Tuesday, March 15, 2011

review that ... book, training tool, dvd, toy

These are in no particular order - as I don`t know how I`d order them.
I'd love to hear your feedback on any of these things too (or any of your real favourites)!

My touch plates .. made by my dad, these Plexiglas touch plates are the best ever - I leave the protective screen on them at first so they are easy to see then peel it off - he makes three sizes - and the littlest is TINY which makes it very easy to fade out. All the agility dogs know the touch plates and get pretty happy when they see them come out!

Manners Minder - I like it - but I don't think I've quite gotten the hang of it. I am quite sure I could use it better. One place I found it VERY helpful was teaching Sally that she COULD stay in a crate (as she can get out of any crate I've ever put her in) while I worked other dogs. I'd like to use it for distance - and I did a little last summer for Sally's distance weaves but somehow my timing seemed off to me.

Clean Run - forum - interesting thoughts that I don't always agree with about a wide range of topics.

Clean Run magazine - depends a bit on the issue but usually a fair bit I find interesting if not actively helpful. I tend to read, read  and read them again and again. There is a pile of them beside the bed usually and getting one in my mailbox makes me very happy!

Peak Performance (by M. Christine Zink) this book provided me with a major A-HA moment. It really allowed me to see how I could use my years of work with horses to make my dogs (and myself) better at agility. It also gave me permission to go off the local beaten path in my training choices. I think the single biggest thing I do differently than most of the people I work with is develop a very concrete plan for the dogs that goes beyond today we will do 10 contacts but includes things like fitness, play, TTOUCH and so on. I haven't read this book in ages so when I browsed the contents I was pleased to see sections that I am sure I will refer to again (particularly when issues arise).
Control Unleashed (by Leslie Mcdevitt) Another book that has a place close by. Again some epiphanies while reading. For me, not so much for the agility dogs but great ideas for all dogs and a wonderful walk through some excellent tools to use for reactive or fearful dogs. (In rescue land I see a fair few of both types). One thing I like is it made me do mat work fairly aggressively with both Brody (in a crate) and Sally. I love the way Brody (the once uncrateable dog)  now RACES to his crate when he is pleased with a run.

Shaping Success (by Susan Garrett) the timing of my reading this book was quite fateful. Sally was in our life and while her health issues were not entirely resolved it was pretty obvious that the healthier she got the more full our hands were going to be. This firecracker of a deathly ill puppy had an intensity that was, quite honestly, a little frightening. She was impossible to crate unless she wanted to be crated. She would stare at a shelf a favourite toy was on until she collapsed. She got stuck on a touch plate one day. I laughed and empathized with the tale of Buzz all the way through the book. It also gave me specific techniques to try with Sally (some of which worked beautifully). Most importantly it gave me hope. My copy of the book completely fell apart last year. I have every intention of replacing it!

Crate Games Dvd - need to watch it again but it was super super helpful making a crate a fun place for our foster aussie Asparagus - now known by the much more feminine Cassie - it helped me get my timing better for shaping as well.

Developing Jumping Skills (by Linda Mecklenburg) another useful read .. I have extended some of what I think are critical concepts in the book a fair bit but for someone not familiar with principles of jumping and the skills required to jump well I'd think this book would be FABULOUS!

Clean Run's Course Designer - got it quite recently but LOVE it. It lets me see how things can be laid out and moved around. I could not have done the layered courses for House League without it and it's making planning the agility field way more fun .. I can lay out different ring sizes and see what can be done with them ..

Tug Toys - Sally and Sampson both love my home made braided fleece tug toys. But the flying Squirrel is HIGH on Sally`s FAVOURITE list. Much as Kongs are for Sampson.

The only huge toy FAIL we`ve had is this tug food dispenser. The velcro got stuck on Brody`s fur. It took him forever  a long time to try tugging again. Luckily for me I am not from the ``tug or die school`` of training so it wasn`t the end of the earth but consider yourself warned if your dog has a fuzzy unkempt face! Brody`s favourite toy are the furry mice for cats - the bigger the better. They have to be white to catch his attention which I find bizarre but very Brody!

I use treat sticks and a weird little Kong ball quite often to entertain the troops.
I also have a new dispenser I can`t find a picture of. It`s strictly for Sally for trials and she thinks it`s fabulous.
101 One Things to Do with Contact Obstacles - a great little card set I'm looking forward to working through once I have the contact obstacles ready to use!

Do it Yourself Agility Equipment - I'm not handy so this book is above my head. I can't weld and power tools are not my strength. Sadly neither my dad nor Big T have been inspired to build much - tho Big T is helpful when I put the jumps together.

In Focus - this little book has lots to think about - no matter if you need more or less focus. It's interesting for me as it has helpful hints for both Brody and Sally. ( I also watched the video In Focus Need for Speed - it was long and I got distracted a few times but it reinforced some important messages for getting Brody happy in agility)

Milk Inflation Tubes - Sally`s current favourite toy. I am lucky enough to have many dairy farms around me so have a supply of used ones (even better than new ones to Sally`s mind).

Feeding my maniacs is always interesting. I use a variety of food dispensers to slow them down and provide a more entertaining meal for them. This red dog pyramid was a FAIL for us. It broke after 2 days of use.

On the other hand Brody is always very happy to see the little blue ball come out. He carries it around slowly squishing one bit of kibble out at a time.

Sally and Sampson both enjoy eating out of the foot. It slows them both down a lot and has stood up well to hard use. Whoever doesn`t get the foot gets the tornado and a treat stick or an orange treat ball. (Brody eats his main meal out of a wooden version of this.) Both of these are easy to clean.


Sara said...

Oh, I have lots of these things :)

You just convinced me to add In Focus Need for Speed to my queue on bowwowflix.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Wow! I'm rather envious -- so many cool things you have here!

I've been thinking about a manners minder but would most certainly have timing issues...

I get Clean Run too -- a fun read and great source of exercises. I loved the "soft" piece they used to have -- Cider something or other, I think -- a guy writing about his experiences with his agility dog, funny and totally relate-able.

My guys too have a collection of food toys -- thanks for the warning about that red thing, we'll pass on that one...

Poor Brody and that darned tug thing! I never would have thought the velcro would be an issue.

"Asparagus" -- ahhhh so cute! My screen name used to be broccolisa :)