Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just when you're done digging your "hole",

Agility class last night was horrific. I think my pups were hungry (class is an hour past dinner time) and thus they were going crazy. Especially my Lab, who blew me off and ran over to another handler and sat at her feet for a treat. Oy.

With Baer's poor striding yesterday, I was ready to dive back into striding work. Today, I switched the third agility jump (my "stride regulator") with a flyball jump, and she was perfectly fine. She looked great. I'm glad she picked it back up so quickly, and we're going to repeating this and many different variations of this in the next few months.

Then we did a new exercise I'm calling "Over and Backs", basically it's the training of a box turn with a "hup" jump. I'm at the point where I'm using just the hup for Flash but with Baer I do the over and back without the box and with the box. The point of this is to train a good landing coming off the box- their heads need to be down when they come back, or I do not reward.

At the tournament Baer was having trouble getting her feet up. Using the "hup", she HAS to get her back feet up (the muscle memory is important). And with Flash, I don't want any foreseeable problems. 

I'm discovering, slowly, that the wall work has not been beneficial for my dog. It has not created a reliable turn for my Labrador. And my Whippet has not seemed to benefit from it much. 

Since my Labrador has been using the wall board, she has a wide turn on a box with no props. She doesn't get her back feet up. It's not a method I want to keep repeating religiously like I have been. Her head is so high when she comes off the box now that she's turning in the direction of her head- which had been adding the third stride, because she was so far from the box. So I'm excited to see how the over & backs will affect her future performance :) 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sometimes it's best to stop while you're ahead.

Our tournament went pretty well this weekend.

Baer's times were consistent, and in a decent amount of runs, she got the 3 strides. At first, I was excited, then I realized a lot of it stemmed from whether her box turn was wide or not. I didn't think much of it, until we went to do our usual 3 striding work. We haven't done it since before Thanksgiving, and Baer acted as if we had never done it before in her life. 

Not only was she stutter-stepping and skipping jumps today, she did not get a single good stride in, in 15 minutes of trying. I finally had her do one good stride over two jumps, praised her wildly, and stopped there. As baffled as I am, she's unique and I can't expect her to act the way I want her to. She had a lot of practice this tournament getting 3 strides in; then again, she had a lot of practice NOT getting 3 strides in. My fault, bad owner. Honestly, I saw it coming. 

I could feel, during our session today, my patience running thin. I've been going through some emotional shit out of my dog world, and it's been depleting my patience already. I was taking Baer's inability to do the stride work today personally, as if I had failed her. It took a lot of self control to stop, after taking a baby step back and only going over two strides. 

It's hard, when your dog regresses in training, to not feel like you've failed and your dog will never get it right. Yet, starting back at step one is much better than quitting altogether. I have learned a hard lesson - finish your retraining, then enter the dog in a race. Duh, Para.

My dog has reverted to her old leaping behavior and I can tell it's going to take work to get her back to the point we were at. I'm sure it won't take her a long time, like it did before, but you can bet we'll be practicing daily.

What did I learn?


2) Celebrate every victory. Let your dog know you're celebrating. They're trying so hard to get it right, make it clear to them when they do! 

3) Don't push it. They'll learn in their own time. Make sure you have plenty of patience.

Back to the drawing board, but it's alright since our team isn't going to any tournaments for a while (4-5 months). Even if they choose to, I'm not going until Baer's proven she has gained the skills necessary to succeed. 

Dog training can be frustrating fun shit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Different feet placement in all shots - but only in the last two, did she get her 3 strides in.

Striding from the Box

Pita - doing two strides with no props, we switched to props, she did three. We took out the first prop, and she still did three strides.

Baer - I kept the props in, and after the first run, she did fine. Happy with her, no stutter stepping.

Flash - Well I have my work cut out for me. Pup-pup wants to do 2 strides. I tried moving the fourth jump out to 16 feet, then 17 feet. Still 2 strides. So I stood at the first jump, and had him just walk to me - once he did two 3-strides in a row, I stopped. Always end training on a positive note.

I hear from a decent amount of people that their dogs are too large to get in 3 strides. Honestly, I don't think it's an issue of a dog being "too large", that they "can't" do 3 strides from the box. I've seen larger dogs do 3 strides. I've seen smaller dogs do 2. It just depends on the personality of the dog, if they have perception issues, etc.

