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2006 training goals 2006 Obedience log by week

September 2006

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26th

Lego has been tracking for his dinner this week. It's a short track with several 90 degree turns. About 4-5 steps after the turn is an article (yesterday's socks work well). He gets part of his dinner at each article. I only use a 6 foot leash and I only go forward when he's sniffing the ground and pulling me on the track. He still seems to think he doesn't need to concentrate too hard for this game. I am hoping if dinner only comes on the track he'll get more serious. Does this count towards obedience training since this is the next title I want for him? HRmm.. Have to think on that.  I did pull out articles for him yesterday, but after tracking he was not interested and messed around, dancing in the pile and grinning. I went over and ran my finger on the ground in a circle pattern around the articles. As expected he  followed my finger with his nose. As he passed the scented article, he snatched it up. "OH this game?"

Nikita has been practicing articles after dinner for her salmon snack. Yesterday she played avoidance for a bit and then got in the groove. She is sniffing them and is right every time (with 2 metal, 2 leather, and the scented one) Today she tried the avoidance game again. Considering her track record of success recently I decided now it was just a game and not as much stress. As soon as I sent her and she trotted off in in another direction. I said "NO!" She startled and when I went politely towards her to bring her back she shot off for the pile and brought me the right one. Almost as if she said, "oh, this Find it?" Knuckle head! Huskies are too smart for their britches sometimes. I didn't have any more avoidance behaviors today. She turned and shot straight to the pile and got to business each time. AND she was correct each time. After a couple of tries I added a 3rd metal and leather article. She still did fine sniffing out the scented one. I'm impressed with her progress.

Shelby did more no-nonsense allowed heeling yesterday. I took her around the front yard close to the neighbors property. Just as I planned she got distracted looking for their dog and I got a good correction in for bad attention. We walked around the front of our property and tried again. No attention lag this time. She seems to be understanding what I am looking for. So, since all we done is heel for awhile, she got to do articles today. She did superb. Straight to the pile, sniffing well, no discouragement. Can this really be a dog I trained? I am still shocked to think I have been that successful my first try at teaching articles.

24th

This has been "steal of a deal" weekend. It started yesterday. Rich has been collecting well enough that he suggested we go to the outlet mall and buy a few clothes. We haven't had any new clothes in some time. I ended up with 3 pairs of jeans, 6 pairs of socks, 4 shirts, a jacket, a new pair of shoes and 8 bras for around $200. Rich got out even better than me. He almost got to completely stock his work shirts for summer and winter for around $150. Then on the way home we stopped at Petsmart. Jedi is in need of a new soft crate for hotels, so I wanted to price them there. His cheap Big Lots brand one has a broken brace and the zipper on the front is ripping out. At the soft crate section I noticed they have new and improved models. There was one old model out of the box and pooped up for display. I hunted down some help there to ask about it. I figured the old style would be on clearance since they have stocked new and improved ones. BOY was I glad I made myself a pest. It was a N-30 (made by same company as NOZtoNOZ) so it was actually a Bandit sized crate, and it was $31. That's a big time steal. So on the way home from church today we stopped at the other Petsmart in town to see if they had any left-over old models. We were in LUCK. They had the N-26 (the one I needed for Jedi) and another N-30. The Jedi sized one priced at $24.50. I bought both. Hard to resist a deal. I did leave behind one N-42 (Nikita sized)  at the Airline store. It rang up $60 and I didn't need another one that size. I am still tempted and likely to go consider going back for it.

This afternoon Nikita had a quick session with the articles. She still had some avoidance behaviors, but I kept encouraging. She actually sniffed at them. She brought back the right article twice in a row so we quit with a party and went into the air conditioning. Lego tried a short track in the front yard today. His attention span was awful. I only used a 6 foot leash for the tracking line so I could keep good control over him. His turns stank, but once again he would cast around to find it again. He would've passed, but YUCK! I think we'll play turns next time and have a tuna snack a few steps past all the turns.

Megan updated me on her knee. It seems there wasn't any permanent damage, but a bad contusion. She missed a few days of school and was warned that any strenuous activity could damage her knee. She plans on playing it cool until just before the Pensacola show (Oct 6-8).

