Lance does some tricks

I finally compiled a new trick video for Lance!  The newest stuff we have been working on is all the side passing.  Doing both directions in heel, facing out and side stepping in front of me, and being perpendicular to me while stepping forwards and backwards.  Still have a ways to go but I feel he's starting to get the "face out" and "close" (perpendicular one).


Sad, lonely Vito.

Sigh.  Vito has been doing ok with being left home alone for short periods of time but has been getting into a little bit of trouble with finding trash and such.  I thought it would be a good idea to try leaving him in just the bedroom since that's normally where he ends up when someone arrives home.  Well it didn't work too well.

Vito did ok for the first 25minutes.  He seemed a bit confused at first, but then started chewing on one of the bones for a bit.  But then some light whining started and then howling.  I have only seen/heard him howl once before (well when left alone, he's done it in daycare with the doggy choir) and that was shortly after we first moved to this new place.  This time Vito howled for about 2min the first time, and then howled about 3 other times for between 30seconds-1minute.  Soft whining off and on in between.

I really don't know what to make of this.  He doesn't look terribly anxious.  No pacing, no panting, no trembling, eyes don't look dilated, he is lying down, even resting his head on the bed.  He wasn't even completely alone either since Lance was also in the bedroom, but in a crate so he won't gorge himself on Vito's bones.  But Vito just looks so pitiful and I still can't get over the howling.  I guess we won't be locking him in the bedroom anytime soon again.  To be honest he hasn't been doing as great as he once was when left with complete free range either.  Still no pacing, panting, etc. but he has been doing some light whining and not eating his bones as much.  Does anyone have any input on Vito's behavior?  Suggestions?


Chuck has a hold!

Last time I had posted I wanted to start teaching Chuck a nice solid hold of objects.  While I am teaching him to target my hand to shove objects into, I also want him to be able to simply pause for a few seconds for his future client to get ready, and eventually learn to drop objects directly onto my lap.  Well I have to admit that I wasn't very excited to begin this hold training as it is always such a big pain in the butt.  Lance took forever, Vito used to levitate, and all the dogs at work just chomp constantly.

But as it turns out, Chuck made it so extremely easy that we had a 5 second hold in two days!  TWO DAYS, and Chuck would even hold a dumbbell solidly in his mouth while I lowered his bowl of food to the floor.  I can't take any credit for his awesome hold, he just understood.  The method I used was simply withholding the click for a 1/2 second and quickly increasing duration.  I also held up my little pointy finger which means "wait."  Usually I have to do a huge combination of every method I have ever read about and it takes months to get one without any mouthing.  And really at work I pretty much just throw my hands in the air, say screw it, and just work accuracy of retrieving to hand, lap, and to other surfaces.

Ironically when I went to take this picture right now, baby Chuck had apparently just lost a tooth!  So he was grabbing the dumbbell eagerly but his jaw was shaking and blood was all over the dumbbell.

 He did still manage to get some nice ones in though.
I also took Chuck to the Mall of America yesterday and was really proud of how focused and confident he was.  I sadly have not been taking Chuck out in public as often as I would like and most of his outings so far have been to dog shows of various types.  But thankfully Chuck had no issues with anything from the growling "alligator" to the crazy rollercoasters.


Vito CPE Sunday- Or baby dogs are fun!

Day 2!

Vito definitely was more confident sunday then saturday!  He seemed to have more of his drive and obstacle focus back and was committing more to the obstacles.  I didn't use treats during our warm up today and instead just did a lot of tugging with him.  I have no idea if doing so is what helped him or if it was just being more experienced.  Video is at the bottom!

Crazy little red dog!  Vito comes bursting off the start line, zooms by me and sprints all the way down the long field towards a distance white dot on the floor.  He was a bit surprised as to why his "target" was so far away, but ran back very happily to me right away where we continue on with my chosen course!  He really recovered himself very quickly and I was quite happy with how we did.  I think I laughed about this for a long time after it happened. 

