Monday, May 29, 2006

Tyler at Lauren's4

Today was quite eventful. It was 91 today and very hot. We all had to go to the Giant as we were having Noah and his mom Kim over for a cookout. I ran Tyler for a while, but felt it was too hot, not only in degrees, but the asphalt on his tender feet. So then nestled him in for a long ride to Giant. Across New Hampshire Ave. and thru many streets in the street. Tyler got a little antsy, but all in all did good for his first food store and long scooter ride in the heat.

Then Mr. Felisano came and we worked in the garden for a while. Dogs took a nap and then Noah and his mom Kim (my neice) arrived and we visited and ate. I put Tyler on the seat of my scooter and have him lie down while we eat as it is way too tempting for others to feed him and I will not have them break the training. After we ate we all played with the toy retrieve and tired all of us out. Now all are resting and getting ready for bed. I would say it was an eventful day for a dogs point of view. (mine too)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tyler at Lauren's3

Dear Margot: After I spoke to you, I saddled up both dogs to take on a long hike. Bitsy on the seat and Tyler on the flexie. The destination was a fruit and veg. stand one street over. There are no side walks. We went up my street in the street, sidewalk along New Hampshire Ave. (wth traffic) short distance (one street over). We toured the veg and fruit stand all gravel, then completely around the block to our street. Tyler man was tired and trotted along most of the way. We stopped for a few rest periods and then back into full trot.

I did this to get him use to traffic noise and for building up his leash trotting with the scooter. This is what I did with Delta to build up his legs, etc.

Later in the day. I had planned a cookout. Tyler was like a little kid, but no one fed him. He did manage to pull a skewer of meat off the plate, but we got it in time. Sounds like a Sanity thief trick to me???? We stayed up till midnight and even when I tried to settle him down and we all went to bed, he did not want to go to sleep. He was so wired from all the attention and excitement. He is really getting alot of different senero's to deal with, but I think he is doing good.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tyler at Lauren's2

Dear Margot:

Started the day with sitting outside for a very long time. He finally pottied. Brought them both in and figured he earned some time not attached to me while I made a cup of coffee as I was freezing from sitting outside waiting.............. He ran right in my room and did #2 again in the same spot. (I guess it was my fault) Good thing that dog food makes it easy to clean up.

Put him back on the flexie and sat outside again with him playing . I threw a stick and he brought it back to me. I was pleased, so back inside for a little while.

Don went to the store and when he returned told me about the strawberry festival up the street. The county has it annually there and my high school buddy works there. (She is head of Recreation Dept. for Montgomery County) So I had to take both of them since Don was going. Besides everyone takes their pets, so I know we all need the practice. What a hoot. Bitsy in the seat and Tyler down below. It was mostly rough on me. The dogs did really well.
I am still trying to figure the best way for Tyler to get use to riding in the car with me having to access the passenger side getting in and out. He does not know enough commands yet to do it as smooth as it will be later, but he sure is being good about all the new stuff we are doing.

All was tired, so we took a rest on the bed. All three of us. Tyler sleeps in his crate at night, but if I rest during the day, I let them rest with me. I wrap the string around my hand and he lays on me like I am Sanity. Bitsy usually stays on the floor, but she has been getting up too. This too shall pass.

I took them all out after our rest and he does everything else but potty. I brought him in to feed him his dinner in the crate. After dinner back outside for 1 and 1/2 hours more. I had no more charge left. I was not about to bring him in to go in my room again, so Don blocked one side and me the other and I let him off leash. He ran right to the back fence and did #2. I waited for a while to see if he had to do #1, then I called him and he came right to me. I praised him and now we are in.

So I will try back on the leash tomorrow. I was desperate tonight with no more charge. I want him to be able to potty on the leash also. All I do is untangle him as he gets so frustrated about being on the leash and having to go potty.

All in all, I think we all did good.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tyler at Lauren's1

Dear Margot:

After our morning conversation of Tyler not wanting to potty on a leash, I proceeded to go outside and sit. After one hour of trying different spots, I came back in to get warm. I continued to go to different spot, but all he would do is eat grass, sit and get himself wrapped around something. I ran in and out so much, I used all my charge by 12:00 noon. I went back out for a final attempt before I had to charge the chair. He did one #2. I was grateful and brought him in. I had to lay down while the charge was charging for a couple hours. Tyler lays on me like he does Sanity.

