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2008 training goals

June 2008

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30th

This evening I set up my recently purchased competition quality high jump and pulled out the broad jump. I ran Sparkle and Kamikaze through the Open obedience exercises. Sparkle went first. She did OK heeling. It took her three of four time to remember to drop when told. Part of this may be my fault. Kazee requires a southern drawl to the word 'drop' and it appears Sparkle needs the sharp, quick word 'drop'. I have been practicing so much with Kazee that I did the southern drawl the first few times before I remembered to do the sharp, quick word for Sparkle. She still struggles with going to get the dumbbell the first time she is told to. She much prefers two commands. I have cut out the two commands completely though. If she doesn't go on the first one I either restart the exercise from the beginning or I 'encourage' her with a shove forward on her collar. She did the broad jump correctly the first time though. This is a break through as she's been trying to come inside the jump to get treats from me on the first broad jump attempt. She got some steak bits for working obedience exercise and then I brought out Kazee. She heeled well with a bit of lag on the about turns. She did her drop the first try with only a couple of steps instead of four. Both her retrieves were great. She's even starting to think about coming in straight now as opposed to just coming back with the dumbbell. She also did the broad jump right the first try. I should've entered her in Wildcard Open for Reliant so her breeder could see her work. After she got her steak bits I decided maybe we should try those out of sight stays at full time length. We've been practicing them some at the obedience classes, but she's never done full length out of sight stays. She passed with flying colors our first try at the 3 minute sit and 5 minute down. She didn't even fidget on the down. I have entered her in Open the first weekend in August at the Deep South obedience show, and it looks like we should be ready.  

I had to drop the new truck off at the dealership tonight to get the dent fixed in the morning and get another set of keys made. While I was waiting on Rich to come get me I saw a personalized license plate I recognized, 'FASTDOGS'. I looked around the dealership and found Neale looking at a 2006 Ford minivan to replace her 2000. The sales people always seem taken aback when us dog people want to measure the interior dimensions and see what it looks like with all the seats out or folded flat. She even went as far as to put some crates in the possible replacement to see how they fit. Here's hoping she found a vehicle and a price that works out for her.

28th

I attended another demo at the public library today. This time Nikita got to go. We demonstrated the signal exercise and out of sight stays. She does a very good ambassador job for the breed with the children too. When I got home there was a nice surprise in the mail in the form of my professional pictures of Nikita, Kamikaze and Shelby. 

Yesterday I dropped off my car for an oil change. Rich was a bit pokey getting there to pick me up. While I was waiting out front I noticed an F-150 with all that colorful paint on the window. " '07 DEMO MUST GO!" I snooped around it a bit. It was XLT in an OK color and had extended cab and a Triton V-8. Cloth seats. When Rich got there I asked if he wanted to ask about the deal they were giving on it. So we did. The asking price was now 2/3 the original retail. It had 7200 miles on it. We went to dinner and talked about the age of our other truck and the deal we could get on this one. We went to the public library and checked out the retail of our 2000 truck and checked our debt payoff and plugged in the numbers. We decided to go for it since we had almost 1/2 the price to put down.

26th

I had another soccer game Tues., so I missed the obedience club meeting. We won again. We're 4-0 now. I still feel a twinge in that right quad when I play, but it doesn't bother me in everyday life. I have a feeling it wont' be completely well until this season wraps up. Since I have a game every week it's hard to rest it long enough for total healing.

Kamikaze went into season for real today. I've been watching and could tell it was coming. I'm glad of the timing. It seems she should be done with all that just in time for Reliant dog shows. I entered her in agility there for her first attempt at it. I was gonna be big time disappointed if I ended up having to pull her agility entries for being in season.

I ordered the new puppy a tracking harness from J&J since I was ordering other things. Tracking is one thing I can start teaching as soon as it arrives. I also got a Sparkle sized set of utility gloves. And today the puppy's new soft crate arrived that I ordered off ebay. It's made by the same people that made Sparkle's cute little pink crate. But this one's red. Since the new puppy with be a red I thought that'd be too cute. Beagles with matching crates of different colors.

