The Best Weekend Ever

Another outdoor USDAA trial!!!  On a gorgeous weekend with temps starting in the high 40's and warming to the mid 60's!  Vito was a bit put off the xpen setup vs being in the soft crate like usual, but settled into his new routine and did very well.

And Vito was ON!  Right of the bat on Saturday he crushed his speed record in a trial by going 5.4YPS!  Even if it was generousally wheeled Vito's often Sad Toller jumpers runs put him in the mid 4's and Happy Toller just at the 5YPS mark.  I have no idea how fast Vito is in practice, but it felt like top speed for my little boy.  Sadly no video.  Oh and he knock a bar so no Q.

I did create a video montage though of some of his runs on Saturday and his snooker run on Sunday.

The remaining 3 of his runs on Saturday felt just as fast to me and he was SO excited to get in the ring and play!  And Vito got his VERY FIRST SUPER Q in snooker!!!  I never thought he would earn one as while he can often match points we just don't have the speed.  It helped that the dogs who went for the 3x7's just didn't have enough time to make it through the closing and we barely made it through.  I suppose 1 down and 2 more to go if Vito decides he wants to get his championship after all!

No gamblers Q and then a knocked bar in Grand Prix also left us with only the 1 snooker Q on Saturday.

Sunday we got to the trial bright and early to help but Vito didn't run until the 4th game of the day.  He was a bit more tired than Saturday but still was happy and ran fast for Gamblers.  No Q but he did actually do a turn away from me on the gamble!

Snooker was successful and very happy but another one placement short of the Super Q.  He does love that position.

And then Jumpers Vito was suddenly super awake and insanely excited to run!  Knocked the 2nd bar and then oddly turned AWAY from me to take an off course jump.  The Toller almost never takes off courses so he was really feeling spunky!  Continued his speed and knocked another bar but the only sadish moment was Vito turning off the jump on a rear cross.  I try to avoid rears when at all possible because I know he doesn't like them in a trial but I didn't think I could avoid that one.  I pretended he was perfect and just kept on.

Zumi had a great time at the trial as well.  Very relaxed and focused.  We did a bit of walking around and toy play when I wasn't working or running and she didn't pay much attention to the other dogs at all.

So 2 out of 7 and both Q's in Snooker.  But one of my favorite trial weekends with Vito of all time! Next weekend we're off, and then we have one day of UKI at the indoor soccer arena.


Rat life

7 weeks of rat ownership!  So far I'm loving the ease of care compared to owning ferrets.  Both were fairly well litterbox trained but the ferrets were lazier and if they missed, well more cleanup required than just a little pellet!

Of course rats aren't nearly as entertaining as ferrets. They don't run into walls and then become overcome with glee because they did so.  Much more serious souls.  

But unlike ferrets, rats are chewers and need much closer supervision when out.  Current solution is a wall made of plywood.  But it still gives them too much access to cords so I'm awaiting the arrival of  an xpen with tiny bar spacing, and hoping they won't be motivated enough to climb the vertical bars.

Such amazing little climbers.

Little Evee is still adjusting to life with us.  She comes out of her cage easily and doesn't seem too nervous of me.  But unlike Penelope who explores every inch she has access to, Evee limits herself to underneath her cage and behind the nearby tv.  Evee is much more jumpy than Penelope and just under confident right now despite daily interaction and lots of patience.

It also doesn't help that Evee is not as food motivated as Penelope is.  Penelope knows her recall sound extremely well and can't wait to get her reward.  I've started the tiniest bit of training with her to go through a tunnel and jump onto a little box.  She scampers away to eat the first 2-3 pieces and then after that just sprints to hide her catch and sprints back just as fast to earn more!

Zumi is still in love with her little friends and saddened that Penelope doesn't seem to want anything to do with her anymore.  Penelope doesn't really need Zumi as a safety spot to run to when out exploring like she did for the first few weeks.  


Zumi's 7 month video

New Zumi video!

The Duck just loves life!  Such a clown.  


Zumi- multiple dog rules

The Duck is 7.5 months now!