 

21st

Shelby and I have been focusing heavily on heeling. It is apparent she KNOWS how to do all the activities required of her, but her attention/ concentration is bad. It starts with inattention in heeling. I am resolved to fix this attention problem in heeling. Then I can deal with the attention problem as we move on. She is responding well to this new no-nonsense heeling training. Yesterday I pulled the articles out for Nikita again. She started the avoidance behaviors when she saw them. I figured as much based on the last training session where I pushed her and me past our patience point. I whittled down the pile to just 2 leather and 2 metal plus the scented one like I've done for Lego. I just waited patiently for any interaction with them while encouraging her (not commanding her) to "find it". She brought back one. It was wrong, but I praised the effort (no treat).  I sent her again and pointed at the scented on. As soon as she touched it with her nose I poured out a small pile of salmon treats and told her how great she was. He attitude improved some from there. After a couple more tries she was actually sniffing them again. She is so close to understanding the scent she is after. She was right more times than not. For each correct retrieve there was a pile of treats and great praise. We kept the session fairly short and positive. We'll try again soon to reinforce the positive feelings.

Megan's fall was worse than I'd hoped. She ended up at the doctor with her knee still swollen and painful this week. I haven't heard the diagnosis, but I am holding out hope she can be her old self by nationals.

19th

Nikita survived her first extended stay in the new kennel over the weekend. Not that she was thrilled, but at least everyone was safe. Yesterday I worked her in a quick signals session followed by a quick reminder on call to heel. She did OK, but seems to only know the come signal if it comes after the down and sit ones. Maybe she's memorized sequence more than learned the actual signal. I worked some on just the come signal on its own.

Today Shelby and I did some more No-nonsense allowed heeling. She is actually doing this well now. I also did Intro to Go-outs with Lego. He is catching on to running out to find the treat. I am focusing on making sure the treat is on the fence post directly in front of him. And I'm moving from post to post to encourage a "post" go-out in a straight line. Hopefully this can be shaped into a ring gate upright go-out. Then I loaded up Cedar and Josie and drove out to the agility field.  I took Cedar's ball and off we went to try out the contact obstacles. She did them fine. So, I tried weaves (channels a tad open) and she was moving ok through those too. I hope I can convince her to at least do a jumpers run at a show next year with this special ball reward. Josie came out of the vehicle begging to do some obstacle, any obstacle. She was growling while running. A sure sign she was worked up for it. She did all her contacts and her auto down on the table fine! DANG NAB IT! What is up in the show environment? I am lost as to why she seems unhappy and pokey there when she can't wait to do agility at the training complex. She didn't start out nervous at shows. This has developed for no known reason. How frustrating! I hope we just keep going to shows and she works through it eventually. That means I have to NOT focus on Q ratio and focus on FUN ratio for her. That's a hard mental trick to pull off.

I handed my entries to the USDAA Pensacola trial to Monica this weekend. It's their first USDAA show and it's the first weekend in October. Blake is also judging Starters/Advanced classes there all three days. Misty is not entered, Bandit is running twice on Sat. and Sun. and the little guys are entered in everything Sat. and Sun. Hopefully Jedi is running pairs with Sniper. The AKC folks that have been to the arena say it's a good arena for Jedi. Not a lot to see and no pigeons and not many ways to escape.

OK, on a more personal note, I have been "dieting" of sorts recently. No, I don't jump on the band wagon of all these fad diets. It's just that I stepped on a scale about 10 days ago and realized I weighed what I did in high school. I know some of you would envy that statement, but you have to understand in high school I played softball, basketball, soccer, and marched in the band. I was constantly on the go. That means a good bit of my weight was solid muscle which weighs more than the fat that is occupying the same spots now. My diet consists of counting my calorie intake instead of mindlessly munching at will. I am trying to keep the intake around 2000-2200 calories a day. This automatically lowers the junk food intake if I want to eat 3 filling meals. I am also making an effort to tone my stomach muscles more and work my arms back into being able to do push-ups. It seems that at the minimum I should be able to pull my body weight up by my arms. This approach has proved extremely successful so far. Over the last 10 days I have lost 4 pounds.

