2006 training goals 2006 Obedience log by week

January 2006

December 2005  November 2005   October 2005


The stitches are out and Josie had her after surgery checkup. As you can see she's doing exceptionally well.

I went and got sick Saturday afternoon after Lego's beautiful tracking experience. I've got that sniffling, swollen head and ears thing going on. So here's the best thing to do when you feel that way!

I almost stayed home from work today, but I knew my boss was supposed to be out. So, I drug myself out of bed and took some DayQuil and forged on. Lo and behold, my boss came in today after all. GRRR.. .should've stayed at home!


YIPPIE! Today I accomplished my first 2006 goal. Lego and I met up with the resident tracking judge, Kay Watson , and gave the tracking certification a try. I was a bit skeptical because there was a pretty nice wind. A good wind has been known to give many a novice tracking dog a BIG problem. It moves the scent around and if they don't understand that then they get off course. Lego and I have practiced some in wind just for this reason. Well, I guess it paid off! He passed the certification track. It wasn't perfect, but tracking is only PASS/FAIL in AKC. The wind did get him a little at the beginning. He missed the first turn, the circled and went a good 20 feet the wrong way and then circled again and backtracked. Talk about confusing a handler! After that he stayed pretty much on the track. He overshot the glove at the end a bit but immediately cirled back to it and laid down on it.  GOOD BOY! I was pleasantly suprised and quite pleased with him. Now to scrape up the money to enter our tracking test in March :)


Nikita worked on gloves and signals today. The glove retrieve is still greatly loathed. It's gonna be a chore to convince her she HAS to do this every now and then as a part of earning her kibble.

Misty took her LAST antibiotic yesterday, so now it's a cross you fingers game until about May, when we will all feel more comfortable saying she's cured. We have also been selected as 2005 client of the year for our vet. Can't imagine how that happens... 9 dogs... a few surgeries. My vet says he can always count on me to come up with the most interesting cases, as if I actually try to find them or something !?

I went to the LCCOC meeting last night. It's been awhile since I've seen most of those people. It was a mood elevator to be there. I need to start forcing myself to go to classes to keep my spirits up. I haven't been going much what with the financial situation and the dreary mood I've been in. It was also a mood lifter for a couple of the agility folks to ask me when I was teaching again because they wanted to be in another of my classes. They actually thought I was a good teacher! I have a good idea for a class, so I guess I'll work on it and get my name in to teach again. Maybe we'll go to Don's Seafood tonight with the agility folks and just charge the dinner so we can get out some.

I sold my sliding channel weaves to Brittany Schaezler to use on her new puppy, Trip. Those funds will pay for Lego to run one day in the LCCOC AKC agility trial. I no longer had a use for them because I now have the nice competition poles that Butch Myers made for me and I have stick in the ground poles for training. They are much more portable and easy to deal with than the sliding channels.

Speaking of the Myers, Georgie asked me if I wanted to run team again in March. I would LOVE to and am flattered she asked after I blew our team Q in December by sending Misty over the wrong jump. I had to decline based on the monies though, BUMMER! I said I'd give her a buzz if I came into some extra cash before closing.


Good News! Josie's test results are in. It was indeed just a benign growth, and all the edges were clean (he got it all out). So, she should be well on her way to a normal nose with no after effects.

I have been contemplating Cedar's role in life again recently. She has really become obsessed with playing ball over the last year. Maybe, just maybe, I can use that to re-introduce her to agility. If this business ever does as well as we think it can I may re-visit her training/trialing. She has SUCH potential. She's super quick and agile with a great agility body type and size (19 inches). She just doesn't get "into" agility and crowded, noisy places stress her. She frequently gave me the "Cattle Dog finger" at shows. I did a little experiment this weekend with some jumps and the ball with amazing results. Maybe she needs to start riding with me to shows to play ball in new (noisy) places.


