Thursday, June 30, 2011

Watermelly Belly

After a few nice weeks (of rain!) we are back to too HOT!  It is almost 10:30pm and it is still 93F.  Plus it is humid.  Ugh.  I'm sorry all the people who like hot weather - I want 60's not 90's!!

Tibby tried out some watermelon.  She was not very impressed. 
"Why am I supposed to eat this?"
She gave it a lick and that was it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Green Jumping Bean

Tibby and I had fun playing around with the tunnels today.  It was training, but shhhhh! don't tell Tibby!  I took a ton of pictures.  She's just too cute I can't help myself!


Tibby tugged and tugged.  She chased her toy around and was CrAzY!  I love crazy!  She even bit me and my shirt (by accident) a couple times.  Yay for excited!

She did some zooming, but by the end of the evening she had figured out how to go through the tunnel and then chase her toy.  She still slows down a little when she goes through the tunnel, but it is getting better.

"Why are you in my tunnel?"
'Cause it's so comfy and fun!  Yeah I was looking at the tunnel and I thought, "Huh, I bet I could fit inside that."  Yep.  I can.  It was nice inside the tunnel.  Relaxing.  Green. 

Upside down.

I carried the tug toy around all evening.  It drove Tibby nuts.  She wanted this special toy that I would not share with her.  Sure I would share, but she had to demand it or do the tunnel - whatever.

"Here I come!"

Our fort.  Tunnel fort.

"I'm coming back!"

"Time to go now!"

ST Foundations Class - Lesson One Week One

This is the lesson - there was a video to watch and then this:
1. restrained send to cik/cap - the purpose of this exercise is to play a nice chasing game, while teaching great sends, distance work and commitment - see how early I can start running in the other direction when sending Le to the jump.
Things to pay attention to:
- height: If you only did cik&cap on other objects so far, start with a jump now, but without the bar for first 3 sessions: and then put the bar VERY low - max. 5cm (2 inches) for smaller dogs, 10cm (4 inches) for BC size and bigger. You can then add some height every 5 sessions: 3cm up for small dogs, 5cm for bigger dogs - SLOWER with young dogs! If you already did cik&cap with more height, do this exercise on your normal height, send a video and I will tell you if it’s o.k. or you need to make it lower.
- distance: Start the dog very close to the jump first and then further&further every next try to slowly add distance. If the dog turns back to you (as Le does once in my video) or waits for you, start closer again and add distance more gradually.
- angle: Note from which angle I bring Le to the jump and in which direction I run away to reward. The purpose is to teach them to jump close to the wing, NOT in the middle of the bar! That’s why I always do this approach FIRST and do lots of it before trying any straight approaches.
- speed: You can’t expect much speed with multi-warps, but you definitely want it now. Restrain the dog, wait for a good pull, let him go and run away for them to chase you&the toy. Make sure the dog is rewarded when still moving - don’t stop and reward: run and reward! :)
2. If the first part goes well, you can also do some figure 8s + chase it game: it’s the same game, only that you use two jumps now and run from one to another, sometimes still rewarding the first wrap, sometimes 4th, sometimes 2nd, sometimes 5th, sometimes 3rd… Note the angle of the jumps and the distance between them: you want BIG distance to get good speed - something like 10m. Again, you want the jumps under this angle to make sure the dog is jumping close to the wing, not in the middle of the bar. DON’T do figure 8s on one jump, it teaches the dog to jump in the middle!
3. restrained send to a tunnel (obstacle discrimination!) + come to hand vs. go game
Restrain the dog very close to the tunnel, as he is pulling towards it, say “tunnel, tunnel” to them: pulling in the direction of that thing is what you want when you say “tunnel” - and then let them go. Slowly add distance. Later on, you can add more obstacles (jumps&contact) close to the tunnel to make the discrimination harder: only say “tunnel” when the dog is pulling in the right direction, you can feel it if you hold him. You do the same with jumps: call cik&cap and release to the jump that is first the only thing around and then add tunnels closer&closer. The goal is teaching obstacle discrimination AND actively pulling towards obstacles you call (as opposed to hanging with you, waiting to take them all the way to each obstacle).
To train even more things at the time, when the dog is out of the tunnel, either call to hand and when he is at your side, either do a front cross or a shoulder pull (see the video) and reward for closeness - OR say your magic “run FAST” word and throw a toy ahead when the dog is catching up with you - meaning that you’re moving in both situations, do NOT stand still when you send!
4. independent weaves
If you haven’t started weaves yet, set 12 poles in two rows (left row must always be 60cm/24inches closer to you when you stand in front of the channel in order to teach them correct entries), at least 1m apart, restrain the dog at least 3m before the channel, throw the toy through and release. As the dog is running to his toy, sometimes just stand back, sometimes run after him, on both sides, sometimes far, sometimes close, sometimes run and stop, sometimes run and turn etc. The purpose is to teach the dog to ignore your body language when in the weaves and complete the task. Slowly switch to a static toy 4m after the channel, bringing the two rows closer&closer as you practise independent performance (I’m using bowls with treats with Le as she isn’t too excited about dead toys… - but I quickly switched to a toy, thrown after she is out then to get more speed). See the video for some ideas on what to do when the dog is in channel. If the dog already knows the weaves, send the video of how independent it is. If it’s not, go back to the channel.
Have fun