It's more an issue of running versus leaping over the fourth jump back. Leaping throws off their striding, leaping slows them down. Running enables them to gain the most momentum.

Running over the fourth jump (the 3rd stride) allows the dog to gain more momentum and speed. That third stride, I believe, sets them up to have the quickest return to the handler.

Anyways, now I need to enforce all 3 dog's striding, and my plan is to incorporate the box in Baer's training at practice from now on. Her turns are wide. Her head is dragging when she grabs the ball, it almost seems as if her back legs kick off before she's had the chance to straighten out her body.So she lands to the side. It's a new problem, because her turns were pretty nice before, but it's alright. Things are slowly coming together.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rotations on the Slant Board

Doing rotation work on the Slant board:

Both dogs don't look too bad. I took it easy on them since we have flyball practice with the team tonight.

I bought a new book, waiting for it to arrive. It's titled "Cross training for the canine athlete" and I can not WAIT to get it. I think it'll have a lot of new ideas for me on conditioning & building core strength and balance, which will be very nice to work on in the winter time when hiking and walking slacks off for a while.

I'm especially interested in body awareness- anything to make my Lab a little more graceful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Full Speed Grid Work with 3 Strides

With a tournament quickly approaching, I'm beginning to feel the pressure of upping our striding training & making it harder. On top of making full rotations in her box training (doing a swimmer's turn and landing close to the box PLUS landing in a straight line to run back), I'm making her RUN the grid. I've done this before, but she had studder-stepping while running so I took some steps back.

Here's from today:

I'm pretty happy. She did knock a few bars but hey, it's my Labrador. I'm not looking for perfection, I'm looking for comprehension.

I definitely need to get her set up with a box and try a few runs in a full lane with props set up. I need to know where we're at, and it'd be good practice anyhow. But for right now, striding & box turning is our main focus.

Always a fun time with my dog's :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Power Jumping

We've been doing power jumping religiously for about a month now, once a week, every Saturday. I try to do 5-6 jumps. Before, power jumping only happened when I went to Flyball practice with my team. But since that's more on the rare side, and since power jumping is SO important, I've been making a point to do it on my own every week.

The first dog, Pita, and the last dog, Yuna, are friend's dogs I'm training.

Flash's striding looks nice, and Baer's striding is beautiful with NOT leaping before the first jump.

Striding from the Box- After 3 months of re-training.

So with Baer's striding, repetition is still the main thing we're working on right now.

I've been working on adding distraction (other people/dogs around us), stimulation (being in a different room or outside), and speed (me standing still holding the tug, then walking away slowly, then jogging away from her), and resistance/restraint (a handler holding her back).

Once she can handle me jogging away, with a handler holding her, I move on to the next step, slowly weening out props. This is the hard part for her- once the visual is gone, it's difficult for her to rely on muscle memory. Which is expected.

Here's from last night's session:

We've been working on this almost daily, for 3 months. Not a lot of time when you think about it, and she's improved a lot since we started.

Our next Flyball tournament is in less than 3 weeks. We'll see what happens. I won't be upset if the training doesn't take at the tournament, obviously. I just want to get Flash around another tournament setting and I'd like to compete with Baer again. This is a 3 lane tournament and I've never been to such a big tournament. I'm making excuses but hey, I'm not perfect. After this tournament we will continue with our training and see what happens.

Distances Landing from the Box

There's an equation for Baer's re-training in order to achieve 3 strides FROM the box.

1) There must be 3 strides from the box. Easy enough. (Note the sarcasm).

2) Baer must LAND close enough to the box that she can fit in her 3 strides.

With a leaping dog, the box presents a huge problem, especially when high speeds are added in.

She gets to the box in 2 strides (not even touching that yet). Leaping from about 7 feet away, she does a hard, snappy box turn that launches her.

If you figure that there's 15 feet between the box and the first jump, simple math says no, 3 strides will not be possible, no matter how much striding work I do, if she launches far away off the box.

So now, to fix the turn.

In our last tournament (3 months ago), Baer had the widest turns she's ever had. It was strange, and it has not presented itself since that tournament. Go figure. But we've been doing regular slant board training to ensure turns are tight and snappy- now we have to add an element of landing close to the box/board.

