Vito Tail Hold

I've actually been working on teaching Vito a new trick!!!  I saw a trick on youtube several years ago and it's been on my to do list.  Long to do list that only gets longer and not shorter.  I wanted to teach Vito to grab his tail, hold onto it, and bring it to me :)

Kinda new in that I actually started the trick 2 years ago with Vito but gave up.  At that time I did actually do quite a bit so my groundwork was already laid.  With a few reminders, Vito remembered how to mouth his tail while lying down and I held it.  I remember getting to that point was a pain in the butt as Vito quickly learned to target his tail with his nose, but then actually opening his mouth never occurred to him.  I tried just pairing bite the pen I held at his tail with nose targeting his tail didn't make progress.  At one point I even tried wrapping his tail in vet wrap to see if I could get a bite.  That helped a ton once I left a little flap to hang down and then got rid of the flap and eventually the tape.  But then I was stuck as Vito would either just mouth it or try to "tug" it with a quick bite and pull back.

So starting in late December I resumed work.  At one point I had an epiphany that Vito did not know how to hold an item that 1) I still had in my hand (as I don't teach hold that way) and 2) at an angle where his head was not directly facing me.  The first fix was really easy and I just went back to an object.  The second fix was really hard for Vito.  He has such a strong retrieve and reorientation to me that it was hard to convince him otherwise.  Eventually did :)

And then I finally added back in his tail.  I forget about my project often so I think I've done maybe a grand total of 10-15 sessions in the past 2 months.  Today I did his very first session of grabbing his tail on his own from a stand (with my help in holding his body still) and holding.  Once that step is better I have no idea how I would progress it to walking.  I originally planed to do walking before a hold, but Vito just had such struggles in not biting and immediately letting go that I did the original switch.  I'm not really a plan ahead type person anyway.  I typically just start training :)

Just for fun I compiled this video of some of his lessons.  I managed to find one old video of Vito from January 2013 when he was just starting to understand some open mouth criteria.  The rest is current.


Zumi 20wks

20 weeks old now.  Boxer puppy in disguise.  Seriously, the most pawy, flail-y puppy ever.

Teething hypothesis still being tested.  Zumi did take her food very nicely both on Monday at Lance's rehab appointment and on Tuesday at the club.  And then Wednesday was back to refusing it at the club.  Played and trained beautifully with a toy with lots of barking and stuff going on though.

Finally making progress again on her shaped retrieve.  We were stuck at moving forwards with an object in her mouth for quite awhile.  Switched to teaching clean up and the draw of a box plus reward placement in it helped a ton.  Not sure why I didn't just switch sooner as I've had lots of success with it for many difficult dogs.

Mark training towards toys and food going very well in her 2nd week of learning.  Although it's currently really more of restrained sends with just my hand next to her versus an actual understanding of the hand.  Either way it's good for her :)

Apparently I must have done more stay training than I thought as Zumi knows how to keep her down on a mat while I walk behind her.  Nice surprise :)

Also her second week of learning crossed paws and we still have a target, and still lots of accidental clicks for paw coming up off the ground but not actually reaching for the target.  First week of learning to hug an object though and I'm thinking that's going to help the crossed paw trick.  She likes to whack things and is starting to get the grip.

Pants are growing!


5 Weeks Recovery

Five weeks of rest for the Corgi.  Lots and lots of stuffed kongs.  So sick of stuffing kongs!

At least it's been really easy to keep his calories about the same.  Since I've been feeding a mixture of Honest Kitchen and kibble to the dogs for awhile now, it's perfect for sticking together and freezing in the kongs!  Lance hasn't gained a single pound :)

The corgi is enjoying some increased time out of his crate.  He hasn't really tried to jump on the couches or play much with Zumi.  Zumi is past his favorite stage though.  Lance really loves puppies who are smaller than him, and while Zumi may still be 2lbs less she is certainly a lot taller!

Ear is mostly up!  He's still unable to control it though so at times it looks like the left side of his face is the broken one, especially when he usually greets people with 2 ears back and now only the left ear folds!  Eye drops are being given a few times a day due to decreased ability to blink.  But there's no more drooling out of his mouth, although he can't completely pull his lips back.

Lance did come on a park walk for the first time this weekend.  Saddened that he had to keep on the flexi but super happy to be out in the world!  Walking is very good, but still feels slightly off to me.  Doesn't seem to be in any pain though!

He did do more hopping about than I wanted and I gave lots and lots of easy commands.  Here you can see how he can't fully smile on the right side.

The Toller and Duck had fun too of course.