17th

Just back from the Pawprints USDAA show. It turned out to be worth the trip. Jedi and Josie ran everything while Bandit and Misty ran once a day. The courses were a bit awkward and the judge's personability left a bit to be desired. The judge imposed fault limits on Saturday. An E plus one other fault meant time to leave. This doesn't help Jedi settle into the show environment. Jedi made 5 obstacles in Master Standard before we got our exit papers. He ran with no hearing in place most of Saturday. Then for the last run (Jumpers) he pulled together a clean run, but I was staying on top of him so hard we ended up .5 seconds from our Jumper Master title. He did pull it together finally for his second Q in Master Snooker last thing today. Josie ran awful all weekend like she was scared and not having fun. She had a couple of obstacle sequences where she suddenly would look like the dog I want back. The last 5 obstacles in pairs and the end of gamblers. She actually pulled out a 2nd place and Q for her Advanced Gamblers title. I've never had a dog title in Gamblers before. Bandit did nothing impressive this weekend. His master standard run was actually shorter than Jedi's and his master snooker run was  10 points and off course. Misty made the weekend for sure! The Advanced Gamble there was written in the stars for her. It was a dogwalk gamble. Those are the ones most distance classes seem to focus on. We've done them a million times. The opening looked a bit too hard for her to get points, but she made it with one point to spare. I was in perfect position for the gamble when the buzzer went off. Over the jump and straight on the dogwalk she went with no hesitation. She's not the fastest dog walker, but as soon as she hit the contact I took off a dead run. She took the last two jumps without looking at me at all. So Misty now has accomplished the AAD at 11 years old.

Misty AAD!                                                                    Josie AG

As for my friends there, Megan had some stellar runs with her two guys, but she took a bad fall in Steeplechase finals. She was unable to run her last class. I hope to get an update on her later this week. Bernie had a great Starters Gamblers run, but Cheryl stepped on the line. He also did very well in Standard (his first ever attempt at it) and one bar in jumpers from a Q. Gandalf is coming along nicely, but his speed is stumping his handlers some.

14th

Lego tried out articles again today. I eliminated the clicker today and decreased the number of articles to 2 leather, 2 metal, and the scented one. WOW! What a breakthrough! The first send he ran out sniffed one and ran back. I sent him again. This time he ran out and started the sniffing rounds. When he hit the right one he got all excited and bumped it with his nose and charged back for a treat. I gave him one and some good praise. I sent him again. When he hit on the right on this time I told him to bring it when he looked back for a treat. He snatched it and charged back. Good boy! Treat. Switched to a metal scented one. Sent him. He hit on it perfectly and brought it in. We did this a couple of times for leather and a couple of times for metal. He only messed up once and that was because he decided not to sniff and see if just any one (the first one he saw) would yield the treat. I can tell he knows what scent he's after now. That clicker session reaped great rewards with his understanding. 

Yesterday when we went out to dinner I left Misty inside with the two youngsters. When we got back she was limping (shoulder it appears) on her front right leg. I iced it and massaged it and gave her some anti-inflammatory and said my prayers for nothing more than a "Lego ran into me running around" injury. She stayed inside all day today. I wasn't taking any chances. When I got back from work she was bouncing and spinning. No sign of a real injury. WHEW! I am still gonna pay close attention to her at the show and warm her up good and stretch her. And get a friend to watch her at the practice jump and she if they see any weakness. I don't want to have an 11 year old with a permanent limp. It's not worth it. She's only entered once each day. We'll see how she looks Saturday.

I need to pack up the car now for the show this weekend. And I need to make sure there's plenty of fresh water outside and inside because Rich is going to be gone most of the day Friday and Saturday at a continuing education seminar. I'll be out of here around 4 pm tomorrow. That'll put me in Shreveport for 8 pm or so. Can't wait! Please, Please let Misty and/or Jedi gamble. Check back Monday for results. Oh yeah... it's also Deva Wilson's 8th (believe it or not) birthday this weekend so Monica's bringing cake to the show and we're gonna throw her a party there.