The weather didn't cooperate for obedience class tonight. It's been raining steadily here since about 3 pm. I didn't even attempt to drive all the way into town. Kazee can't go anyway until she's out of season, so it would be just Sparkle going. I guess I could take Nikita with me the next couple of weeks to let her practice out there for a change. Since the weather was bad, I did a quick session under the patio cover with Sparkle and Kazee. With Sparkle the goal was just to get her to pick up one of the gloves off the ground and walk a couple of steps to bring it to me. If you recall I had one session with her already where she learned to walk a couple of steps with it, after I put it in her mouth, to return it to me. It took several tries to get her to pick it up. First we just played take it from Mom and walk into me to hand in back. Then she'd lay on it, or chew on it, but not pick it up. I played 'wave it in her face' and toss it a foot or so to get her to race after it. Finally one time she picked it up and I patted my legs to get her to walk with it. When she traded it in for treats I made a big deal about it and we raced inside where she got a couple of bite sized steak bits for her efforts. Kazee was next. She, as well, had one glove session. But, she actually picked the glove up the first session and turned around to hand it to me. I put her glove down and pointed at it from a foot or two away. She raced out, picked it up, and raced back to front to trade it in. WOW! She really did 'get it' that first session. I backed up to 5-6 feet away and tried again. Same result. What a smart dog! I put the glove up, and just out of curiosity put down a metal article. She raced out, picked it up without hesitation, and brought it to me. Is she really a husky or has someone disguised a border collie in husky clothing? I got out another metal article. I scented one and put a smidge of cheese on it. I set them down together. She raced out and picked the first one she saw up and brought it to me. It happened to be the right one, but it was a total accident. I treated her and did it again. This time I walked her over and hovered her nose around them for a minute. For the next three of four times she'd just bring back the closest one. Then one time she went out and sniffed the wrong one and passed it up to smell the next one for cheese. "YES! YES! Bring it here!" She brought it to me and she got the rest of the treats and lots of praise.

23rd

I attended the LCCOC old obedience equipment auction on Sunday. I got a high jump and some ring gates. Then I helped them move all the stuff in the storage room to another storage place closer to the lady's house that is constantly having to get stuff out of it.

Today Rich was home by 11ish because he was just feeling awful. He spent most of the rest of the day sleeping. I did get a quick drop on recall and broad jump session in with Sparkle and Kamikaze today. Both of them showed improvement on the broad jump. They jumped straight and returned to me immediately. Sparkle only tried to walk around the jump to see my treats once. Kazee was jumping it from the start. Sparkle also dropped the second time with no extra commands. I really need to start working on Sparkle's contacts more consistently too. She's going to need them in a couple of months at an AKC trial. I'm not as worried about the upcoming USDAA trial for her.

21st

I started the morning by taking Kamikaze out tracking. I aged it 30 minutes again. She took off from the start flag great this time, but the first turn almost got her. She had to search quite a bit before she decided on the right direction. The other turns were much better, and even better than last time. She is keeping firm and determined pressure on the leash now when she is on the track. Even if I hold up she insists she knows where she is going. I am very happy to see this behavior developing. I ran home after tracking and swapped out dogs. Nikita and I headed to the nursing home. She enjoyed the rounds there. We stopped at a couple of pet stores on the way home, and we bought the new puppy-to-come a cute bright green puppy collar and leash. I got home just in time to swap dogs again and head out to a doggy demo/info session for kids that our obedience club was hosting at the main branch of the library. I took Misty there. She doesn't get to go as much and she loves kids. She demonstrated her cutest two tricks (saying hello and rolling over) to the kids and then spent most of the demo session lying in the middle of the kids soaking up all the pets and love she could.

19th

I made Nikita do an entire utility run through today as her pass to come in the house at lunch. She did extremely well. Her two faults were anticipation of the down signal (amazing for a dog that won't down in the ring), and glove #2 retrieve instead of glove #3 the first time. She did all the other exercises right the first time. She even did glove #1 right the first try. It was only #3 that threw her, but only once. While I had everything set up I got Kamikaze out with a small Tupperware container to introduce her to go-outs. When I showed her the treat on top of the container and then backed her up she went straight to it when I released her from 4-5 feet away. She made it back to about 10 feet. Then I introduced her to the gloves. I got her to hold it and walk with it fairly easily. It took a couple of minutes to get her to pick it up. Once she picked it up off the ground I immediately praised loudly and dispensed lots of treats and we went in. Sparkle got a quick session in go-outs (on a Flexi). She's not as focused, and we managed to get her to go-out from about 6 feet away to the treat. I made her hold a glove, much to her dismay, but she won't pick them up. I ordered her a set of small gloves from J and J since I needed to order a few things. I also ordered another tracking harness in a beagle size.

I finally ordered the family photos today. It was interesting getting people at three different addresses to agree on poses to order, but at least now we're done and they'll be here in about 3 weeks.

