Pvybe Seminar: Discs + PVC

The dogs and I just got back from an awesome 4 day disc dog camp by Pawsitive Vybe!  This was our second year going and just like last year I learned a lot.

I was proud to show off my dog who (mostly) did not scream at me, did not punch me, and was capable of making eye contact.  A huge difference from last year where getting those things were my main homework.  Of course I am still using a lot of management by walking on to the field tugging with a disc or making Vito carry a disc out, and either putting him into a down stay or dropping all the discs at any break in action.

This year my main goal was to find a way to help Vito stop over-pursing discs and doing crazy, mistimed, and dangerous leaps from directly underneath them.  Lucky for me, Ron and Apryl are very willing to think outside the box and come up with creative suggestions.  Unfortunately, Vito is so ramped up and running so fast after the disc that it is not going to be an easy fix.  Keeping him safe is obviously my number one priority and there were many times over the weekend where I was thinking that this would be his last weekend participating in the sport.  But by Sunday we saw glimpses of hope and times where Vito would slow down and think.  With a lot of work it might be possible to keep him safe.

It's funny how Vito has the complete opposite problems between agility and disc.  In agility he collects very nicely and has a hard time accelerating back out from turns.  In disc he over accelerates and collection doesn't seem to be in his book at all.  It's amazing how much the presence of a target can change the jumping styles of a dog.

The plan for the toller involves much usage of PVC! 
1.  Set point drills- Just like the agility version, but with a disc held high over the bar.  Because the dog's have to look UP in disc in order to catch, it completely changes their jumping style and Vito needs to learn how to collect for a catch.

2. Bent cavalettis- Another agility thing, using pvc pipe as stride regulators to help him collect and leap on the run.  Just sending him out around a chair/cone is supposed to set up collection and interception and make it likely for the dog to jump well, but Vito accelerated out of the turn (just like I want that red dog to do in agility!) and it didn't help.  So putting down PVC pipe for him to stride over on the out should help.

3. Throwing high and curving right- No throwing nice floaters for now.  By tossing a disc that goes high in the air and curves Vito will have to run out with his head up.  This is going to try and eliminate that head down sprint he currently does.

4. Overs, with dropping his head- I'm to present the disc for an over and then swipe it down to the floor as he jumps for it.  This should lower his head and bring up his rear.  I can also do this on the set point drill.

Photo by Sean Silvernail
5. Flatwork- Vito is really responsive to our agility front and rear crosses and can do them calmly on the field without me tossing a disc.  Especially after a rear cross it essentially sets him up as in the set point drill and I should be able to throw a very short toss or even a flip immediately after he does one.

6. Oppositional Feeding- Asking for a drop and throwing behind Vito as soon as he drops will help to slow down his running back to me and will also create more of a zig zag pattern that can help set up interceptions of the disc.

7. Dismissal- Continued work on Vito being calm and in thinking mode on the field with all the crap I've been doing with eye contact and manners.  But currently he doesn't have much of a "take a break" type cue, especially not if I'm still holding a disc.  I'm to add this in, along with trying to change his conditioned response to the presence of the disc bag and the field.  Lots of getting ready and not actually playing, or arriving and doing obedience/trick work instead.


Outdoor NADAC Trial

I hate Minnesota weather.  It reached 92 degrees at the trial on Friday and then was 52 degrees of cold rain on Sunday.

The corgi gave me the finger on our first course of the weekend, weavers.  It was VERY hot out and Lance said he could not find his weave entrance nor stay in them.  On the positive side, our touch n go run went better since he was slower on the contacts and didn't leap from as high ;)

On Saturday it wasn't nearly as hot and Lance had 3 runs: regular, touch n go, and chances.  Regular was a disaster as he again didn't to weave and this time didn't respond at all to my attempt at managing his contacts.  Touch no Go I lost my mind and ended up just making up the entire course as I went and Lance plodded along.  Chances was AMAZING!!  We are now in elite and I felt the course was way beyond our training level.  Lance proved me wrong by effortlessly doing the distance, even the dogwalk at a distance(!).  Unfortunately he knocked a bar :(  I didn't get any video of the run since I thought for sure we wouldn't be qualifying. I don't have a map of the elite course, but here is the open line and the elite line was a few feet behind the number 5 jump and then angled down to the tunnel exit.

Sunday we were only entered in 2 runs: chances and hoopers.  This time the weather was cold and rainy and Lance said he liked this much better; I thought it sucked.

Lance qualified on 3 out of 8 runs, with 2 of those being on hoopers and tunnelers.  After Friday's performance I was seriously considering that this would be Lance's last outdoor trial.  Now I think I will consider running him outdoors in the fall and maybe next year's May trial depending on the weather.  Lance really does not like the heat!

Vito had a pretty good weekend!  He ran 3 runs on Friday, 3 on Saturday, and 2 on Sunday.  On all but that first weavers run he was really connected with me in our warm up and continued that walking out to the start line!  He barked at me and even jumped up on me when asked.  I just wish I could take off the leash earlier in NADAC!  On Saturday he scanned the crowd more, but didn't fixate on anybody in the ring and on Sunday he seemed as excited as ever.