12th - Nikita -6   Wild Bunnies-0

I was tired and groggy when the alarm went off.(5:30 AM)  Still in boxers and a t-shirt and slippers I stagger out to let Nikita go potty.  As soon as I let her out the back door we both heard the rattling of chain link as some stupid creature hunts for the gap under the fence in a panic. I reached to snatch her collar, but I was too slow. She doesn't seem to be a geriatric dog under these conditions! It was no more than a couple of seconds before I heard he tell-tale "baby screaming" noise. This time she was loose in the big yard. (around an acre) Thankfully I learned from my last early morning experience. (see August18th entry) I calmly walked towards the screaming with a shovel in hand. (yes, there is one right by the door) "Nikita, you good doggy, come here." And she did. "Give it." And she was complying until her jaws loosened enough that the bunny squirmed. OOPS.. not dead yet. Can't give it up while it's alive you know. Off she goes at a trot. I stalk her at a walk making sure to cut off as much of the yard as I can with my arms and the shovel. I get her cornered at the front of the yard and she sneaks behind my agility tire (stored against the wooden fence). With no fast way to bolt forward or squirm backwards, I say, "Goooood Girl. Give it." And she did. She even sat up so as not to hover over the bunny and make noises at the shovel as I try to scoop it up. I pat her on the head and realize I can't get the shovel back there without moving some equipment. I slip my hand through her collar and firmly say LEAVE IT. COME. She was a tad unhappy at walking off and leaving it there. She kept throwing her head back to look at it. I got her in the other yard and went back to collect her prize. I trek across the street and pitch it in the woods. Well, I certainly was wide awake by then! That's better than any alarm clock I know of.

I started a new utility article training technique for Lego today. My problem with him was not that he didn't sniff, he just didn't know what scent he was sniffing for. The cheese has been removed from the picture now. I handle an article and put it on the ground in front of him and point at it. When he hits it with his nose I click and treat. Then I move it out to the pile. I send him out and when he incidentally sniffs the right one I click and treat. We'll see if this helps him understand what scent I am looking for. Shelby did more no-nonsense allowed heeling. Nikita practiced call to heel.

Shelby's NJP title certificate came in the mail yesterday. I already have it framed and hung on the wall with her other titles. I love getting title certificates. It makes the accomplishment so much more real.

Shelby and I had a no-nonsense allowed heeling session yesterday. She really can heel nicely when she believes it's heel or die. I just don't want to take the fun out of it. Nikita and I worked articles. She's so close to a break through. She sorta remembers to sniff at them, but gets discouraged after the first 3 or so sniffed if she doesn't find what she's looking for. If she happens to sniff past the right one she knows instantly to bring it back though. I broke the cardinal rule of training too. NEVER NEVER NEVER train when you're irritated! I kept pushing her past the breaking point of my frustration. (and consequently hers) DANG! I hate when I do that. It inevitably causes a backward flow in the training process...the opposite of what I want. We did end on a good note and later I worked on the "come to heel" part of the stand. Nikita always comes to front not to heel.

And a good note,  the business has been collecting like gang-busters the first 10 days of September. May it continue on!

10th

Nikita looked really good at the obedience match today. We did all of utility except the articles. She needed help figuring out a straight go-out in a ring and then help remembering to jump. But she did everything else so nice! Shelby gets so nervous in the ring. She wants to visit the judge and the stewards so bad. She did everything, but it looks awful. Heeling was a bit wide and distracted. Then for signals she kept looking around instead of at me so I had to wait to be in her vision to give the signals. Once she saw me she did them all fine. The first send out to the article pile she trotted past them to visit the faux judge. I fussed at her good and then tried again. She looked really nice the next two sends to the pile and she worked them and brought back the right ones. She tried to bring back the wrong glove the first send. She fixed her brain on the second try. She did pretty nice on the stand for exam. Go-outs were OK, but the blonde brain wouldn't jump. She just came back in when I said her name. She never paid attention to what I said after her name. I did get one jump out of her before time ran out. I wish I could solve the distraction problem in the ring. Maybe we will work hard on attention when heeling now that I know she can do all the exercises fine if I can keep her focused.