In order to do this, I followed a friend's advice to put a piece of tape on the ground 5 feet out from the box. This marker allows me to ensure that her feet around landing more out than they should be.

Here's the video of what we're getting so far.

By the end of this first session, both front feet were landing before the marker.

Then, reviewing my box training with Flash, I saw that he was landing way out. A part of this, I think, was my determination to get him to hit the box with speed- I had to put a prop very far out in order to encourage him to leap over it and accomplish his box turn. So now, he leaps off, landing far from the box.

This is how we were doing box turns/slant board before:

Now, going back to the slant board, I used the marker and this is what we were able to achieve:

Much closer landing than before. I'm going to take a break from the box with Baer and Flash, and probably only use it once a week. The slant board will be our main tool right now to train this. Especially with Baer- she MUST get this muscle memory, or we risk ruining the 3 stride training.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So to address Baer's start line problem, I've been using a prop for her to aim to stride over, putting her feet on the floor right at the point of the start/finish line.

I started with the prop being 5 feet from the start/finish line- realizing she was still taking off way too early, I moved it to 4 feet- then 3 feet. In Baer's last session, at 3 feet, she does a smooth run without any leaping.

Then for Flash, I just focused on introducing the concept of a start/finish line to him. I want all aspects of a tournament setting to be completely familiar to him- that way he is less fazed when it is time for him to start competing. At least, that's the idea. I'd also like to know if he's going to start leaping at the start line too, which he did not do today.

Striding using smaller props.

Baer Striding (+playlist)

Striding work from this week- adding a flyball box to simulate where we'd be landing & running from. Practice and consistency... just keep repeating until we're sick and tired of it, and then repeat some more :D

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baer Striding Work (+playlist)

So we had a good start to our session... then Baer's striding sort of deteriorated. She went back to the skipping foot, even after I went back to the agility jump. I was standing right at the jump the entire time.

Well, just means we have to keep practicing. That was a given :)

We've been practicing her turns on a slant board too. Hopefully this will keep that box turn from the last tournament (wide as hell) from returning.

Having a LOT of fun with Baer & flyball right now :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stride work with Flyball jump

So with the discovery that Baer had used the flyball jump as a visual to leap from 6 feet away to get over it, we're now working on training to run over the jump, versus leaping.

If I'm right, correcting this will fix two problems:

1) Her early take off at the start-line. She uses the start line as an indicator to leap, so she's flying through the air way before take off.

This photo was taken in Feb 2013. As you can see, before the start line, she's already in the air- taking off from about 10 feet from the first jump.

I always heard from people when we competed, "Wow! She takes off SO far back!". Little did I suspect this was ruining her striding and time, but, it is. So here we are. 

2) Her 2 strides from the box to the fifth jump. If she can keep the short strides and run over the fifth jump, I think the 3 strides will come naturally. 

Our next tournament probably won't be until spring, so I'm just going to keep up the repetitions of running over the flyball jump, making the props smaller and smaller. When I can finally do no props and have her consecutively running over the first jump versus leaping, then I will start to put the rest of the equipment into the equation. But if she starts to falter and goes back to leaping, we will go back to square one.

I guess the thing I'm most of afraid of, is doing this training by myself, getting to the point where I'm using no props to get her over the first jump, and not being able to tell if she's leaping. But I'll cross that when I get to it. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

3 Strides- incorporating a Flyball jump (+playlist)

Quite the breakthrough moment- Baer sees the Flyball jump as a cue to leap over it from 5 feet away.

So now I'm going to focus on training her to run over the jump versus leaping over it.

I feel like if this training is effective, the 3 strides will come naturally off the box. Time will tell :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

3 Strides- 7th session

Well, no noticeable improvements with the striding.

 Both dogs seemed kind of "meh" today during training, so I didn't push it and cut it short.

Right now I put one stride regulator 5' from the first jump, and then the second regulator 5' from the first regulator. I think I'm going to switch it up- move the first regulator 6' from the first jump (to encourage both front feet to make contact instead this weird skipping thing she does). Not sure what to do with the first regulator- she's not doing 3 strides TO the box and I'm doing a lot right now just to get 3 from the box, so we'll see.