What I said:
"Hi classmates! Well, we tried out the 3 basic parts of the lesson. I think this class is maybe a little too advanced for us, but we are just going to go at our own pace.
When I was putting together the weave pole set I realized that this was the first time I had ever touched a weave pole - so you see we are beginners!
Tibby had a little tantrum (as usual) when we were working on the cik/cap. This is something we are working on and she has made a lot of progress in the last few weeks. She used to just run away, but now she will come back and play some more. She has 2 speeds - flat/calm and cRaZy! Someday her brain will catch up and I think she will be able to control herself. I like to get her excited, because I want her to be fast, but it is hard to know HOW excited to get her before she has a little tantrum. Even though she is 14 months she is very much a baby dog. Baby brain.
I hope you enjoy our movie - there are lots of funny parts :) "

What Silvia said:
"Well, it’s much harder with dogs who are hard to motivate… Definitely only use her favorite toy and maybe don’t use it for anything but agility, to make it more special. Try to move yourself as much as possible too. Spend lots of time playing between one and another try to not bore her with too many repetitions. And, most importantly… Try to take the zoomies to your advantage… When she is running around as crazy, call her “run fast” word and run around as crazy too, pretending like it was your idea in a first place. Once she knows the tunnel better, you might also be able to redirect her running into the tunnel: that would be a real win. Once there, it’ very easy to throw in few more obstacles. It would a huge breakthrough if she realized agility is about running and see how much fun it is to run through the tunnel full speed.
So maybe focus on making her liking the tunnel first. To make the tunnel easier: no rear crosses on tunnel yet (meaning if you are on left side of a tunnel when she enters, be on the same side when she exits)! AND move with her to the other side. And to make it more fun – have her chase you once she is out, make it more abut running.
In general, no problem with the exercises as such, so motivation is definitely our major focus here."

What a classmate said:
"Hi Catalina,
You make my day! I was laughing my head off!! What such a smart girl you have!
Do not worry if you are in the wrong class me too!, as we dont even have proper poles we use the sticks to hold the electric wire for the cattle! Video coming soon, hopefully I will record it when I arrive home!!