Vito Rally Excellent #1

Stepped back into AKC's rally ring for the first time in 3.5yrs.  When I was deciding whether to enter this trial I was originally going to see if Open B was a possibility for the Toller.  But after the worry he had in Pre Open a 2 weeks ago I thought rally might be a good idea to try.  And then I realized I never did rally excellent with Vito before so bonus titling opportunity this year for Vito!  Actually all 3 of Vito's rally advanced legs were all "tests" of ring readiness (and all 3 with meh results at the time).

Start was MUCH better than our recent Pre Open experience.  Heeled into the ring with great attitude and connection.  Remembered eye contact during leash removal.  And then failed handing off the leash to the steward as Vito had to go see who was behind us.  But connected back quickly and did a nice job on teh course.  Not quiet the level of drive I want, but no lagging and no worried moments.  I did take advantage of talking allowed in rally and praised him on any right circles/turns and the fast time to prevent any possible lagging.

Ended up with a 98 for his first Q.  My guess of a point lost for the back up 3 steps as he swung out his butt on the first step and then fixed it.  And the second point for a crooked/forged left finish.

Going back in for rewards I'm not sure was going on with Vito.  Walked in the ring beautifully and super focused.  And then he started staring at the judge talking, very fixated.  I did some chest petting and talking to him but he kept staring. And when they started calling up the placements Vito started some very light whining.  Ended up in 4th place and he had no problem moving up to stand in front but did try to jump on the steward handing over the ribbon.

Overall very pleased with his level of focus and effort.  In two more weeks I had also entered him in rally excellent on Saturday and then am trying Pre Open again on Sunday.  This weekends trial and the one in two weeks are both at my club, so I'm hoping that location will help him.

The little Duck did well at the trial.  No worries about anything but still not interested in her food.  Back at home for the rest of her lunch Zumi worked for it very calmly.  I swear it takes a good 5 seconds to chew each piece of kibble now!


Teething issue?

A part of me is wondering if Zumi's sudden decreased interest in her food is due to her teething.  She started losing her puppy teeth a few weeks ago but maybe they're bothering her more now.  Even at home Zumi is slower to eat breakfast and chewing her food more carefully versus inhaling. Not that the Duck was ever Labrador like in her eating, but it was at least better!

At the club she seemed very relaxed and content as I helped out at the obedience run throughs before our trial tomorrow, but still was reluctant to eat dinner either in her crate or out.

Very happy to play tug though and content to chill on the floor with me.  Only 1 tiny bit of reactive barking as we got out of the car and somebody was walking to their car and a little bit of nervousness when the same person walked by with their clunking crates a few minutes later.

Vito is entered in rally tomorrow so fingers are crossed for 2 brave and happy tollers.  I'm certainly hoping that Zumi's food love starts to return as it will making training a lot easier!


Zumi 19wks

Zumi turned 19wks today and is 22lbs.  Still very environmental and going thru some weird stuff.  Including not wanting her food in public if stuff is going on.  Very content to work for kibble at home, work, and at the club if it's quiet.  Only wants to stare around at stuff if it's busy.  But thankfully she will play with toys still so we spent this past week playing tug with stuff going on around us.  Also doing a bit of fussiness in her crate at the club and is less willing to eat her dinner in it.

Still really, really likes people and face hugging if given the opportunity.  Worse puppy jumper I have ever had.  Gracie was a bad jumper, but she at least didn't flail her legs in every direction.

Learning this week included the start of crossed paws, more stay work, and learning a "mark"/look at a toy or food on a plate. And after weeks of working on her being comfortable with being lured for rollovers, or just being on her back, Zumi is finally good with it.

Still working on both her play retrieve actually bringing to my hand versus a quick flyby and then just bringing it in close, and her shaped retrieve of actually moving forward with an item in her mouth.

 Tollers.  Vito's such a good boy.


Vito UKI

UKI trail this weekend at a local training school.  Vito was entered in 4 runs on Saturday and I had hopes of earning the 1 "games" Q and 1 jumping Q we needed to move out of the Senior level and into Championships.  Unlike all the other organizations in the U.S., you can't be in different levels as you accumulate some titles but not others.  So despite Vito's many standard agility Qs he has to remain in Senior until his other Qs catch up.

Gamblers was first and Vito was very happy and ran pretty fast.  I timed the opening almost perfectly for the buzzer and start of the gamble.  It was a fairly easy gamble but did involve a rear cross/tandem turn at the start that can be hard for Vito.  Since in UKI you are actually allowed to step over the line (if you have a certain amount of "extra" points in the opening) I planned to attempt the send with distance and then help him if needed. Unfortunately Vito didn't read the rear cross at all and turned the wrong direction so as I stepped over the help him he backed jumped and NQed us.

