2012 training goals

January 2012

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Kayak 's up ramp problem is even cropping up here I found out. SO, he got to walk up ramps for his dinner tonight. He earned it a few kibbles at at time by going up the dogwalk ramp (food at the straight part) and the teeter. By the time we'd done it enough to dispense his whole two cups of dinner he was doing it more happily and voluntarily. Once it's fixed we'll work on the tunnel underneath issue.


Xanadu, Spirit, Kayak , Sprigs and I went over to a fellow agility person's house for a bit today. She has all the equipment in a fenced area. I figured the beagles that got spooked in TX by the fast teeter needed to see other teeters before they show again and Kayak and Sprigs just need to see new equipment. Kayak started out. Did her noisy teeter with no problems. Then the problems started. She had a tunnel under her dogwalk ramp (like we see in shows all the time). Kayak freaked going up the ramp at just the spot the tunnel was. RATS! I had completely forgotten this was an issue with Kamikaze too. None of my other dogs have ever cared. She moved the tunnel, but he was never confident going up again. He bailed a few times. Stupid thing is if you put him on the top part he'd run across and down to his 2o2o position like a champ. I could help him up and over, but he wasn't happy. Then I find out the going up fear thingy is seeping over to the teeter. He did get to do her curved tunnel too, and that was no problem. 

Spirit banged that teeter the first try. She has started crouching to be sure she stays on. Very happy with that. She got through the weaves fine there too! Xanadu had no issue with the teeter and we practiced her running Aframe and dogwalk some. She wasn't playing Superman there.

Sprigs was awesome! She raced that dogwalk, banged that teeter, flew over the Aframe. We had some issues with the weaves there too. These are newly cropping up issues. I trained her several times a week on them and then when it looked like she got it here and at other places we quit doing them. Now she is regressing some. Time to fix that! My friend help me solve the 'won't go in the tunnel  under the dogwalk ramp' issue we had at the field once. Sprigs was doing curved tunnels well too. One balk at the chute, but turned her around and she did it fine the second try.


Back from obedience and conformation in Alexandria, LA.  Spirit finished up her RE title this weekend. She got scores in the 90s both days. Not bad for her. She did do some cute things too. She bounced and woofed quite a bit on the last sign on Sunday.

She also played in conformation on Saturday, but no one else showed up. So, we skipped that on Sunday. 

Both the red beagles went to the CERF clinic. Unfortunately, Spirit didn't pass. Seems she has a developing dystrophy in her left eye. That's typically a problem in both eyes, almost never unilateral. Very odd. Xanadu was fine.

Kamikaze had two very nice Utility runs. Saturday she'd have Q'd if she'd have dropped. But, she passed ALL of directed jumping. Sunday she was a bit crazy in spots. My favorite exercise was gloves. Just gotta love a dog with flair. She did stress on the metal article Sunday and she missed the last jump in directed jumping. Overall I was very pleased.

Saturday after the show Cheryl was gracious enough to let me drive about an hour west to Anacoco, LA where my mustang, Windy is still with the trainer. She's had about 6 hours of riding. I got to sit on her and the trainer walked me around some. Then I was allowed to walk her around the small pasture a little. Think the trainer had heart failure a couple of times when Windy spontaneously trotted. IF all goes as planned she should be here by March/April.


Obedience class tonight went great despite ANOTHER email form the club's committee.  I was pumped. Josie showed off all her pet dog tricks at the beginning of class. Then we gave them homework for two weeks out to teach their dog a trick. Still a couple of dogs struggling with 'down', one with coming. Everything else went great. 

I looked out today and discovered there is no more safe high ground for the adult dogs.