From 4:oo till 6 we did the same thing, but to no avail. I brought him in again and fed him his dinner.He did not eat all his dinner tonight. So back outside. Finally at 7:30 he pottied a river.
We all had a party and I brought him in and let him free from the chair and leash while we ate and I came back to the computer for 10 minutes and he went #2 in my room. So now he is attached to my chair again. He is a stubborn. I don't know how he held it from 1:00 yesterday till 7:30. (especially a male puppy). He does not want to potty on a leash. Tomorrow is another day!

Now the good news. He is getting better about coming. He in behind me now and I have been working on him coming up on the chair. He is bringing the toy back to me every time with a play retrieve. He also found a dental pic on the floor and he picked it up and brought it to me without me seeing him pick it up or asking him to "get it".

He is walking behind the chair on the flexie and is really watching the chair. My chair beeps when I back up and he is becoming aware of the noise also. Don still has to watch with his chair when Tyler is free.

All in all he is doing really good for a puppy. Plus its a new adjustment and I think he is handling it well.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 296

Saturday and only one lesson that Sanity, Tyler and the board and train dog all managed to share. Didn't want to leave anyone out. Did a quick pass at doing articles and sort of worked on that awful stand of hers. Then I discovered that she seems to have totally forgotten how to do the active sit.

And I realize that we are now entering the redo period in her training. Sometimes I wonder why I insist on starting my pups so young when I know I am just going to have to go back and do it all over again. Then I remind myself that I just can't stand trying to live with an untrained dog and puppy sloppy manners are better than no manners at all.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 295

Well since I did promise I would share some pictures of Miss Sanity wearing her fancy pants, here they finally are for your viewing pleasure. This is the pair I ordered for her. They fit ok, but it was clear they really weren't very comfortable. One day a package arrived in the mail and it was addressed to Sanity. When I opened it for her out fell not one, but 4 pair of red, hot, chili pepper britches. They really fit. She didn't mind wearing them at all. And I finally found out that her sister Chili sent them to her. Thanks, Cathy and Chili.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day 294

Rain. Rain drove the morning lesson inside. Rain chased me inside when I tried to work Tyler. Rain chased me inside when I tried to work the Board and Train dog that is here. Rain chased me inside when I tried to work Sanity on jumping. I realize we desperately need the rain, but oh how I wish it would only rain at night.

Night. Evening classes. Rain, only now it is really hard rain with thunder and lightening. So much so that the class ran over by almost thirty minutes. Since no one wanted to even try to get to their car in the downpour we just kept on training.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 293

Wednesday, my morning student rescheduled, it is a beautiful day and I am stuck inside. Did not get to do a single worthwhile bit of training, didn't get to work in the garden. Shoot, I didn't even manage to get outside long enough to clean-up the yard. Why?

Because I spent the entire day working on the Power Point presentation I will be using when Sanity and I fly to Columbia, MO to teach a 5-day school on blending the use of the modern ecollar into a traditional training program. Seventy-five slides put together, and that means the school workbook with be 75 pages long. I sure hope people are coming to work rather than for a vacation.

The one truly funny thing that happened was toward the very end of the day. Diane, my Thursday evening helper and Saturday assistant came in to pick up her dogs and we started chatting. She took a seat on the loveseat and as we continued to chat, Sanity carefully stepped up on the loveseat beside her. Then came the funny/strange part. Sanity carefully sat and while studying Diane appeared to be trying to position herself in exactly the same position Diane was in. We both stopped talking to watch these unusual maneuvers.

By the time she was finished she looked for the world like a dog trying to mimic a human behavior and doing a darn good job at that. She was leaning her back against the back of the loveseat, spine straight and get this. She had wiggled her butt down and slightly out so her hind legs stuck straight out, you could see her belly and the real kicker came when with a final look at Diane she carefully placed her front feet on her rear legs. Diane was sitting with her hands resting on her legs. At that point, we both lost it and I am sorry to say started laughing so hard we were both almost crying. Poor Sanity, it really is mean to laugh at someone who is trying so hard.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 292

Sanity and I are back to team teaching and it is now starting to feel the way I want it to feel. I had a week 2 to teach and that covers the beginning of the sit and an introduction to the more formal heel command. More formal than just stepping off on the left foot and going or asking the dog to sort of "come along" or "let's go".