Flashy seemed kind of out of it with the slant board. I'm going to take a break tomorrow and just do agility foundation work, to switch it up for him. But more than likely, I'll be doing the striding work with the jumps with Baer tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Flyball Striding Work- Second Session

Certainly getting there. Excited to do another session with the box & see if her 3 strides look more natural.

Flash- Slant Board Turn

So I switched my arms- and I made a point to keep the ball low when coming off the box, and I'm happy.

Flash is getting up pretty high and his snap back looks nice.

Love training box turns!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Box Turns on Slant Board

We finally got the slant board working! Now in this video, I'm making some crucial errors- I'm throwing the tug out & over his head, keeping his head high. I need to bring the tug straight down once he is in mid air, leaping on the board- this will keep his head down & straight. But I'm so, so happy we're on the slant board now :D

Tried to get Baer on it, she was doing box turns off the wall above the board. I'll have to figure that one out.

So, I'm the type of person who goes over. Way, way overboard. Especially when it comes to my dog sports. I will practice daily for hours on end if you let me- so naturally, I'm having a hard time pacing myself in Flyball. Baer's 3 strides have been looking better & better (I'm not asking for much, I hope) and I'm thinking of doing an every other day rotation of flyball & agility. I think it'll keep our training from getting boring or repetitive, and it'll work different muscles on the dogs versus just doing box turns & power jumping every single day.

Today is Agility day, so we're going to do some fun exercises (which I hope to record if I'm not short on time).

I need to get back to doing more Agility anyway.

We had the option to move Baer out of Advanced Beginner level, and into Intermediate- and I decided not to. I'm going to hold her back for one more session. Sorry to say but she just does not have the foundations down yet- Which I need to get back to. We were doing weaves last night, and a dog who can, by herself, zoom through 12 no problem, could only get through six before turning into me and barking. Wtf? So more grinding on weaves and teeter & dog walk. At least she's getting the 2 on, 2 off contact. FINALLY. After months of work. But I love her :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Correcting a Leaper

So I'm trying to build muscle memory @ the start line. To diminish the 6 foot leap before the start line that royally fucks her up.

I need to move the prop closer to the jump I think though- she's still leaping AT the start finish line.

But hopefully this will help out her issue. The first time, she kind of bounces- the second & third time, she's running more than jumping.

Friday, October 4, 2013

3 Strides-6th Session

So- the third run was nice. Happy with that =)

Happy with all of it, actually. Good girl.

I'm going to try a new training method for Flash tomorrow- I have some ideas to get more of a snap on the box. I'll get video :) of course.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well, dammit.

I need to get back to my 3 stride training with Baer. Today I just did a complex agility sequence with her, which consisted of seven jumps, a full set of weave poles, a tunnel, and a hoop.

The first round we did- she was beautiful. I did two front crosses, and followed me, we looked like a great team.

The other five tries were complete...well.... fuck ups, lol.

She was knocking bars, not following my cues (more likely, my cues were wrong) and just rushing. At least she was perfect going into & out of the weave poles, even with me moving far away.

And of course, I didn't record the first try which went perfect- because it was our "test" to see if she could do it. Silly me!

I have agility class tonight, for both dogs, which will keep me busy til 8. Tomorrow I want to take the dogs on a hike before work on Pie Hill, and then I'll do flyball work with both on my lunch. I'm trying to really keep us busy & active, and plan out the training sessions we will do.

Flash needs work on his "stays", box turns, and restrained recalls over jumps.

Baer needs box turn work, and 3 stride work.

And I need more time in the day!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Flash- 4th Box Turn Session

So my footwork is improving which means the tightness of Flash's turns are improving. In the last two turns, you can see he's much tighter- and the last box turn is just downright sexy, if I do say so myself.

Good boy :)

And with Baer, I did a simple sequence today that was hoop- weaves (all 12 of them) and sharp turn to the right to a jump- she was perfect 3 times in a row.

I have amazing dogs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Agility Foundation work with Flash- 7 months

Foundation Agility stuff I did with Flash today :)

5th Session- 3 strides from the box.

Our fifth session doing proper striding from the box.

I'm still working on Baer's coordination issues & body awareness techniques, but as long as I get good repetitions of 3 strides back, I'm going to continue practicing this.