What Silvia later said about someone's post:
"Why is everybody thinking they’re not yet there as the rest of the class? The 4 exercises above, all of your dogs can do, if you practised cik&cap. The only reason why things sound difficult to those new to agility is because there are many fancy expressions (front and rear crosses etc.) and rules where the dog should enter weaves etc. that you can’t know about. I’m trying to explain those things, but I sometimes forget some important parts as it’s just so self-understandable after you’re in agility for 20 years :) That’s why I decided for video form: so that you can see things I don’t see anymore :)
Yeah, I removed the sound as you can only hear the wind… But I started using my weave verbal already in 2nd session yes – I start using it as soon as the dog is searching for the channel and staying in. I like to introduce verbals very early as it takes very long for them to learn them: much longer as a behaviour as such. You can first just use a “go” or something and then switch to “weave”. As soon as you see she is o.k. with those poles on each side, you can close it somewhat. At the beginning you can do it as much as 3 inches/8cm at the time, but once you reach a stage when the channel is not much wider as the dog, you need to go VERY slowly, I will often only move two poles in (I check the set up and move in those which are set the widest: if they’re equal, I move in those in the middle), for as little as I can (about 2cm – less than an inch). – But I will do it as often as two times per session. It’s better to do it more often in smaller steps as less often in bigger steps. In short: you need to progress slow enough that it doesn’t make the dog pop out of the channel too often (you should go for at least 80% successful rate) – if it happens twice in a row on the same spot, move that pole out a little.
For the tunnel exercise, you can as well use a straight tunnel. Later on, it would be good if you could bend it at least some… You can always work around it too, but if you can somewhere get a real tunnel, that would be even better." 

She bolds the parts that everyone should read.

Ok  our video and then I will tell you what I am thinking.....

1- I don't see Tibby as that difficult to motivate. I can make her crazy very easily, but once she is at 100 mph I can't do anything with her. Yes she has her own opinion and if she doesn't want to play with a toy she won't. But 99% of the time she will play with me.
2 - Tibby likes to think things through. She doesn't want to be rushed.
3 - Yes we only use certain toys for agility - check. Favorite toys - check.
4 - Yeah tried the whole run with Tibby when she is zooming and try to name it something. I give you Exhibit A RunRun Video.
Yes in some ways it worked. She was kind of running with me. I think? But she can run like this for a loooooong time and if I'm not running with her? No big deal. Also, I lost my voice from yelling to her "run run". Plus side - I can now say this and she will run really fast. True story! Anyway..... This is NOT a video of Tibby excited - this is her playing and running. See today's lesson video for a true excited zoomie.
5 - We just need more practice. Tibby will eventually go in one side of the tunnel and come out of the other side. Right? Fingers crossed :)
6 - I REALLY NEED TO STOP WATCHING OTHER CLASSMATES' VIDEOS!!! Do these dogs all arrive with perfect focus and drive?!?! *whine* It's not fair!
7 - Whatever I think Tibby is awesome.

Well, that is my opinion and it is totally biased toward thinking Tibby is the best dog in the world, so that is that.
P.S. We are having fun.  And come on!  Tibby is so cute when she's naughty!

Monday, June 27, 2011

It Begins

Uh oh!  The Silvia Trkman online Foundations class started today.  I printed off the directions for the first lesson, so I can read them when we are outside.  There are 5 pages of directions.  And we don't know how to do any of the exercises.  Like Tibby won't go through a tunnel yet (not sure why she used to love them) and we need to do a jump wrap to tunnel exercise.  Also, we need to do multi wraps around a jump upright.  Oh yeah! And get the dog to jump over a jump! Not knock the bar down?   Hmmmm, a little advanced for us.  And weaves.  Did I mention weaves?  Overwhelmed.

I'm shooting for 3 short practices today.  Thank goodness it is not raining again!  We got 6 inches in 4 days.  W-E-T.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Run, Pancakes and Parade