Ok, now I'm just mad! The obedience committee sent Cheryl and me an email saying we can't just ignore this guy, that he deserves a response.  "We have to have the attitude that criticism makes us better." Well clearly, we DON'T have to have that attitude. Some people are just set in concrete and can't see obedience as fun or rewarding. If the club people are going to call me AT HOME in the evening and insist on me committing to a date to teach obedience class THAT NIGHT then they don't have a problem with the way I have taught for the club for years (with no complaints). Therefore, In my opinion,  they should blatantly support the teachers they have chosen and not make it our problem to come up with an answer for this guy. "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your experience (of one night). We understand not all people are a fit with all teachers. Here's your money back." Should be the clubs answer to anyone complaining about a teacher.  If the club then wants to NOT have me teach anymore, so be it. One unhappy person from years of teaching and that's all they want to focus on???   Or they should be responsible for coming up with a syllabus for each class and force the members to teach all the same way. (good luck with volunteers then) My great temptation is to tell the club to shove it and find a teacher to finish out the next 4 weeks of class as I won't be there. If I were not already personally invested in some of those students I'd do it in a heartbeat. I don't need this for volunteering my time. But I can't hang the people out to dry that are working so hard. The kid with the puppy she wants to train is coming along so well. I have to help the Bloodhound people get a grip on that LARGE puppy before the baby comes or the dog is in for a hard road. The lady with the super overwhelmed lab is already seeing improvement.  I will not be doing my volunteer hours out at obedience class anymore it seems. May the club, that struggles to find enough teachers to volunteer each year, stew in their own juices. I chatted with Cheryl and she agreed to come up with a succinct and polite response to the club for us to jointly send seeing as how I am not all that good with polite sometimes. She has much more experience with people soothing than I do in the professional world. I find I am way too honest and straightforward for the most.

One thing I have learned here is that I don't want to do this for money. Things like people not being open to my way and then complaining really eat at me. I don't want to be losing sleep over people paying me to help them with their dog and then not being open to that help. Maybe, if it were ME they were paying for I wouldn't let it get to me so much and I'd just refund money and go on. Somehow, I don't believe that would be true though. Scratch professional obedience trainer off my list.


Well, well. Mr German Shepherd owner from obedience class wrote a complaint letter to the club about Cheryl and me. The obedience trial committee people wanted us to read it and respond. We both declined to read it. We know what it's going to say. He said it in class. He thinks are methods are bunk, but he won't participate as we have encouraged.  Both of us said 'Give him his money back'. The only good thing to come out of going to the club meeting was seeing Rosey Andermann Kelley again! She trained with us from the time she was a teenager all the way through vet school. Then she moved to Colorado with her boyfriend, now husband. I've missed her around here. Her husband got transferred back here. She's re-joining the club. Can't wait to meet her new Aussie boy and see how far her lab has come in the last three years. She says agility wasn't big in CO and she has missed it. Should be seeing her at shows around here soon!


I got Kayak and Spirit out to my agility field this morning before it got too hot. Spirit did the weaves. It only took a couple of tries to get them right. Then the teeter. She was bailing off it just at the tip point the first couple of tries. Then she did it completely and dropped to a crouch when it tipped. I like the crouch she is showing now. Must get her out to other teeters before she shows in Mobile in several weeks.

Things didn't go as planned for Kayak and me! Mr. CRAZY took a sideways dive off the dogwalk ramp when we were working target at the bottom of the ramp. He landed on his side on the roots of the tree by the dogwalk and let out a SCREAMING fit that made me concerned he'd broken something. I scooped him up and supported his core while he screamed. From experience with broken limbs I know this is the best way to support the dog.  I was calculating how to get him quietly to the house with Spirit, but the screaming stopped and he started licking and squirming. I felt quietly down each leg with no response and then down his ribs with no response. I set him gently on the ground and he took of running. OK then, seems he just had a temporary ouchie and walked it off! I took him back towards the dogwalk ramp and he got back on it without hesitation, but this time he was more cautious about paying attention to his feet. I can't say I'm upset that he's discovered his self preservation gene. I'd like for it to not have happened that way though. With his new found self preservation fresh is his mind we approached the teeter. He did the full height teeter with full awareness of his body this time. He even dropped his weight as it fell and stayed on it as it banged. Unfortunately for me a critter had dug a hole next to the teeter. One just big enough to get my entire toe trapped in as I trotted by the teeter to support Kayak. My ankle rolled over violently as my toes quit moving abruptly.. The right one (opposite the bad knee), the one I tore all the ligaments in in high school.  The pain was fast and intense enough to make me consider I may be seeing a doctor again. I landed with my body sprawled across the teeter just behind Kayak (on the end). I managed to not scream or cry in my effort to not spook him anymore that day. I shoved cookies in his mouth while I sat on the teeter and squinted tears. Now I was contemplating how to get a one legged human and two dogs back to the house.  After my body shot out natural pain killers I was able to stand up on the leg and realize that it would support me at a limp. Time to head back to the house!