Vito was pretty distracted at the start line, but then shot off very focused when I released him. I got to to play on the dogwalk again with him but this time Vito jumped off his first attempt.  I bring him around again, do the aframe-very nicely I might add, and then have another go.  This time his DW was beautiful and I felt like celebrating with him!  I don't think he wanted to stop and celebrate though as he seemed quite perplexed by my actions and continued over the jump :)  I then lose my mind and have no clue how to waste some time before the buzzer goes and I can continue to the gamble.  When we do get to start it I was very happy that Vito didn't even think about coming in after the tunnel and it looked like we were going to do it!  But alas Vito spotted his leash on the floor and continued to go "out" a bit too far and bypassed the jump.  I actually think it's quite odd since I have never used the leash as a target, very very rarely tug on it with him, but all 3 runs today Vito went and picked it up excitedly.

Nice easy run and I was happy with Vito's focus.  No silly stuff this run at least!


Lance Sunday CPE Trial

Daddy ran Lance in 2 out of Lance's 4 events today!  He doesn't ever practice with Lance but I am trying to get him more involved and he actually offered to play without any suggestion from me!  Video at the bottom

Ran with Daddy pretty well.  Totally jumped off the DW, very easy call for the judge, but finally did his down several several feet after the contact.  Ran by the aframe but I think it's more from a lack of information from Daddy then whatever the cause was in the past.  Very distracted during his "floor" and kept looking at the judge.  Weaved for Daddy!

Again ran with Dad and did pretty well.   Adam was a little late in cuing him and Lance took an off course that he was pointed at.  But once they got back on track they finished up nicely.

This time with me.  I thought we started out great.  I did a little stop and called him in order to get him in the right end of the tunnel but I don't think it was necessary and Lance seemed confused by the slow down.  We get an off course and I honestly have no idea why.  I think I was moving in the right direction and had a well timed front cross, but Lance seems to ignore my cues and my pleas to come.  Oh well.

Again with me.  I wanted to try Lance on the dogwalk again after his leap with Dad earlier and Lance does it lovely.  I stop at the bottom so as not to push it.  We knocked the 3rd bar but I think it was due to my poor timing.   When it was time for the gamble he handles the modest distance nicely.

Lance finished up two level 2 titles today (CL2-H, CL2-S) and only needs one more standard Q to be in level 3 for everything now!  So curses on that dogwalk contact with Adam :P


Vito CPE Agility Saturday!

Vito's 2nd CPE trial was today!  I entered him in 3 events, two of which I could make up my own course to test him.

I was thrilled to see that Jackpot had the dog walk and designed it so I could test him twice on it to see where his running contacts are at.  I am pleased to say that it was awesome!  You're going to have to take my word for it since my camera man didn't actually hit record, but we started with jump-dogwalk-weaves and Vito ran all the way down, not even close to a jump, and nailed his weaves.  He did seem confused after that as he looked around for a second and then sprinted off briefly in a direction before I called him back.  I really think he wanted to know where his toy was hiding!  He then nailed his gamble but I forgot he has a 2o2o on the teeter; I actually was confused as to why he was stopping on the teeter.  Vito did stop and wait, but was 4 on instead of his 2o2o.  He has been doing that in class recently too so it's something we need to work on.   We then did the dogwalk again and he nailed it again!  Didn't drive to the jump straight ahead as he started curling back to me, but at least it was a really lovely contact and he didn't look back at me until after he was a few strides off of it.  Both dogwalks today weren't as fast as he normally runs his dogwalk, but I am super excited about his contact performance. 

Colors was a good run but Vito wasn't commiting to the jumps as well and we NQed.  I fixed one missed jump, but didn't bother fixing the second missed one.  I'm pretty happy with his performance though and just think he needs more confidence.

Last was snooker and Vito started out great but then really didn't seem to like my very twisty plan to get two 7's.  He switched from running mode to frolicking.  I also screwed up my plan at the third red jump and decided to let Vito go on to get #5.  Closing went well, his aframe was decent, but we got an off course red before #7.  We still qualify though :)

So yay baby dog!  I really think we are doing well and couldn't be more pleased with his dogwalks today.   I think with more experience Vito will get more confidence in the ring and we will be able to have some prettier, faster dances.