Today is a big celebration day in my town.  This morning I ran in a 4 mile race.  Hey I finished!  I didn't walk at all - just slow and steady.  This was my 5th year running in it.  My time was 49:04.  My 61 y/o mother, who has a heart condition, did it in 38:00 and she won second place in her age group.  The woman she always tries to beat won first again.  Maybe next year Mom! :) 
This was my best race ever - my time was slower, but I had more fun running it.  At the end I sprinted and passed 4 people.  Ha! ha!  One may have been a 70+ y/o grandma with white hair and matching white velcro tennis shoes, but the other 3 runners were younger than me!   After the race and the awards ceremony (my Mom's running buddy L. from this post won also won second in her age group) we went over to the fire hall for a pancake breakfast.  You get a ticket for a free breakfast when you run in the race.  My Dad volunteers every year with the race committee (he was the 1 mile timer this year), so he gets a pancake ticket too.  It's all part of the tradition....
Some of my friends and some of my Mom's running buddies ate with us.  It was really fun.  The last half mile of the race I kept saying to myself - pancakes and parade, pancakes and parade.  It kept me going LOL! 
So after pancakes there is the parade.
I dodged all the streets that they close off for the parade and went home.  Got cleaned up and then (with Tibby) headed back to my parent's house.  Unfortunately, my parents live inside the parade area and a cop wouldn't let me go the 1/2 a block to park in their driveway, so we had to park really far away.  The parade doesn't go down their street or even really come close to their house!
We hiked to my Mom's house.  Picked up my Mom and then went to find the spot that Zoe's Mom had saved (at 6am!) earlier in the morning.  The parade had already started, but we only missed the first 5 floats.

Miss Tibber-ator.
Tibby did really, really amazingly well at the parade.  She had a nice time.  She wasn't scared at all.  If she had been scared I was going to take her back to my parent's house. 

Zoe's Mom works with vulnerable adults and she brought 2 of her clients to watch the parade - hence the black circles on their faces.  Her clients really liked Tibby. 

For the first 30 minutes Tibby sat on my lap and watched everything going on around her.  She wasn't stressed, but she wanted to sit on my lap.

During the entire parade Tibby saw 5 loud bands, 4 very loud drum corps (1 that stopped to play 3 feet away from us), 2 horses, 50+ kids on skates, many boats on trailers, 6 or so semi trucks, regular trucks, lots of cars, little racing cars, a garbage truck, fire trucks/police cars with lights and sirens, many,many people/kids dancing with streamers/pompoms/flags and a million other things!

Getting a nice gentle pet from one of the clients. 
 Tibby was also petted by/greeted a man in a clown costume, a large dog costume and a purple monkey costume (I couldn't tell if they were men or women LOL!).  Also, random people that would stop and pet her over my shoulder - Ah! Random hand in my lap! It was very weird.  And a nice man and little girl who walked across the street and asked if they could pet Tibby. 

Watching the parade.

The people across the street fired up their barbecue.  It was making me so hungry!  I think Tibby could smell the barbecue too!

I like this next series of pictures, because it shows how relaxed Tibby eventually got.

People walking by? 

Ho hum.  Not interested.

She was too busy with the milk bone that the humane society gave to her.  They had a float where they walked adoptable dogs from the shelter.  Tibby got to sniff a Brussels Griffon and get a HUGE milkbone.  She thought it was awesome.  Some strange lady handed her a giant treat!  She couldn't even finish it at the parade (although she tried) and when we got home she pulled the leftover half from my bag and ate it. 

Just us.

What a good puppy!

Tibby jumped up into Zoe's Mom's lap.  One minute she was on the ground the next she was in her lap!

She wanted to give her a little kiss.  Or maybe a BIG kiss!

I have some video of Tibby at the parade that I will post some time.  It was super loud.

The end.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Practice Being Annoying

I thought Tibby did great today and I needed to show it off. The first part of the video isn't all that interesting, but the second half when we are practicing wraps is fun. I'm being annoying to Tibby to get her to really want her toy. She is so funny - she acts like she REALLY wants the toy, but when she gets it then all she wants is a treat. Funny dog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Tibby and I had a little disagreement about what she should do with a jump.  She was sure that the best method of dealing with jumps was: walk up to jump, lift one paw, knock bar onto the ground and look up for treat. 
She finally did ONE really nice jump and I stopped while we were ahead! 
She did 100% on the jump/wrap/chase toy.  I had the bar down on the ground, so it was really run!/wrap/chase toy.  She was fast though, so that made me happy.