Agility (standard) was next and since we have a billion of those Qs I chose to run with a toy.  Awesome bonus of UKI is the ability to declare any run a training run and bring a toy on course.  I set Vito's chuck it on the side as usual with a hidden ball in my pocket to surprise him with.  It was a tough, "Snooker-y" by obstacles course and I surprised Vito twice with a ball.  Maybe because of his reward, but Vito powered through the tight section at the end nicely and kept up his speed!  We would have made it clean through the course.

Snakes and Ladders was third and would be another chance at the game Q we needed.  It's a strategy game with rules on what direction obstacles need to be taken but make up your own plan.  Vito was again happy and ran well to qualify!

Jumpers was last and Vito was very pumped.  However he kept staring at the spot I left his Chuck It while I set him on the startline.  I could not get him to look at me or look ahead.  When I finally released him (without a lead out) Vito did a nice job of not sprinting off towards his reward, but instead came directly to me and bypassed the first jump for a refusal and then a backjump as took him back.  I told him he was a dork and had him bark at me and then we re-started the course.  It was one of Vito's fastest jumpers runs ever and he smoked the tough course.  Such a stupid way to NQ.

We were only entered on Saturday but I decided to setup up a day of show entry for Jumpers on Sunday for a 2nd shot at our Senior title and ability to move up at the next show.  It was the first run of the day and when I arrived on Sunday it was a much flowier and faster course than Saturday's courses were.  A Vito course!  But Sad Toller appeared for the run :(  Didn't knock any bars but nicked two of them and overall wasn't moving.  The last several obstacles were just a sprint home on a curve and Vito pulled off one of the jumps for a refusal.  I didn't support it all that well, but at the same time if he was moving with any speed at all there was no reason not to take it.  So no Q. Definitely not worth waking up early and driving out there and it was a sad ending to our great runs on Saturday.


Zumi 18wks

New training things this past week, yay!

Zumi is now learning to swipe her paw on her nose and is quickly getting offering the behavior without the help of a little tape to jump start the lesson.  Next up is duration.

Also new is the start of backward circles!  Lots of progress still needed before it actually looks fluent though.

And a stay!  Actually did a bit of practice this past week with understanding how to be still :)

Shaped retrieve progress is a bit stalled out again though.  Will bite many objects and will levitate off ground a few inches.  Actually moving forward with object not so much.  I did get a few discus style spin throws though :)

Bad news is that either Zumi is going through another little fear period or she's settling into a bit of worry again.  I try to get her out for some training at the club for a few minutes in between my classes and she totally flipped out our last visit.  First over a plastic bag blowing outside for a potty break, then later in the night when I went to the ring to train she was worried about everything going on.  Lots of barking dogs and she was staring at everyone.  I just sat on the ground with her and fed cookies for checking in with me and whatever she was willing to offer if she chose to.  Did OK until someone ignored my declined invitation to let their dog say hi and went up into her face.  I swooped her to the side and took Zumi back to her crate.  Did not want to eat the rest of her dinner I poured in, but when I went back to collect her after class the food was gone and she was happy again.  
In general when Zumi gets nervous she flips into heel position and stares.  Even happier if she can just sit in my arms and watch.

But other than a little more environmental in public, she's having a blast at home.  Lots of running.  Wrestling with the kitty.  And a tiny bit of play between Zumi and Vito.

Love of sticks continues.  With the doggy door she's really been enjoying bringing her toys outdoors and bringing sticks inside.


Spoke to soon

So now we have this.

Partial nerve paralysis of the face.  One sad ear, a little bit of drooling sometimes on the right side of his face, and a little bit of moisture in that eye.

With a consult to the neurologist Lance saw earlier for his herniated disc, we are on a wait and see track.  It could be related to his back, it may also be a coincidence.  It can get better all on it's own, or it may not.  The next step would be a spinal tap and MRI if it gets worse, so we are waiting.  It is like Bell's Palsy in humans.  We are resuming an anti inflammatory drug just in case there is some pressure building in his back.

The good news is that Lance is still feeling just fine.  His ear/face isn't bothering him in any way and he still wants to just do stuff.  Another trip to the vet just wasn't quite what he had in mind.


Recovery- 3wk update

3wks post herniated disc.  The corgi is handling it like a champ.  Such a good boy!

I can't imagine having to do this with Vito.  I wouldn't bet on making it past the one week mark with Vito before having to give up on crate life and just accept that he would never fully recover.  Neurotic dog's anxieties would shoot through the roof!

At least Lance was able to start going on short walks this past week.