I took Kamikaze and Sparkle out to obedience tonight. I used someone else's high jump and broad jump to practice with Kazee first thing. She wasn't really into the retrieving thing tonight. She did them. but less enthusiastically than usual. I got a good tip on helping her stay straight across the broad jump boards instead of cutting the corner. I then rushed over to join a class with Sparkle for the last part of heeling. Cheryl showed up and we left class to work on stuff in Open with our guys. Sparkle did some nice retrieve on flat stuff, but is still tempted to wait on second commands to go get it. Her broad jump is coming along nicely too. She still needed about three times of steps with a hand signal to remember how to drop on recall without the extra help. We worked on Bernie's dumbbell carrying again, and his broad jump and drop. Kazee then got her turn trying drops. She is still walking in many steps after the command before she drops. We finally discovered she did better if I used my good southern drawl and spread the word 'DROP' out into two syllables. Grace worked some rally moves, broad jumps, and retrieves. 

I got home just a bit before nine and noticed a message. I had just missed the beagle puppies' mom. I called her right back. The gist of the conversation is that I am definitely getting a puppy. I was hoping for red girl. Well, she seemed to think (on her own) that a girl would go best at my house (YEAH!) and she didn't seem to have an issue with getting me a red one since she has three red girls. I will be picking up the pup at the conformation shows in Monroe (puppy home town) the weekend of Labor Day. They'll be 12 weeks. I also got some more pictures of them. They opened their eyes today. It looks like as they grow that the two red girls that are white with blotches of red are equally as cute now.

The top three reds are the girls.

 

16th

When the sun waned this evening I pulled out the 12 weave pole set. I put the very large Tupperware container at the end of the poles for something to focus on and drive to. Jedi was first. He did three or so sets of nice weaves and that was it for him. He still thinks agility practice in the yard is torture because of his first experiences. (when I was new at training) Sparkle needs reminding by weaving on leash at first. She remembered after a couple of times through what these were all about. She even got the bouncing rhythm going some. Kamikaze went through them first on lead too. She didn't seem to need the reminder though. She drove through them just beautifully. Her stepping rhythm is also improving to the point that I can see she actually has picked a rhythm now. She is great if she's on my left side (on side weaves), but we struggle some if I'm on the other side. I say 'we' because for some reason I feel awkward running down that side of the weaves with her. It's like I seem to be in her way or something. This is my first true one-stepper weaver, so maybe I just haven't gotten the proper speed or steps on that side yet. So, of course, if I feel awkward about it she does too.

After weave practice I put the ramps on the dogwalk and got Sparkle back out. We need to encourage speed! The first time over she ran up the ramp then trotted the top plank and the down plank. I didn't treat that, but didn't fuss either. I just raced back to the start and tried again. She definitely improved her speed some that time. A few more times and she was racing over it. 

 

14th

I got all the hounds bathed and got everyone their flea treatment yesterday. I'm still doing short drop on recall session sporadically. Kamikaze seems to be continuing to improve on the speed of her drops. Sparkle is doing better, but still needs the step and hand signal the first couple of times. This morning I got up and took Kamikaze tracking. I didn't get up particularly early, so it was in the high eighties by the time Kazee got on the track. I aged it 30 minutes. Kamikaze did much better at the start than usual. She still danced around the flag a couple of times before getting down to business. I'd like to see her start down the track right off, but I'll take this for now. She still has wild turns, but she has figured out to slow down and hunt a circle for the scent instead of looking at me with the "I lost it" look and waiting for me to help. She's also getting easier to read as far as body language and tension on the lead when she truly is tracking and not goofing around. The rest of today was run some errands and ride the lawn mower around the backyards. Josie got to go to PetSmart and see her rescue mom. Both of them were very excited. Josie still remembers them. I'll finish the rest of the mowing tomorrow.

 

12th

I have been working Kamikaze and Sparkle in short sessions on the drop on recall this week. Tonight I went out to obedience class. My guys are not really in a class right now. They are past the level of all the official classes. We do have one club member that comes out most of the time with her portable obedience equipment and offers her help on whatever advanced exercise you need pointers on. She usually leaves up her equipment through both hours so even if she's not available at least the equipment is. Tonight, however, she had other places to be. Cheryl wasn't going to be there. She had to get packed and such for an out of town trip in the morning. So, I got out there a good bit early with my broad jump in tow. I set up the broad jump and got out Sparkle's dumbbell. Sparkle and I then did a quick heeling session. Not too bad, but of course I had left over conformation bait (beef roll), so that helped. We practiced drop on recall. The first time or two she needed the one step and the hand motion, but the last couple of times I was able to stand still and she dropped on the word only. She's really coming along well for an almost 2 year old beagle. I didn't bring my high jump so we just practiced retrieving the dumbbell on the flat. The first time I had a flexi-leash on her just to be sure she came back with it and didn't take it off to play. She did very well, so I took the leash off. She did it very nice the next time, but didn't go out to get it on the first command. We tried again. When she didn't go out I left her in a stay and went and picked it up and started the exercise over. I don't want to get in the situation where she thinks she's supposed to go get it the second time I tell her. That's a bad habit to start. after the restart she went out on the first command and brought it in nicely. The first attempt at broad jump had her coming straight past the jump to get the treats from me. I reset her and threw a treat to the end as she was approaching. Over she went. A couple more tries to get her going over it the first try. I guess I need to start working out of sight stays with her. I've been putting it off for some unknown reason. I guess I figured it'd take her longer to get it all together for open than it looks like it's going to.