Both Zumi and Vito are doing so well with my 2 toy rules and only going on their name.   SO hard for obsessive Vito but he can restrain himself even if I throw Zumi's first.  Zumi still needs a reminder to wait but otherwise she's respecting the rule fairly well.  Still prefers owning her toy rather than coming back for a lot of throws so I let her run after Vito and his toy as long as she doesn't try and grab it from him.

With one toy Zumi's still a little snot and regardless of which toller got to the toy first, Zumi tries to end up with it.  Is capable of being respectful but only with lots of interference on my end with verbal scolding.

With outside training with their dinner a few times a week Zumi is getting the wait on the porch rule fairly well now.  Since inside I pretty much let the dogs do whatever they want as long as they don't interfere, the station waiting outside was a change for her.

I've also recently discovered that the Home Depot near my house allows pet dogs!  While I know most Home Depots around the country do, the ones around here I've always seen with a no pets sign hanging and I've never seen any dogs.  When I took a service dog from work to one recently I was talking to an employee (they're always SO eager whenever I bring a dog in!) and discovered the sign removed and their policy changed.  I still never see any pet dogs, but I've started taking Zumi and Vito a few times recently for some training!  I love that it's a great place to work on obedience training with distractions.  Zumi is doing well at learning to focus and ignore other people.
And maybe a little too eager to show off her skill at interacting with objects.  Whenever I stopped the cart she would immediately jump onto it and made it just a little difficult at when I started to move again.

Vito even did some really nice downs in motion and signals!  Lying down is the first thing to disappear with Vito, or at least he does them really slowly, if he's remotely uncomfortable in a place.

Edit:  This post apparently never published!  Not sure if anyone will see it since I back dated it, but if you do it's clearly old :)


Zumi 7 months

Zumi turned 7 months old last week.  Almost the same size as Vito although she still seems a lot smaller.  28lbs and about 18.5in tall.

Continuing scent article training.  Cookies for me!  Zumi is doing fairly well with the training.  Since I was able to start applying only a smear of food on the correct article on the very first rep each session, I made the jump to no food on the article on Saturday night.  Zumi promptly grabbed the wrong one.  I chose to handle errors by grabbing the article, asking her to sit, and then calmly giving her a cookie for sitting.  My main goal was to interrupt the wrong behavior, get her to be calm before the next rep, and keep her in the game with a cookie but seen as very different than my parties for the correct article.  On day #1 of the new plan it worked as Zumi grabbed wrong twice, but then was able to think and scent out the correct article on all future reps.  On day #2 of the plan it did not go so well.  Zumi grabbed wrong x3 in a row, the same article each time, so I removed it from the pile (of 3 total).  With the 50/50 chance she still grabbed wrong on that 4th send so after getting a cookie for the sit I went back to food on the article.  One smear of food and she was correct on all future sends, no reapplying of food.  I really dislike scent article training, but the process is fascinating!

I think I did 2 or 3 more sessions of running dog walk training this last week as well.  Moved from a completely flat board to being raised about 6in or so.  Still rewarding absolutely everything right now.  Just getting Zumi comfortable with the setup and seeing if she will run the same style on the plank as she will on the ground.  I rested the board on a tipped over trashcan and it does wobble a little bit but I'm hoping it will be OK before I have to think about switching setups.

Some slightly older pics from the first week of May when Summer was actually here.  I am sure it will return.

Zumi's a good swimmer.  Thank God!  Now if only Vito could learn to paddle his back legs instead of looking like he's drowning.  Zumi managed to steal the toy from Vito every time.


First Outdoor Trial!

First outdoor trial of the season!  USDAA trial at a new site and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was on dirt!  Sun+dirt is my favorite combination!  And thankfully it didn't rain :)  Big downside is that the site was very close to the railroad and apparently it is a busy railroad.  I think a train went by 2-3 times an hour in the morning, but did die down a bit towards the afternoon.  Thankfully sound sensitivity is still on Vito's "to do" list of anxieties!

And Vito had an AMAZING trial!  So much happiness, so much running :)

Vito even earned a gamblers Q!  Finally a gamble made for Vito :)  I was surprised at how low the Q rate was on this course, only 1 other 22in dog made it. So many turned the wrong way after the jump before the dogwalk (handler's were all far behind after the straight tunnel!), or curled in after the dogwalk.  The jump was a bit of a push out though vs what the map shows.

