Lance in 2014

This past year our focus was definitely the obedience ring.  Apparently 2014 was also the year of not showing very often as we didn't do as many trials as planned, especially in the fall.

Lance did manage to earn his last 2 legs towards his UDX title and gained another 200 points to earn his OM2 title.  OTCH points were much smaller with only 14 points this year although that brings our current total up to 49 points and half way.

Due to the OTCH points earned in 2013 Lance was invited to the National Obedience Championship as the #3 corgi.  We had a blast, learned a lot, and loved watching all the great teams there.  It was quite the road trip to Pennsylvania and Gracie came along for the ride.  And recently we found out that Lance was again the #3 corgi in 2014 so we will get to go to Missouri next year!

Consistency still wasn't our strong suit this year.  In utility Lance had a streak of weird directed jumping failures that ranged from taking the wrong jump, to anticipating commands, to stopping early.  And towards the end of the year in utility we started having problems with our stand signal.  In Open the stay issue reared it's head again with Lance lying down about 1/3 of the shows and in the beginning of the year he held his sit but would stand or sit on the down.

We did quite a bit of proofing this year on all the exercises and Lance sailed through most of them pretty easily.  It's hard to say what exercises will break in the upcoming year!
In 2015 I plan to show a handful of times in the Open class, but mostly limit Lance to Utility.  I'm not giving up on the sit stay issue but clearly we have not found the answer to boost Lance's confidence in that class.  Sadly when Lance does manage to qualify in Open his scores are way higher than in utility.  Like most teams really.

We did increase our average slightly in scores.  Our of 7 Q's in Open our average is 196.5 and all but 2 higher than that.  In utility we only had 6 Q's and an average of 193.3 over the year.  Much room for improvement!

Sadly Lance showed even less in agility than in obedience.  NADAC shows in the area without traveling aren't very many and due to Lance's injury before one trial and another canceled trial it knocked our trialing way down.  By the end of August Lance had only competed in 2 days of NADAC.  My goal was to finish up his NATCH this year as all he really needed was 5 chances Q's and 2 regular Qs.  That didn't happen.  Lance only earned 1 Chances Q since our qualifying rate is not high in that class.

Lance and I did hit up 3 UKI trials this year and actually had a very high qualifying rate.  Quite the difference from NADAC and we did have a few moments where Lance went into orbit without me, but mostly he paid attention.  During the 1 day trial in December Lance managed to earn his Senior title and will move up to Champs next year.

He is starting to show his age somewhat in agility.  For the first time since we started trialing his average YPS is starting to slow down slightly.  Not a big drop, but certainly not getting any faster or maintaining his speed as much.  Lance will be 8yrs old next spring.

No new tricks taught in the traditional sense.  But towards the end of the year I got some balance discs and now a peanut to work on some strength/balance exercises.  Lance loves working on them.

Goals for 2015
1.  Increase our average score in utility and in open (if we end up competing in open much).  We have loads of opportunity for  improvement in our qualifying rate in utility!!!
2. Keep problem solving ways to fix Lance's sit stay issue in a group of unknown dogs.
3. Earn Lance's NATCH in NADAC.



Agilities!  And the Corgi got to play!

The Corgi had 9 runs over the weekend and had a blast running at Soccer Blast.  Lance loves the footing there and for the most part his jumping was great.  Only a few stutters that of course were the most pronounced on his last run of the weekend, Jumpers.  Managed to qualify in 6 of the runs but alas Chances was again not meant to be.  He really does not ever want to Q in the distance class again!

The Toller had another great weekend!  Total of 7 runs and all were happy.  Several were full speed and all had at least moments of sprinting.  Jumpers was of course his slowest run of the weekend but he did make time, barely.  And then was fastest dog of the trial in Touch n Go, his favorite class of course. Running contacts sure do help!  And while Vito didn't qualify in either Chances course, he actually did some big distance for him.  No hesitations on his own made up courses.

Zumi got to hang out in her little crate and be a good girl.  Came out several times to play tug, watch agility, and meet people.  There were a few scary moments of evil chairs, loud carts going by, and suspicious children.  Most moments passed pretty quick.  Confidence is still a work in progress and usually her issue seems to be noises.


Zumi 10wks

The little Duck is 10wks old!
Zumi and I have mainly been working on rules of play.

1. Stop eating human flesh.  Much improvement on the face biting aspect.  But slower progress during toy play.  Zumi so easily switches toys in the 2 toy game, but her zeroing in on movement also means that an innocent hand may be sacrificed when we're not playing that game.  Or really anytime you go to pet her and she's in a toy mood.