Her box turn is all over the place in this, but I always practice her turn 5 times before we start working on other stuff. I'll get a video of that next session, because I'm curious why she's able to do a beautiful turn consecutively when it's just the box, and then her turn somewhat deteriorates when she's doing runs.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Respecting Stride Regulators in Flyball

So the stride regulators I used for teaching Baer 3 strides from the box. A (very smart dog trainer) friend gave me this idea- basically teaching Baer to respect the regulators. As you can see, she does her striding in the first two sessions, then the third & fourth she leaps over the last stride- and when I do not reward this behavior, she goes back to taking that last stride.

Now what I'm going to do next is add another stride in- and we'll go from there. I want to practice this every other day, and really ingrain it into her memory. We will see how it goes :)

Flyball Work- Sept 18 2013

So this is my first practice session with Baer after this past tournament- working on the 3 main things I feel are slowing her down.

First- her box turn. I borrowed a matter prop from my captain, which *hopefully* blends in with the box. If you see the slow-motion portion of the video, she's getting VERY high on the box. Almost too high, her back legs are getting caught up on the top of the box. Normally Baer's turn is very snappy, but she's been hanging on the box with this prop (but it's much better than when she was going wide at the tournament). I'll be posting more videos once we get more practice in with the matted prop.

Second- Three strides off the box. I'll upload another video soon, which shows how I'm teaching her to respect the stride regulators- but I'm just impressed that she's doing three strides. I have one stride 5 feet from the first jump, then another 5 feet from the first regulator. I will be phasing out these regulators in hopes that as they get smaller, she won't lose that third stride. Time will tell.

Third- teaching Baer not to launch over the start line. I set up two jumps, ten feet from each other, and then a mock start line 6 feet from the first jump. I put Baer literally one foot from the start line in a sit/stay, and then I called her over them. She was only leaping from the start line, which we will be repeating over and over again to get that motion in.

Hopefully at flyball practice tomorrow I can get videos of all 3 things to see how they've improved or gotten worse since we did this practice. If you have any questions as to the methods for my madness, feel free to ask :)

I said, Make it count!

Flash, 7 months old, doing restrained recalls at this past tournament.


This past tournament we went to, Baer didn't get any faster times than a 4.3. I was blown away- a dog that, less than a year ago was putting out 4.0's, was crashing this hard?

This flyball shit is a lot harder than it looks!

First, she was leaping over the start/finish line to the first jump. And leaping is a bad word for it. More like flying. We measured how far away her take off was- almost 6 feet from the start line! That's lost time.

Second, her box turn looked horrible. Here's her box turn from THREE DAYS before the tournament: Now at the tournament, Baer was going out of the lane. Every single time. There's lost time.

Thirdly, something that has never changed, her striding from the box. She does two strides- then another giant leap of faith over the first jump back. Losing more time.

Fourth- she ran on our Multi team, and then ran a half spot on another team. Baer weighed 52lbs for this tournament- compared to the 49lbs she was, at the Revolution tournament. I don't care how many people bitch me out for having my dog be "too skinny", it's best for her when she weighs less. I can't see any of her ribs right now and she's got a small fatty covering on her ribs- no good for a sporting dog, especially one that's as active and trains as much as her. She got tired way too quickly- and her entire lay out got sloppy. I feel bad because I know it's my fault she got out of shape, but I'm not going to dwell on it- back to 49lbs we go. So...there's even more lost time.

Now, we had a BLAST at this tournament. Flash got a lot of good distraction training (more on that to come), and Baer did great running on two teams- she was a great sport the entire weekend and had a lot of fun. But now that I have an idea of how to correct what we're doing wrong- you can bet your ass we're going to be busy training :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In 21 days, we have our next tournament.

Time to work on conditioning, conditioning, conditioning. Box work, too. My idea is to just do, 2-3 times a week, box work with Baer where the second & third jump are in place but the jump closest to the box is removed so she has no interference & she can just get her striding. Also, with the props in front of the box so her turn is night & tight.

We had a nice power jumping/restrained recall session today. Flash is FAST.  I also had a good 2 on, 2 off Teeter session with Baer, she's finally understanding how it works. Now to get her to stick to it in practice.

