Replicating Signal Issues

Since the Corgi's brokenness at his comeback trial two weekends ago I've been working down signals a lot.   Of course in "training mode" Lance is perfect so I've been working on tons and tons of rewards for responding, doing super long pauses, and quite a bit of proofing.  All going very well.

I have stumbled upon a way to replicate the brokenness though!  While I'm working on preparing the dog's meals if I randomly turn to Lance and flash a down signal he freezes or sits, just like at the trial!  Poor Corgi is such in complete food trance (often complete with trembling as he waits) that he is incapable of fully listening until the moment I pick up the dish and carry it to another location.  He knows as soon as I pick it up and move I'm almost ready to begin training.  While Lance is insane with food brain during meal training he is fully capable of listening at those times.  Apparently the moments before, he is not.  At least not to a signal, verbals he can still do.

Day 1 and 2 my plan was the same as at the trial.  Praise like crazy for whatever he did.  I just didn't reward it like I actually did in the warmup ring and run through at the trial.  That didn't work.  And I kicked myself for trying it as unlike at the trial, Lance wasn't not-performing due to stress of trial pressure/being wrong/whatever but was not-performing because he's a food hound Corgi and of course hasn't eaten in days and can't possibly think about anything other than survival.

So then the last few days I have switched to giving the signal, immediately following it by a verbal as soon as my hand gets back to my side and then walking over and petting/praising him for lying down.  He finds this annoying as it is making food prep take quite a bit longer.  If Lance does actually respond to the signal before my hand gets to my side and I've given the verbal I've been tossing him several pieces of his meal.

And this has been helping immensely.  Subtle difference as I still genuinely praise him for whatever he does.  But adding the verbal to remind him spoke through the food haze.  Or maybe it didn't make any extra difference and just the accumulation of  practice sessions with it has helped.  We have actually now had to work through anticipation issues.  As soon as I stop prepping and turn in Lance's direction he has been lying down.  I've completely been ignoring that and turning away from him like I never wanted anything from him in the first place.  And now Lance is starting to get that he has to remain in a stand for me to cue him.

We will see if it helps.  The usefulness of the food time exercise is diminishing every day as Lance is just starting to transfer into "training mode" earlier and earlier in the food prep process and out of food haze mode.  But the more I can find ways to replicate our issue outside of a trial setting the better.


Last Outdoor Trial of the Season

Last outdoor trial of the season.  A very short season for Vito!  

Since we've actually been able to practice his jumping was much improved.  Only 1 knocked bar in 4 runs compared to 2 weeks ago when Vito had just recently been lifted from restriction.  

Vito was a very Happy Toller for 3 of 4 runs.  The last run he was just a little tired and dragged around the course.  Of course it didn't look as painfully slow as it felt.  The only dropped bar was the first jump on that last run.

But we got a gamblers Q!!!  I looked at my records when I got home and saw that it was actually his 5th Q and finished up his gamblers title.  And then I sadly saw that he only has 1 jumpers leg.  I guess rarely entering in jumpers kinda does that. And of course he wasn't entered in jumpers today either.  It sucks when it's always the last run available of the day and Vito's dead tired.  

Snooker and Grand Prix he was a little squirrley!  Sending out and taking off course obstacles is very un Vito like!  Yay for Happy Toller!

Zumi came along for the ride and was a good little Duck.  Except for screaming in the crate when she saw I was playing with Vito.  Naughty Duck.  
I did discover that she does know how to heel pretty well for a toy now!  Since I mostly do obedience work at the club for her dinner I haven't used a toy in awhile.  Apparently she learned some impulse control as the forging and wrapping with the added excitement of a toy was way toned down.

Did a few mini go outs with Zumi to the fencing and she cracked me up.  Kept targeting various gopher holes in the beginning, offering a 2o2o position on them versus running up to bop the fence posts.


Growing Up

The Duck is really growing up.

No I mean it!  She got to go to a park to run around this weekend for the first time since her heat cycle and shocked me with her new maturity.  Very happy to run but didn't do any crazy zoomies on the trail at all.  Very nice distant sits whenever we saw a jogger, biker, other dogs, etc.

Look at the good girl checking back in.  And the naughty Toller willing to leave us in the dust to get to the next water access point.

 Training is going so well recently.  I can't remember the last time Zumi got bored and wanted to switch toys in her training at home.  At the club she's working just fine for her dinner even if she would rather play with a toy.

Went to the obedience trial on Sunday with the boys and while she was all over wanting to greet people she knew, once she knew training was on the table that's all the girl wanted to do.  Such phenomenal focus for her age.

