Thursday, January 29, 2009

Off to St. Louis

Off to our first trial since Thanksgiving, at Lake St. Louis this weekend. It's weird to be in Excellent. In fact, when I think about it, it's been years since I've been in Excellent. Cala, love her crazy little heart, showed maybe 3 or 4 times in Ex Standard without even a hint of Qing. She has been stuck in Open Jumpers for years and at this point it's doubtful she'll do much more agility.

So I guess the last time I was in Excellent Jumpers was before Viva retired, 4 years ago now. And Zip has a Jumpers leg. Weird.

Anyway, weather here has been brutal and I've been recovering from a pretty bad calf muscle pull. So training has been spotty to say the least. Weaves are still tricky, but other than that Zipper's really pulling together, at least in practice. I'll give a report on the trial next week!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pete and Repeat

Weaves are still an issue with Zipper. I discovered that Saturday when I went to the building to train and he was missing poles. Again. For the eleventy-billionth time.

It reminds me that he's still a green dog and that weaves have always been slow to come. He isn't ready for me to be cavalier about weave training. But I've had excuses. This darn calf-muscle pull h has been slow to mend and the weather has been awful. I am not, will not, refuse to, train a 10# dog with no hair in an unheated building with temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 degrees F. Not going to happen.

Thank goodness the weather is letting up a bit this week. Not enough for me to really want to go tracking, but enough to get into the building a few times.

Goal? Me totally healed and Zipper 100% on weaves by our St. Louis trial the end of this month.

Meanwhile I ponder funds for the UKC trial. Upside? Probably easy titles. UAg2 for Zip, Rally for Cala. Downside? $$$. What to do...what to do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Temp is 18F and falling. Our windchill tomorrow is supposed to be -10 to -25. Holy cow that's cold. So no walks, no training at the building (which is unheated). I have the thermostat here at the house turned down to 60 to try to save my gas bill. All the dogs are in coats.

As for me, I'm looking over April trials and trying to decide what to enter. Zip's already entered in a late Feb trial and there's nothing in March, but April is jammed! And there are two trials at Purina Farms this spring, when there haven't been any outdoor trials there for the past couple of years. My tent broke. Do I dare a trial in April outdoors? With a Min Pin? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

And what have I been doing since August 2007?

Whoa. Lots. Zipper is now UAg1 Ch Regatta It's About Time, OA, OAJ, RS-O, JS-O. Right now he's really the only dog I'm training. I need to brush Cala-the-dobe up on heeling, etc. to do some Rally this spring, but the big focus is on Zip.

Things I'm working on right now are tracking, still brushing up on weaves.

Clicking the pivot. Or not.

I've been shaping Zipper to do tracking article indication. I want him to lie down on an article. He thinks it's the most fun EVAH. I get out several items (sock, glove, piece of leather, plastic lid, ink pen, whatever). I crate him, scatter the items over the house then let him out and tell him to find it. For each article he finds and downs on, he gets a click/treat. He goes nuts! He's started a habit of lunging at it, slamming into a down, then whirling around to me to get his treat (often sending article flying), so I've started waiting until he's down, staying down, and touching the item to click. Never knew a dog who could so accurately imitate a tuning fork.

So the other day, I saw a great video on shaping a dog to pivot (for Rally pivots) using a book. You put the book on the floor, then you click for the dog putting one paw on the book, then standing with both front paws on the book. Then you start to turn around the book and the dog will usually rotate the rear to follow while still watching you. I thought, cool! This will be great for Zipper!

Except for one thing. He thought he should lay on the book. It was a fairly thick book, so it was kind of hard for him to get his front end on and lay on it, but he was determined. This must be what Mamma wants! When I failed to him for this stellar display of ingenuity, he started whacking the book with his right front foot. Rapidly and repeatedly. "This one! This article! Hey! You stoopit or something? I'm doing this, and I ain't moving till you click me for it!"

For now we've abandoned the idea of pivot on a book.

I'm back!

I was posting mostly on a local dog training blog for the past year and more, but now I'm back! I'll move some of those old posts over here, and will be updating on a regular basis.

The DDGraphix store!