Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fast Furious and Fun

Over New Years weekend not only did Echo make her debut in agility but Whisper earned her 7th and 8th QQ. The courses were quite challenging to say the least but fast and fun.

The jumpers course on Dec 31st was one of the hardest I have run in a while. Whisper normally comes out of a straight tunnel like a rocket. It made a sharp turn to the right down three jumps to the wrong end of the tunnel. Taking the correct end of the tunnel if it is not in front of her has always been a challenge. Not only was the wrong end of the tunnel straight ahead but she was coming fast after three jumps. Dog after dog were going into the tunnel entrance straight ahead-and failing. I felt like we had a victory when she called off the wrong end of the tunnel and took the right one.

Another fun weekend

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Echo's Second CD leg

At the obedience show last week I arrived with no treats, no camera, no video, no lunch and no snacks-only myself and Echo. Talk about unprepared and then flustered when I realized everything was sitting on my kitchen counter. Luckily friends came to the rescue. One went to the grocery store for dog rewards(most important) and one took the video of her novice routine and one calmed me down. She won her class with a first place and a 197.5. It was a day to be remembered-not often the goldens, shelties and border collies place below the greyhound in obedience.

Thank you Kathy, Susan and Terry for saving the day-and my sanity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Echo's CD

Whisper came along and spoiled me to expect attention while heeling. I love a dog that looks at my face rather than at my feet while working. Whisper came by it naturally so I never had to teach this behavior. I decided my next dog would have attention training and learn to work with their head up and a bounce in their step.

It started early with Echo. As a puppy I would hold a treat in front of her and move it out to the side. Of course a dog naturally follows the food but she wouldn't get the treat until she looked at me. Over time she learned to hold her look longer to get the reward. We progressed to moving(with food in my mouth) for longer and longer periods of time. The result-a dog who heels with their head up and happy.

We also worked on teaching heel position from all different angles. If the dog gets out of heel position they need to know how to find it again. In Echo's video her first halt on leash is slightly ahead of me and she moves back into heel position to sit. She gets distracted in the offleash heeling by the noise of an exhibitor dropping items on the floor but quickly catches up and gets herself back into heel position.

She earned her CD in three straight shows with a 198(1st place), a 197.5(first place) and a 197(third place). This was the second day of a two day trial for her CD. I am proud of her and her work ethic.

She is now Ch Aragon Black Ice VCD1 RE. A VCD1 title is CD+TD+NA+NAJ

Friday, January 13, 2012

Basic Puppy Obedience

Breeze is Whisper's 5.5 month old puppy. One thing I like about Whisper's litter is their responsiveness to human voice and desire to work. When I evaluate a litter I look for the puppy that immediately turns and looks to a human voice and offers eye contact. All of Whisper's litter showed these traits.

Breeze learned to look and come quickly to her name. I also love her eye contact. Does she know her name or is she just responding to my voice? This was the first time I had asked her to work in a public place and there was a distracting little white dog running off leash just out of sight of the video. I am pleased she ignored it-for the most part-to pay attention to me.

She also is learning to sit and down on command as well as learning the basic steps of heeling. I have been using a clicker to mark the response(sit or down) that I want but I forgot to bring it to the park for this training.

I teach puppy heeling a little differently than an adult. With a puppy I have them come forward to me for a toy with all four feet on the ground. Then I quickly turn and have them heel to my side. This begins to teach them to heel with their head up. The toy gets them interactive/excited with me but they don't get it unless they come quickly with all four feet on the ground. Then the toy appears and they get to tug/play. This is only the second time we have attempted a turn and few step heel. Overall she did great despite the distractions.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Echo's Turn

Echo has been training in agility since she was a youngster. Initally she enjoyed it but last year just as I was getting ready to enter her in a trial she hit a jump-and hit it hard. She cried and was lame for a while. Well that did it in her mind for agility. It would hurt her and was not to be played again. Having learned from her mother Lyric I gave her a long time off of training. She would come to class but only watch. After several months she cautiously would run agility but often would duck out of scary jumps. Slowly over time her willingness increased until by New Years Eve I was ready to try with her.

Three shows three standard legs all with a first place for her NA and three jumpers legs all with a second place for her NAJ.

And best of all she seemed to have fun. It was a good confidence builder for her.