Lance Saturday CPE trial

Lance had another CPE trial today and we have now have enough Q's to qualify for CPE nationals to be held here in MN next year! 

Overall it went well today but have noticed a few issues we will need to work on.
1. Table performance.  Lance blew off his automatic down on the table both times today, didn't even remain standing on it but used it as a launch pad.  I know CPE just uses it to stop time so it doesn't matter, and so far the only other venue we compete in is NADAC who doesn't even have a table.  But still, Lance is not meeting the obstacle criteria that I trained.

2. 4 on the Floor- I am so so happy that Lance seems to be speeding up on the dogwalk and we are losing the hesitation he had started to develop in trials.  But the work I have been doing on an independent 4 on the floor doesn't seem to be transferring to trials yet.  Lance downs as soon as I stop moving, but if I keep running he keeps running.  And twice today Lance needed a verbal questioning of where his "floor" was as he kept moving even after I had stopped.  On the postiive side though, his aframe performance was not as dangerous today as he went down further before hoping into his down.

3. Weaves- I don' think we have have a weave pole issue yet, but Lance needed to be restarted 3 times today.  One was a collection issue as the 2nd obstacle, the second seemed to be a slip?, but the third I have no idea.

Breakdown, for my records
Squirrely.  Came bursting off the line and didn't collect for weaves as my 2nd chosen obstacle.  I tried twice, finally went on when he attempted to weave but a wrong entrance.  A wide turn, but then did both the "jackpots" nicely.  Very fast dogwalk, but would've missed his 4on the floor if I didn't stop and wait.  I screwed up my ending.  Lance launched on and off the table, totally blowing off his automatic down.  We qualified but the whole run felt off and Lance was just disconnected and seriously squirrely.

Colors-Q, 5.055yps
Very nice run, no issues at all.

Standard Rd1- Q, 3.686yps
Beautiful!  I was really proud of him and it felt fast.  He seemed to slip in the weaves and pop out so I restarted them.  His dogwalk was nice and fast with a decent 4 on the floor, with me stopping at the end.

We went for 7,7,6 and it felt ok.  He did two really good rear crosses in hard spots, did 2 good aframes without the slamming into the floor he has been doing.  Screwed up his weaves, but got it the 2nd attempt.  Because of his earlier table performance I told him table-down but he was already jumping onto the floor by the time I finished.  He did lay down right away on the floor, but definetly losing his table performance.

Standard Rd2- Q, 3.397yps
Felt great!  Good teeter, good aframe, fast dogwalk.  But he again totally missed his 4 on the floor. I tried to push it by keeping running and Lance ran with me, he downed once I stopped moving and gave him a dirty look.


Running Contacts Update

It's been about 3 weeks since the last update and at that time I was thrilled that we finally seemed to be back on track with his running dogwalk.  I am very happy to say that we are still doing great and Vito doesn't need to see his ball on the floor anymore in order to run all the way down without any jumping or slowing.  I still put it out about half of the time, but he really is driving towards the jump placed after.  He was even brilliant 100% of his attempts in class today!

I have mainly been working on turns with him and have mixed results.  He is awesome if I have a pole near the bottom so he is "forced" to go all the way to end of the board.  I've been doing around the clock with the jump and we're almost to the 3 and 9 o clock angles.  The downside is that Vito can't do it without the pole there to help him.  I can't always tell if he's jumping or not, but I don't think I like how it looks.  I know we haven't been doing turns for very long so I suppose we'll just keep at it.  I think chopping down the pole smaller and smaller will help, I just have to get something I can chop as right now I'm using an electric fence post from our stick in the ground poles.

Vito is entered in another agility trial this weekend and I am hoping there will be a dog walk I get to play around on for fullhouse or jackpot just to see how he does in a trial setting.


Chuck Video

I don't have any recent video of Chuck, but compiled this video of footage taken about 2wks ago.