Here is video of some of our starts that were taped this weekend.  It actually goes backwards from Sunday to Friday:

On the course I mostly had a happy dog.  His first run of the day on Friday and on Saturday were a bit slow, but I felt he actually ran with a little speed on his other runs.  We had some nice off courses that I praised him for!  Our biggest issue ended up being the dogwalk.  Normally Vito sucks to it and it is his happy obstacle but this weekend he avoided it whenever there was a tunnel for him to choose instead.  This was an option for 1 run on Friday and 2 runs on Saturday where he would just ignore my handling and happily go into the tunnel.  After 2 or 3 attempts Vito would go on the dogwalk but was much slower than normal.  On Sunday he only got to the dogwalk once and it was much more confident.


2012 Disc Dog Season Begins!

The disc dog season started yesterday with the annual fun match!  Vito and I haven't practiced any disc in several weeks but we did get to work quite a bit this last fall and "winter" due to the crazy nice weather.  We had been continuing to work on eye contact and not screaming at me in an effort to get Vito to think a bit more on the field.

The fun match just had 2 rounds of Toss and Catch so I was eager to see if Vito could remember our work of walking onto the field politely.  He did!  I've learned to pre-place a disc near the field a dog or two before we go as this allows me to walk around with him and wait quietly.  Round 1 I let Vito grab the disc with me and I transferred him to the start line as such.  I quickly gave the thumbs up and Vito didn't do any screaming during the 3 seconds the disc was removed from his mouth and the count down began :)   In Round 2 I decided to try Vito carrying the disc to the start line himself.  This is my eventual goal with him but currently it is still hard if I have other discs in my hand.  Since there is only 1 disc used in Toss and Catch Vito did a nice job!  And once again there was no screaming during the 3 second delay.  His dropping of the disc was also very fast the second round and we were able to get in a 5th throw.

And the best part of the day was that Vito relaxed enough to eat a stuffed Kong while sitting under the tent.  We were about 15ft from the field!  


Bubba 16wks

The rare sighting of a sleeping bear
The Bubba is proving to be quite a challenging project.  Zoom, zoom, zoom all day long with a few short cat naps thrown in.  He has also discovered how to jump on his little legs and now effortlessly propels himself onto anything that he can reach.  Thank goodness Bubba is mostly quiet in his crate even if he barely sleeps in it!  At work he needs to be crated most of the day since when out of his kennel he is a very vocal cub, talking to his toys and the corgi nonstop!

Our biggest challenge seems to be his very independent nature.  Bubba just doesn't seem to care if he's being praised or cursed.  I am very grateful he's not a sensitive dog as I've had enough of that!  But I would like a little more care for my opinion!

Training is going pretty well. We even have a little stay on his mat with distractions and handler movement.  I was proud of Bubba for making it through a full hour of being a good little bear at World Team Tryouts this last weekend!  It helped that the bleachers allowed him to sit right next to me and he ate a bully stick for the last portion.  Of course then the puppy limit was reached and into the car he went.


Training for Advanced Teamwork

I have been considering  training for AKC's new Advanced Teamwork class ever since Lance finished his UD.  The UDX is still our goal but I'm really attracted to training some new exercises!

I don't know if training some of the exercises is the correct decision based upon where Lance is in his training.  He is still a very green dog when it comes to competing in open and utility and I know that some of this work will only confuse him more.  I was originally only going to train some of the exercises but I am now very tempted to just jump in and have fun!

I'm not making it a priority, but I have been playing around with a few of the exercises every now and then for the last few months.

1. A distance stand from sit and down-  Lance's stand was pretty iffy.  Unlike the other dogs who do a beautiful kick back even at a distance, Lance tends to take a tentative step forward or sometimes just briefly lifts his butt.  I've thought about quickly reteaching the stand from scratch with him but for now I'm just expanding where he's at.  So far it's going pretty well and he can stand from 10ft away and so far I'm ok with the stepping forward into it.  Vito has a beautiful kick back stand at a distance :)

2. Sit in motion- Lance has a great verbal down from all the fun drop games we play and a great verbal stand from utility.  Sit blew his mind but he's doing better and only rarely folds into his down now.

3. Sit after a retrieve- This went surprisingly easy for him!  I was prepared for him to try drop it as soon as I gave a sit cue but he never has!  Mainly we are working on distance as he tends to take a step or two after I call sit; or if I try and call sit as soon as he has it I end up being too early and he sits before it's in his mouth.  I'm a little scared training this might bite us in the ring, so I'm only doing this with non dumbbell items.

4.Drop on recall to Baseball gloves- Currently practicing a baby version of this exercise as I'm starting him in the middle.  It didn't take much training to get him to go out to glove 1 & 3.  With glove #2 he's doing well but I'm still stepping into his path as if I'm bowling him backwards.  We're currently playing with understanding of glove #2 vs glove #3 as both of my signals use the right arm.

5.  Call to heel while still and moving- Having him join me in heeling while I'm moving is proving to be no challenge.  While I am still he needs me to look over my shoulder or he comes front.

6. Go out to cone- alternating cuing a sit or a down, or if I'm close enough, a stand.  At first I was having him touch the cone but it morphed into Lance going out around it.  I don't know that I care until I see more videos of other people doing it.

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

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