(Not dog related, but this is my delicious Pad Thai I had yesterday for our anniversary lunch. Noodle & Co. make a WICKED good Pad Thai.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flash- 18 weeks- Targeting & Retrieves

So as you can (maybe) tell, I've been fucking busy.

The dogs are looking pretty mint, but we still have a ways to go.

My goal for Baer? To be under 4.0. I want a 3.9 out of this dog. A 3.8. I know she can fucking do it.

Flash- if it isn't obvious, this future flyball dog is going to FLY. Puppy Flyball training starts Monday at my captain's house- with my other teammate's puppies, a bearded collie & a staffy. I'm pumped.

Restrained Recalls- Flash- 18 weeks

Striding to the Box Work

Baer's box work- I'm not going to work on striding anymore. Just her getting up on the box & pushing off, which with the prop, is going GREAT. She looks great for the most part.

Now to do power jumping over 4 jumps for conditioning, is my next step. 3.9s, here we fucking come.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So we're getting there!

I NEED to do some restrained recalls, with both dogs, but Flash especially. It's so hard to train with only myself sometimes. At least this Sunday, after the Flyball seminar I'm teaching, my team mate and I will be doing recalls & hopefully some box work. Need to do it with Baer, but I need to get Flash just initiated with the box.

Here's to planning for tomorrow & onward.

Friday, June 21, 2013


A woman uploads a photo of her extremely overweight black lab, then when people point out the dog is horribly overweight, she defiantly posts "No, he's not overweight, the vet said he's fine." for 15 minutes.

Seriously? You posted a photo of an overweight dog- I understand it may be "rude" for someone to point it out, but even then, honestly, you're an adult. You can handle it.

YOU have the power to control whether your dog is overweight or not- and if they are overweight and you're NOT over feeding them, and you ARE giving them plenty of exercise, then there is most likely a medical condition going on. So if your moron of a vet says, "No, the dog is fine." then obviously they have 1) no clue what they're talking about, and 2) you need to find a different vet who will tell it like it is, and help to find a cause to the problem.

Instead, someone clamps their hands over their ears and shouts "Lalalala". Seriously? I'm flabbergasted. I hate seeing overweight dogs- and I really hate when someone is in so much denial that they say their dog is not overweight.

Yes, yes it is. And by about 15 pounds by my guess.

The world is damned, and doomed.

Anyways, here's Mr. Flash! 17 weeks old, stacked. He's been raw fed since he was weened- he's quick as a bullet, smart as a whip, biddable, and loves people. He's my agility, flyball, and racing Whippet, and I love him.

From our 1.5 hour hike today. :) Tired never felt so good.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Well, I'm impressed by the Monkey man.

Working on reinforcing his retrieves. I like throwing the ball out- it makes him look for it once it's landed, in front of him. I'm hoping in Flyball, this translates to looking forward at the ball in the box. I'm working on releasing him now, I want the behavior of releasing to be second nature to him. He's really good about holding still when being released too, unlike the Lab who's repeatedly digging her back legs into my thighs.

I have practice this weekend with one of my IDOL teams. I love this team- they're fast, they're intense, they're driven. I cannot wait to practice with them- I'm driving 2.5 hours each way to get there. I'd drive more than that, too. If it gets my dogs and I ahead of the game and further than where we were before, it's worth it.

If you treasure the destination, you will never get there. If you treasure the journey, you're already there.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ahh. The joy of having two dogs again.

It's raining. The puppy runs out, goes "Ugh, this sucks.", pees immediately, and runs inside with us.

The lab walks slowly out, goes "Ugh, this sucks.", and stares at me for ten minutes. She doesn't like to do her business when it's raining. Why torture us both?

Training every day, teaching Baer to get all 4 feet on a stool (she's getting there) for her core & strength training, and Flash I'm working now on getting him to do 2 on 2 off on the stool. Both showed progress today. I'm loving the clicker. They learn so fast, I'm used to it taking a while to teach a dog anything, prompting them to do shit and luring them into motions that they didn't understand. 

But now they understand immediately what I want from them. Because they're offering behaviors that makes them more self-aware, I think. They're wicked smart, because I'm encouraging them to think. Not be fearful, not be lured into anything time and time again, but think about their actions. Brilliance. Now if only I could get better at my shitty timing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weave poles with Baer- she can do 12 at a time now but I wanted to reinforce her entering the poles from different angles. 

