Spring for a Day!

For one day it was spring!  I still have a surprisingly amount of snow in my yard compared to everyone else I know, but it was almost 60 degrees on Saturday!

Took the dogs to the park!  Way less snow there.  And of course I made them pose on things.

Gives me hope that even though it's going to be in the high 20's tomorrow that it won't be too long before I can start putting back out my agility equipment and actually train the tollers outside.


Agility Run Throughs

Duckie and Toller went to an agility run through today!  Opportunity for more trial routine practice for Vito but a surprise toy in the ring and opportunity for Zumi to work on "new" equipment and focus.  It was pretty quiet and had more of a class feel than a trial feel but still beneficial as neither dogs have done classes there.  Zumi's one other match was held at the same location.

Vito's first run was super super Sad Toller.  Like worse then it's been in a trial in a long time type sad.  I got some fake screaming at me on the start but he was just really not there.  Even starting with the dogwalk as his 2nd obstacle didn't get him up.  Lots of running by obstacles and just running next to me instead.  Even after several toy rewards he only half way perked up.  It's not that he looked nervous about anything or distracted, he just was not into the whole agility thing.

His second turn he perked up quite a bit.  Still slow to turn on outside the ring but we achieved happiness before entering and was able to maintain it.  I rewarded a ton and Vito didn't run by any obstacles.  My dog was magically there again.

Zumi also had two runs.  Did her weaves at a new place!  Slipped a bit and still stayed in (damn that turf!).  Dogwalks looked nice with both straight exits and a flip out to a tunnel underneath.  Teeter was the most hesitant.  Very happy to do but wanted to wait in a 4 on instead of going all the way to her 2o2o position.  Handled very nicely for short sequences other than wanting to orbit out to nowhere on a small push to the backside of a jump.  Very happy Duck!  I think we're on track for the end of April trial debut in UKI!


Two Tollers in Gun Dog Foundations!

Continuing to work on retriever training on the weekends!  Finally decided to start Vito.  I expect Vito to start slowly with enthusiasm but get higher and higher with the retrieves and then lose his mind with real birds.

Not sure why I thought it would be ok to start with a toy reward.  Since he hasn't done any obedience training for toys or food in months he was a bit over the top.  I regretted my decision but did some sloppy training anyway.

Today I then used food.  Still very excited but thinking.

Zumi is starting to get even more excited by it and thus we're working on impulse control.  Pile work is going pretty well with distance and so are "doubles" but thrown from me vs a helper.  Sometimes she tries to cheat and break before I release her but overall stays nicely with or without her little box.

Today I recruited Adam for her 2nd experience with another thrower.  First time was about 2 months ago and she was very distracted at where the duck noise was coming from and had a hard time marking the actual throws.  This time she had no problem with the marking but was way higher aroused!  

Casting work has been started as well.  Not really sure at all if we're doing it right.  Fun times!


Dock Diving Adventures

I've always wanted to try out dock diving with the dogs.  Not really as a main sport to train for but just the occasional fun event.  There isn't really any place in the cities that have a dock or even just a pool to rent (surprisingly!) but there's a pretty cheap rental place less than 2hrs south.  I took the tollers along with 2 other people/dogs to see how they would do today.

I've long believed that Vito would absolutely be in love with the sport (water! toys!) but be horrendous at it.  I envisioned a screaming brick that would just plop right in, straight down.
But Vito surprised me!  Lots and lots of screaming the entire time we were there, even when crated.  But he jumped!  All cute and of course almost no distance this first time.  But he still shocked me at actually trying to jump out!

Zumi on the other hand I thought would be awesome.  Maybe a little apprehensive at first but she lives to jump!  So of course she was a big baby.  At first she jumped in the pool almost instantly from the side as she watched Vito and another dog splash around.  Then when it was her turn to use the dock she screamed and screamed but was certain that actually jumping would be suicidal.  So I took her to the side and did a few throws from just the ground.

And then the pressure was apparently to much as her next turn she was worse.  Wouldn't even jump in from the ground level unless she was at the shallow end and knew she could touch the ground as she basically fell straight in each time.  For her 3rd turn we re-built back up to basically where we started.  But certainly not even running + jumping from the side!

But Ducky was having fun.  She loves to swim and unlike Vito she actually is a really nice swimmer. I'm sure that with more exposure to a pool she will work up to doing the dock just fine.
I hope to go back again!


Kitty Wheel

Kitty has been getting a lot more demanding recently.  Maybe because he finally doesn't look fat after dieting forever.  Who knows.  So we got him a toy.  A very big toy.

Have only had it for 3 days and he's already figured out that it produced cookies.  He enjoys sitting on it and staring at me to see if I'll walk over to reward.  Actually he is already pretty consistent with offering walking and then looking to see if I'll toss him a kibble. Just a few small steps, but he's very proud of himself!

We will see if over the new couple of weeks if Kitty actually starts using it to run or not.  At minimum I've always wanted a bengal cat so we will at least have an exercise wheel for when that day finally comes!


Vito UKI

Well Vito's nail, or lack thereof, healed up enough to play UKI today!  So grateful since UKI is amazing with being able to do toy runs!