Tibby Best Toy Ever 1.0 had a set back today, but I have a better plan and tomorrow will start working on 2.0.  The set back was that Tibby destroyed it.  Oops!  At least I know she liked the idea.  We played a bunch today.  I'm working on getting her to jump up on me and demand the toy.  So far she is jumping up on me.  I also played keep away with one of her toys.  I took her tug, hid it behind me on the couch and if she jumped all over me she got to have it.   I like these drive building games - I don't have to think so much, just have fun.

In my last post, I forgot about the training we did yesterday, at Petsmart, after our lesson.  We sat in the car and watched dogs.  Tibby looks at dog/freaks out/calms down a little/looks at me gets treat.  Repeat/repeat/repeat ect.  Pretty soon it was: calm look at dog/look at me/get treat and then look at me/look at me/get treat.  Yay!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We had a great, great, great lesson today.  Tibby has progressed so much!  I love having someone that sees us every week and can see that we are getting better.  So encouraging! Yes!  Tibby is doing wonderfully (I'm running out of positive adjectives!) with following me.  She stuck with me. 
Let's see....just trying to remember everything we did.
We did a little pinwheel exercise.  Loretta shaped Tibby to go over the jump, because Tibby wasn't comfortable with jumping the pinwheel.  There was a funny moment when Tibby bulldozed the bar down.  My FAVORITE thing is seeing Tibby thinking.  I can actually see her processing everything.  It's amazing. 
After she understood that we wanted her to jump the jump - we did a jump-wrap exercises.  Eventually we are going to do jump/wrap/tunnel.  So excited!  Like real agility! 
Also her little jumps are too cute!  Ah, I love her!
Anyway.... Tibby got to do one of those exercises off leash (otherwise she was on her flexilead) just to see if she would zoomie.  So Tibby got the ball, but she wouldn't bring it back, so I walked away (reminder to self - walk not run - keep calm), she chased me, but ran past me.  I turned and walked away - repeat a few times. Tibby's run pasts get shorter and shorter.  I get the ball.  The End.  No endless zoomie spiral of death!! Yay!  Maybe she thinks I'm fun to be with after all?

Then we worked on prey drive and getting Tibby to be rude and obnoxious with a toy.  :)
I don't think it will be long before she is jumping all over me to get the toy.  Which is good.
Also, I have a plan of the ultimate Tibby toy to make her.  I'm starting on it tonight.  It will be a combination of her 3 favorite things - jingle ball, tug and fleece.
Then we worked on the running plank.  Tibby's first time across it was so pretty.  I restrained her with her harness, Loretta had the toy and then I released Tibby to the toy.  It's sounds simple, but it was really nice. 

Then Tibby got to work on her 'freak-out-when-I-see-another-dog-want-to-PLAY!!!' issue.  After seeing what Loretta did I think I could get Lucy and do the same thing.  The dogs didn't interact at all (good 'cause Lucy doesn't play well with others) and just walked along or stood.  When Tibby stopped flipping out and looked at me she got a treat.  Then Loretta took her dog out on the agility field to see if Tibby could watch another dog running around.  Mmmm, not yet.  She got too excited to eat treats.  Loretta had me walk Tibby away and then back to see when she was calm enough to eat treats.  She said we could do this at the dog park, which is a great idea.  Unfortunately our dog park is stupid.  You have to pay $3.17 per dog per visit to use the park, so no one uses it.  It's owned by a private business and it is 20 miles out of town.  If it were closer I could just drive by- dogs in the park?  stop with Tibby and work outside the fence.  Also, to see the park you have to walk all the way around the park owner's business and their home.  It's a weird dog park.

So, Tibby is doing great.  Me learning too! :)  I love private lessons!  It's so nice having someone tell me what to do.  Ahhh. Relaxing.  Someone that says this is the next step - do this and this and this.  We are building our little agility ladder - someday we will get to do a full course!  If we get all the little parts together.  I also like it when someone thinks my dog is smart!  LOL!  I'm her momma, so of course I think she is brilliant, but it's nice when someone else thinks it too :)