Anyway she started out by acting as the loose dog in the park. Wandering around the yard, sometimes strolling past the student and student's dog and never making eye contact with the dog in training. She really is learning and I am so pleased with how she handled this borderline dog aggressive dog I could just bust. She would move in ever so smoothly and then slide away to vanish from the scene. Her timing was such that the problem dog would become aware of her, start to do a focused stare and then poof! like a puff of smoke she had silently moved to an out of sight position. Totally cool to watch and did cause me a few moments of distraction when I started to slip into a trance just watching her work. After I pointed out what was going on, even my student became somewhat engrossed in the interplay between the two dogs.

We worked on sit. I needed Sanity to help me demonstrate some of the finer points and all I had to do was say, "Sanity, I need you." I was then able to go on with my teaching and sure enough in just a few seconds there she was, standing in heel position, looking up expectantly. We demonstrated hand motions on the leash, how to hold the ecollar transmitter and how, why, and when to touch with a gentle touch and a soft voice. Once the demonstration was over, I simply thanked Sanity and told her I didn't need her for a while. She wagged her tail and took off across the yard to chase a trespassing squirrel away. Meanwhile we continued to work on the sit.

A bit later I needed to demonstrate just where the random sit was heading, if and only if the student really did her homework. "Sanity, come." I called out the come command in a fairly loud voice since I had no idea where she was and I pointed this fact out to my student. It was maybe 15 seconds or so before either of us saw her.

She came tearing around the end of the kennels going full bore, in one of those ground eating gallops that takes all four feet off the ground every fourth beat. Man, she was some kind of traveling and it was beautiful to watch except...

If she continued at that speed and didn't slow down I was about to be toast. When she was about 75 feet from us I called out, "Sanity, sit" and at the same time tapped the momentary button one single time. Miss Sanity literally plowed a deep furrow in the soft ground as she hit the breaks and slapped her butt into a sit. How I wish there had been someone there handling the camcorder to get it on a DVD.

I glanced over at my student and she was just standing there with her mouth hanging open and her eyes round as saucers. "Is there another way of calling so they don't come so fast?"

"Not for my dogs. A fast recall means they don't take time to smell the flowers, chase a bunny or get into trouble. Besides which, as you can see it is possible to put the brakes on when you need to." And all this time Sanity is still sitting out there. She is sitting as straight and tall as she can possibly stretch herself, her ears point straight to the sky and the wonderful, proud look on her face. "Sanity, come", and in she trotted as proud as you please. Gave me a nice sit front, a good finish and then when I told her "Okay" she flew up in the air and planted a kiss on my cheek before buzzing the student's dog and vanishing again.

That buzzing cause the student's dog to explode into a frenzy of gnashing teeth, snarls and growls. They were quickly brought under control by the simple expediency of giving a sit command and then enforcing it. Of course, this also gave the owner a chance to work on the necessary handling skills and actually learn what to do when a loose dog in the park does the same sort of thing. Damn, she is shaping up to be something the stuff of dreams are made from.

Later, we worked on finding a hidden leather article. She is starting to figure out that the nose knows more than the eyes in some cases.

Tyler has begun to have the same sort of recall as Sanity. The only problem right now is he still needs way more practice on that sit command. I am having a small amount of trouble getting him to see the negative space in the same way he sees the place board. I saw the same thing in Sanity and have sort of concluded that it has to do with their vision and how they use it.

Right now I have a big push on to teach him went and were jumping up is an acceptable thing for him to do. That is one hard nut to crack open. I know he will get it, it's just a matter of time.

And their drive Margot mad continues. Tyler hauling the inside toys outside and leaving them scattered all over the yard and Sanity hauling all the outside toys inside and dumping them in the middle of the living room. I would like to get mad at them and hard as I try I continue to fail.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 291

It was just a little too wet for this person to be willing to work outside today. So we were back working in the training studio. Sanity actually worked 4 taboo and one correct article with very little problem today. Makes me wonder if the problem is one of being outside more than anything else. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I discovered that I am going to have to go back and re-do the stand exercise. I went to set her up to do the drop from a stand that is a part of the being drop on recall drill, only to discover she turned into a pretzels every single time I tried to stand her. DUH? And just where did that come from, I wonder.