Chuck 4.5 months

It's been awhile since I've updated on Chuck.  He just turned 20wks today and weighs 35lbs.  Still a laid back puppy with extreme wiggle butt.   Chuck also still loves to pick up anything and everything around the house and wiggle his butt all the way to you with his prize. This dog just needs something in his mouth at all times.  Vito is similar in that he loves carrying around his toys, but Vito does it because when he gets excited he needs something to mouth and wants someone to play with him.  Chuck just does it to have something to carry.

Here is our list of what we've been working on so far,

First the boring obedience stuff:
  • Verbal cues for sit, down, and stand.  He still gets confused about stand sometimes and we still practice the transitions on a platform at times to keep it a kickband stand instead of jump and wiggle butt everywhere.
  • Stays for all 3 positions.  Just recently started the stand stay and are working on putting pressure on his sides to teach him to tighten up.  Love the oppositional reflex!  Sit and down stays are great with any handler movement, thrown distractions, and a tiny bit of out of sight work.
  • M&M's (heel-front-side) are mostly verbal only cues.  I still do a bit of a lure once he starts moving in the right direction to get a good position.
  • Go Mat can be sent from a pretty far distance, auto down, and auto stay.  But he isn't good at relaxing into position to just hang out for a while and pops up a lot if you ignore him.
  • Great loose leash walking even around distractions.  I rarely need to stop and do penalty yards.  I used the pop treats in mouth continuously method and now rarely give treats for walking.  We also practice a lot of walking towards things on the ground and rewarding eye contact.
  • Starting to work on pivoting in heel, counter clockwise.  He understands the pivot portion from our perch work and does ok with this.  But Chuck's default position is front so if you don't move quick enough he pivots the opposite direction from what I want!
  • Settle on his side and allow me to manipulate him into whatever position I want without complaining.  I'm kind've teaching him to come into a settle whenever I sit on the floor with my legs open in a V.  So far he's had the easiest nail trim I've ever done!  Lance and Vito allow me to do it without a struggle but they aren't happy about it.  But Chuck seems to just smile and take it all in. 

And the fun stuff:
  • Tugging!  Chuck tugs open light cabinets and drawers.  He also will tug a basket to me and we have worked him putting the rope into my hand.  He will tug a basket across the room to bring to me and really likes this game.
  • Nudging on a light switch held at nose level with a small tube over the switch to make it easier.  I just started o take off the plastic tube and Chuck is doing great with flipping on the light still.  I've also done a little bit of playing with him "rising" on a low stool to flip the switch on.
  • Touching a target with his paw.  The target is now taped on the wall, but low enough so that Chuck doesn't have to jump up to do it yet.  Eventually the target will be transferred to a push plate.
  • Nudging a target in my hand.  I just started this and am using a different target this his paw touch one.  I might eventually teach him the real discrimination between nose and paw cues, but right now I'm just trying to get the two behaviors and make it easy.  
  • Retrieving objects to my hand, even when my hand is held way out to the side.  Chuck has generalized pretty quickly to any objects I try, even awkward canes and metal objects.  I am currently playing around with the hold, but haven't really settled into how I want to teach that skill to him.  Thankfully he isn't yet mouthing objects when he's grabbing them off the floor and turning to me.
  • Clean up.  Teaching Chuck to drop objects into a basket instead of bringing them to my hand.  Currently the basket is right in front of me while I'm sitting on the floor.
  • 2 back feet on an object.  I've just done a little bit of this so far and it took him quite awhile to get this concept.  He got one back foot but just couldn't get both on at the same time!  Right now I'm trying to get Chuck to back up into position instead of doing his climb and turn back to me.
  • Rollover, bang, and beg are our 3 tricks.  Rollover still needs a small lure and sometimes Chuck skips the bang and does rollover instead.
  • Tug-Kennel-Tug is our newest trick!  Chuck tugs open the kennel, runs inside, and then closes the kennel while he's inside.  Super cute :) 


August Goals

July's Progress:
1. Rally ring-  I wanted to prepare Vito for his first rally trial that occurred this past weekend.  I am very satisfied with the results of the trial and think I did an ok job with the exercises.  He still need some work on his left 270s in trying to find a balance between a tight turn and not doing a backward circle!  But I think we can successfully do all of level 1 and 2 exercises, and I think all of level 3 besides directed jumping.

