2006 training goals 2006 Obedience log by week

December 2006

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I finally got to try out the new dogwalk today!

Josie and Jedi did good contacts and so did Bandit. Cedar even eventually decided she could do it too. That's her in the picture. She's never liked contacts, so it was nice to see her volunteer to do it. After watching Jedi for a bit Sparkle decided she was big enough to play this game. So, Sparkle did her first full size dogwalk. She just trotted right on across after Jedi. After a couple of times of her trying to go across at the same time as a bigger dog and getting jostled some I took everyone else in and just worked with Sparkle some on contact behavior. She's catching on to stopping to find the treat at the bottom.

Sparkle learns SPOT

Sparkle and Josie are big buddies now. I snapped a cute picture of them snuggling.

Unfortunately I seem to have caught a nasty little cold/flu from the Arkansas trip. Nyquil is my nighttime friend. I feel generally BLAH, but not awful. Can't wait to see how an outdoor 3 day show'll make me feel.

Happy New Year to all! Come back next year for an update on how the show goes.


Merry Christmas to all. We just got back from an enjoyable Christmas in Arkansas with Rich's family. His youngest brother and wife, Ryan and Micah, hosted the family affair this year. They also have a fenced yard and their own little Jack Russell mix, Molly. So as well as me feeling welcome and comfortable, my three doggies were too. Misty, Josie and Sparkle made the trip with us. Sparkle did amazingly well on the 7 hour trip, but I could tell her patience was up at about 6 hours in the car. We got there Saturday afternoon and Micah let me set up crates downstairs at the end of the hallway. Then I turned our guys out one at a time to meet Molly. Molly's very submissive so they all got on swell. Molly was very excited to have friends over to play. I never left them unattended though since Josie could jump the fence and Sparkle found one spot she thought she might could squeeze out of. By Sunday Josie had decided that Molly made a great substitute for a sheep. She was stalking her and when she'd run (she likes to just run) Josie would herd her around. Poor Molly. I had to call Josie off to keep her from scaring Molly too bad. It was very neat to see the natural instinct in Josie though. She even did the flat lay down and freeze and stare that you see the herding dogs do. Micah was excited to meet Sparkle since she's read about her here before and she even bought Sparkle a fleece blanket for Christmas. Once she figured out Molly's game, Sparkle and she got on peachy and had a blast playing chase. I got to spend a lot of time watching Annalese. She's Ryan and Micah's newest addition. She's 8 months old or so. It's neat to hold them and play with them and give them to mommy when they start screeching.

I was only a tad concerned with the guys left at home since we now have three yards. Unfortunately that one concern came true. I hadn't yet bought a snap hook for Nikita's chain link gate. We have seen her testing the latches before to see how they work, but she'd never quite gotten it. This time Nikita managed to get the chain link gate open while we were gone and let herself and Bandit and Maverick into the big yard with Shelby and Lego. The good news is everyone was still walking on all fours when we got home. Shelby's got some good gashes in both her ears, and they're swollen up. One small cut under her eye seems to be healing well. Nikita has a cross bite on a front leg (hole in both sides) and a couple of abrasions. I'm assuming they had a heated discussion on the gate once Nikita got it open and was trying to come through. It seemed they'd made peace by the time we got home. I'm glad neither of them are the "fight to kill" type. Luckily it seems the boys stayed out of the fray. I'm glad the yard's plenty big enough for them to all go their own way. There will be a snap hook tomorrow holding that latch in place.

I'm looking forward to my last hooray of the year. I'll be taking off to New Caney, TX on Friday after work for a 3 day USDAA show. It's actually 4 days, but I'm missing the first one. Josie is running most everything and Bandit's in Snooker and Standard. He only needs one more Super Q for his Snooker Master title and three Standard legs for his MAD (Master Agility Dog). Sparkle and Misty will be along for the ride. It seems the weather may hold out to be OK. Highs in 50s or 60s with lows in 40s, maybe a high 30. After this I'll have a month of no shows. Misty will be entered again in February.

I have done so well on my twice a week obedience training that I'm calling that a goal reached and taking the last week off! It's reaped me great rewards with Lego getting his CDX in three straight showings and Nikita's RA and RE and both girls (Shelby and Nikita) had decent showings in Utility.


Sparkle did fine out running the yard like a big girl. She looked like she'd really enjoyed herself when I got home. She was also one pooped puppy. Guess she didn't have the stamina the older guys have. I brought her in and she just curled up on a pillow and went to sleep. The 'retirement village' doggies enjoyed their new area too. It has plenty of sun and shaded wooded areas.