I was asked why I didn't use a "jolly routine" when I discovered Sanity was having a problem when we went into the dim, noisy and somewhat smelly fish department at Petco. The reason is actually quite simple. I see the "jolly routine" as demeaning, belittling and totally unbeneficial to any self-respecting dog. I did not belittle her fears, I simply insisted that she needed to focus more on the task as hand and less on the thing that was worrying her.

My approach to solving the problem of the "killer fish" meant I gave her the time and support necessary for her to come to terms with what was bothering her. I didn't feed into her fears or make light of them and actually it is easy to see and feel when a fearful dog has finally gotten a handle on the fear. You can see and feel them relax. It is pretty easy to do with a dog who knows a sit/stay since you can insist they are responsible for sitting is a very specific manner and location and holding that position for a, to them, unknown length of time.

When I realized what the problem was I was fully prepared to stay in the fish department for several hours if necessary. There was simply no way I was going to leave there until I could see and feel her muscles relax into a long term sit position. To do any less would just have made things worse rather than better. In the end I was able to whisper a soft word of praise for a job well done and we were then able to go on about our shopping without any fuss at all. Personally, I think the whole jolly routine idea is demeaning and harmful to the poor dogs who have to deal with it as well as whatever is troubling them. Not something I want to do.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day 290

While I normally insist on taking Sundays off and not training, I am so far behind schedule that I dare not take a day off for right now. So work we did. First Tyler and then Sanity worked on the place command. I really must get Sanity going much further than she is right now. Gave Tyler a turn with come, sit and heel. He has come and heel all muddled up in his mind.

Then I worked Sanity on scent work. My plan was to do metal articles and then work on the retrieve over the high jump and come back to work leather articles. That was the plan, however by the time I had managed to get two successes on the articles (I was using 2 taboo and 1 correct)I figured we were both too tired to do much more than 5 retrieves over the high jump and I called it quits.

About the high jump, I have it set at 16" and I place the dumbbell on the ground where I want it. I then step back to her, give her a jump command and once she is in the air I tell her to fetch. Once she is lifting the dumbbell from the ground I give her a jump command again and so far I have had nothing but success with the exercise. I just wish I could run her over the jumps more often without having to add the retrieve. I fear I am going to pay for this training gap when we really get going on the directed jumping exercise.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day 289

Saturday and Sanity found herself upstaged by Tyler. This is most definitely not the best way to start a day. Towards the end of the lesson when I needed a dog to demo the longer distance place command, her response was to go 6' and stop.

Never one to be willing to let a dog down, I told the student to be prepared for some yelling since there was no way I would allow something like that to slide. Sure enough, when I sent her again she was planning to stop at 6' and I very quickly disabused her of that idea. With the ecollar set at the correction level, I calmly escorted her the full 15' to the place board. We then set up to do it again, and did she ever fly. In fact, she was trying to be on her way before I could give the command.

After the lesson was over, I asked Alison to be kind enough to run Sanity over all the jumps for me. I have come to the realization that I am simply not going to be able to do a good enough job myself. Gimping along just doesn't cut it where the jump training is concerned. This was just one more thing to piss Sanity off. The idea of having to actually work beside someone else was not at all acceptable in her mind. I told her she would just have to get over it, cause while I didn't much like it either it was just one of those things that would have to be.

Later, we had an interesting set-up for the advanced dogs to do their scent work. Basically they had to enter a U shaped area. The sides of the U were made up of the other dogs doing down/stays or people sitting in chairs watching. To top it off, we had just finished eating lunch in the same area. All the dogs were having a problem keeping their mind on the task at hand. When it was Sanity's turn, she pretty much insisted that she didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about and didn't the food scraps smell wonderful? No, they didn't and yes you will work was the constant answer she got from me. So back go her ears, on goes the pout face and she went out and proceeded to lay down in the middle of the article pile.

