Kaylee’s Training Log – 08/15/08

August 15, 2008

Just a quick trip today – ran by my caseworker’s office to get some papers, then swung by Mom’s to drop off a check, and a short stop at Half Price Books, where Kaylee had a bit of a tough time ignoring folks who thought she was cute. (Good Kaylee for staying more or less in heel position. Bad Kaylee for doing the whole tail thumping, collie-grinning “PLEASE PET ME” flirting in the first place.)

Nice tight right turns (left turns still need some work) and autoplacement is going GREAT. She did a VERY good job of positioning herself in front of me (out of the flow of traffic) while I was browsing the shelves and backing up when I moved to my left (she needed a command the first time but once she figured out what I wanted, did it automatically. Smart girl!) Auto sits are coming along too- they need to be straighter if I’m going to compete with her, but that’s an ongoing project.

Time: 2 hours
Worked on: sit, down, heel, stays, positioning

ETA (because I forgot to log it): Kaylee also went to therapy on Monday with me and did very well. We REALLY need to work on proofing against collie-flirting, though. Total time: 1.5 hours.

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Kaylee’s Training Log – 08/13/08

August 14, 2008

Tonight Kaylee went to her second obedience class at the local ‘traditional’ obedience club. In her previous class (two weeks ago), Lindsay handled her for me while I worked with Mal. She really is coming along. Downs and downstays need work (we worked on that after class over pizza). Heeling is coming along nicely too, and we started to get auto sits last night. (crooked. Only treating for straight sits.) She IS staying nice and straight for halts if I don’t ask her to sit, though. SFE was excellent, although I did set her up by hand for it. Did the 3 minute supervised separation for CGC, no problems there. I need to sign her up for a CGC test at some point, although I’m not 100% sure about the stay yet- her stays need proofing. Overall, a good class.

Behaviors worked on: sit & sit-stay, heel, down & down-stay, SFE, recall, CGC skills, attention
Time: 2 hours


Kaylee’s Training Log – 08/05/08

August 6, 2008

Tonight Kaylee and I went on a training outing with my friend Lindsay and her SD Grady.  Grady is 7, and Lindsay has begun training his successor- but he’s not quite ready for public access trips with Kaylee as a very enticing distraction. We started out by going to Barnes & Noble (looked for the latest Naomi Novik book, Victory of Eagles, but was unfortunately foiled by some evil person who had apparently misplaced it. The computer said it was in stock, though!). Kaylee is coming along- walking nicely on a loose leash with relatively few reminders from me to keep up. Sits were fairly good, automatic downs were also nice. (when I have stopped, I want my dogs to stop with me- but if I stop and don’t move again, I prefer my dogs to sit or down (their choice, the position isn’t really important to me) in front or directly beside me so they are out of the way of anyone passing by and comfortable.  EXCELLENT on ignoring people and only one instance of sniffing – some fluffy stuffed animals in the children’s section were apparently irresistable but she did leave them when asked (and ONLY sniffed- nothing else.) After we left B&N, we went over to Razzoo’s, which Lindsay had noted in previous training excursions as being exceptionally dog friendly, to grab dessert (brownie sundae for LIndsay and strawberry cheesecake for me. The cheesecake was pretty good but the bite I stole of Lindsay’s brownie was AWESOME and I’m totally getting that next time.). The manager was exceptionally friendly and very complimentary about Kaylee- apparently his sister was a puppyraiser for a guide dog org in California.  Kaylee got to work on going under a table and settling down there. The going under part went well (We’ve been working on L3 Distance from Sue Aisby’s Training Levels), and she was perfectly content to STAND under the table- but once we added Grady and two sets of (not small) human legs, she was fairly sure there wasn’t enough room to lay down. That’s okay- it’ll come. Rather than fighting with her about it, I’m going to work more on sending her into tighter spaces here at home (using two or three poles instead of just one) to send her around and dropping her between them), and in the mean time, we’ll make sure and get in some more practice.

After dessert, we went back to Lindsay’s house, unvested the workin’ dogs, grabbed her younger Dalmatian, Caden, and headed for a nearby fenced in field behind a closed school (where DSA will hopefully be holding classes in the near future- the location is PERFECT) to let the dogs have a romp. Caden and Kaylee indulged in gleeful flirting (with some loud but gentle and appropriate corrections from Kaylee when Caden got a bit fresh with her) and some zoomies. Grady supervised, did some zoomies of his own, and came to hang out with his mom and his baitbag.

All in all, a great day for her first training session in over a month. (Not counting class last week.) I’m starting up with a local obedience club again tomorrow- not sure if I’m going to take Mal or Kaylee yet. Mal could really use the time to polish his heeling skills and focus, but I need to get my butt in gear with Kaylee. I may do 4 weeks with him and then 4 with her- we’ll see. I don’t think alternating weeks would be good for anyone, but maybe months….

Skills worked on: General public access, loading/unloading, restaurant manners, SD heeling.
Total time: 2.5 hours


Gear Review – Blackdog Wear Backpack

August 5, 2008

Kaylee’s new backpack arrived (last month) and has undergone a few outings worth of stress testing now, so I figured it was time to post a review.