Just over 2wks until her first birthday!

Oh and I completely forgot to post this yesterday! The winner of the free bronze class at the Fenzi Academy is Sarah J!  Sarah, please email me as I don't have your contact info, it's listed on the way bottom of this page.
Registration opens today for all classes!  I especially would love to have you in scent articles class, no pre-reqs required so any level can play!


Weekend Obedience Results

The event is over with results pretty much as expected.  Spoiler alert- The Corgi failed signals both days.  And the Toller was moderately brave.

The corgi was quite a bit rusty on Saturday.  The fact that he hasn't shown in ages and has barely practiced was obvious.  Very excited to go in the ring but it took some time to develop teamwork.  Our transitions between exercises were not so solid but got better as we went.  Fronts and finishes were sloppy, skipped, or anticipated for the first 3 (both go outs, gloves).  But then he started to nail them.  Go outs were first and the first one was fantastic send, but the 2nd one he started to turn early. Moving stand was a little naughty on foot movement.  Glove turn was actually good to #2.  Dropped one of the articles.  And then signals.  Great heeling!  Sat before I made it down to the end of the ring.  I gave a down cue when ordered anyway, and he froze.  So I cheered and called him to come to me where I lavished him with praise.  

Day #2 he was actually able to do the down signal the very first time in the warmup ring so I bumped our chances of qualifying to 20%.  Played some fast cookie toss signal games.

Order #1 so signals were first.  Happy and precise heeling corgi again!  Held his stand while I walked away this time!  And then sat on the down.  I immediately cheered and called him to come to me.  Confused the judge, but he didn't excuse us :)  Much better transition between exercises and much better fronts and finishes!  Articles were interesting.  Lance grabbed a wrong article and sprinted to me, then suddenly paused and dropped it to the ground and came in a bit closer, staring at me.  I recued him to go find it expecting him to just grab and bring me the article at his feet (which I would have praised) but he grabbed it, took it back to the pile(!), researched, and brought me the correct one.  Creative problem solver!  Send #2 was fine.

A little naughty on the glove pivot and also moving his feet a bit on the stand for exam.  Go outs I went into training mode again.  Lance was a good boy and went to the perfect go out spot but started to turn before I told him to.  So I recued him to "go touch" and sat him only after he whacked the gate.  I was shocked to see him do the same thing on the 2nd send, so I again re-cued him to "touch" before the sit.  Cheater Pants.

Oh and both days Lance had an issue with jumping :(  Knocked the bar jump in the run through Friday.  Ticked the bar jump on Saturday.  And banged into the high jump today.  I also noticed a large amount of goop in Lance's left eye today that he hasn't had in a long time.  I hope his partial nerve paralysis isn't getting worse again.  I checked and he is still able to blink out of it.

Vito's first time back to AKC since our excusal and fixation on the judge several months ago and our very first time in AKC Open.  
He was doing fantastic in the warmup ring both days so I had hope.  
Decent ring entrance but then couldn't stop from looking around.  First exercise was the broad jump.  Not a good start for Vito as he's never liked that exercise and then the judge stands right there.  Sure enough he NQed us right off the bat as he jumps and then heads straight to the judge.  I give him a cue to come and he fronts right away.

Figure 8 wasn't bad but he had to steal several glances at the judge/stewards and lagged a bit.  I gave him a few words of praise during it.  Would not jump up after it either :(  A few more lagging and glances at the judge and the other ring on heeling.  But he actually finished better than he started and was happy to jump up on me this time when finished.
Good drop on recall!  And couldn't front again.  Reoccurring theme for Vito in a trial.
Fairly good retrieves for Vito.  Wasn't too happy about going back to the steward's corner for the retrieve on flat but still setup quickly.

Since we had already NQed on the broad I decided to skip the group stays.  So Vito still has not done out of sight stays in a trial environment, but no good could come of "practicing" them today.  You can't reward, you can't "correct," you can only add a little stress and risk practicing the wrong thing.

Overall I'm happy with both boys this weekend.  Lance will gain precision back and was already starting to throughout the trial.  Signals will be a project, one that it is extremely hard to replicate but one that we've successfully worked through before.

Vito is a good boy.  I feel like we're stuck a bit.  So much progress in CDSP, even if I don't use any food in the ring.  And so much progress working in new parking lots and shops with WAY less acclimation time needed.  And then the AKC environment has so much stress in the air he just feeds off.   I think I am going to enter him again at our club's October trials.  I was hoping heeling would be towards the end today as Vito did get more comfortable as went.  