2. Not allowed to steal the end of brother's tug when I'm playing with him, instead find a second toy.  We have many.  And it's not fun to try and get Vito to growl louder.

3. Bring toys to my hand please.  Fly bys are also not fun.

4. Drop it.  Just started this training but I'm thinking it's going to be important.

New things just started this week in our food training sessions are
1. Frog legs
2. Leave its
3. Back legs on a book.
4. Out around something.  And just for fun, changing up the way I've taught it to the last couple dogs and going with more of a shaped approach again.

Toller scream?
No, sadly Zumi was just eating a stick!

The snow pictures were taken yesterday and now the snow is all melted again.  We might have a brown Christmas after all!  I for one will not be complaining.


Vito's 1 Month Chip

Yesterday marked 1 month since's Vito's last car ride with anxiety.  I don't think he has ever gone so long before without a panic attack in the car!  That's approximately 56 calm and relaxed rides.

Vito started Sertraline (Zoloft) in June when we stopped Amitriptyline and started his current dose in July.  He also is still getting Clonidine and Clorazepate twice daily.  It seems odd that for 5 months on the new drug he was pretty set on about 50% morning car rides panic inducing, especially if the car was facing the wrong way, or he had to get in the "wrong" side of the car since the sliding door wasn't working or...  and then suddenly the anxiety stopped.  This past month Vito has also been notably calmer in other situations.  No frantic pacing and insane arousal when visiting relatives.   Calm at the vet's office (although not his appointment, but still usually panic inducing).  Relaxed and seeking attention at his chiropractic appointment.  Able to be crated in a soft crate that wasn't his when I panicked and couldn't find Vito's at the club.  Many good things

We've certainly had other anxiety provoking events in this past month but I will enjoy the calmer Vito while I can.  If past experience provides any insight than this new hope won't last too long.


Drama Queen

Girls.  For the most part Zumi doesn't care if she's being yelled at to drop something, to stop wrestling with the cat, biting faces, etc.  And then every now and then Zumi will act like she's just been traumatized for life and will sulk around in the most dramatic way possible.

Crate training continues to go well though.  And this morning she finally ate her breakfast for the 2nd day in a row!  I will attempt increasing it to the size of her lunch and dinner tomorrow morning to see if she can eat more than 20 kibbles in the morning.  Life is just too exciting sometimes to stop and eat.

She can make her leap onto the couch starting this last week.  A whole week and half earlier than Py and much more petite at only 10lbs at the 9wk mark.  Several times though she has discovered how to get underneath the recliner loveseat from the back and then gets stuck under it.  Somehow turning around in that tiny space either hasn't occurred to her or there's not enough space.  We very carefully extend the couch legs out to free her and then she acts insulted.

Vito really is the best.  I let him yell at the puppies when appropriate, which is often.  But on the couch he mostly just gives an evil face and then sighs and closes his eyes to any puppy.

Her favorite toy this week.

And some great news is that Pyra got adopted by a family with 2 other tollers and will get to teach a young girl all about training!


UKI Agility Trial

The dogs headed down for a UKI agility trial on Saturday.  I LOVE UKI but debated for awhile about entering due to the location.  Vito handles the footing OK but Lance has stuttered worse on the turf than at other surfaces.  I decided to just enter Lance in 2 runs so that if I needed to pull him after the first run I wouldn't be out too much money and plus he only needed 1 jumpers leg to get his Senior Agility title, ISDs.  I also just wanted to run my poor corgi in some agility trials this year!

It turned out that Lance handled the footing a thousand times better than the last trial!  Still some stuttering but not much worse than he can be at other locations.  For the most part the stuttering wasn't pretty but he didn't slow down a ton.  He ended up qualifying in both speed stakes and jumpers and can move up to championship now in everything but speedstakes.  Speedstakes has a bit less stuttering so this is his slightly worse jumpers run:

Vito was entered in 4 runs and since you can declare any run not for competition  and bring a toy on course I was going to leave the decision on what runs to utilize the toy based on how he warmed up for each run.
Vito was LOUD.  Very happy Toller and ran decently fast for both speed stakes and jumpers.  Not toy used!  He did knock a bar in speed stakes though and in a moment of forgetting how I was goign to handle a sequence I pulled him off a jump there too.  But happy Toller.  For Gamblers I decided that I didn't want to waste the opportunity to have a toy at a trial so I warmed up with his magical Chuck it, put it on the side as usual, and then surprised him with a bonus ball in my pocket.  Super Happy Toller kicked it into overdrive after that first reward!!!  (Oh and bonus points for hitting the judge after a jump and not worrying at all!)