Since it was dreary and drizzly all weekend there wasn't much work done out on the back of the property. A couple of hours on Saturday with boots on was all we could muster. I spent a lot of the weekend relaxing in front of the TV with a pile of dogs around me.

Josie seems completely unaware of her stitched up nose now. It looks great.

I did manage to pull out the agility jumps today and set up the same gamble I set up earlier this month. (see the 3rd) The guys still need work on going away from me in a straight line. I was quite pleased that everyone had significant improvements over last time I attempted this gamble. Jedi showed great improvements as did Bandit. Josie is pretty consistently good at it now. Misty is awesome at it. Too bad there wasn't enough money to enter her in the Feb. Dog Gone Fun trial. Josie is going and Bandit gets to run Standard each day. I'm so ready for another show to see agility friends and take my mind off the stresses at hand.

Lego and I worked on drops again. He seems to be grasping he idea, but off leash and running at me will probably be a different story. I plan on keeping him on a Flexi and "helping" him drop quickly for quite awhile. I don't want to ruin the quickness by taking him off too early and letting him get away with crawling down.


Josie is doing well today. The nose doesn't seem to bother her much, but she'll be a work guest until the stitches are out on the 30th. She IS irritated that she's not allowed to play with Lego, and he as well. Shelby did get to practice go-outs, directed jumping and signals. The go-outs are nice, but directed jumping and signals need more work for sure. 

I have been introduced to a new word that I must share. It's even made it's debut in a Trace Adkins song. BADONKADONK


Rich dropped Josie off this morning for surgery. I picked her up on the way home. The incision actually looks good to me. I think it's going to heal beautifully. He sent the growth off to get analyzed, but he doesn't expected anything to show up.

If you scroll down to the 16th you can see a before picture.

Lego practiced just drops today. And not recall drops. We are working with our new word for collapse into a down FAST. Nikita did do gloves. I just patiently worked on getting her to pick it up again. Then she got a tuna jackpot. Then I sent her out to it. The first few times she went out, but didn't pick it up. No negativity this time. I just got closer and helped her. When she did run out and pick it up and bring it back we had a party and a tuna jackpot and ended the training session.



I did a full Open run through with Lego sans stays. He did everything great but the drop. He still meanders down. I think I've decided to change my word. I'm going to pick a new word that means HIT THE DECK NOW! everytime I say it. Maybe since "down" doesn't always mean do it fast then he doesn't understand when it does. Shelby did a full utility run through! We did go-outs and directed jumping separately, but go-outs did include running through the middle of the jumps. She still needs a large step to help her get to the right jump. Her signals were weak, but there has been much improvement in the articles. We did them without the cheese on them today. She still sniffed each article and moved through the whole pile until she found the right one. Nikita, on the other hand, has regressed on gloves. HRMMM. I thought that might happen after the bad attitude training session. I need to go back now and start over with helping her pick up the glove off the ground right in front of me. She HATES gloves. They must stink like a new puppy brother/sister! She did a couple of decent go outs from about 25 feet out. Josie is going in for her growth removal tommorow.