I worked on fixing Nikita's auto glove retrieve. Thankfully she pulled the same no sit retrieve on me in the yard so at least I was able to work it out I think. My dogwalk came today. YIPPIE! With my class to teach tonight I didn't even have time to take it out of the shipping boxes. I can't wait to get it set up though. I also got a nice compliment at class. The agility training director wanted to know if I'd teach the advanced beginner class on Wednesdays because she likes my fundamentals ideas that I've taught in the last couple of classes. Unfortunately, I can't teach Wednesdays just now because that's the night for Sparkle to be in the Intro to Agility class, but hopefully in the future I can teach that class.


Got back from the four day obedience trial in time for a late lunch today. Much to my satisfaction the 'retirement village' fencing was complete as well as damage repairs to the chain link caused by Katrina a year and a half ago. This paves the way for Sparkle to get unsupervised outdoor time. Katrina smashed a part of fence that we attempted to pull into place leaving a large gap under it. Now that that's all fixed there's not a hole for her to escape out of. I was brave and left her out with her 'pack to be' while we went to lunch. A couple of hours later when we returned all was well. She was happily running with her friends and enjoying the freedoms. I am going to try and bite the bullet and let her stay out Monday during work. Rich has agreed to check on her during the day. It's time and she's ready and she needs the sunshine and exercise. The occupants of 'retirement village', Nikita, Maverick and Bandit, seem pleased with their new accommodations as well. 

Ok, so here's the obedience trial scoop.
I left the house in plenty of time to get to the site an hour early to set up and walk everyone and feed Sparkle. I seemed to have gotten amnesia about the day and didn't account for sitting in rush hour traffic for 30 minutes. Still I made it in time. Just as I got the last crate set up Cheryl and Bernie arrived. I had to move Nikita to the front of Rally Excellent so I could make Shelby's Utility A ring time. Nikita wasn't in the obedience mood and goofed around a bunch on heeling, but we passed with an 80 something. That's her RE title.

