Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fitz is in a home

cross your fingers that it all works out - he had a good first night and his new people are just lovely ...
He is living with just one other dog - a very sweet little blonde chi Emjay - who is cute as can be...
he has 3 people to love him ... and it's a good thing - tho a bit quiet and sad around here ...

however - we have a dear little soul here for a bit while he gets assessed ...

meet Aldwin (old English for wise, or old friend) who already has his first nickname - Ollie
he has a hernia, a bunch of bumps, needs a dentistry and a nueter mildly luxating patellas but nothing too too scary
Dr Au thinks he's about 10 ..we should get blood work back tomorrow .. that will show more..

Sunday, December 14, 2008


the weather outside is CHILLY
I'm not inspired to put my nose out the door let alone do any work with any of the gang here ...
it occurred to me this week that I had my 6 set weave poles inside last winter... I think the metal base is already buried under enough snow that digging it out may prove impossible - DUMB me..

Thea is FROZEN - living in her tee shirt coat and still shivering
Fitz and Hank would still live outside given free choice (well if we'd move out there with them)

Sally gets cold - and tries to bring the outside in with her...
frozen apples make good eating, according to her anyhow!

should be getting ready for Christmas this week I guess
hoping I have some agility time this week at long last

Saturday, December 13, 2008

reflections on practise and training

I am not a dog trainer - no siree Bob not a training bone in my body
however it seems I spend a LOT of time dispensing training, and training advise

I think about behaviours and how to modify them for dogs and cats, occasionally parrots and rabbits and in my day job I get paid to "train" teenagers ..

and none of it feels like training to me - I facilitate, I demonstrate, I discuss, I rehearse and I apply knowledge and skills...

it's just as true in agility as anywhere

I need to know my audience even within the dogs I work regularly (or semi regularly as the week may unfold) they need different approaches and have since the day they began agility. All my dogs have been shaped to do the various obstacles - though one "trainer" tried to lure Thea on a dog walk - that still causes me issues some days ...
Brody would have been lured too if he had needed to be lured but he went with me from the first time he saw an obstacle - I guess he was sort of lured through weaves to start - and GEEZ no shock here - weaves can be our downfall some trials!

The degree of work each dog can take seems to vary an incedible amount too.

Brody just does stuff - even early on I was careful not to run back to back in class more than once (as we were often the smallest dog in class I'd do it once then be asked to repeat so we didn't have to change heights). If he had a blip with something I just kept going - had I stopped to "WORK" on the "problem" Brody would have checked out without a doubt. Now that he knows what he is doing I can try a line a bunch of times in a bunch of ways as long as there is no implication he got anything wrong.. He knows it's all my fault if things go south...

Thea needs to do things until she's confident .. if she does it once but not well and then goes away she'll worry about the error until it becomes HUGE .. but push her past her comfort point and she'll slip away to her crate
everything needs to be planned with her - winging it is not her style at all ...

Sally just goes and goes - she'll repeat something 50 times just because she can .. for example she did 12 weaves this fall (that were on the lawn for Brody to work) I laughed at her blasting through them so she turned around and did them again (and again) with no cue and no support. When we started working her as a little puppy I told my trainer that I was worried about nose touches - as there was no cue for her to lift her head off .. she laughed at me and said that would NOT be a problem .. that Christmas Sally STUCK to the nose touch plate at the bottom of the stairs so hard I had to actually pick her up to break the touch - then I taught her a release for that behaviour. Sally has been wholly shaped so offering behaviours comes very naturally to her. If it pays she repeats and repeats. She is a much more independant thinker than either Brody or Thea as well - which is both a blessing and curse. I think I could see her shut down if she was DRILLED without joy but working with her brings me such joy I can't imagine that happening any time soon.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

what motivates you?

I stole the heading from a board I check into - a dieter was asking how other people stay motivated and I realized it's something I'd love to know from other agility folks...

I was motivated at first by a desire to do better and better - personally rather than class results

then I was motivated by a desire to move up with my qs

then I wanted to achieve my goals - qualify for nationals, not embarass myself at CPE nationals, get VMAD title

now I am dying to get back to it - I want to have more mental images of Brody having fun, would love to see Sally doing well, make chihuahuas proud with Thea accomplishments ... all that good stuff!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

now I can admit it ...

The stitches are out and she's just fine so I can note "the accident" and be very glad Thea is just fine ..physically and emotionally she's completely herself and all is well.
It was very very scary though - she is a bossy little boots and the other dogs respect her generally but Hank reacted to her leaping at him from the couch. One bite - one badly placed snap in fact and Thea needed a whole lot of stitches - and a whole whack of time knocked out to clean and close the flap. You could see where Hank's three teeth connected with skin and how the one snap basically peeled her open. We were all extremely lucky - the wound was GROSS and AWFUL but superficial.
When Thea came home from the vets she chewed Hank out royally.. he was on the ground cowering at her wrath in fact - then she forgave him. She is back to humping his head, licking his mouth and sharing the couch with him but we, of course, are worried and anxious. If only we could move on the way the dogs do sometimes.
Thea has LOVED coming to work with me - Hank has completely spoiled her (as I hate leaving dogs in e-collars and I wasn't sure she'd leave the stitches alone). I can't imagine leaving her - maybe in January.

I have three long workshop days next week so she's going to hang with her aunt Judy while I am away. We are very lucky to have aunt Judy in our life!