with a frenchie, but realisticaly I guesss I would have to go with the dalmation. At least dals have athletic ability despite thier reputation for an iffy temperament.

7. Herding- Now here's a great group of dogs for me! The Border Collie is my obvious answer. Great athleticism, working drive, playfulness, really everything you want in a dog- if you have an outlet for it all. I would really like to own one someday but am scared about the lack of an "off switch" :)

Second place goes the Cardigan Corgi if that counts. Really it is very different from the pembroke in personality! If it doesn't count, I choose the sheltie but their barking would scare me from ever owning one :)

So there's my picks. What about yours?


Agility contact overhaul

I know my last post has been awhile, but I've been busy :)

Since then Lance and Vito have gotten to do agility at two new places, one as a small demo during the U of MN open house. I've been very proud of my boys at how they reacted to running on dirt for the first time and just paying attention to me in the new places! I've also discovered that Vito HATES the taste of dirt. It is actually quite humorous as I was using his ball as a reward at the first place and Vito was really quite torn between the love of his ball and the taste of dirt in his mouth. His little toller brain would go "ooh ball, give me!" and "yuck, get it out!", repeated a thousand times. All treats that succumbed to the dirt floor were also repeatedly picked up and spit out.

Now that winter is basically here in Minnesota, I have had to do some serious thinking about the dog's contact criteria in agility. Now it's getting cold and with the weather either raining or snowing and the daylight getting shorter I have almost zero time to train contacts. I've been questioning whether or not I can bring the board into the house as it might just barely fit in the space between kitchen frame, living room, and bed room but obviously I would have no room for proofing anything.

Lance's training has been so full of ups and downs that I have no idea what to think. Recently it's been up, the board has been raised and Lance really seems to be getting that he must run all the way through without jumping. Unfortunately I don't think I have the time needed to devote to training running contacts.

In class tonight I exprimented with what method I might switch to. Lance is a very black and white type of dog and I have done some 2 on 2 off shaping with Lance on different objects in the house so he took very keenly to this training on the dog walk. Actually Lance loved it. Lots of corgi drool was seen as Lance clearly saw that all that was needed to produce treats was running to the end and putting his front feet on the ground. This love is really not a surpise to me. I know that there is a ton to proof and train with this method but it will be SO much easier for Lance then running.

The a-frame is where I am struggling to know what to do but I'm thinking of a down right after it. The first time I tried it Lance did the most perfect performance as he practically slid into a down right at the end. Of course I tried repeating it and Lance refused to lie down as he just knew I wanted a one rear toe method. Of course little corgis and that method don't exactly mesh, especially free shaped corgis who will repeatedly switch from a toe in the air to toe on the board. Really it took Lance several minutes and lures to finally give up the tripod act and simply lie down. Overall I am much more worried about the a-frame because of the pounding on his body doing a stopped contact can cause vs a running contact. I will have to consider very carefully what will be the best for Lance.

With Vito I think I'm still going to stick with running contacts. I was able to get his performance up to full height this summer so he doesn't need as much work this winter. There is a lot to proof with it still- speed, my position, and of course actually doing the full dog walk and not just starting at the top of the board, but he has the foundation training and his body is built to easier accomplish this. Plus I still have another summer of training before I'll even think about competing with the little guy!

Oh, and wish Lance I tons of luck this weekend! Lance will be debuting in Open obedience and I am extremely nervous.

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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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