Using Run Throughs

The boys have an obedience trial this weekend!  Lance's 2nd AKC trial since his disc injury and 5 months since the first one.  Vito's very first time in AKC Open.  I entered Open B as I don't want to even think about the possibility of another dog coming up to him.

And tonight were run throughs before the trial.  Always and forever with Vito, run throughs will be about our ring confidence games.  Squishing before going in, lesh removal with focus, setup, and party.  Exit the ring and repeat.  Since we had 7 minutes in the ring I think I used the first 3 or 4 minutes on those parties, with sometimes doing short stretches of heeling before our party and a few transition practices thrown in.  And then we did a few broad jumps.  Some figure 8 games, and ended with more ring entrances.  Vito had a blast.
If we have any hope of the trial going well for him on Sunday and being fully back to AKC, it all boils down to how much energy and confidence he can enter the ring with, maintain it on setups, and maintain it on transitions.  Those 3 areas are key.  I just wish the place was busier so that Vito could have practiced those things with more people pressure.  Exercises are the easy part, focus and attitude with scary people watching him is hard.

And Lance's run through was spent a bit differently.  I know that Lance usually has fantastic ring attitude and doesn't worry about people pressure as much.  So I spent his entire time on 2 exercises, signals and go outs, with a lot of play in the ring as well.  Go outs went fantastic, straight and confident, all the way to the gate as asked.

Signals are back to being broken on the down signal.  Lance's reoccurring issue that was a gigantic pain to work through the first time it came up after he got his UD and then has reared its head a couple times after long breaks from showing.  For Lance it's 100% a stress issue.  He's not being naughty when he sits or freezes on the down signal.  He doesn't want to be wrong.  For some reason Lance overthinks it and starts to worry about it in a trial environment. Of course it's never been replicated outside of a trial environment.  Lucky for me, matches and run throughs do it although I cant' get to them hardly ever.  So it's back.

I spent Lance's ring time tossing treats to him as I walked away on the stand. And then not only praising every single wrong response, but running back to him and rewarding him like crazy.  Lance knows how to signals.  Having a UDX kinda proves that I think.  Cheerfully interrupting him for errors and resetting works pretty well with Lance on most things.  But in a trial like environment it would only make it worse and he would worry more and more about being "wrong."  So that is where my plan at rewarding every thing he does comes into play.  And I guarantee that this weekend he will still freeze or sit on the down signal at the trial.  One match is not going to fix his issue, but it does have the potential to make it worse if you play it wrong.  At the trial this weekend I plan on reminding myself before we go in the ring that if (when) Lance goofs on the signals I am going to praise like crazy and have him run into me for some high fives.  And maybe I'll be excused from the ring for training, or maybe not.  But for Lance I think it is the best option.
Wish us luck this weekend!


Online Classes- Free Class Giveaway!

My first class teaching for the Fenzi Academy ended last week!  I thought it was a blast to teach online and it was interesting to see the progress versus teaching the class in person.  Online the students actually did their homework :)  and we could cover stuff a lot more in depth.  It was also great to be able to analyze the video and really able to show the students exactly what I'm talking about.  I think they could "see" it so much better!

I will be teaching a scent articles class starting October 1st and am working on finishing the lectures for it now (plenty of time still!).  I also decided to reteach Zumi scent articles on metal lids.  Taking away the retrieve as the indication and replacing it with a nose touch like I retaught Lance and Vito a month or two ago.  Since Zumi really hasn't done scent articles in all that time it was in some ways brand new.  She's wasn't nearly as fluent on them as the boys were when I retaught them on the nose touch.

I've also been adding in some proofing games for the boys so I can get video clips for the class! They're having fun!

And finally I get to give away a free bronze class, good for any class starting in October, not just mine!  If you are interested, leave a comment on this post and I'll do a random number draw Monday the 21st, sometime after 6pm central!
Note: Unless your blogger profile is linked to an email address or you leave your full name so I can contact you on facebook, you will need to remember to check in to see if you won!


Flirt Phase

Zumi is officially moving from slut phase to tease phase of her heat cycle.  Now she's a complete teenage girl in her actions.  Trying hard to flirt with Vito and get him interested and then slams her butt down and looks shocked at his intentions.  Then resumes flirting 2 seconds later.

Poor Vito.  Vito still is trying hard to be a good dog and resist temptation and at least with the current group of dogs I have, this dog in heat thing has been a breeze.  Lance and Zumi remain completely oblivious to each other.  He has acted interested once and she hasn't even tried to get him interested, even in the midst of her total slut phase.

I've also had zero problems working Zumi.  She wants to train and still has a thinking brain.  Food drive was significantly decreased and Zumi ate a lot less of her meals during her slut phase, but it's starting to climb again.

