2017 Year in Review

Another year ending.  This last year was a huge change in our household with the addition of a tiny human! 


Zumi had a hectic year.  Several breaks in training due to her heat cycle, being bred, becoming a mother, and then getting spayed.  It was just sporadically broken up over 7 months!  
I still tried to train in as much training, and trials, as we could during our times together.  

In USDAA Zumi nabbed all 3 advanced standard legs she needed to move up to the masters level in all games.  I was grateful she did it before the puppies came!

In UKI Zumi kept searching after those 3 standard legs to get out of novice and into senior.  1 little thing kept popping up and preventing it from happening.  But finally the last trial of the year she did it!  1 from the masters heat class even to count towards her novice title!

I'm excited to get to play with the higher level courses in 2018!  My goal is to attend my first national agility event next year.  right now I'm planning for the UKI Open!

In obedience, we had a bit of a setback.  Well, a big set back.  And all the time off certainly didn't help.  Zumi started having vocalization issues on her retrieves.  And then that spilled into go outs.  And I decided to go all the way back to the beginning with her scent article training due to Zumi's tendancy to just grab when she couldn't find the article right away.   

Looking back at old video, I can't see any hint of vocalizing on the retrieves last year, but it started to creep in the beginning of this year.  I didn't really pay notice of it until the CDSP trial in July where I put her in Open for the first time to see how she would handle it.  That, of course, was a disaster in terms of vulturing, and whining on all her sends away from me. 

And now we're still working on.  Progress has been extremely slow and frustrating.  

We did end up doing our first AKC obedience trial to get her 3 novice legs.  Due to her recent issues I I wasn't planning on it, but knew the provisional judge needed the numbers.  At least I'm happy to say that she's out of novice forever now!  I am hoping to show in Open after the new rules take effect, but at the rate we are progressing that's quite the stretch goal!


Vito miraculously earned his last Super Q needed in USDAA to earn his ADCH!  I was planning on this being his last spring/summer jumping 20in, so after he earned his championship title I moved him down to 16in.  He doesn't really seem any different at 16 vs 20/22 in terms of excitement, it's really just how he's feeling at the moment!

In UKI Vito also earned his championship IAC title.  A big year for Vito!

I don't really have goals of getting the performance versions of the championship titles so we will just continue playing in a very small number of runs per day and mainly do my favorite classes of the masters heat/challenge series in both organizations.  

This was actually a pretty big year for Vito in obedience too.  It was the first year I didn't try an AKC with him at all, just CDSP.  And while Vito was Vito, he really did well for me.  I only did utility with him this year and he was happy in each of his runs!  We had some issues with the gloves in being worried about the stewards on the side, or just doubting his choice. But otherwise Vito was pretty darn consistent in every exercise!

Next year I want to continue to play in CDSP Utility and maybe even try doing 2 runs a day.  I still dream of going back to AKC, but I'm content to let Vito lead me.



Well it's been over a full year and half since being involved in setting up the exercises in TEAM and then teaching the TEAM levels 1-3 classes through FDSA!

And now I finally decided to go ahead and do the program with Zumi.  I've played with the upper levels with Zumi and of course have done all of the foundational pieces at the lower levels too, but I hadn't actually sat down and run through the tests for levels 1 and 2. 

So many excuses.  My house is clearly tiny.  I didn't want to haul in any equipment from outside and I'm sure not doing it outside now.  And of course a baby who doesn't believe in sleeping and even if she does go down for a nap it has to be right next to me.

But I did it.  So you can too!  Thanks for cooperating Netta!

One thing I just love about the TEAM program is how it can really structure your sessions if you're a little lost on what to train or how to even start.  It's all about really solid foundations. 

Props are not just allowed but required at the first level to make sure you know how to really train a solid pivot in heel and finding front but different angles.  But you have your cookies!  And you can fit it into a postage stamp size space!

Have I gushed enough on how much I love the program?  Seriously, I'm not even exaggerating!

I will hear back in a few days if this was a pass or not and then I'll attempt level 2! 
And if you're interested in getting started with TEAM, I'll be teaching level 1 through FDSA in February!  You can check out my sample lecture on how I teach backing up right now.


Dumbbell Progress?

It's been 2 weeks since my discovery of Zumi better able to handle sends to her toy vs sends to a food reward.  We don't work on it as much as I like, but she's gotten roughly 2-3 session a week on it.  

Baby steps. Tiny baby steps.

But at least I actually feel like things are going int he right direction again instead of getting worse!

I'm currently telling her wait and takign a step forward to toss the toy or db.  She'll still move that front foot to vulture sometimes, but not always and that's definetly improvement.

I'm still doing reps of marking the toy with reps of focusing on me before the db.  I'm also usually throwing the toy now instead of pre-placing it.  I figured since she's better with the thrown toy vs the thrown db (that's weird Zumi!) I might as well keep getting practice with tosses!

Distance is still a huge deal with her db.  I got 1 squeal release this week when I pushed the distance just a little too far.  Here are our 2 sessions this week:


Problem Solving Vocalization

I've been continuing to work with Zumi with trying to clear up her confusion and get rid of the vocalizing on her mark and retrieves.  But even with going all the way back to marking a food bowl and sending from only 5 feet I still was getting whining on the release at least 50% of the time if I had her wait the 2-3 seconds.

Alternating the 2 exercises  - marking the food bowl, and focus on me before a retrieve-  did seem to help her be more clear with where to focus and when.  But the vocalizing just wasn't getting any better.

It was getting frustrating. I know it will eventually get there, but I wasn't finding the right answer for her.

And then I was playing with a toy after working on the 2 exercises and suddenly it hit me that Zumi never vocalizes when being sent for her tug toy.  I experimented and did the mark of a dead tug with success, even with 3 seconds duration.  Then I even pushed it and threw the toy out there, marked her, and still didn't get whining when sent.  Huh!  I then experimented even more and followed that up with a very short db placement and send and didn't get any whining at all!  Props to me I even quit when I heard the words "I'll just do 1 more" come out of my mouth :)

This was Zumi's 2nd session working on this new routine.  I see that she still moves that foot pretty much as soon as I say "wait" but there was no vocalizing.  Win.

I'm not sure if this good fortune will continue or if the arousal will creep back in with the new routine....

In somewhat related news, my online TEAM 2 class started yesterday!!!  We are also working on mark training and retrieves in that class, Zumi would fit right in!  I think there is one working spot left if you want to join us.


Out of Novice!!!

Zumi and I headed to Wisconsin for a last minute trial decision last weekend! I actually didn't even know about the trial until a few days before, thank goodness for day of show in UKI!  Like the last several UKI shows, Zumi needed 2 novice "agility"/standard legs to move up to senior for all the classes.  We've been stuck for awhile. 

So I once again entered Zumi in novice agility and then the Master Heat agility/jumper series. 
The novice course was made for her.  Just flowed so well!!!

And then Master heat agility she also qualified!!  She had a little bobble where she turned towards the judge instead of a jump but easily fixed it.  Whew!

Since the masters class counts for whatever level you are at, it applied towards novice and now Zumi is officially out of novice! 

Masters heat jumpers did not go so smoothly.  Not 1 or 2, but 5 different mistakes. Ouch.  Missed the 2nd jump, took an off course tunnel, took the wrong end of another tunnel, took the backside of a jump instead of actually taking it like a normal dog, and then popped out of the weaves. Wow.

But onto the new year!

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

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