Some Excedrin and an ankle brace and several hours later I took Xanadu and Sprigs to my agility field to work on a few things. Sprigs was rusty on her weaves, but awesome on the contacts and jumps. Xanadu didn't show any fear of my teeter even after being none too happy with the one this past weekend. She practiced the tire at 16" in preparation for USDAA in a couple of weeks. The biggest thing we worked on was curing the Superman fly at the bottom of the dog walk. She did very well dropping her body weight and running through the contact with the two weave poles leaning over the contact zone to encourage that motion.


It was not a great weekend in Crosby. Kamikaze did Q both Standard runs. One of which she trotted the whole course looking disdained. She was forced to run her two runs within 20 minutes or so of each other in pretty warm weather with a full winter coat. Not her favorite thing to do. She has decided to hit the eject button on that winter coat. I think she may be a couple of pounds heavier  than I'd like her to be. We'll work on that. 

Lego had some really nice moments and a few dork ones. He did all his weaves without popping at the end right up until the last run when the weaves were next to last and he was Q'ing. Then he popped the last two poles.... THREE TIMES.  Spirit couldn't find her weaves this weekend and then to top it off got spooked on the really fast falling teeter  there and wouldn't touch it the second day. ARGH! Back to teeter boot camp. 

Xanadu only decided to RUN on one run. and she played Superman off the dogwalk on that one. She got picked up on two of them after three to five obstacles of walking. One JWW run I forced her around the course at a walk. UGH! There was a massage lady there that worked on her Sat. after the show. She found what she believes is the cause of tightness in her back. Her right hip has a tendon tightening up. She showed me stretches to do for Xan to help keep her tuned up between times. She didn't run either time on Sunday though after being worked on.

Came home somewhat disappointed, but on we go. Next weekend is obedience. Hoping Kamikaze can at least look like she knows all the exercises and Spirit can bring home her RE title.

While I was in TX the doggies' favorite delivery came to the house!


I took Kayak out to my agility field again today. We went back to the evil teeter. I was right. He was NOT AT ALL spooked by his experience on it Monday. He wants to do the whole thing by himself. I am trying to help him control his body while I control the teeter fall speed. He is doing great. I am afraid I have created a teeter sucker though. We worked a little on the small table today and I am already expecting an auto down when he hits the table.  He stepped through the tire another couple of times.  Then I walked him over the dogwalk since he is not loosing his feet on the teeter. I see a major issue teaching him to touch the yellow zone here!!! I have been working the touch (backing up to touch with rear feet) at the bottom of the dogwalk, well the bottom of everything, but I see it's going to be a leap for him to 'get it' when you add in the whole dogwalk. We'll be working from one ramp down for awhile until he gets the idea I suspect.

Xanadu, Kamikaze, Spirit and Sprigs went to obedience class with me. Kamikaze practiced signals. She's still walking up a step or two on the drop, but otherwise is doing them all when I signal the first time. Then a little go-out practice. She needed a reminder to go-out to Cheryl's gate. Then there was the distraction of Cheryl and Grace playing gloves on the other side of the gate. Xanadu just worked on fixing her articles. She started with only 4 out there plus the scented one.  She was stressed, but successful a couple of times, so I added two more to the pile. I got her back to sniffing them all instead of snatch and grab. I almost have her racing to the pile again. Spirit played drop on recall and retrieves and broad jump. She's coming along well. Sprigs practiced Cheryl's broad out there (as an agility jump) and was great. I think she gets that one. The she practiced heeling and recall.

As far as our class goes I am thrilled with about everyone. Most all did there homework and their dogs lay down even out there. There is a young girl (9 or so) that wants to train the Aussie/corgi puppy at her house. (with wonderful father support) I am amazed at how much better they are this week over last week. She is following instructions well and her dog lays down and comes and lets her put her hand through the collar. There is one big disappointment in that there is a fellow with his young GSD who won't use treats or toys. He wants to dog to listen because he said so. He is pushing it down and then there is no verbal reward. I think he is put out with Cheryl and my's class. We make beginner fun. Even adding in an agility obstacle each week.  We don't drill anything in either. He left class early. Even before he could see Kamikaze and Kayak demonstrate. I don't know why that bothers me so much, but it does. 