We got 3rd place and a fanny pack to donate to upcoming raffles. I had to race straight out of Rally to switch dogs. I had about 3 exercises to get Shelby focused before we were up. I was not pleased at all with her performance. I think she only passed stand for exam. She didn't look at me for signals, her heeling was absolutely wretched. The first article she didn't even try and just snatched one. The second article she ran straight to the judge and said HI and wouldn't quit, so I had to give 2 more commands to find the article. She did bring back the right one. For the #1 glove we turned and when I said get the glove she made a bee line to love the judge again. The first go out she went half way across and then turned and ran to the the stewards standing in the gate opening. One of them touched her and wouldn't back off even when I said to. So, I couldn't get her back with someone 'loving' her. The judge excused us before we even tried the second go-out. I was fuming mad at the steward and my dog. I did my best to think of the things that went right and gave her a treat. Cheryl's day went just as badly with Bernie. I went and watched some confirmation. Then I checked back in with Cheryl and we went and watched the Aussie's and the Working Group. Half way through the working group Sparkle got squirmy in my lap and I held her tight and told her to be still. A couple of minutes later I had a nice damp sensation on my leg. So, what happens if you ignore a wiggly puppy? You get peed on! We went back to the obedience trial for me to change clothes and then on to the hotel to check in. I got everything up in the room (second floor) and was pottying dogs so we could go to dinner. Then the key quit working. I had the front desk re-program it at least three times and then tried a whole new key. I got in once out of 25 tries. I went to get Cheryl and prayed for one more time. Eventually I got in the room one last time and left Cheryl in the room. I went to the front and asked to be moved. I have to live here three nights and this was annoying, especially with dogs. There was a room a couple of doors down that was open, so Cheryl camped in the old room for me while I drug all that stuff down the hall. We finally got off to Red Lobster around 6 I think. After dinner Cheryl came to my room and we watched Monster In Law on my Christmas present ( a portable DVD player). And Lego wasn't grumpy about a new person in his room. Much improvement!
Sparkle slept until 6 AM. Then I was up and pottying dogs. Since it was early Cheryl and I hit the Cracker Barrel one exit down for breakfast. We got loaded up and to the show in plenty of time. Nikita didn't need to show in Rally now that she had her title, but there was a decent prize for placing that I could donate to a raffle and I had paid my money. So, I showed her. She was much improved and got a 98 which was the highest score. Unfortunately I messed up on one sign knocking her score to a 95. It was still good for 3rd and another raffle prize to donate. Shelby was also much improved and passed 4 of the 6 exercises. Once again though a disappointment on signals. She actually saw the down signal, but only sat. She passed both her articles without visiting the judge. She did her glove nicely. Stand for exam we never flunk. AND she did both go-outs all the way to the end and straight and sat and everything. She didn't manage to do the jumps though, but I was pleased as punch with that. My parents were supposed to be coming down to meet me at the show site and visit overnight. They made it just in time to see me walking out of the Utility ring. They were anxious to meet Sparkle. They've had beagles before and are a bit partial to them. They thought she was awful cute and all. We watched Cheryl and Bernie get their RA and then we moseyed over to confirmation to see the 13 inch Beagles and the Siberians. Mom and Dad seemed a bit fascinated with the whole confirmation setup. After lunch we helped Cheryl pack up and said bye and went back to the hotel. Lego was once again very well behaved with 'strangers' in his room. Dinner was at the Cracker Barrel.
Sparkle slept until just after 6 AM again. I got up and got everyone pottyed and then off to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Today was Nikita's first time to show in Utility. I was a bit nervous on how that might go. Shelby was up first. She heeled awfully. Then never looked at me for signals. She passed the first article and then gave no effort on the second one. I can't remember gloves, but I know we passed stand for exam again. Then we had no idea how to do go-outs even though we did them yesterday. She did manage to stay with me most of the time and not visit the judge. Nikita's heeling was atrocious. She was looking right at me for signals, but only did a sit for the down signal. Then refused to do all the others at all without a verbal reminder. I chose leather for the first article thinking it would be the easier one and calm her down and get her confidence up. Well, she went out and sniffed all the articles twice and came back without one. Then we sent out for the metal and she worked hard and brought back the right one. AMAZING! I never expected that. Then for the gloves when I said heel and turned she turned and saw the gloves and said "I know this game" and shot off without sitting to retrieve a glove. Not the right one, but at least she was playing the right game. We passed stand for exam easily, but had no go-outs. She only made it to the middle of the ring and then turned around. Not bad for her first showing. At least she looked like she knew the game even if she flunked. Dad and Mom seemed to think this obedience trial stuff was kinda interesting. They had to ask what my dog was supposed to do on the things we flunked so they could get the idea better. Then Dad asked about all the horse trailers on the site and I said I didn't know. So we asked a horse lady and she said there was barrel racing in the big horse arena all day. We spent the morning watching barrel racing. Very neat. Then Mom and Dad packed up at lunch and went home. I took the kids back to the hotel and off to Chili's for dinner.
Sparkle slept in again until 6:30 AM. Then it was up and packing the car. I got to the site about an hour and a half early and worked on go-outs and signals with the girls. Shelby was up first again. She had better heeling, but refused to look at me at all for signals. It was almost a purposeful action. After I said her name and DOWN she did the sit and come signals so nicely. Then she did article one well and completely didn't try at all on article two. She brought back the wrong one and just as I reached for it she took off back to the pile like she knew she was wrong. The judge was already picking up the right one and Shelby had to have it. So he handed it to her and she brought it back all proud that she'd fixed herself. She was about perfect on her glove and passed stand for exam easily. She even did go-outs today, but she did them to the far corner instead of straight. She flunked the first jump, but passed the second one (the one in front of her) fine. That's her first time to jump in the utility ring! Not awful. Nikita's heeling was some improved, but still bad. She refused the down signal and only sat. She also did the sit and come signals today with enthusiasm. Then the miracle happened. She actually passed both articles. This was the one thing I never expected to pass. The glove game was the same as yesterday with no sit on the turn and an immediate retrieve, but at least it was the right glove this time. Stand for exam isn't even really a test for either of them. Then she had the no go-outs again. Just a run to the middle of the ring and then come back. She could've embarrassed me much worse. I am fairly satisfied.


The fence guys decided not to work tomorrow. It might rain on them. I kinda thought that was everyday here in Louisiana. Oh well, they're supposed to come out Wednesday and put up the wooden fence.

I pulled one of Sparkle's puppy teeth tonight. It was dangling and the big tooth was already half in. One good twist and it was history. We now have about 10 grown up teeth. I forgot to mention Sparkle's first kid experience. In Biloxi we encountered a little girl about 3 or 4 from a dog smart family (so there was no tail or ear pulling). I let her hug and squeeze and man-handle Sparkle for about 15 minutes. I don't want another kid freak like Lego. Sparkle was a champ. Including letting the girl hold her tail and wag it for her. Never an ugly noise and didn't even puppy gnaw at her arms or anything.