17th - NIKITA -4      WILD BUNNIES- 0

This was a morning that migraines are made from. I got up when the alarm went off (5:20 AM), no snoozing, because I needed to get gas on the way to work. AND it was raining, which although,  not unusual in south Louisiana, seems to completely stump those trying to drive in it. Got dressed, put out Nikita, Cedar and Jedi into their yard. Let everyone else out. Brush teeth. Hear a scream, like a baby and dogs going nuts. CRAP! So, dressed for work (jeans and long sleeves) with my fuzzy wolf jacket on, I dash out into the rain with a flashlight. I can tell by the way the 5 dogs in the big yard are yapping and running around that the other three dogs have captured a critter again. I manage to quickly corral Lego and Shelby into the sunroom (the less loose dogs, the less likely a spat). I charge through the gate to the smaller yard. Sure enough, my suspicions are confirmed,  Jedi and Nikita are munching down on something on the other side of the yard. I run over there to find Jedi hovering over an extremely bloody bunny carcass and Nikita close by munching bunny entrails (I've discovered these are the coveted pieces...YUCK). Side note: This is the 4th bunny Nikita has captured in our yard since we moved in here a year and a half ago. Isn't there some bunny security convention to tell these guys that it's a bad idea to be munching on the grass INSIDE the fence? I push Jedi off the bunny with the sole of my shoe and grab Cedar's collar as she meanders up. Once Jedi is clear of the bunny I grab him too. So now what do I do? Nikita won't come to me while I'm restraining the two other guys. She's waiting for me to walk away from the carcass so she can snatch it. I don't want this to happen either, because she doesn't give it up as easy as Jedi. Nikita gets nervous that I'm pissed at her so she's giving me space. I decide this is my chance to deposit Jedi and Cedar into the shop and shut them in so I can deal with her and the bunny. But, dang it, I can't find the doggie door panel to close it up and keep Jedi and Cedar in. I grab the shop vac and roll it in front of the doggie door. Dash out and find Nikita is busy regurgitating her entrail treat so she hasn't snatched the bunny up. I go grab her collar and walk her to where the shovel is so I can get it and watch her. Grab shovel, find Jedi has found a way to squeeze past the shop vac and he's back at the bunny again. Let Nikita go and tell her loudly to buzz off and trot to Jedi again. Use shovel to push him off and scoop up the remains to haul them out of the yard. (no one has forgotten the rain and the time of day have they??) I carry stupid critter across the road into the woods and pitch it. Come back in yard. So now, wet shoes, wet jeans and wet jacket and I make it back in house. Let Lego and Shelby loose. Change shoes, hang jacket up to dry. 15 minutes late, dark, raining, jacketless.. leave for work. Get gas. Find that no one can drive over 40 in the drizzle. A wreck blocks the middle of a major intersection in Gonzales. It's only 7AM.. does it end? 



Ah, Human Relations Day. Well, my company celebrates this holiday by relating to your co-workers and not your spouse and the couch. So work it was today. I left a tad early to take Josie in the have her "wart" looked at. She had a neat little bump appear on her muzzle a few months back, and instead of going away it's been growing. It appears to be a benign growth, but needs to be removed because of it's placement (right above a nostril) and it's growth. So surgery for Josie on Thursday. It'll be nice ugly stitched up spot because of the lack of loose skin to sew.
The wicked witch nose!

Nikita got to do gloves and go-outs today. I was not in a "training mood", so I was a bit short tempered and pushy. This is NOT a good training environment! I realized quickly I wasn't up for it, so I got her to do one nice go-out and one nice glove retrieve and went in.


Other than taking Josie and Jedi to the nursing home for a visit Saturday morning, we spent our weekend working on the back of our property again. It is really coming along well. I need to get some pictures posted. By the end of January we may be able to run a mower around out there.


Maverick went in for his yearly check-up today. I also took Misty for the final check on her shoulder before anti-biotics run out. Mav got a clean bill of health and so did Misty. We are stopping anti-biotics at the end of January. Then it will just be a waiting game for a few months to see if the infection returns. The vet feels pretty good about her chances of being completely cured this time.


Lego and I did work on drops and heeling for a short period today. I'm not sure we're progressing much. Nikita, on the other hand did a 20 foot glove retrieve this evening! YES! She definitely gets it. I think maybe at the beginning of February will start adding the other gloves. 

The business has had a nasty slow streak the last couple of weeks. It's causing me more than normal stress, so the desire to get off my tush and train isn't there. But, knowing there will be people reading up on me keeps me doing it even if for only 15 minutes a day.


