First week of Saturday Small Groups!

March 1, 2009

Yesterday was our first “Saturday Small Group” meeting at Best Friends Fun Farm, and it was a blast. Crystal and her Aussie Beacon and Mark and his Standard Schnauzer Baron came out to work on specific issues in a slightly different setting from our laid-back CU classes or a full-on agility class or match. Beacon worked on remaining calm with dogs moving and doing jumps,  and returning to a calm state after running himself. Baron and Mark worked mostly on remaining connected when there were other dogs on the perimeter of the working area, blocked off by gates.

Meredith, our new assistant trainer, brought her miniature schnauzers Kiba and Stryder and worked on quiet in the crate and building a bit of speed for Kiba, and jumping with Stryder.

I brought Kaylee and Lizzie along and worked on jumping with both of them. Lizzie also worked a little bit on distance and going to a jump from further away.

This is going to be a regular feature for our CU students and we think it will be lots of fun. 🙂


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.

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

It’s been a busy day! (Lucky readers!)

June 22, 2008

A tricolor rough collie (Kaylee) wearing a green service dog vest and sitting on a sidewalkAfter getting back from my midnight training session with Mal (see previous entry :P), I came back here and took a nap, only to be awoken around 2:30. Lindsay found out about the Summer Balloon Classic about 40 minutes south of Dallas in Midlothian. While her SDIT, Caden, wasn’t quite ready for the high-distraction atmosphere (he’s a month younger and significantly more exuberant than Kaylee) of a busy festival, but she felt like it’d be a good training trip for Kaylee.  So we headed out around 4:30 hoping to make the 6:30 “Mass Ascension” of the balloons. We got there around 5:15 and waited in quite a long line for parking- we managed to get a spot in the last row or two before they started directing people to the overflow parking almost half a mile away. (I’m glad we got there when we did!) There would be pictures of this but I left my camera in the car so you’ll have to settle for a picture we took on the way home instead, of Kaylee wearing a hand-me-down training vest.

After we parked and unloaded dogs, we headed for the festival area, which had two rows of vendors. There was a REAL idiot with an OFF LEASH Bulldog wandering around in his general vicinity. It tried to go up to Grady (Lindsay’s SD), who yelled for the owner to please control his dog. Grady won’t do anything in a situation like that, but it’s the responsibility of an SD partner to make sure the four-legged half the team never NEEDS to- and a lot of dogs can be unpredictable. The owner ignored her and then started yelling at her for ‘kicking’ his dog when she blocked the dog from getting in Grady’s face with her leg. We went and notified a convenient sheriff’s department officer who happened to be standing nearby, and we didn’t see the bulldog again after that. (The event isn’t open to pets, although they weren’t exactly checking strenuously- most people had been properly polite and NOT brought pets.) Ugh.

Anyway, after that, we went around all the booths- we got pink foam energizer bunny ears on a headband and Lindsay made Grady wear hers. We also each won a baseball cap from the Geico booth- I need to buy a hat if we’re going to be going to more festivals, I was amazed how much difference it made to have my head covered when I was in the full sun. (I really ought to know better- I worked at renn faires for 3 years!) By the time we got back to the first booth, it was 6:30, so I bought a frozen strawberry cup thing to eat and we found a seat in the shade to wait for the balloons to launch.

Or not… after a few minutes, Lindsay realized that she was breaking out in hives from the grass, and the announcer made an announcement that the launch was being delayed because of the winds. It was a bit breezy but nothing major- I guess it doesn’t take much wind to delay a balloon launch, os we decided to go ahead and call it a day. Oh well- it was still a great day!

Training time: 3 hours
Skills worked on: leash skills and general PA manners, downs, waiting for preoccupied handler who is filling out forms.

This probably should be a separate entry, but about an hour after I got home, my friend Jessica (who owns Lizzie’s American Eskimo playbuddy Sadie) wanted to go do something, so I loaded up Mal and Lizzie and we headed out to do some brief rally practice (heeling and fronts) in the parking lot of Walmart up near her house. Got a good half hour of practice in, and it went well- this is the first time I’ve used that site and I think we’ll have to use it again.

June 21, 2008

It’s HOT in Texas this time of year, and I’m a night person anyway, so I tend to do a lot of training at night outdoors. By ‘at night’ I mean RIDICULOUS hours- tonight I went out at 2 and got home at 5. But it’s cool enough to make it tolerable to work for long periods, and to leave one dog crated in the car with the tailgate up while I work with the other. Lindsay brought Caden and I took Mal and we headed to Lancaster City Park to work in their parking lot under the lights.

Malcolm is entered in Rally (Novice A) at Dallas (1 day) and I’m planning to enter 2 more days for Houston. And I’ve spent most of the last 6 weeks focusing on Kaylee. Oops. So some polishing is in order.

Worked on serpentines, attention heeling, and fronts. Our fronts have fallen apart. Oops. Oh well- we’ve got two weeks to get everything back in working order, and I’m confident we can do it. (High scoring dog? Maybe not. But a Q? We can manage that.)

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