The Toller did one round of APDT rally this Saturday, level 3.  Warming up he was super excited and even did a tiny toller scream as I told him we were going to go into the ring to play!  But upon entering the gates his demeanor shifted and he started staring at the signs, eventually settling into somewhat of a heel position at the start but fixating at a piece of fuzz on the floor :(  Sure enough, as we started he went immediately for the fuzz.  But after a quick sniff he rejoined me, looked at my hands for food, and was content to be with me as I moved my hand back up to my position. 

I am happy to report that after the initial 3 seconds he really pulled it back together and I felt like I had a happy worker!  It wasn't the best performance in terms of sloppy fronts, bumps, 2 repeated cues to stand and then to heel, and a messed up bonus on my part.  But it was by far our best experience in the obedience/rally ring since his anxiety issues started!  It's a good thing I am working the trial on Sunday so I'm not tempted to push it and enter him again :) 


The corgi was entered in both rounds of CDSP Utility B on Saturday.  For non CDSP people, the "B" class is done after one gets the UD and is basically like AKC's versatility class in that it pulls a mixture of exercises from novice, open, and utility along with a bonus baseball glove exercise.  We had order #2 both days which included the drop on recall, off leash fig 8, novice moving stand, gloves x2, and retrieve over the high jump.

Lance was a total ham as usual.  If we could get crowd points he would be a major contender in any venue!  Round #1 we NQed as Lance decided to stop on the drop on recall but didn't down until I gave him a 2nd command.  But I was shocked to hear our name being called for awards as apparently the judge didn't hear the 2nd command!  I told her what he did but since she didn't hear it it doesn't change the judge's paperwork!  A nice gift I suppose!

In round #2 we NQed as Lance retrieved the wrong glove on the 2nd glove exercise but I thought he performed much nicer than the first round!
Round #1:

Issues that cropped up today, mostly including the gloves, include:
- On the pivots for the gloves, looking away from me as soon as we stop pivoting instead of maintaining eye contact until given his mark.  The reason for our NQ in round #2!
- Not dropping the glove when I take it!  Did it on the first glove in trial #1 and the second glove in trial number 2! 
- ticked the jump in both trials
- Not dropping on the first drop on recall.  And the second drop on recall he arched to his right.  If there was a jump on that side I'm pretty sure he would have taken it!
 - crooked fronts in round #1.  better in #2.

Oh corgi!   You do make it impossible for me to be anything but happy when I walk out of that ring with you!


Guess who's back....

The Fi-Fi!!!

Yes, Fiona came back this past Friday from her 3 month stay in the prison program.  I did not think I was going to be as excited to see her as I was.  I mean, she is a lab after all!

I'm sure you guys can guess that I wasn't strong enough to not take her home at least one night! Although I did wait until Tuesday evening so she could at least get used to kennel life :)  As a side effect of my job position itself requiring the breaking of the rule that puppy raisers can't see their dogs once turned in, I figured that a little break here and there won't hurt anything.  It's not like I'm not having to train her everyday anyway!
Can 4 dogs fit in the back of my little car?

Since her going to prison was such a last minute decision she actually hasn't had her health clearences done yet.  Fingers crossed that she passes all tests so that I'm not tempted to keep her!

Actually she might end up leaving me for real sooner rather than later.  Due to a recently placed diabetic alert dog having to be pulled due to unforseen medical reasons (*sad face*) Fiona might go in as a swap pretty quickly.  Ideally we want the new team training again as soon as possible due to the client's current life events and Fiona is the best match...

 Everybody waiting to be fed, even the cat.  Yes, the corgi is tortured...
 You know, 4 dogs is really not all that different from 3.  Especially when they're already trained :)
Walking 4 dogs at once, not bad.  Getting them all to look at the camera at once, impossible.  Except Lance, good corgi in all attempts.

The main difference is now there's 4 dogs busting in on you in the bathroom instead of 3...


The normal one

The elusive normal dog of our household often gets neglected on this blog!

Lance has actually been quite busy, at least by my (very little) training standards!  In obedience Lance and I are working on AKC's new Advanced Teamwork exercises.  My club will *hopefully* find a judge willing to do this non regular class at our October 2013 trial!  I would love for there to be some other Midwesterners willing to give this class a shot!  It has been a ton of fun to teach the corgi some new things.

In agility we are starting to work on a pilot study for dogs with jumping issues.  I won't be able to post about the work on here until after it's finished, but my fingers are crossed that the corgi will learn to be a more confident, stutter-free, jumper.