Snooker was next and a tricky course with the #7 obstacle consisting of a 4 jump combo.  Vito actually ran fast and was even turning wide so that it was harder to hang on to him!  We did 7-6-5 and all of the closing which earned enough points, but not fast enough for that elusive super Q, 3rd place instead.

Standard was a super flowy course and I'm not sure what happened at the start.  Vito didn't want to sit where I wanted him to so that he could slice the jump nicely and I just wasn't fully there.  I am surprised that he turned away from me, and I wasn't able to save the back jump.  But then he turned on the burners and ran again!  I had another brain far and the entire time he was weaving I couldn't think of where the next obstacle was.  Almost sent him the wrong way until I remembered :)  Sassy Toller on the table I think cheated on the down.  Judge didn't care since we already NQed.

Steeplechase started with the weaves with always slows Vito down and then of course we had to do them again.  But Vito was running nicely.  I am pretty sure I was the only big dog, and maybe only person of all? to handle the end from the right side of the tunnel.  I decided to push myself as Vito would much prefer me sprinting to hanging back and doing the rear cross.  Knocked the double, but due to many dogs biting the dust on the course Vito actually qualified with the time+faults scoring!



On Saturday before I went to pick up Zumi from her sleepover I took the boys to a CDSP obedience trial.

I entered Lance in 1 round of Utility to see if he could do his signals.  The answer was sadly no :(  Sat on the down signal again and wouldn't even lie down when I gave a 2nd signal.  Verbal needed.  But he seeemed happy and engaged as usual.  The other odd issue Lance had was failure to go on my command for the first glove exercise.  I don't think Lance has ever not gone on the first cue?  Happily sped out and flung the glove on the 2nd verbal.  Since in CDSP you do gloves twice, the judge gave us the same number (3) again so we could practice and Lance had no issue doing it with his usual flare.

So the down signal issue is clearly back.  It's been a couple years and I suppose we're due.  Now trying to figure out how to replicate the issue in practice as of course he nails any challenge, even in new locations.  Trial environments is always his thing.

Vito was entered in 1 round of Open.  And thfor the first time in 4 years of showing I actually entered Vito in the 2nd trial instead of the first!  I don't know why it took me so long to connect the fact that Vito is not a morning dog with the relization that I don't HAVE to enter trial 1!


Vito was sassy :) Even did some light Toller noises when I was practicing his before going into the ring squish!  Had a nice ring entrance with good focus on leash removal and going to the startline.  I do think it helped that our judge was standing far away from the start.

Did 2 sneezes on the heel pattern, but otherwise kept focus and good position!  Even jumped up on me happily after the end and setup quickly for the broad jump.  And then did his best running broad jump in a trial, although with a poor front.  I chose to give his first cookie reward after he was willing to jump up on me before we moved to the drop on recall.  Skipped his front again on the recall like he has been doing recently in trials.

For the retrieves he went out happily and only gave a quick glance at the judge after each pickup.  Go out.  No issue with the mini go out.

Overall very happy with Vito's attitude and engagement!  Still trying to put that awful AKC trial behind us, but now I have 2 happy CDSP trials in the bank!  There are 2 more CDSP opportunities this summer before the next local AKC trial comes around and I have to decide if Vito could handle it again.


Move in Day

The rat plan has been way more difficult than thought!  So much for girl to girl being easy and baby to adult not even an event!  It took a couple days for Penelope to stop squeaking just being around Evee in a neutral location.  And then they were finally OK together in the bathroom and I had hoped for move in day to be quick.

But as soon as they were locked in the cage together more squeaking ensued and Penelope would start bullying Evee who would quickly try and hide in a corner.  Most I didn't need to physically interfere more than a quick bang on the cage near them to startle her off.  A few times worried me and I quickly removed a puffed up Penelope from a hiding Evee.

Yesterday the ratties were together in the cage for over 2 hours with only 1 incident I felt needed interference.  So today I put them in the cage first thing this morning and after a few hours of light squeaking and awkwardness, they finally fell asleep together under a fleecy.  Just shy of 3 weeks, I declare today official move in day!



Zumi just had her first sleepover!  She spent 2 days at a friend's house while I took home a service dog for a few days of evaluation.  Reports were that Zumi did lots of furniture agility and racing around people's heads.