For now, an Ovary Sparing Spay when she's older still hasn't been ruled out.  I think it will come down to how much of a pain it will be to miss trials, unless UKI becomes bigger around here as they allow BIS to compete!

Slut phase


We're just starting week 3 and Zumi's finally been granted privilege of not wearing her skort inside.  That's truly been the only difficult thing of this whole process, getting her dressed on and off as she clearly doesn't like it.  I didn't expect her to bleed for so long!  Educational for me!


USDAA trial!

The Toller got to play agility today!  I know it wasn't ideal as I've only lifted the running restrictions just 9 days before the trial.  But Vito was still looking awesome and I couldn't bear to miss yet another trial.  3 months since his last one, all summer!  I did limit to one day and we have another laser appointment scheduled for tomorrow to see how he did.

Gamblers was first and it was kind of a disaster in terms of bar knocking. 3 bars came down. I can't blame him for having such little practice before the event! But Vito was happy !  Missed the gamble of course, but it was actually due to Vito taking an off course before he even got to the first jump!  Yay for Toller making distance decisions on his own!

Standard was my favorite run of the day. The run order board crashed over from the wind as Vito was on the startline and Vito not only held it together but recovered in super fast time!  Considering the fact that Vito refused to be out in the living room when the rats are out since the gates I rigged up sometimes crash, this was a big deal!!!  Of course he goes off course as I took for granted that my dog who loves his contacts wouldn't even think about the tunnel discrimination.  Video below, including gate crash!

Pairs was a little sadder.  Knocked another bar (or 2?  Scribe got an extra bar from Vito or his teammate that I don't remember).   Vito started out well but the weaves-teeter-tight wrap wasn't the best combination for him plus I had a tiny hesitation in handling.  Overall not a bad run, just not super happy.

Jumpers was happy again!  But no one warned me that kicking your dog on course is bad.  Hind sight!  I don't even know what happened.  I was doing a front cross and had a little hesitation as I wasn't quite where I planned to be so looked for the tunnel opening I was sending him too.  I stepped into Vito's path I think and he hit my leg.  And somehow he then ended up ramming into the side of the tunnel.  I stop for a second or too, get him to bark at me, and then we continue.  A little slow but then he picked it up very quickly!  Second time today he had an awesome recovery!  No video of the kicking unfortunately, or fortunately.

So 0 for 4.  And 1 Happy Toller.


Restriction has been lifted for Vito!  Fingers are crossed that this time it's for good.  It's been a whole month since the last single yelp Vito made and close to 3 months since the original incident.  This last section of rest was the first time he had some cold laser appointments.  Not that the vet really saw any huge issue on his first appointment, but it couldn't hurt.

Vito has been doing long walks for awhile, but I haven't allowed him to run.  We went to celebrate with some walks at the park this weekend.


Corgi Recovery, Upcoming Trials

The corgi is continuing to do well in his recovery.  Vertigo fully gone.  Ears up.

Still a noticeable loss of function in his facial movements but doing well.

I've entered Lance in utility at an obedience trial in a few weeks.  Should be interesting as he's had very little practice the last several months.  He is officially retired from Open as I'm not going to have Lance do the broad jump ever again.  And I know he's thrilled with no more out of sight stays, in a lineup at least.

And the biggest news is that I've entered Vito in Open B at the AKC trial for the very first time.  It's been over 6 months since the last time I tried an AKC trial with Vito, and the horrible walk of shame.  I might have a little PTSD.  Hoping Vito can do in AKC what he's been showing me at the CDSP trials.


So far this whole in heat thing has been a non event.  Granted she's not at the "flagging" stage yet, but my boys haven't given Zumi a second glance the last 6 days.

Zumi's been a tad extra clingy and wanting to lay on me in very awkward positions, but other than that she's been normal.

Slowly raising her dogwalk height, up to 2.5ft now.  Only thing she seems to be struggling on right now are tight call to hand turns.  I also stopped doing the speed approaches to the dogwalk so she's forced to add in an extra stride.
More running across a plank video:

And yesterday I started teaching Zumi how to hold a food item.  Started with a wrapped string cheese.  Zumi was starting to do it but was pissed that she wasn't getting cheese as her reward too and started spitting out her food.  I wouldn't have minded giving her cheese reward but I only had one stick with me.

Thanks for reading my blog! Please Subscribe by Email!

Contact Me!

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

Email: lkwaudby (at)

Online Private Training:

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP   

href=""/blog/feed/" onclick="pageTracker._trackPageview('/feed/');"