Classes started up as Sparkle and I finished with the broad jump. I moved my stuff out of the way and swapped dogs. Kamikaze and I joined the class for heeling and stays. She did an out of sight sit for 1.5 minutes (half the required time) and a out of sight down for 3 minutes (a little over half the required time). That's as long as they push the intermediate beginners to do (in sight for them of course). Then we stepped out of class and practiced drop on recall. Kazee is doing better dropping without the four steps after the command now. The first time she did the steps and I went back and tried again. The next couple of times was better. Then we practiced dumbbell. She did great going on the first command and bringing it in each time. Now I really must fix the very crooked front and the bumping of my legs with the dumbbell. For some reason she hasn't grasped the concept that she must return to front position (which involves not bumping). After 4 or so throws I put it up and we pulled out the broad jump. I threw a treat the first few times to get her going over it straight and with speed. Then we did a couple without the treat throw. I see no reason that she can't be ready to show in open be the end of the year.

Marie sent me a link to the website of the folks that have the daddy of the puppies. It was neat to go check them out.

10th

Yesterday Lego had his yearly checkup. To help his stress levels I left him in the car until they were ready to put him in a room. All went well and for the first time in 5 years he didn't try to jump off the table over my shoulder during the 'ordeal'.

 I had another soccer game tonight. I proceeded to somehow pull my quad muscle in my right leg pretty bad about 30 minutes into the game. A guy there had some wrap, so I wrapped it tight and finished out the game at somewhat less than half capacity play.

 I got a beagle puppy update. They are all still doing well and growing chunky and wiggly. The one I pointed out in the picture on the 5th as my favorite ends up being the puppy that was breach that caused the whole c-section fun.

8th

This weekend just started all wrong. I was half way to Lake Charles Saturday morning when it dawned on me I'd left my non-show clothes and toiletries and such sitting in their packed bag in the bedroom. At least the hanging bag with the show clothes, the dog, and the grooming bag made it in the car. I get there and get set up to groom. I cut the ever loving snot out of one of my fingers with my grooming scissors while I was trimming Kamikaze's foot hair. Now I'm trying to not gush blood on my nice clean and very white husky legs. I wrapped my finger in the towel that was on top of the grooming table. Even that didn't seem good enough to stop it. I ended up having to take Kazee off the table and crate her while I went to the bathroom to work on my own finger. I ended up having to shred a paper towel and dampen it  and wrap it around the finger. This was all good and well until show time. It happened to be the leash hand and just rolling the leash up in my hand started the bleeding again, but at least not a gusher. To cap the show I got last place. I changed out of my show clothes and stuck around to watch some. I had nothing better to do. can't check into a hotel before 2 or 3 anyways. I watched the beagles first. There was this one guy with a young pup, her first show, that was exceptionally friendly. I squatted down and she crawled all over me. Very Cute! After group judging I decided to head out. I had seen a Wal-Mart on the way to the show that I'd pass again. I left Kazee in the car (running with A/C) and went in to get essentials. one three pack of underwear, a three pack of socks, a sale t-shirt ($1), travel size shampoo, deodorant and soap. Turns out I forgot dog food too, so add in a small bag of IAMS. So, for about $25 I am set for the weekend. I get to the hotel around 5 pm thinking I'll check in and leave Kazee in the air conditioning there while I find dinner. WRONG again! Seems they are having trouble getting their rooms clean at a decent hour. They had one clean room with no sheets. "We're waiting on a load to dry.", she says. "How long?", "Don't know". "Can I at least check in and get the key? And I'll head to dinner." So I get checked in, but now Kazee has to got to dinner with me. Once again, leave her in car (with A/C) and catch about a one hour dinner at Logan's Roadhouse. Thankfully I had a seat where I could see the car. Back to the hotel to unload my meager purchases. I start looking around and I'm not thrilled with the area. One of those places you bolt and chain the door every time you're in there. I did see other show people walking dogs, so that made me feel better. I decided to get some dessert at vending machines. Get Reeses. They're melted and deformed. Coke machine eats last two dollar bills, dispenses no coke. Desk lady says nothing she can do.