Rosey and Red showed up to practice in Novice. He did really nice on the exercises, but wanted to follow her on the long down. I'm glad she got to turn around and snatch him up and put him right back in the line of stays. Maybe that'll stick in his mind. She also said she had to cancel her entries for Shreveport next weekend because school stuff just got too wild. Now she is definitely in for going to Pensacola in October since she's missed the last two shows.

9th

We had decided the slight extra cost of buying a complete, ready to setup kennel was worth not having to measure and cut and buy supplies. I found kennel panels at the western store across from the office for $50 cheaper (total for a whole kennel) than at Lowe's. So when Rich closed up shop yesterday he drove out with the trailer to pick them up and haul them home. Since he was already off and coming my way I just took off the last couple of hours of work to come home. We got the panels connected and the kennel setup in place in about 15 minutes. Well worth it! And it's even expandable if in the future we want to add more panels. So now we have a safe way to leave Nikita and Cedar outside at the same time if we have to be gone for an extended period.

We were supposed to go on a motorcycle ride with the church group this morning, but it was sprinkling and the forecast for the morning was scattered showers. Neither of us like riding in the rain. It's dangerous and uncomfortable. So, Lego and I went out to the park and went tracking this morning. He did OK, but his turns are awful. I may need to just do work on turns. He blew past all of them and then looked up like, "Hey, where'd it go" and then he'd cast around and find it and go on. He made it to the end and it would've been a pass in a trial but not what I'd like to see. When we got done Rich and I had breakfast at Waffle House and went on to buy some groceries at Sam's. We ran across a super deal on IAMS dog food. They had 48 lb bags for $20. We bought a couple of those!

Back at home I did some signals with Shelby. She did great. Then I got out 6 weave poles to practice entrances with Jedi, Cedar and Lego. I even made Nikita do them until she got them right. Cedar showed some promise with the ball as a reward. Lego blows pass the entrance when he's at speed. Then when he tries he tends to hit pole 2 instead of 1. Jedi frequently has the same issue. I'm not sure we made any progress but there was tuna for a pole 1 entrance. Very exciting for them. Then Rich and I decided to work on the property some. We started a couple of brush piles on fire and Rich cut down the remains of a tree that fell over. I played ball with Cedar and watched Jedi do what terriers do best. . . tunnel and destroy.

She can catch in mid-air

He went all the way under the log!

He was growling and pulling on the end of the log

He successfully got some bark off to destroy

7th

Jedi went in for his yearly checkup today. All is well. Even though Josie was almost normal yesterday, she came along for a quick check. He can't find anything wrong there either. We assume it was handled by the antibiotic he dispensed for her before the holiday.

Nikita and I did gloves yesterday and she seems more confident and didn't mess them up as much. She is still not enthralled with that game though. Shelby did better with the gloves as well, but she still doesn't want to do the middle glove. It seems too easy I guess. She caught on quicker than last time though. Lego is coming along on signals. The hardest part is that stand during heeling instead of a sit. He needs to get out and track some more soon. Nikita and Shelby are off to a match this weekend and we'll see how they do in a ring. 

New agility classes started this week, but I have still not joined in one. It's still so hot in the evenings. Maybe next classes I'll be up for it. I need to get Cedar out there and do some contact obstacles. My next agility show is coming up a week from this Saturday. It's in the Shreveport area, a USDAA show. Rosey decided to come and so did Cheryl so I'll have some buddies there to hang with. I can't wait.. even if there is only one chance to Q in each event.

The business collections have started out well this month.

4th

We have returned safely from our jaunt to Arkansas. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality for the price of our hotel room in Morrilton,AR. What a nice Days Inn for such a small town. All survived well. Lego didn't lunge at any nieces or nephews either. Not that I gave him much of an opportunity. I think he and Josie just thought they were at dog show what with all the strangers and noise and Rich's brothers little dog. The four pups with us did get to go on a short hike in the woods on Sunday. It was nice for them since they spent most of the weekend tied to a tree, in a crate or riding in the car. Rich is out taking the car to the car wash to remove the pile of love bugs from the front before their toxic bodies eat through our paint.