Off to Crosby and more agility Friday afternoon.

Here's one of Kayak's brothers, Ryder. He was kept by the breeder's 20 something daughter


I got the a jump, the chute, and the broad jump out in the front yard today. Sprigs needs practice on the chute and broad. The jump was for speed headed to them. It took her only one attempt at the chute with some help from me before she was racing the whole length of it. It's a 12 foot chute I think, so twice the length of the one she'll see in the show in March. She was doing the broad jump right even on the first try. 

While I had the chute out I got Kayak out to come see it. I rolled all the fabric up so it was just hanging a bit over the end opening. I was able to get him through the barrel with no problem. I got all into the agility training and took Kayak to my agility field to see the teeter and the tire. He walked through the 8" tire several times. Then on to the teeter. This dog is just NUTS. Really! I tried the game I usually play with puppies where I hold them steady at the end of the teeter and dispense treats while I bounce the board up and down in a small arc. He was so over excited about the treats I could barely keep him on the teeter end. I gave up on that game before we both got hurt. So I did the bang the teeter hard to the ground while he stands beside it and gets treats. He couldn't care less about the banging teeter noise. If there are treats, he's there. When I started to walk away he got on the teeter and ran to the end full blast like a small dog. It hit the ground so hard he was bounced off the side. His response:  Stand up and ask, where's my treat? Oh my. I was afraid of the mental damage that may have just been done. Turns out I had nothing to fear. With my help this time we walked up the teeter and I controlled the fall. Apparently he was not the least bit spooked by his wild ride.

I laid out a track for Twinkle in the empty lot across the street and one for Sprigs in the side of my yard. Twinkle was less than stellar. She started great, but as we skirted the woods there were way more animal smells than she could handle. She was tracking alright, but she was not tracking me. ARGH! I did manage to get her through the track to the glove with shrimp in it at the end. Sprigs was great though. She had two right turns and a left one. There is still  a treat every 12 steps or so to keep her rewarded. She overshot all the turns a bit, but fixed them herself. Way to go girl!

Here's Kayak, growing up and getting more red.


Agility in Kiln went pretty well. The temperatures started with a 2 every morning though. It was COLD! My knee held up fine even when I scared myself and stepped in uneven ground and lurched the bad knee sideways good. Still can't take off and sprint with the dogs though. Friday I managed to NQ Standard with all 4 dogs (4 different ways). Xanadu played Superman off the dogwalk or she'd have taken home her first QQ ever. She ran so well though. Ten seconds under time in jumpers. She was back to her old self after months of struggling with her walking courses.  I think something in her back has been kinked and a good massage and 6 months off helped. Lego and Kamikaze both Q'd in jumpers too.  Lego actually outran Kamikaze by a second too. Spirit would've Q'd if her handler hadn't screwed her up at the opening.

Saturday Spirit Q'd in Jumpers for her second AXJ leg.

She used to struggle making time in jumpers, but was a good five seconds under on this one. Kamikaze Q'd in jumpers but Lego didn't. Xanadu stayed home for Saturday. I managed to not Q in Standard again all day. I pulled Lego off the course because he was very distracted by something outside the ring. I watched a dog a few ahead of him run out the back of the ring. A dog that NEVER leaves it's owner like that. I wasn't willing to risk it, so after the successful weaves (on the second try) I just walked him off. Kamikaze was two obstacles from a QQ when she got spooked by something outside the ring and shimmied sideways towards the Aframe and didn't take it (while looking the other way). ARGH!!

Sunday just didn't go as well on the Q level. Kamikaze, on my last run of the day, pulled out a jumpers Q.  Off course it was my fault, again, that Spirit didn't Q in jumpers for her AXJ title. I pulled her out of the last weave pole trying a front cross I had not planned originally. Xanadu, most unfortunately, walked her courses again. I am so upset. I just don' t know what's going on. I get the Standard course complaining. It was like 32 degrees and I took her out of the car, took her coat off and dropped her to run. She was not happy. I don't get the pouting on the jumpers course much later in the day though.  Lego was much distracted today and not 'with me'. I think I figured out his weave pole popping at the last couple of poles though. Will put my theory to the test next weekend in Crosby.