Today was a quickie training session with Shelby. We just did articles. WOW! What an improvement this year is over last year. She was actually going from one article to the next (with her nose) fairly quickly and if she touched the right one she'd pick it up immediately and bring it without having to "second guess" herself by sniffing some others. (just in case she might be wrong) Nikita did a 12 inches away from me glove retrieve! That means she had to pick it up off the ground and carry it a step or two and do a front still holding it. She also managed a 25 foot go-out. I know it was 25 feet because I pulled out the tape measure and some fluorescent grass spray paint yesterday and measured me out a 25 foot (for center of the ring) and a 50 foot distance from the wooden fence and marked them. I also marked where the center of the jumps should go in relation to everything so I can work with Shelby more accurately on directed jumping.


I did obedience work this evening. Lego showed some improvement on the speed of his drops. Nikita and I did some go-outs from about 12 feet. She sorta gets it. We also worked on signals and I discovered if I'm more than 6 feet from her she doesn't "know" the signals anymore. I did't expect this problem. I figured if she knew them at 6 feet she'd know them at 16 feet. Guess she showed me. Once again I got her to pick up the glove off the ground. It took me three or four tries (helping her) and then she did it on her own. Shelby did articles. This squishy cheese idea is paying off big time. She was much better at going on to the rest of the articles if she didn't find it right off. She did metal and leather twice each and she always brought back the right one. I could even hear her sniffing. Then we worked on Directed Jumping. That needs a lot of work. I have to take huge sideways strides towards the jump I want her to go over to get her to move that way, but she jumps willingly enough. Then I did a couple of go-outs with the jumps set up. That seems to confuse her. Guess I need to pull the jumps out for go-outs now that she is almost perfect without them. 


So many things I feel I could have accomplished training-wise with the kids this weekend, but alas none were done. We spent most of our weekend on the back acre of property cleaning it out some more and making it mowable so we can keep it under control. It's starting to look pretty good now on the first 50-75 feet behind the fence. It'll be nice when some real grass grows under the trees. The idea is to have a nice stand of wooded area that's still thinned out enough to let the sun through to dry up the ground (this is Louisiana after all) and grow grass.

Big congrats is due to the ever-ageless agility guru, Jim Hutchins, and his cattle dog, Roxy. They finished their NA and NAJ this weekend up in Utah. Way to go guys! 


I know SOMEONE will hold me accountable to my goals. So to help me keep up with my goals for obedience training I have set up a table by weeks of the year. You can keep up too if you like with the link at the top.


Well, today held good news on the training front. I started the evening with Shelby and the dreaded articles. I took some advice from the Siberian training yahoo group and got a smidge of cheese to put on the "right" article. I used string cheese. If you put in in your mouth a second it becomes very squishy and will stick to the article so there isn't a chance of it getting knocked onto the ground. Then I stood next to the pile of articles and when Shelby got stuck sniffing the same "wrong" articles over and over I politely took her collar and helped show her that there were more to sniff.  She knows the "right" article when she gets to it, I just haven't been able to get her to sniff ALL the articles before getting discouraged. After a couple of times of finding the "right" article had cheese on it,  I could actually here her sniffing for it. AND her range of articles to smell started widening. I think a few zillion more times like this and she might remember to move on if she doesn't seem to find it at first.

Nikita and I worked with the glove today a bit. I put it on the ground in front of her and pointed at it. She actually pawed at it and then licked it. "YES, YES!", I said. Then, granted I was standing right next to her with the glove right in front of us, SHE DID IT! She actually picked that horrible fabric thing up off the ground and traded it for a grand treat and lots of praise. Squealing was done by all. (Yes, Siberians can squeal)


Today I thought I'd work on Nikita and Shelby a bit. It turned out I worked Lego too. I actually worked with him first. We did an entire run through in Open. Of course we added a few extra drops. So now I have to eat my word of yesterday. There was noticeable improvement in the speed of his drops today. I'd be happy with this speed if he'll start doing them consistently like that. We also had to add a couple of extra retrieve over highs. The first couple of times he took off, jumped the jump, went straight to the dumbell and then decided there was something interesting going on in the neighbor's yard that he needed to watch. He never bolted though, and each time he got distracted he recovered and picked the dumbell up and bought it back over the jump. One time he got as far as trotting back towards the jump and just before take-off he got this confused look and stopped dead. He looked at me a minute like, "What was I doing? Did I miss something?". Then I saw the lightbulb click on and he turned around and went back and got the dumbell and then sailed over the jump. I love to get to SEE their brains function. He finished his run through well and got a left over sausage for his jackpot. 