Up this morning at 6 AM. No air conditioner running. It was running last night. At least it's not warm in here yet! Left room about 6:30 figuring I'll drive through a fast food joint for breakfast. First McDonalds I see I get in drive through line. I sit there, and sit there, and sit there. 10 minutes later and we haven't moved. Rather than go inside (how much faster can that be?) I just leave. There's got to be more along the way. Stop at Burger King. No one answers drive through. They not open? Drive on. I end up at the show site around 7AM. Figure everything will get swinging about 8. There's a concession stand there too. ONE MORE WRONG! The show doesn't start until 9 this morning. I could get a coke at the machine, but it won't take my five, and recall the hotel one ate the last two ones. By 8:15 or so the vendor that sells bait opened up. I bought a $1 pack of bait so I could get my coke. Things look up as I see friends from Baton Rouge arriving. Turns out their car broke down Sat. in Lafayette or they'd have been there both days. I get Kazee mostly groomed and head to ring side to watch some dogs I know. At least today we got Reserve Winners bitch (2nd place) so I have now officially beaten somebody, but it doesn't help for points. I does help moral some though to actually beat someone for once. I packed up and headed home.

5th

CONGRATS! to new mom, Dancer (owned by Marie), and her six new beagle puppies born by c-section early this morning. There appear to be 4 reds and 2 tri colored, 4 males, 2 females. I think it's one boy red and one boy tri. Everyone appears well and healthy at this point. We'll keep them in our thought for the next couple of weeks since a C-section can take a toll and mom and pups. There will likely be a couple to three for sale. We are on the 'interested party' list, but have not pushed any issue about it. We'll leave Marie to make decisions on her own. We are really only interested in a red as I can get a tri at any rescue group in town and I've been wanting a red beagle since I was a pre-teen. This would also  involve another conformation champion requirement if we take a puppy.

from pics I like this one best  (One red puppy out of the realm of this picture)

I took Kamikaze and Sparkle out to obedience tonight. We didn't join a class, except for a stay practice. Kazee practiced her retrieves and did both with no problem. Then we practiced the broad jump. She still needs a bit of work on remembering to go over the jump straight before she comes to me. We did a few drops. Jerry gave me some pointers on getting her to drop faster. Right now she always drops, but she takes several steps after the command. We tried our first "hide behind the cars" during stays. It mimics out of sight stays, but you can watch them through the windows. Seeing as how we haven't worked on this much I didn't press her past a minute and a half. I returned several times into sight and walked in to reward the stay. She did very well I thought. I helped Cheryl with Bernie's retrieve skills, or tried to anyway. We were elated that he eventually took two steps with the dumbbell before throwing it at her feet. Sparkle did her retrieves too, but on a flexi- leash and it took two commands to get her to go get it. She tried to walk the broad jump a couple of times before she remembered the game. She still needs a step forward and a hand motion from me to get the drop on recall. We didn't practice stays yet with her. Grace practiced retrieving over a jump which she does fine if the jump is low enough to see the dumbbell over. Her broad jump is great. Cheryl's focusing her next goal for Grace on the Rally Advanced title.

3rd

I had my first soccer game of the summer this evening. I think it was about 91 degrees when the game started. Thankfully there was a breeze. I was definitely not in soccer shape, but I don't think I hurt the team any either. We won too.

2nd

I set up the teeter and the dogwalk late this evening when the temperature became almost bearable for a small amount of agility. My main focus was to see if I could get Sparkle to be a fast happy beagle over the contacts. I implemented the Tupperware container of treats that I used at the end of the weaves to see if this would help with her speed. I actually got  a couple of pretty fast teeters out of her once she saw the container at the end. Her first dogwalk was a slow trot, but when she caught sight of the container she picked it up a bit. After a couple of times over the dogwalk she started sprinting across, even sailing over the contact zone once with her new found enthusiasm. I, of course, did NOT fuss and even treated her for the fast, sailing dogwalk performance. You have to pick you punishments or lack of reward carefully with dogs that you're trying to encourage confidence and enthusiasm in. If I can make this new behavior stick it will save us around 30 seconds on our times in the ring. She's been doing an awful stroll on the dogwalk, Aframe and the teeter that makes them take 10-15 seconds each. Talk about some wasted time.

1st - Happy Birthday Lego

I was off to Lafayette again today. I took along Shelby and Nikita to have some professional pictures taken of them. They looked like they turned out well too. Kamikaze showed well again in conformation, but still no wins.

Lego is 6 today. He got a special pig ear just for him.