Agility (standard) was his last run and it was my favorite of the day.  Maybe because he had just gotten a toy in the ring on the gamblers run before, but he did an amazing job.  A delay at the start meant lots and lots and lots of Toller Screaming.
Yay for Toller!  And look how much prettier our dogwalks can be when he's running fast!

As for the Duck, Zumi learned all about trial days.  She was amazing quiet in crate all day, played nicely for me on toys, met lots of people and bit lots of faces, and started thinking that maybe other dogs can be fun.  It surprises me how confident she is with greeting people but with dogs she is fine just sniffing and saying hi but if they want to play she is not so sure.  Actually for me that might be a good thing as long as she doesn't get nervous or reactive with dogs!


Zumi 8wks

It's been a long first week with Zumi.  But other than the whole crate training chaos she's been a super fun puppy.  Very zoom zoom.  Not as confident about the world as Pyra was, but I have no doubt we will get there.

Still not so food motivated.  Zumi prefers being on the go and can't be bothered to finish her meals.  But she is cooperating for a little bit of meal training.  Mainly working on crate games, pivoting, fold back downs, and hand nudges.

Outside of meals I'm trying to show Zumi that body handling isn't torture.  Not a fan of upside down puppy and leg stretches.  She is pretty cuddly but no where near the level of Py or the labradors.  As long as Zumi is on the couch she is content to sprawl out wherever.  This picture makes her look huge, but she's only 8.5lbs!

I do believe she has now taken a nap with every member of the household.  
Vito just closes his eyes and pretends the puppy isn't there.

Lance will play with her but the cuddling was on accident.  Actually it's super rare that he was even on my couch to begin with, vs having his own space on the dog couch.

The cat just didn't move.



Today a great battle was won in Zumi's crate training face off.  This week the tide started to turn as Zumi spent her days in an xpen with a brave doggy volunteer.  Still many, many tantrums but anxiety about being left was lessening.

At the obedience club I hauled in the xpen and moved her and Gracie back and forth across the building as I moved from obedience to agility and back to obedience.  It was exhausting but quiet-ish, especially if she could see me.

At work on Friday Zumi was alone for the first time.  No doggy friend was available to sacrifice.  Massive tantrum.  I was frustrated and didn't know what to do with her as while co-workers were being very patient all week they couldn't have screaming all day.  I over reacted a bit in my frustration, but after a stern talking to and being tossed into the wire crate next to my desk, Zumi seemed to realize the gravity of the situation and shut up.  Throughout the remainder of the day only a few verbal reminders were needed and the tantrums were down to whispers.  No panicking.  Victory was mine.

I know we still have a ways to go with Zumi's crate manners, but I think the war is starting to be won.  Thank God.


Goodbye again

Gracie's new mom came to town the past two days to start working with her.  On their first day working together Gracie alerted her mom to a low blood sugar at Target!  Good girl!!!

Because she lives a few hours away, their training is done slightly different than teams that are in the Twin Cities.  Training was done for a few hours for each of the 2 days she was in town and then Gracie went home with her mom today.  The remainder of their training will be done with the help of a local obedience trainer in their town working closely with one of our trainers.  Based on what I saw from them I'm thinking it will go well!  And maybe I'll get to see Gracie in the agility ring a year from now as her mom seems excited about taking some agility classes once they're certified!


Crate Training

I'm trying not to compare Zumi with Pyra but I've already called her Py like 20 times in the 4 days.  
Really though she is quite different from little Py from the way she moves to her attitude.

Zumi really does love to zoom.  And bite.  Lots of biting.  And apparently thinks she is a sheltie as there has been lots of tugging on my pants as I walk.  

Crate training still sucks.  Massive screaming and once she starts she will not stop on her own no matter how long you ignore her.  Fingers in the kennel are helping a bit and if Zumi's somewhat tired she will try and curl up against the bars to trap your hand in.  Very sensitive to any attempts to escape your hand.  She does best of course if she's super tired and you sit right outside her crate as she goes back to bed.

Work today could have been a disaster if it weren't for 2 amazing other trainers that happened to both be there and at their desks way more than I'm able to be at mine.  Zumi was able to stay out with them in our cubicle/hall area and only was crated for 2 brief naps in which she had already fallen asleep on a lap.  During the later part of the day, after an unsuccessful crate nap attempt in the office, I tried putting her in a crate in an isolated room where she could scream her head off without disturbing others too much.  Scream she did.  Just 15min later I went in to grab something and she was just trembling as she screeched.  Flashbacks of Puppy Vito.