Purple and black pannier-style dog backpack

Blackdog Dog Pack in Purple

The testers: Kaylee (17 month old rough collie, 23″ at the shoulder and 48 pounds), Strauss (4 year old GSD, 28″ at the shoulder and 85 pounds), Grady (7 year old Dalmatian, 22.75″ and 50 pounds) and Caden (15 month old Dalmatian, 23 7/8″ at the shoulder and 60 pounds)

The gear: Blackdog Dog Pack in Regular size, purchased here. $49.98AU.

General notes: This pack is small but ULTRALIGHT and well-made. The material is very durable, the seams are all nicely finished, and the overall fit and finish of the product is very nice and far superior to other entry-level products. The zippers, hardware, and stitching all seem to be very high quality. The panniers are shallower than any other pack we’ve seen on the market. Marketed as a ‘day pack’ sized to prevent overloading, we do have to agree that it’s excellent for that. The size is perfect for sticking a handful of business cards and some poop bags in- but not a lot else.

Our Experiences As a service dog pack, this would be suitable for someone who wanted their dog to carry materials to hand to gatekeepers, a keyring, and perhaps a small pill bottle, but not much else. The low profile panniers are really nice, and don’t add to the dog’s bulk when the dog is under a table or a transit seat. Adjustability, however, was an issue. The breastcollar and girth are each adjustable, with a very wide range of measurements, but the width of the pack is completely fixed due to the solid nature of the back. This presents a small problem- if your dog is at the lower end of the range this pack is sized to fit (Kaylee is 48 pounds and very deep-chested; Caden is somewhat broader.) the back between the panniers will be wide, causing the panniers to ride somewhat low, which seems to promote the slipping to one side or another. In addition, this slipping was exacerbated by the texture of the fabric, which is very slick. Our test dogs had a variety of coat types, and on all of them, the slick material tended to slide around badly on their hair. (This was particularly noticable on Kaylee.) Even with nothing in side it, we found it difficult to keep the pack from slipping to one side or the other.Putting a small but heavy object in each side (a cell phone in each pocket) helped somewhat. Packs should always be as perfectly balanced as possible but in general, slight differences in weight shouldn’t cause so much problem. The Blackdog pack’s light weight (and low price, although the prices have recently incrased) is possible due to a very flat, unfitted structure. Other small packs (Weneha Jogger, Ruffwear Approach) have significantly more to their harnesses, which seems to help compensate for a slightly unbalanced pack (for example, putting keys and meds on one side and the cell phone and law cards on the other.

I really wanted to like this pack! Black Dog is an AWESOME company, staffed with friendly and knowlegable people who are themselves very active with their dogs. They also make an excellent head halter (and y’all know I hate those!) which solves one of my objections to them (the leverage/spinal torque issue) called the Infin8, which is also known for it’s great adjustability for hard-to-fit dogs such as boxers (no muzzle) and collies (no stop).

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All ratings are out of 4. Although the pack was very well made, the lack of adjustability and tendency of the pack to slide was a deal breaker for us.
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This product was made of VERY high quality materials- prior to the recent price increase, this pack FAR surpassed anything else in the same price catagory (Outward Hound, Dickens)
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This product looks fantastic and comes in great colors.
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This product was not very adjustable and even our dog who fit it best based on measurements, had difficult with the slipping issue.


Gratuitous Photo Post – Kaylee’s Gear, Redux

June 22, 2008

Kaylee’s new backpack hasn’t arrived yet, so she’s using Malcolm’s old Activedogs vest- I repaired the worn bit on the strap and used a seam ripper to pull off his nametag.

I think she looks pretty handsome in it here!

Full body shot


Kaylee’s Training Log – June 13th-20th, 2008

June 20, 2008

(Sorry for the lack of updates- It’s been a busy week. )

June 13th – Today we went to Petsmart and then Half Price books with Lindsay and Grady. (Kaylee needs to work on waiting her turn to unload, as she shoved poor Grady out of the car in the parking lot. Poor guy has road rash! She’s got the idea of waiting for a command from a person- but not on letting other dogs go first.)

Kaylee’s LLW is decent by default, but she’s got a long way to go as far as actually paying attention. Right now, she’s just sort of meandering along with me.

June 14th – worked on attention and ‘watch me’ to fix above problem. Discovered after some experimenting that Kaylee *is* paying attention to me- she’ll slow down when I do but we need to work on timing- she will continue out and stop just short of the end of the leash. “The leash is still loose, momma, so this is allowed, right?”

dogs at city hallJune 17th – went to a walk to protest the draconian new animal ordinance down at City Hall. Kaylee was AWESOME.

June 18th – went to Ikea to look at a sofa bed for my friend Xeph’s visit next month. Was there about an hour, worked on attention and downs.

Total training time (all week): 4.5 hours


A better day – Kaylee’s training log #7

May 17, 2008

I took Kaylee along with me on a car ride when I went to pick up dinner this evening and ended up running into a friend. We ended up sitting on the patio outside of the restaurant for nearly an hour while Kaylee hung out under the table. No vocalization at all; I lured her under initially and only had to remind her once during the entire time to stay there. Leave it still needs work- she ate a crouton that got dropped by her tail- but she was very relaxed and did an excellent job of dividing her attention between me (in case I did anything interesting ;)) and a very stimulating environment.
Training time: 45 minutes
Behaviors worked on: manners, down stay, leave it