Since Time to beat was between the Standard and Jumpers runs today and Cheryl and I didn't enter it we had lots of time to interact with Grace and Kayak off leash in the big field behind the arena Kayak was a rock star! He got off doing his own thing a time or two and I took off the other direction and he came tearing after me. He checked in with me on his own several times (got treats each time) too. He came tearing every time I called him even if Grace was ignoring us. I am thrilled with his first big off leash adventure.

Grace came home with her NAP title and her first OJP leg. I think she did very well Friday and Sunday!


I've been working with Kayak everyday a little. His crate manners have improved dramatically here at the house. We still get some noise at eating times, but we've turned the volume down quite a bit and we're seeing improvement in the duration as well. Tonight I worked with all the current/upcoming obedience dogs as well. Xanadu has developed a problem with articles again. *sigh* she runs to the pile all excited and then stands there and forgets to sniff. On the up side her signals and moving stand were great. Sprigs did well working heeling, sit and down. I introduced stand and she is struggling with that concept. Twinkle is still working attention on me and one step heeling. I threw in a walk around the dog and a couple of right hand finishes. Sparkle practiced her retrieve and heeling and drop on recall. She actually has one CDX leg, so we are gunning for that title...eventually. (no rush) Spirit practiced retrieve and heel and drop on recall as well. She is still in beginning learning stages of the drop, but coming along. She is struggling with the wait par t of the retrieve. If she does wait then she doesn't go out to get it on the first command. I really must work on out of sight stays with her now that it seems she may actually learn the other stuff. Kamikaze and I worked all the utility exercises except jumping. Hard to set that up inside. We did do go-outs down the hall though. She was just wonderful!

Cheryl and I have volunteered to teach beginner obedience for  the first session this year. It starts tomorrow. I think we have a good plan for the first few classes. 

There are three days of agility in Kiln, MS this weekend. I'm hitting it full blast. All dogs entered this time.


BTW: I had nail trim day yesterday. All but Lego and Nikita had a nail trim. Kayak actually had his ground. WHAT A FIT!! He screamed and thrashed and kicked and gnawed. I swear it looked like his nails had been ground when I got him. By the last foot the noise level was toned down some, but he is NOT liking the nail job at all. Jedi had a yearly check-up and is doing well for 12 years old. A little sore in the left hip, hearing going, eyes aging. Cedar had a thyroid retest and we are upping her meds again.


My first real AKC agility trial back after knee surgery went very well! I only ran Kamikaze and Lego two days. Kayak went along for the experience of traveling and being at an agility show. Kazee had her first try at Time To Beat Saturday morning. She had a decently nice run in which she hit a bar. She's not really a bar knocker, so I don't worry much about it. Then on to JWW where she Q'd with a pokey run. Standard went well and I pulled her off the last jump.. ARGH!! So no QQ and she was pokey all runs.  Lego had interaction with agility equipment for the first time in 6 months. He stopped and stared at the weaves like they were alien in his first run Saturday. (JWW) I completely expected that. Then it took 3 tries to get all the way through them, but after that he was perfect on the weaves all weekend. The rest of the run was really nice.  He took direction well. His Standard run Saturday was likely his best run. OK, granted he was supposed to take the dogwalk to the chute to the weaves instead of the tunnel in the opening. I'd already decided what to do if he took the off course. I made it so smooth he never knew he screwed it up.

Kayak did very well at the show site too! I had my guys crated where the rings weren't visible. He screamed bloody murder each time I walked to the crates and took someone else out, but the screaming stopped once I was out of sight for a bit. The screaming quit faster each time too. The person crated next to us was not upset about him, so it must not have gone on long by the end of the weekend. I got him out when I was free and played reward zone games with him. We also tried our new trick for the first time away from home and he did great. His touch (rear feet lift on to a surface) is coming along nicely. I got to do some restrained recalls (off leash) with Cheryl's help. I did one 'chase me around the trash cans' and some push back and run games while he was off leash. I did discover that I can NOT let other people give him treats. I usually let others feed the puppy, but he's so treat motivated he spent 30 minutes looking for the first person I let treat him and I couldn't get his attention. This will be my first experience with a dog like that. Michael Loftis took a couple of candid shots of Kayak while I had him by the rings. I did play puppy measure with him and he seems to be right around 16 inches tall.