 Also did a little bit of just slightly inappropriate resource guarding with nylabones with the resident dog.  And finally a little bit of screaming in the crate during family dinner time before advice was given to tell her to knock it off, and then she was an angel.  Zumi got to sleep in the teenager's bed and overall had a blast.

Zumi's back now so briefly we got 4 dogs in the house.  Since I did most of Carson's final training he knows me well.  4 trained doggies make for a really nice walk.

Random moving down practice.  Note awesome corgi position before I moved back to take the picture.  Dogs walking on the outer side were a bit naughtier!

Not sure how he managed to steal Zumi's collar.  Labradors!


Fingers Crossed

Vito has been doing well in the car again so fingers are crossed it continues.  I don't bother asking Vito for logical explanations to his behaviors anymore.  Just roll with whatever he gives me.

So since we made it to the 2wk mark again of calm car rides, I resumed the plan of getting rid of drug #3- Clorazepate.  Lowered his morning dose this past Sunday and so far no ill effects noticed.  More hoping.


Scent Articles- day 3!

I'm doing good on my scent article training commitment!  Three days in a row for the Duck :)  And still zero practice for the boys...

Due to Zumi's tendency to grab all the things(!) I decided to put gobs of wet food on the correct article.  This allowed her to actually care about licking and thus some smelling, and gave me time to grab the article as she was licking it and prevent her from picking it up.  My goal was to not allow her to do any retrieving until she at least started to think about scenting first.  

Plan went well!  Likely because Zumi is so young and has way less history of retrieving, it wasn't hard to get rid of the grabbing. 1.25 sessions and the rest of that second lesson she wasn't attempting to pick up anything.  I started taking video for the remaining 3/4th of that second lesson.

Lesson 3 had zero attempts to retrieve so I started encouraging her to pick it up after licking off the food.  Zumi would be a good girl and start biting a different one :)  And then we got a few more grabby retrieves without scenting on some more reps.  But overall I felt good about our lesson today and saw some scenting (for food) going on.  If needed I can always go back to not letting her retrieve, but I think for now I'll continue with the higher amounts of food than I usually do and encouraging a pickup after licking.

For those who are interested in joining training scent articles this month, I've set up a facebook group to provide motivation and shaming.


Zumi 6.5months

In just over a week Zumi will be 7 months old.  Seven months always seems like a big age for me. No longer an uncoordinated little puppy.

Her interest in food is still on the lower end, but not as bad as the re-sudden increase that marked her 6 month birthday.  I can usually get her to work for her food in public if I make the presentation more fun to start with- moving it around and having her chase it.

I can't say that I did all that much training the last few weeks but I'm a sudden surge of motivation again.  Resumed many of her in progress tricks such as hind leg lifts, backward circles, and hugging.

Also have been pretty good about her go out training and Zumi is now pretty eager to run ahead and bop her nose to a solid barrier.  I went back to a bit shorter distances though to work on more strength, but I'm most happy that Zumi seems to understand the concept of going straight-ish versus running to the last spot that was rewarded.  If I move down the wall every 5ft she is fairly good about going to the new correct spot.

Resumed front training.  Not quite sure what method I'm using, more of an introduction to different things.  Luring her for little pivots and side steps.  Her platform.  Chair fronts.

And I recommitted myself to scent article training with Zumi.  This time with a plea to facebook for others to train and shame me if I stop doing it several times a week.

Biggest fun factor is I started running contact training this week!!!  I got my dogwalk recently, something I've been wanting for years.  Zumi's first 3 lessons have just been about running on a flat plank towards a toy.  Basically zero criteria yet other than stay on the board.  I put up some guide sticks to help her but I'm not sure she needs them anymore after the first 2 lessons.  So far her running looks good, but then again I wasn't expecting any difficulty with zero height.
She likes to do a naughty victory lap with her toy before bringing it to me still.

Vito's having fun running over it at a low height.  Actually it's the first time he's actually done real training on a dogwalk in over a year versus just running it in sequences in our weekly class.

Haven't done hardly any other agility training with Zumi since quitting the puppy class.  Occasionally we do some sends and wraps around a wing to chasing me.  Zumi has fairly good commitment and I can continue my forward motion for a 360 wrap pretty well.

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