Two feet on the box! I'm working on getting a short plastic stool- so that he can get all 4 feet on, then work on getting the front feet off. Sounds complicated, but once I have the proper tools, it won't be.

Love, love, love clicker training. 

Now I'm trying to get Baer to learn to stand on her back legs- she has NO concept of the idea. She'll learn, but I have a feeling it won't be as easy as I thought. Once she learns, however, it will be an invaluable skill for her to become even faster. 

Today's rain has drained me. I was looking forward to taking the dogs for a walk, but now once the weather breaks, we're going on a hike. A mama bear and her cub were seen around the field at work- we're getting a bit stir crazy now.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Training Flash to bring the ball back & get on the tug. We're working on distance, and the next time I have to add is running away from him now when he's returning to me. Unfortunately, I have to do this alone most of the time, meaning I can't really video tape much. So here was my best attempt :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Had a very, very busy weekend so far :) It's been really fun!

Saturday morning, we went to Tolland, CT for an agility trial that Flash's breeder was at- he got to see his daddy, and we got to hang out with our wonderful breeder! It was a lot of fun. I didn't bring Baer because I wanted to focus on distraction training with Flash at the trial, and he did SO well. He also got to meet some new dogs and he did really well, I'm proud of him.

This morning I took the dogs to the agility ring at Diamond Creek to play around with Em & Yuna, got to work on entering weave poles and sequencing, and then with Flash I did restrained recalls and this new exercise I learned about where you are tugging with the dog- then you drop the tug and run away from the dog while maintaining eye contact. Both of my dogs held the tug and chased me, and I could tell they really had fun with it. (It is supposed to reinforce their drive to you when they have something in their mouth!)

And then this evening we went on a leisurely walk (I was going to go for a jog with Boo but Byron wanted to come to we brought the little man too). We didn't take too long of a walk (about a mile, puppies have soft joints and cannot walk on a leash for too long), and Flash got to meet a shih-tzu on the trail. But now we're home and everyone is passed out & happy. I'm going to check out some training DVD's I got from my breeder, and play the Sims  (for the mere fact that I cannot renew my Netflix subscription yet until later this week, otherwise I'd be in an Arrested Development marathon as we speak!)

I have to get to crackin' on my Flyball seminar notes & my Raw Feeding seminar notes. I'm excited to start teaching the things I know & love, but very, very nervous at the same time too. I'm diving in with both feet first- the only way I can truly fail, is if I do not try at all!

And now what you really wanted to see, the pics :)

Flash & daddy Trumpet! 

My 13 week old boy! Growin' up!

Baer: "Can I eat it yetttt pleaaaaase"

Byron & Flash bonding at the agility trial :)

This is Frisco, Flash's half brother! 

Rrrready for a walk, Boo?!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So I've joined a doggie fb group.  It's been fun, I used to get on labrador forums a lot but now that all I ever want to talk about is dog sports and dog food (ie raw), I post less & less on the lab forum.

The doggie fb group seem to, for the most part, know what's up. But I'm still amazed to see people asking a question:

How much food food do you feed ____ a day?

Well, I'll give a hint to how to keep them looking good- I don't measure her food with anything except my eyeballs. If we have a particularly active day, you get more food. If you've had a boring mellow day, you get less food. This keeps Baer normal at all times- I weigh her every two days to make sure, and her average is 48 lbs. This is perfect for her- not too heavy that she's slow, meaning weight on joints, and not too skinny that I can see every single rib. And I keep her at 48 lbs by eyeballing the amount of food I give her.

Feeding your dog isn't a science... it doesn't need to be "exactly nutritionally balanced." I don't have scales or anything. But I do have a good understanding of what types of vitamins, minerals, bone, veggie, organ and muscle meat, including the general ratio. Every dog is unique- every dog gains and loses weight uniquely. Our food system has ruined us- numbers on packaging for calories and fat content. Shoot, if you know that a chicken breast has around 3g of fat, then you'll know that giving a chicken breast in the morning & evening gives your dog 6 grams of fat. And, you can supplement your dog to ensure any deficiencies are covered. It isn't rocket science- kibble producers and most vets (who are holding hands with kibble producers, look at their love/hate relationship with Science Diet- It's a great food for your dog, it will cure what disease ails your dog, but it's mostly corn, by-product meal and chemicals. Why would any vet that was literate enough to read the ingredients recommend the stuff??) want you to believe that it is hard to feed raw, expensive to feed raw, you need to buy SUPER PREMIUM (what a great marketing term, huh?) kibble just to keep your dog healthy?