His hotel manners weren't bad at all. He even slept through the night Saturday night.
He did come down with diarrhea by middle of the second day. I am assuming it was from lots of treats and strange water. If it doesn't clear up I'll get him re-checked. 

Speaking of hotel... that experience was not one I'd like to repeat. From a 85 degree room (heat running all day) at check-in to an A/C unit that froze up each night to no ice machines working to no maid service to a strange man approaching us (and 4 the dogs)  at last potty time with us in pajamas.

Sunday went just as well at Saturday. Kamikaze's best run was Standard that morning for 15 MACH points. But I don't have a video. She then poked around JWW for QQ #13.

Lego did just as well Sunday. He was clean in Standard through all the hard stuff then was a dufus at the teeter and bailed off before it tipped because he hit it going to fast for his comfort level. He had a great JWW run with a misunderstand near the end to blow that Q. Overall I was extremely proud of him this weekend! I ran all Sunday course with just an over  the counter compression knee brace and did fine with that! I tried one run Saturday with no brace and I did OK, but the knee felt odd afterward.


Round one Standard CLEAN
Round two JWW OOPS, bad handler. Watch me blow the serpentine at the end by not holding long enough. She was thinking I meant that jump and I did, but then I took off too soon.
Round three JWW CLEAN but a bit slow. Way too much control needed on that course... ICK
Round four Hybrid. Bad handler pushes her at the weaves after the teeter. I KNOW BETTER! ARGH

Before I took off for Pensacola I got another training session on Utility exercises with Kamikaze and Xanadu. Kamikaze ROCKED. I even did the glove exercise followed by go-outs. The sometimes screws up her go-outs if you send her to an outside glove. She then goes out to the same spot. Not this time! She was right one. Xanadu worked articles. Great on the metal, took two tries on the leather. Then she worked gloves. I can tell which exercise I have not trained as much. GLOVES! Needs work. Not necessarily on the retrieving part or the turning part, but the part where she goes to the glove she is pointing at and not whatever one she sees first.

Sprigs got a quick session with the broad jump. She's only seen it once, so we had to work a few times to get her jumping the span instead of skittering across it.


Rich said he finally got Kayak to be quiet while dipping food yesterday. I tried out his new idea. IT WORKS! HALLELUJAH! First screech and I threw a metal bowl into his crate door. Instant silence. A few more squeaks and another metal bowl and there was continued silence. I'd tried smacking the crate door with my hand to get his attention with no luck. I'd tried bapping the top  of the crate with no results. So, it goes a bit against my grain as a trainer to stop the screeching that way, but my nerves weren't gonna take the noise much longer. I have been refusing to reward the behavior, and waiting for quiet, but we could be here until Valentine's Day waiting on that. I still have to wait him out to let him out of 'Siberian village'. He wants to screech at me when I get to the gate. But that screeching has been stopping fairly quickly where the eating screeching was eternal.

I pulled out the obedience gates and jumps for some practice sessions today since Kamikaze's entered in Utility the end of the month and it's been at least a month since she practiced. She was STELLAR. Xanadu got some go-out and directed jumping training too. She's getting it!  Funny thing is tomorrow I'm taking off to Pensacola with Cheryl to an agility show. Oh well, Kazee will remember all that! Lego is showing for the first time since I hurt my knee. Kayak is going along for his first agility show trip. Can't wait to show off the new kid and get back into the agility show routine.

Kayak's red color is coming in now!


Rich and I spent some time this afternoon and yesterday afternoon working on the horse fencing. I finally feel comfortable enough with my knee to do fencing in the woods. Plus I got a note from Windy's current home saying she is dedicated to getting Windy trained and shipped out to me the early part of this year. There is only a 6 foot section left to get up and the enclosure will be done. We still need to get a walk-in shelter up, but we have the supplies to do that. Just need to get to doing it.

Kayak is settling in well. He's sleeping 6 to 7 hours a night and when he does wake up it's a polite squeaking noise to get my attention instead of an all out blood curdling scream. His only real screeching now is at dinner time. He lets out some great screams waiting on you to get the food dipped and then again when he is done eating. (which is about 10 seconds after you give it to him) I've been doing my best to get in at least one training session a day with him. It's the basics right now. Sit, down, come, come, come ,come and reward zone. He's certainly not stupid, but he does get frustrated easily right now trying to figure out what I want him to do.