First run was speedstakes and even though it was the first run which I really like doing a toy run to start out the day, I was greedy and wanted a chance at qualifying so I can work on getting Vito out of the senior level.  The run felt slowish to me but looking at the Vito it actually looks really good!  Much running from the Toller! Unfortunately he pulled into me and sucked right off the middle jump of a serpentine.  Ah well, serves me right for being greedy.

But then Vito got to do 2 toy runs in a row to appease him.  And the Toller rejoiced!

All hail to UKI!  I really wish other organizations would follow suit!  And obedience too!
There was even *gasp* a bitch in heat running and wouldn't you know the trial somehow managed to not dive into utter chaos. Other organizations take note.

Vito's last run was toyless and he even managed to be happy AND qualify!  Hurrah!


Zumi 16 Months

The Duck is 16 months old today!  Growing up!

Obedience training has remained the lowest priority although I've made it a bigger focus this last month and hope to continue on that path.  Mainly working on fronts and finishes at home and at the club once a week I'm working on adding pace changes to our heeling.  Signals and go outs are practiced usually at that time as well.  Last weekend I drove for some group ring time to a place Zumi had never been before.  She impressed me with her ability to focus immediately.  I even got to do some work with other people for leash hand offs and setups and she did x1000 better than I was expecting!  Other people are still hard for her but at least with a toy in my hand she knew what to do!

Agility training is pretty much just her weekly class and then another short session on the club that I use for running dogwalk skills and weave poles.  For the most part her weaving is going nicely on what is now a closed set of 12.  Her biggest challenge is collecting to stay in after making the entrance vs skipping a pole or two.  In the spring I hope to do a lot more with with my position and movement as we don't have too much practice with doing crosses after the poles.

RDW training is mostly maintained but I know she will need quite a bit of review in the spring.  When excited she wants to take out yet another stride to only hit 4 times and can be too high.
Handling afterwards needs quite a bit more work as well.  Recently I've added backside training and this blew her mind.  I don't even know how she managed to effortlessly squeeze her body through a jump facing the wall!

Gun Dog training has slowed down the the freezing cold we had recently but was resumed the last two weekends!  Working on adding distance to her sends, whistle sits before her toy, and using her winged bumper.

Zumi will mostly take her toy after the wing now, but she much prefers her toy thrown for it vs being able to tug on it!  Still, it's progress!  This was the first session I did wing vs dokken on a push/pull exercise for marking.

And here are our attempts at a whistle sit to interrupt her toy fetch.  We have a good stop now, but her sit seems to have disappeared.  I don't know if it's progress or not from our last session having very good sits but having a lot of anticipation on being told to sit out there!  Apparently her impulse control at waiting was also much worse this session!


Unlucky Toller

Just our luck.  The Toller was entered in a USDAA trial this weekend.  I was going to do 1 run on Friday before going to work as in order to get jumpers Qs you actually have to be entered in the class!  And then skipping Saturday due to the weird schedule and doing 3 runs on Sunday to try and get another jumper Q, and maybe a magical elusive super Q in snooker.

Friday I get to the show, setup all my crap and walk the course. Vito is actually really happy when I get him out for the run bright and early and he does the warm up jump maybe 4 times without issue.  I take him off the side to keep up some light play with him and then suddenly I notice him holding up his back leg.  Damn it.  I look and his nail is just hanging off, lots of blood.

YOU DIDN'T EVEN RUN THE COURSE VITO!  How did that possibly happen?!

So of course I pick him up, cross his name off the gate sheet, and then take him back to the crate.  A vet happens to be next to me and nicely offers to pull off the rest of the nail as it's really not even on at all.

Vito got to spend the rest of the weekend like this.  At least a missing nail is nothing serious.

Actually I had really high hopes for going to the trial today.  All day Saturday his foot was looking fabulous and he would let me touch it without any pain response that I could tell.  Of course Vito is still very dramatic and took to not wanting to cuddle with me at all the entire weekend because I was the boot lady.

I even woke up bright and early today for the trial.  Tested him by playing some tug, no issues seen at all with moving around, and then sent him back to bed while I got ready.  Then as I called him out to walk out the door he holds up his foot as he comes off the bed.  Sigh.


Sassy Corgi

The Corgi has only continued to get more and more sassy the last several months.  So much barking!  Lance apparently feels the need to bark now as soon as he enters the house any time we were away from home.  He runs into the living room and then turns around and barks at me until I've finished stripping off my winter clothes and make my way into the room.  Or he alternates running to bark at Adam and then back in my direction.

And while Lance has always started the barking whenever someone comes home, now it changes from the initial slight alarm bark into that demand barking until the person fully acknowledges him for however long the Corgi deserves to be talked and petted to.

The biggest change I can think of is that I've occasionally been leaving Lance home when I go to work the days when Adam expects to be home pretty early in the afternoon.  Lance is usually very happy to be left and I actually have to call him to the door on days I need to take him!

No changes with his back.  Still very  happy to run around and doesn't seem to have any issues at all when at a park.  However a few hours after we get home from park days or too much running in the yard and the limping starts.  Typically only lasts that evening and maybe the next day before he's fine again.

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

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