Your dog will, in the end, be whatever and how ever much you feed it. And I'd rather see a slightly underweight dog than a slightly overweight dog. It's just healthier in the long run. I can only hope one day people recognize the benefits of not having to weigh so much.

People who don't put time & effort into researching this stuff, people who just have an opinion will lash out and go "This isn't true, dogs need more weight", but I can only try and explain what I know and why I think this aspect of weight concern should be more acknowledged. The dog sports people are figuring it out slowly but surely- if you want your dog to have a healthy, long career, keep them lean.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

New Infurno themed collar, to be worn at upcoming tournies ;)

What a BLAST the past few days have been! These pups keep me super busy, especially super hyper puppy. :)

I've decided I'm definitely going to do racing with Flash. It seems like it'd be a shame not to- he can do flyball, racing, and agility. Why not?! He's a little genius and such a budding athlete ;)

We have one week left before our next tournament. I'm super pumped because Baer will be start dog. With the knowledge of how the props need to be for her box turns, and all the conditioning we've been doing (and I'll step it up another notch this week as well), I think this will be her best tournament yet. I'm so psyched! Just have to get through this week :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds gossip about people."

Ten weeks old, trying to get a good "stacked" photo!


Last night we took the dogs to my friend's house (with a huge field) to play with her dogs. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Such. A. Long. Day.

Got to work at 7:45am, which gave me a good half hour to run the dogs in the field. Worked 8:30-5:30, then did some training with Baer on the weave poles & basic obedience with Flash til 7pm, which then we had our agility class, THEN did teeter work with Baer & my friend's Aussie.

I am BEAT.

I'm grateful I get to go in late tomorrow, especially because it means we get to go on a HIKE in the morning!!

I'm thinking about taking the dogs to Harwinton, we haven't visited in a while and on a Thursday morning, it's bound to be empty.

So Mr. Flash likes to run through tunnels which I think is adorable. He even doesn't mind climbing half way up the A-Frame! 

So after he masters Sit, we will learn Down. But I also want to teach him to start getting body awareness. A fellow new whippet (mix) puppy owner taught her puppy to touch their front feet onto a paint can- I'm impressed and I want to do it with Flash too. 

But I can't help thinking about how people say you can't be a repetitive trainer with whippets. Baer is all about repetition- the more we repeat something, the more she remembers it and the more she's bound to get it right.

This will be a great, fun journey either way :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Conditioning with Baer has been going really well, she is quicker now (in my opinion) and she's able to run for much longer than before (which was a pretty long time so I'm really happy with her).

:) Loving the nice box turns too.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Had a great practice last night- there were only a few people so we got to do restrained recalls with Flash, he loved it and had a lot of fun.

And here's the video of some of Baer's box turn work- I'm so proud of her, she's wonderful to me :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

So pumped for Flyball practice this Sunday!

We're going to be working on Baer's box turns (I want to perfect this, her current box turn is alright but I know she could get a snappier hit on the box) and we're going to do restrained recalls with the puppy.

For conditioning for Baer, I've found that just playing fetch with a ball for hours on end has worked best for her... we've got 4 weeks before the next tourney, plentyyy of time to condition :)

I've been now starting her work out at 8am, then again around 12:30p, and then again around 5:30 (yes, centered around my work schedule :) ) we'll see how she does at the next tourney!

Also I'm pleased to announce Flash's bad-assery continues... he's such a little beast. I love him.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

We got puppy!!!! He's been so good :) I know I haven't updated in forever, but life has been busy! 

Took Baer to two tournaments in two weekends (and she out-performed what I expected, I couldn't be prouder), and then this weekend we got Mr. Flash! Baer's taken to him very well, I couldn't be happier. Now time to get some sleep, important training starts tomorrow! (: