Sunday, June 28, 2009
We worked on flanking, sending Bug behind me from either direction to hold the sheep or move them slightly. I had a tremendous amount of trouble with this as it involves the rake and I do not use the rake well at this point. It was pretty frustrating for me and for Bug. Diane showed me an exercise sans sheep to practice using the rake with Bug at home.
I really need to work on Bug being comfortable with the rake. Bug needs to learn that when I ask him to move away from the rake he can move sideways away or whatever direction I need him to move. Currently he is still a bit leery about the rake - although he is becoming more confident.
We worked on "walk up" and downing on our way to the sheep. Bug's down is slow. So, homework is "down" and "stand." Diane said if we have a solid "down" and "stand" we'll be golden. We also practiced "out" - turning and walking straight away from the sheep. Once you reach as far as you are going, turn to the sheep and have your dog down. This is "there."
Then we let Bug bring me the sheep and hold them. This was probably our most successful exercise of the day. Although his walk up, down, out, theres improved - we practiced quite a bit.
We worked for a solid 40 minutes. This is the longest Bug has ever worked sheep. He worked SO hard and he never quit. I am so proud of him! I am also beyond happy that he thinks sheep are this cool.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The good news is that even though I haven't made it to handling classes recently I feel like I handled him much better. He stacked on the table very nicely for me and I held my leash in a position other than heel position! And to top it off, all the dogs were naked; Bug actually had the most coat left.
We totally failed the down and back - Bug was hip-hopping, so the judge asked us to do it again - and we did - without any hip-hopping along. Truly that is the only thing was was sub-par, and I think it was because Bug was feeling good.
I have noticed that since we did the moving series of adjustments (with our chiropractor) Bug can extend his left rear leg/judge side much better. We were dealing with a creepy foot before; I would move it into place and he would creep it forward and kick it out. Ugly!
I am thinking of entering him in two shows the first weekend of August - Greenfield, MA and Keene, NH. If so I have the whole month of July to commit to handling classes. I really wish Kerry (the woman who's drop-in classes we attend) had time to do privates.
I have to admit, I really don't enjoy showing. The people I have met and seen repeatedly at the local shows are incredibly supportive and I am so appreciative of that. Today one of them commented that she thought it was my nerves not Bug's that is getting in the way. I am sure she is right.
In general I don't find it fun, I find it stressful. I think agility is SO much easier!! I even find herding less stressful, and herding is HARD.
Anyway, it was not a bad day. I feel like Bug and I worked fairly well together, it wasn't raining, and the location was only a half-hour a way from home! How can you beat that?
Bug says, "You can't."
Friday, June 26, 2009
Of course, Bug is not at work because I knew it was TYDTW day. He is here because I am leaving work early to scoot over to the Dirty Dawg Wash to beautify him for a show tomorrow.
I wish I had my camera with me. He is sound asleep behind my chair, paw literally twitching....
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Katrin had set up two sequences that could ultimately be run together – if we got that far (we did not). Both sequences had a distance challenge.
8” dogs went last and I spent that time getting Bug warmed up and then stretching. Currently I am still giving him Traumeel before class.
Sequence #1 started with a serpentine. Between jumps #2 and # 3 in the serpentine you needed to cue your dog to “switch” as they would be heading left after the final jump. Depending upon the amount of distance your dog has, Katrin wanted us to try and be on the right side of the serpentine (looking at the drawing, left side in real-life). With Bug I knew I would need to be on the left side (right-side in real life), but I had no idea how much I would need to “support” him. (Please excuse my poor course drawings! I did them in PowerPoint.)
I asked Bug for a sit at the first jump, angled so he could easily splice it. He self released and made a beeline for the jump. YES!! My corgi who was afraid of jumps now finds them reinforcing! HOORAY! I was pleasantly surprised my how fluidly he handled the serpentine. I babysit the switch because I am so unsure of it.
Here is the truly exciting bit – I was actually able to stay fairly close to the serpentine. Bug went OUT for the jumps and stayed committed to them!
His teeter performance leaves more than a bit to be desired. He does Eeyor ears on it. I need to get my teeter set up and do some rehab work on it. Now that it has finally stopped raining, I might be able to do that!
Sequence #2 started at the teeter and went into a pinwheel. Katrin asked us to do a “switch” after the teeter and before the first jump. Because I did not have to micro manage the switch on the flat I wasn’t sure what Bug and I were doing actually counted! I am sure Katrin thinks I am a dork, but I am so used to having to work much harder at a poorly executed switch versus Bug who seems to naturally “get it.” Katrin and I were talking about this later and she thinks it is because he has more speed than either Ike or Carmen.