Vito at Loretta Mueller seminar

This past Sunday I took Vito to an agility seminar with Loretta Mueller.  It was a long drive but the great news is that Vito did fantastic in the car!

Yes, this happened!
He had a great time!  The beginning was a little rough.  He wasn't sure about the non rubberized aframe and couldn't weave.  But we broke things down and rewarded LOTS.
I learned some great tips on handling Vito so he doesn't have time to stress over mistakes and ways to keep his excitement up.  I'm going to need to borrow someone's personality while running him as apparently Vito really likes frantic handling and that is so not me.  So if you see me in practice or in a trial, remind me to use lots of verbals and to act like that tunnel is an urgent manner!

But Vito didn't get stressed once during the seminar and even ended the day with crazy flying aframes (ahh!) and trying to single stepping weaves!  There were a lot of knocked bars over the day but that's not typically one of his issues so whatever I guess. 

Since I did so much of 3-5 obstacle reward, video isn't that exciting.  But I did want to show off his attempts at swimming the weaves, which he NEVER does even in practice, and 2 attempts at one hit aframes, which again he hasn't done in years!  Happy toller!


Bubba Video and Robot Love

The not-so-much-anymore bear cub is almost 6 months.  I always love how the magic of video can make it look like I actually train the dogs.

Bubba has also started some whining recently when left.  Since he is becoming a big boy I haven't always locked him in the crate under my desk when I leave my cubicle.  Bubba was always quiet in the crate but is not so much when left free.  Even if he can see me on the other side he likes to voice his opinion of being seperated.  So has begun operation Shut-up The Bear.  This has involved being shuttled to a few different cubicles during the day to get different experiences.  Bubba has not been happy about this.  It has also meant days where he is kept in the kennel area, with a fellow doggy roommate, far away from the office.  Again, Bubba has not been happy.  And finally it has also meant his introduction to the Robot.
I haven't used the manners minder in a long time but it was perfect for being able to give Bubba treats when I was out of sight.  I actually put it up on my desk and removed the tray so that kibble rained to the floor at random times.  Bubba quickly learned to look up and pray to the robot.

If only Vito's issues were this simple!


Vito's Agility Comeback?

Vito also competed in the NADAC trial this weekend, 3 runs both days.  Saturday was FANTASTIC!  He was getting super sassy with me at the start line and ran really well. If it wasn't for that stupid NADAC rule about taking leashes off before permitted we could have had even more sasss!  All dogwalks this weekend were straight exits and gorgeous. 

 Our last run of the day was Chances and I was a bit worried before walking into the ring.  I was asking Vito if he was ready to do his "ramp" and getting him revved up.  Vito got very excited but instead of doing his toller scream or little barks he started his reactive bark.  I looked and he wasn't staring at anybody but he continued that type of barking walking into the ring and while he sat.  I thought there was a very good chance that Vito would go over the aframe and run to either the bar setter or judge.  Instead Vito kept barking as I released him, even while he went over the aframe, and then shut up and took the off course tunnel.  So that's good, I guess.

Sunday was not as awesome.  He still did some barking at me on the start line and warmed up pretty well.  But the 3 runs weren't quite as enthusiastic.  Not bad, just not awesome.  I was thinking maybe I should only do one day trials with him, but then remembered that some days he does much better on day #2 than on day #1.  Oh well, we do very few 2 day trials anyway due to that little thing called money.


Too cute for criteria

That would be the corgi.  He had a blast at the NADAC trial this weekend, hitting zero contacts.  Or maybe a toenail in a few.  Managed contacts not so managed.

In class he's starting to do very well on the aframe since I went to training what is basically a 4 ON that's dependent on me being right there.  In class, the dogwalk is almost a true running, almost.  In trials he giveth me the finger.  It looks like I'll actually have to do some training to some real criteria again if I ever want to qualify.

But he LOVED running 4in for his first time in a trial!  Stuttering was much reduced, even on the long lines in NADAC and even on some rear crosses!  Our jumpers run he even ran 5.3yps (last run on the video)!



Vito on Diazepam

Vito has been taking Diazepam (Valium) for 2 weeks now to help with his car anxiety and general anxiety.  He is still taking Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Clonidine as well so Vito gets lots of cheese every day!

The changes in his car rides were very fast.  I even grabbed a dog bed and stuffed it between the seats to encourage him to lay his head down!

These pictures aren't a regular occurrence, but he is actually resting his head and sometimes even sleeping a handful of times.  I would say 75% of his car rides he has been taking treats and doing just light panting!  The other 25% of car rides he is at moderate panting although he has had a few more intense panic attacks as well.

Of course adding a new medication always comes with side effects.  I have definitely noticed that diazepam is in the same family as Xanax.  Like Xanax, it has increased his appetite a ton which is nice in some aspects but has also turned Vito into a more severe moocher and a poop eater.  And just like when he took Xanax, I'm noticing some of those zoned out moments where he looks stoned.  On the positive side, I don't think it's interfering with his ON switch as much.  Vito on Xanax was not at all excited for agility or playing with me.  Xanax Vito also would alternate between being very drunk and tipsy to it not having any effect at all.  Fingers are crossed that Valium Vito continues to get the positive side effects and no additional negatives.


Review- Fresh Dog Shampoo Powder

Since giving a bath actually requires work, the dogs pretty much only get a bath when they're so disgusting I can't stand it.  The toller has a lovely quick drying coat that seems to repel dirt so he is spared many baths.  The corgi's belly seems to collect dirt from wherever he goes, but I try to ignore this fact.  There is even a movement to the horrors of bathtime on facebook

But the bear cub is just ridiculous at how dirty he can get from one outing of being in the gravel yard at work.  Dusty, dusty, dusty, mixed with dog slobber from having his whole head swallowed by his larger labby friends.  Poor Bubba.

So I took the opportunity to review a free bottle of Fresh Dog Dry Shampoo Powder.  I was hoping that I could use it on the service dogs at work as it's extremely difficult to keep them looking clean and smelling nice because of that gravel yard.  And unfortunately for those dogs, they can't be spared bath time since they actually need to look presentable when going out in public!

The verdict:  The shampoo powder actually has a nice smell that is a little overpowering at first, but the smell actually goes away rather quickly.  I personally found that as a plus as I would be unnerved if my dogs actually walked around smelling like lavender!  It also nicely turned the dusty grey dogs back into black labradors.  Sadly, it isn't a miracle powder and can't remove the gobs of dried slobber and who knows what else the Bubba collects out there.  It would be interesting to see if their waterless bath foam could help save him from the tub!  But for a quick freshening up it's a very easy treatment that takes about 10seconds to grab the bottle and pat the dog down.

Another plus for the powder is that it can also be used as a deodorizer for carpets or bedding.  I used it a little bit this last weekend since we had to quickly clean the house in preparation for resigning our lease for another year.  I guess it worked since the landlord didn't even notice the ferrets until as he was leaving!


Semi Retired

If you had talked to me this last Saturday about Vito I would have announced his retirement from disc doggin.  His almost disastrous incident the week before really made me question whether I was seeing any light at the end of our jump grid tunnel or was just delaying the inevitable decision with it.

Then close to midnight on Saturday I let Ron Watson of Pawsitive Vybe talk me into continued experimentation.  Although I have to admit it wasn't too hard hard to get me back since Vito is so much in love with the sport.  I agreed to be a guinea pig in fixing the problem of too fast pursues + no collection = dangerous.  Vito's not the only dog out there with this issue, although I would argue that he adds a whole new level of flair to the problem with his mid air contortions.

Sunday morning we headed out to our canceled and then rescheduled lesson while PVybe was in Minnesota.  We did lots of takes, with and without our friend PVC, and zero actual throws.  Creativity abounded, not by me, and at least there was no cringing heard from the audience.

So this summer will continue to be one of disc work.  Vito will be in a stage of semi retirement; one where he gets to play with discs but will be extremely limited in what he gets to do.


Bear Cub's CGC

Bubba managed to squeak by and pass the CGC test last week!  It was not the prettiest demonstration, but going into the test I imagined us having a only 30% chance of actually passing.  We started with the walking items as I knew those would be the hardest for the bear cub.  For 5ft we had lovely eye contact and then he started to sniff, sniff, sniff but with my pathetic pleadings he managed to keep the leash loose and had a very generous gift of  a pass :)  Walking through a crowd and up to another dog he actually gave me great eye contact again for the short 15sec they required!  Bubba managed to not bite the brush until after the exam was finished and decided to hold his stays for the other items.  Yay!

Bubba is also discovering more of his Schipperke-ness.  A few weeks ago he realized he should be alert woofing at suspicious things.  We are doing our best to explain to him that he should act more lab like.

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

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