2. Go outs- I wanted to work on Lance holding his mark even when I remove my hand and  work on the initial starting distance.  Mixed results.  Lance is getting much better at continuing to look at a target on a ground even after I stand up after giving him the mark.  But when I try and transfer it to him marking a wall or baby gate Lance is much more iffy.  Many times he will keep his head pointed in the right direction but roll his eyes up to look at me!  As for distance, we can mark a new wall about half the ring.  Really didn't make a ton of progress.  I also found out that Lance is much more iffy on his paw touch to new ring gating.  He does his go out ok to them, but is reluctant to paw it if the gap in the pvc piping is large.  Since I can foresee this being a major issue down the line, I am going back in real close and insisting that he actually touch the gate.

3. Disc work- I wanted to practice everyday, work more with 2 discs, and teach him to better understand leg vaults.  I started out great in July, but have really faded the last two weeks in practicing.  I think he does understand how to switch back and forth between discs now and how to drop one disc while running.  But our leg vaults are still the same.  Some times he will vault off me, other times he just tries to jump over me.  Interestingly, Adam found that Vito is actually more likely to vault if he holds the disc real low.  Opposite from what one would expect!

4. Bonus tricks!- I didn't make it a goal of mine to work on tricks, but I ended up shaping quite a lot of new tricks this past month!  Both dogs worked on tugging open a cabinet, mainly because Chuck is learning to do it.  I also taught Vito how to "hug" me as he puts one paw over my shoulder and bows his head to comfort me.  It's super cute!  Vito is also learning ostrich, or putting his head behind his front paw while standing.  He still needs a lure to get it, but will offer a head bob without it.  Both dogs have also briefly been working on a face out trick where they stand directly in front of me, butt to my legs.  I am working on them side stepping in this position!  It's pretty hard for both as they really want to reverse to stand between my legs.

August Goals:
1.  Straight sits-  Try and fix Lance's wrapping his butt in on his halts and finishes.  I am also seeing this a little bit with Vito and want to stop it before it becomes a habit.  I plan on doing lots of right pivots, side stepping to the left, and lots of 1-3 steps halts.

2. Go Outs- same goal as before, prolonging Lance's mark and working on initial distance.

3.  Scent articles- again.  I keep getting off schedule with this and I know I need to do it.   I specifically need to work on expanding my distance from the pile and maybe adding distractions in.

4.  Tricks- The face out work was one I put the least amount of work into during July but is one that I really want.  I think it's super impressive so I want to make it a higher priority.


Rally Trials- Sunday

Today was another super day for little guy!  He continued to have great focus on me and pretty good heel position too boot.  We finished up his level 1 today in the first run (209) and moved to level 2 for two runs (205 and 210).  I was extra happy that he had no problems being off leash.  His sits weren't an issue at all today and I felt more comfortable with him on the left 270's/360's.  He was a bit more disconnected the third run but I wasn't that surprised with the very long wait we had.

Here's 2 of Vito's runs, and the part of his run off from yesterday where he started the backward circle :)

I was also happy with both of Lance's runs today in level 3.  The first run we get a 210 and the second run we NQ.  Apparently he anticipated the halt-recall while running exercise but I didn't realize it.  On video I can see how the judge marked it as a break, but it's also hard to tell since it all occurs in 2 fast steps.  On this 2nd run we also have quite awhile of me standing and waiting for Lance at a sign.  I gave him a treat and apparently it got stuck to his tounge or something as Lance keeps lickin and licking, and licking some more.  I didn't know how long to wait for him, so I finally kept going (after 20 seconds!) and Lance still licked away.  I think that's what causes him to miss a moving down and we have to retry it.  At least he stopped licking by the 2nd attempt, 33seconds after that one treat!

Still major forging.  And we didn't get our level 3 title as planned due to our NQ but I'm still happy with how he did today.

Here's two of Lance's level 3 runs, since level 3 is so much cooler then level 2!

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