Then there was Nikita. She is almost "getting" the go outs from 6 feet away. The glove pick up is another story. She doesn't even want that nasty piece of fabric in her mouth. SIGH. I remember this battle with the plastic dumbell too. She still won't even take a glove out of my hand without forcing her mouth open. Shelby was a bit better, but I did start some utility work with her last year. She almost has go-outs down from a good 50 feet. Her biggest issue is wanting to sit before I tell her to because she knows that's the next required event. I pulled the articles out for her. We've been intermittently working article for about a year now. She sorta gets it, but if the "right" one isn't one of the first three or four she sees (smells) then she doesn't know to walk around EVERY one until she finds it so she starts stressing and picks up ANY one to bring it back. I'm not sure how to get her to sniff them all, but I have an idea I need to try out. She did the leather one GREAT (it was on the left side of the pile where she always starts). The metal one I put on the right side of the pile and that gave her fits. And somewhere over the last few months she's "forgotten" her SIT signal. All in all it was an OK training session, and it was nice to see Lego show up the girls this time.


Today Lego and I worked on his "drop on recall". I can't really see any progress from his typical meander into a down. He only drops quickly with a quick threatening step or an object flying over his head. Remove these and he still crawls down over 3 feet or so. I did get a nice correction in on the tendancies to take off to investigate more interesting noises/objects. He forgot the 2 foot leash was still on and he tried to bolt to the back fence to bark at the neighbor's dog who was wandering onto the back part of our property. He didn't make any more bolts after that!

I also set up one of the Adv. gambles from my last show. It was the one EVERY one of my dogs blew. It involved a jump at the line followed by a send out (run directly away from handler standing at line) to a jump then a wrap around that jump thus splitting the jump at the line that you're trying very hard to not be directly behind by now and the jump they just cleared. Run staight to another jump and then push away from the handler for the last jump. Josie caught on pretty quick, and suprisingly so did Misty. Her problem at the shows must be my panic level when the buzzer goes off to start the gamble. She does great here. HRMM.. less stress and more confidence in her is required now I see. Jedi took a LONG time to catch on to running out away from me while I stood still. Then when he got that (sorta) the push away at the end still baffles him. The clicker is still working for us though. Bandit did not catch on as quickly as I had expected after his great gamble performance in Dec. He seems to do better with lateral distance and not frontal distance. He gets the push out at the end easily. Then for fun I got Lego out to see if he'd do ANYTHING at a distance. Not that it matters seeing as how he'll probably always run AKC only. I think he is too scatterbrained for distance and he confirmed that thought tonight. I think the clicker may help him with that some in time though.


Happy New Year everyone! We spent our new year cutting up downed trees from Katrina and burning them off. It's a lot of work trying to clean up the back of our property. It'll be worth it some day.

Well, I have decided to give Nikita a whirl on the utility stuff. I started introducing her to go-outs and gloves. It appears the glove retrieve is going to be just as painful to teach as the dumbell was. I was hoping that she'd do the gloves eaiser since she will do a dumbell now, but no such luck. I haven't even pulled out articles yet. If we have this much trouble with retrieving I can't imagine how much fun it may be to get her to bring back a particular one and not just ANY one. I also worked some with Lego on his drop on recall. It appears the only way to make him drop instead of crawl down is to throw something over his head. Then he ducks and is able to down faster. It doesn't seem to have spooked him horribly yet to take this approach.

I am working on goals for 2006. It isn't easy. Since there won't be much money for entering shows I have to temper my expectations on the titling front.