Yes, she still had to do as told which meant I was out there and making a correction via her ear rather than the ecollar. This was one of those times when I wanted to be very "up close and personal" with my statement. She was working 4 metal articles and not well, so I removed 2 of them and backed her up. Still she claimed she didn't have a clue or the air was too full of good food smells or the other dogs were too close or all those humans being so close or who the devil knows what her excuse was, cause I sure didn't. The end result being that I removed another article and took her back to the beginning and just 2 articles, one correct and one taboo. She finally figured out I wasn't kidding and shot out, grabbed the correct article and brought it back. Guess you might say we finished on a good note.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Day 288

After getting my nails done, Sanity and I stopped at Petco to pick up some goldfish for the newly cleaned up pond. We headed into the fish department and Sanity pretty much freaked out. She went from heeling to lagging and finally activelly pulling back. She wouldn't sit and she kept on trying to hide behind me.

It took me a little bit to figure out what the problem was. Turns out she was AFARID of the FISH!! I couldn't believe it, but there it was right in front of my eyes. She would stare at an eye level tank of fish and the instant they started to swim her way all she wanted to do was get OUT OF THERE. So what was supposed to be a quick trip turned into a long, drawn-out series of enforced sit/stays. She finally settled down and agreed that she had been pretty silly about the entire thing. We then went on to pick up a few other things without a hitch.

When I started to really think about it, I finally realized that as many times as we had been in that store in the past, never once did we go in the fish section. It just never occured to me that there would be a problem. But in thinking back I realize that I never had a problem with Wrap because I don't think her vision ever was very good. Frankly, I don't think she even noticed there were things in the tanks. I should have realized Sanity would be different since she sometimes watches TV and Wrap doesn't even know it is in the room.

Then in the evening I decided I wanted to review one of the DVD's I had shot earlier in the week. Well, you could hear my voice loud and clear. At one point I happened to call Sanity. When that happened on the TV, Sanity just about when crazy. She jumped up and charged the TV. Then she tried to get around behind it and all the time she was crying and barking and then she would run to me only to turn around and rush back to the TV and stare at the picture. I finally had to send her outside so I could watch in peace and not worry about her knocking the TV over, smashing the camcorder or just plain having a nervous break-down.

Overall, I would say she had a very trying day.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 287

I keep meaning to post the pictures of Sanity in her different britches and just keep on getting distracted by the wonderful weather. I am beginning to suspect that I am going to have to move the new laptop to the top of my want list if I am to get much more blogging done. I will be happy to sit in my outdoor office and write, where I am not at all happy about having to sit in the inside office and write.

Best news right now is that I finally got my camcorder and have been busy learning how to use it. In time I actually hope to be able to add a link from blog to MPEG site so I can really share what happens here. Listen here! A gal is allowed to dream and I figure if I am to waste time daydreaming I might as well dream big.

Sanity went back to class this evening. What a waste. All she wanted to do was sleep. Guess all that time in jail reset her clock or something. Tyler was so mad at having to stay home that he tried to get out under the fence and follow us and so he ended up in jail. Guess I am going to have to start taking the both of them.

Lauren, Bitsy and Don came over for a while today. Lauren got in some more work time with Tyler and we all just plain enjoyed the wonderful weather. Even though I had promised to go to lunch with them, it turned into a go get carryout so we could eat in the outside office. I needed to stay around since my answering machine was broken and I was waiting for the new one to be delivered. Besides which, truth to tell, I really didn't want to go someplace and sit inside when it was so nice outside.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Days 278 to 286

What can I say? It's spring and the garden called and called and finally I had to answer. Now with the pond cleaned and waiting new fishy residents and beds readied for flowers my mind comes back to dog training and blogging.

Sanity is finally out of jail and definitely a new gal. Her entire demeanor has changed. Even the expression her face is different. She has also just had her first birthday. So many changes for her in a short space.

Just all of a sudden she "knows" how to pick up my cane. She "knows" how to pick up the dirty food pans. Her stand is ever so much better. Her nose works again, so scent work can be resumed. Her down is better and less grudgingly done. So once again I have been proven right when it comes to letting maturity follow a natural progression. Will I spay her now? Nope. Why? For starters because I still harbor hopes of her doing well in the breed ring. Besides which, going through one more season will just settle and mature her that much more. Jail and a leash work quite well as contraceptives, so breeding is not even a factor in the consideration.