I really worked on Nikita's broken sit signal tonight. I used left over BBQ chicken for treats. She was into those treats! By the end of the session she was popping happily into a sit from a good 20 feet away. Then I took Shelby's issues by the horns. We did go-outs with no fence. I showed her some tuna (Kita got all the chicken) on the ground and then we backed way up. Once the go-out was fixed I worked on the jumping part. She was jumping every time by the end, but not always the one I pointed at. On the way in we did signals and she watched me the whole time for once. About a hour later I took her back out and finished the tuna pack on gloves. After many attempts to get the middle glove we did pivot practice. Then when we went back to retrieving she was right on the money every time. Her problem is bad pivots line her up badly.

Lego got to try out articles again tonight. I put out all of them. I used the clicker to mark the correct article as he sniffed. This seems to be to be as logical as putting food on the scented article. Maybe more so for a dog that already sniffs everything in sight. Then they are never confused as to why the food scent went away. He still gets excited and just tries bringing any ole one in occasionally and also forgets to sniff them all sometimes.

It looks like my parents may make a quick trip to see me this weekend in Jackson. Since we had to cancel Thanksgiving they've been trying to figure out how to schedule seeing me,


The fence guys came out and sunk all the posts on Friday. I'm hoping the fence stuff will all be done before I leave for Jackson, MS Thursday morning. Rich and I spent some time outside this weekend getting some brush cleared out and leveling some holes in the new area.

My trip to Biloxi to the confirmation show went fine except for getting minorly lost on the way there. I wanted to drive down Highway 90 for as much of the way as I could in MS. That's the beach front highway. I couldn't get on where I used to because part of the road is still out (16 months after Katrina) in Bay St. Louis. I took an exit that said to Pass Christian, but it was mostly an exit for a Dupont plant. This is where I got a tad lost. I ended up just driving south or east on every road when the road I was on ended until I finally hit the coast and Highway 90. This detour made me run a bit late getting to the Biloxi Coliseum. I didn't recognize any landmarks going down 90. There were still house shells in some spots and just concrete foundations in others. There were signs for restaurants still standing with no building on the property at all. It was sad looking. I was sure I could at least find the coliseum. Surely there would be a be sign for it. NOPE. Lucky for me in Gulfport I spotted an SUV with TX plates and crates stacked in the back and I kinda kept it in sight. They suddenly turned off at a light with no signs or anything, but I followed. As soon as I got around the turn I could see what had to be the coliseum, and there were many breeds of dogs strolling the property. How'd all these other people find it? Beats me. The coliseum only had half a working heating system, so one side was tolerable and the other side was frosty. Thankfully the Shibas were on the warmer side. There was also constant work on the ceiling.

When I got back from MS I got an email from Cheryl (with Bernie) checking it to see if I wanted to meet somewhere to train today. We met up at a park with a fully fenced tennis court. This gave me fences or nets to do go-outs to with the girls. Well, if today is any indication of this weekend I'm doomed. Nikita busted signals for not sitting (ever I think). Then she busted article one. She did pass article two and gloves. Then stand for exam was a breeze. Go-outs didn't exist for her. She would get just past the jumps and turn around. Once I got a go-out she did the first direct jump, but not the second one. She just felt like she was performing awful. Then was Bernie's turn. He's trying to finish up his CD. He did a passing performance and I gave Cheryl a couple of tips that I hope help out. Then it was Shelby's turn. We got the first two signals and then she quit looking at me. (like in the show) The first article she picked up and returned to the judge (Cheryl), so at least I was able to correct that. The second article was fine. She did glove 3 great and then glove one was close to Tom (Cheryl's hubby) and she kept trying to greet him. instead of retrieve. Or she'd just go to glove 2. Stand for exam is great, but her go-outs were busted too. She'd do just like Nikita. Then when I did get go-outs she did no jumping. She just came back in. I had to do major stepping to get the jumps out of her. My goal for this weekend is for Nikita to at least pass 3 things one day. I'd like to pass signals once. Shelby I want to pass one directed jump.


I have been doing a bit of obedience training each afternoon. Monday I worked Shelby and Nikita hard on go-outs and directed jumping. Shelby was weak on the jumping part just as I saw in the ring last weekend. Nikita was better though. Lego even did his first attempt at directed jumping. He's only ever done go-outs. He did fine running out between the jumps, but needs some real work on the directed jumping part. Tuesday I changed things up and did articles with the girls. Nikita picks out the right one about every time now, but is hesitant to bring it to me, I am sure to have a big party with lots of treats when she does. Shelby was picture perfect. So where's that in the ring? I guess she just goes blonde on me. Wednesday night I did signals with Nikita. She seems to not 'get' the sit signal if I'm more than 5 to 6 steps away, so we worked on just sit for awhile as I took a step back each time.