I sat on the floor with fingers in the bar for several minutes  and while I didn't get her completely quiet she did stop trembling.  Plan B was devised and put into action.  Zumi went back to hang out freely in the cubicle area while I set up an X-pen immediately outside the hall with her open crate, toys, and a sacrificial doggy friend.  There was only an hour left of work by the time I got her settled in and she was already exhausted.  But Plan B was successful with only a mild tantrum.

Fingers are crossed that Zumi will both improve her crate manners quickly and that the X-pen setup works this week as I don't think she will have the option of cuddling with a person the rest of the week.  And on Wednesday she has to go to the obedience club while I teach classes.
I'm not worried about Zumi yet.  She's very young and she's only had a few days of being on her own to practice this type of stuff.  But it's hard not to think of puppy Vito and his issues.  Zumi is the most anxious I've seen with the puppies I've fostered vs frustration.


And back to 4

Surprise!  I went to pick up Gracie from her client on Saturday, 1 day after puppy pickup.  Gracie was doing well but needs a new client.  Her mom underestimated the time and training involved in dog ownership, especially that of a service dog.  So Gracie's back!  The good news is that the decision was made relatively soon into their partnership and the great news is that there is already a new person in mind for Gracie!  Her new person even has interest in doing agility :)
My boomerang.

Gracie is due to meet her partner next week and if all goes well I won't have her for very long.
I think Gracie just wanted to give a proper Labrador welcome to Zumi like she was able to do for Pyra!

Gracie was so happy to be back and get to run!


Introducing Zumi

Replacement Puppy is here.  Meet Zumi
Still has her puppy blue eyes!
Zumi is loud.  Loud with endurance.  I would rather potty training 50 puppies than deal with crate training one puppy.  But Pyra was horrible those first few days and she miraculously became good, so I have hope.  No sleep, but hope.

Apologies to Vito for having to train in a new puppy again.

Lance is still pouting but I know he will be happy soon enough for a puppy smaller than him.

I am looking forward to getting to know Zumi as she settles in.  And stops screaming.


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Took the boys over to their Grandparent's house and Vito was the calmest he has ever been.  Settled in quickly into supervising food preparation vs hyperactively pacing around the house.

On the way home we stopped by the disc golf park real quick for their last trip as just a 2 dog household.  It was almost dark so we were the only visitors there.

And this evening we brushed up on some position changes.  I added in some out of motion transitions that we haven't done for a long time.  Vito was surprisingly pretty good and Lance was weirdly much calmer and a bit hesitant than normal.


Down to 2

The trip to return Pyra went pretty well.  Py was happy to see so many "new" doggy friends and even got to play with the litter of puppies.  She apparently figured out how to play leap frog in order to get to the toy bin on her first night.  Also is learning some quick lessons about needing to look before you leap from the top of the couch.  

The 6 pack litter was crazy.  All so cute and moving so fast that it was hard to tell who was who!  I've decided we will soon be picking up "Honeyweiss" to bring back home.  

The house is empty and oh so quiet without little Py.  Haven't had just 2 dogs in a long time.
Good thing Vito is the best cuddler, even if he's not as insistent as Py was.

The only good thing about winter here is that with the ticks finally gone, we can go walking again in the fields behind our house.   In this picture Vito is right at the very edge of our actual property.

We did just have a mini warm up though.  With temps back to the 30's and some melting snow I can see the driveway again.  Will go back to freezing this week again though.


Pyra's Last Week

The time with Pyra is coming to a close as I will drive her back to her breeder on Friday.  I thought this last week would be harder than it has been.  For the most part I'm at peace with my decision. Sadness, but no regrets.

Py just turned 18wks.
This past week we mastered a retrieve to hand of many objects, and a solid hold with a variety of objects.  Just not combined yet.
Hind leg lifts also going well and I've faded out an obvious target.  She still needs something to aim for, but it can be pretty much anything, including just a wall.
She's reminding me a bit of The Schipperke this last week though with her food obsession.  Py's been getting more frantic at throwing behaviors at me and wanting to steal glances at her food bowl.  I've been needing to remind her a bit of the don't stare at food rule, and the concept of being still.

And then I got a non cell phone camera! Expect *slightly* less blurry pictures than before!

On the trip to return Pyra I have decided to also look at a litter that will be 6wks at that time.  In some ways it's too soon, but in many ways it feels best to just jump back into loving another puppy.  Fingers are crossed that the girl meant for us is waiting there.

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