Lance is able to walk normally now and wants to do stuff.  I don't think he is in any pain based on the way he wants to try and stand on his hind legs or roll around on the ground.  Sometimes he looks a bit stiff still when we walk and his back can be a little arched.  In theory he is likely recovered enough, and listens well enough, that he could start living out of the crate.  But as he's still not allowed to run and jump, I've been very careful about letting him do so, especially with Kitty, Zumi, and couches.

Still getting some acupuncture treatments done although he is not a fan.  Loves chiropractic care, but needles not so much!


Vito P-CDX

AKC's "Pre" (non group stay) classes were being offered at this weekend's trial so I decided to enter Vito for one day.  Vito had the opportunity to be a courtesy dog at the UKC trial I stewarded at last weekend and did an amazing job entering the ring and doing his heeling pattern.  Drivey, pushy heeling and very willing to do jumping hand touches for me on setups.  So my hopes were high for this AKC trial.

We were early in the morning and Vito was very relaxed.  But he warmed up well and I had him do some leg overs while waiting.  But actually entering the ring we had no connection.  No trained eye contact leash removal, and no willingness to jump up and bop my hand as we went to our startline.  Heeling had lagging off the bat although he did quickly catch up.  But the judge was a concern as we went into our about turn and I had to give him an extra command to come as he stopped and stared.  A tiny bit more lagging.  

Not willing to jump up again as we moved to do the figure 8. More lagging on the start.  

Rest of the exercises were a bit better.  I got a tiny bit of jump ups while setting up and his recall and retrieves weren't fast but weren't slow.  Fronts suffered quite a bit in accuracy but at least he didn't skip them in preference of not turning his back to the judge.

We managed to qualify with a very generous score of 191.5 for his title.

Disappointed in that I am at a loss how to help him feel comfortable enough in a trial to give me his all.  Lots of ups and downs with this boy.  I already entered Vito in rally in a few weeks at our home club.  While I don't consider Vito to be a "rally dog," more of a flow heeling dog vs choppy heeling, I am hoping that it can help with his confidence.  Haven't done AKC rally in 2yrs and never entered him in excellent before.  If yesterday's Pre-Open run had gone well I was going to enter Vito in Open B the end of March.  But now I'm not so sure.  I think a different order of exercises could help him, but if Vito's worried it's not going to change much.  (And I will never ever do Open A again due to the inexperienced dogs for group stays.)


Zumi Video

Video compilation of the Duck over the last week.


Zumi 17wks

Getting close to 4 months old!  Very fun to age to have!  Old enough that I really don't have to watch her constantly for house manner stuff and potty training.  And young enough that she still cares about my opinion and isn't a bratty teenager!

Definitely in an awkward growing stage right now.  Not coordinated at all and physically incapable of running in a straight line without her limbs going in every direction!

In training sessions we didn't do any new things this week.  Actually a pretty slow week in getting meal training sessions in at all.  But we did expand some of her current trick understandings.

Drumming her popcorn tin was revived.

Kinda understanding frog legs and will sometimes do the position without a prop helping to lift up her hips.  She likes to flop on her side though and I'm trying to get her to kick both back legs out instead of just the one.

Resumed a little bit of beg training with her this week.  Zumi's getting more coordinated and easier able to hold position.  I'm happy that her natural beg position is arms down versus up in the air.  Vito likes to beg with paws up and it makes the hug a toy tricks I've been trying to teach him off and on for ages extremely difficult!

Toller only outings


4 for 4 USDAA

Vito played in the USDAA trial on Saturday.  I think it was the first time he has ever had a 100% "Q" rate at a trial!  4 for 4!

Including a rare Gamblers Q for us!  I timed my opening perfectly, sent him in a tunnel and then he actually went out to the teeter at a distance for the first time at a trial.  Held his 2o2o while I raced forward so he wouldn't curl in towards a tempting jump and Vito almost didn't release from his teeter right away.  Not the hardest gamble in the world, but challenging work for the Toller.

Standard was very happy and we were one of a small percentage who made it through.  Very sassy and slow down on the table!

Grand Prix was our first time ever entering the class and it was my favorite run of the day!  I had to support the correct tunnel entrance before the dogwalk more than I planned on and did what felt like a dead sprint to get to the end of the dogwalk!

Snooker was last and was sad making.  So many jumps and no happy making contacts.  We only made it through 5 in the closing before time was up, but our plan was enough points to qualify.

Zumi got to hang out at the trial too.  She spent most of the morning in her crate as she refused to potty outside despite several trips.  Grumpy Momma.  After her first successful outing and earned freedom for a bit she cooperated for me on all the remaining potty trips.

Very good girl hanging out ringside!  Some tugging and running with me, a little bit of play with other puppies, and some training with lunch.  Not too distracted, at least not yet, by the doggies running in the ring.  They're fun to watch but she's easily re-directed if needed.

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