This coming weekend there's a confirmation show in Biloxi. My long time friend and husky breeder is going to be there with her Shiba Inus. I think I may run over there and visit with her Saturday morning for a few hours and watch the Shibas show.

The fence guys are supposed to be setting posts tomorrow at the house for the 'retirement village'. They say the concrete isn't setting for a couple of days in this cold weather. So, I guess they'll install fencing next week. Can't wait to give Nikita and Maverick a place to go and get away from the young, obnoxious guys. They'll be thrilled.

Oh yes, and once again I get a steal of a deal crate. I happen to browse e-bay occasionally for dog products. Usually I don't buy because once you pay for shipping you might as well buy what you want here. I only jump on the really good steals, and then someone typically outbids me by the auction end. Well, yesterday I won an auction on a soft crate (Lego size) for $8. After shipping that was $29 total. Today I won a Josie size for 99 cents. YES 99 cents. After shipping that's $21. They are advertised as new in the box, so I'll have to see when I get them how true that is, but the shop has rave reviews over the last 12 months from other satisfied clients. Rich, of course, asks if we need them. Well, not right now, but it's cheaper than buying a replacement cover for a torn up one later. If anyone reading is interested in a soft crate of said size let me know. Maybe I'll re-sell and spread the savings around to my friends. Also, I ordered Sparkle her 'official' grown-up vari kennel the last week from JB Pets. It arrived with 2 missing latches. No big deal. The manufacturer sells latch kits. I've seen them. I call customer support and tell them my issue. They say they'll have the latch kit sent from the manufacturer. Well, today I get an email from customer support saying they are just sending me a new crate at no charge because the latches are a pain to put on. OK. Get this though, they don't want the old one back they say. So, I ordered a $3 (after shipping) replacement latch kit from Petmate. I will be able to donate that one (brand new), after the latches come in, to the OCAC raffle in March to help our trial make money. It's been a good week for crates.



Just returned from an obedience show in Lake Charles, LA. Shelby showed in Utility for the first time. Saturday she passed 3 exercises. I was happy with that. She passed Article #2, stand for exam, and gloves. The rest of it wasn't so bad that I felt or looked like I didn't belong. And on the stuff she passed she only got like a half a point off per exercise. Sunday she was more distracted and only passed stand for exam. But once again not so bad I felt out of place. Nikita competed in Rally Excellent both days. We were minus ten points from the start because both days had the heel backwards three step sign and I've never taught that one. Other than that she was perfect on Saturday although I messed up one sign and had to re-do it. On Sunday she was a bit frisky and wild. The temps here were highs in the 50s with a strong breeze and she was feeling good. After the jump she started the butt-tucked boogie, but I managed to get her under control to finish the course. It wasn't pretty, but we qualified by the skin on our teeth.

Also at the agility arena part of the show there was a photographer. They were kind and obliging enough to take a 'fake' agility shot of Shelby at the practice jump since I didn't get any pictures of her doing agility before she retired. It looked good on the digital camera preview so I can't wait to get it in the mail. They also did the same for Cheryl since she wasn't there Saturday when they were actively shooting the action.

Sparkle was along for the ride. She's now grown into the largest size sweater we bought for her. She seemed cold most of Saturday, so Sunday she stayed in the car where she was warm and toasty, but offended that she was 'left out'. She did great in the car riding and at the show. We shared a hotel room with Rosey and Cheryl. That made for 5 dogs and three people and we didn't even feel cramped! It also made the 95 dollar hotel room seem more affordable. $95 split three ways isn't so bad, so when I get their portion back I'll have some cash for the next hotel room.

Rosey and Red had a red-letter weekend. He got his first CD leg, finished his RA and ran two whole agility courses one of which would have been a Q if he hadn't knocked a bar. He looked like he was having fun and he ran 5-6 obstacles at a time at a real speed while listening. Cheryl and Bernie had 2 nice agility runs too. One would've been a Q, but Cheryl absentmindedly gave him a nudge with her hand and got an F for it.

Oh yes, and if anyone has been a long time reader, maybe you remember back in June I mentioned that I'd been transport for a border collie rescue headed from Memphis, TN to Monroe, LA. Well, guess who I got to see at the show. Yup, that pup is now 10 months old and wild as the wind. Her new mom renamed her Chica and reports that she is loving agility training and she gets along well with her brothers. She's gonna be a 24 inch jumper. She goes to work with mom every day. What an awful life she has now LOL!

Chica aka Somer