After teeter, jump, jump we were asked to send our dog to the weave poles. I had no expectations since Bug has not done the weaves since he was injured. Well, not only did he naturally do the switch after the teeter he went out for the poles and finished them correctly 3 out of 4 times (the final cage was off). Hooray, Bug!
I was pleasantly surprised by how much more obstacle motivation he seems to have, his distance, and his switch. We need major work on the teeter. I almost wonder if his head is out of alignment again because he seemed to be almost cringing when the board hit the ground. However, it could also just be that he needs more exposure to the teeter and I need to make it an AWESOME place to be.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
It was an AKC nested style course. One was an AKC excellent course. The other was either Novice or Open. I don't do AKC - does Novice standard have 12 weave poles in it?
I came toward the end of the day when there was only 1 hour left. I ran Bug once and Ike twice. They were running Big to Small, so Ike ran first. He was excellent. No hesitation with of the obstacles and no worries about the people watching. I guess it was a small enough crowd that it didn't get his performance anxiety in a dither. I am sure he could tell it was just for fun as well.
Ike barrelled through the chute. I can't tell you how long it took to train Ike to do the chute. He found it scary. Yesterday - even after not doing agility for at least six months (other than some practicing in the back yard and at Marie's house) - he flew through the chute and twelve weave poles. He did crash a triple, but I don't think he expected it - the second run-thru he had no problem with it.
Bug's run-thru was also excellent. The course started jump, tire. The first attempt at the tire Bug went by, I called him back and he immediately took it. We do not see the tire often enough and he has some reservations about it. I think it might be something I need to invest in one (groan).
Tunnel, jumps in a 180, triple, teeter, pause table (asked for a down and got it, albeit slowly), back over the far side of the 180, tunnel, tire, jump, Chute, jump, A-Frame, double, poles (which we skipped), jump, dogwalk, jump.
Initial attempt at the chute he ducked out. I called him back and through he went. So again, this is something we need to practice. He doesn't see the chute a ton and obviously isn't comfortable. You do not see the chute in NADAC and rarely in CPE, but eventually we will dabble in AKC and I want him to be prepared.
Zero hesitation on the A-frame!! Yes!! Slow teeter, but no hesitation and given the surface isn't the greatest? I am very happy. When we hit the dog walk Bug started to go by and then hopped up without any correcting from me! He corrected himself! I was a bit nervous about the dogwalk. It doesn't appear to have a ton of grit, so I didn't try to goad him into going any faster than he wanted for fear of him slipping.
After our run I gave him some Arnica (I forgot my Traumeel) and stretched and massaged him.
I am really pleased with how it went. Given it was an AKC course and more twisty than we are used to, Bug went wide quite often. This is something we will need to work on - me giving him more space and cues in a timely manner. I am sure I was pushing him out and not trusting my dog and cues. We need to work on the tire and the chute. Contacts are coming along.
Last time we were at CM was for the May CPE trial and Bug was really distracted. There were only about 30 people there yesterday, but none-the-less I was really pleased that I held his attention throughout his run. People were set up right next to the fence with their dogs and he did not leave my side once.
All in all I would consider it a success for both dogs.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We are going to continue the every other day regimen for a week and a half. Then we will increase to a minute and a half for both stretching and standing. Then we will increase to every day. Slow and steady.
Ike did some GOTB as well. I let him stand on it for two minutes. He absolutely refuses to jump up on it like Bug will.
Friday, June 19, 2009
It was also pointed out that I need to pay attention to WHERE my feet are POINTING – not just where they are, but where they are pointing. This is especially pertinent since Carmie is such a shorty.
It was a good class. I am really enjoying the distance and discrimination challenges as I want more of those skills!
Wednesday night I took Bug to the chiropractor. He held his adjustments and wasn’t tight. Hooray! I brought my Egg Ball, lo and behold on the ball his pelvis was out. Cheryl adjusted him on the ball – Bug could have cared less. He thinks the ball is SUPER. I suppose he thinks this because lots of cookies happen on it? I actually have to be very careful once he is off the ball that I have blocked it from his access or he will try to hop right back up on it!
Tonight I planned on going to my friend Carol’s house to work on contacts with Bug. However, it is raining – much like it has been raining for … I no longer know how long. Since Bug is still recovering from iliopsoas injury, I do not want to risk running him on wet contacts. This is actually something I will need to think about in the future too. Given his long back, once he starts trialing, will I run him in the rain? I am not sure I would want to risk him slipping and tearing something. I know this can happen when it isn’t raining, but it is much more likely when it is raining.
Tomorrow Act-Up is hosting run-thrus in Seekonk. If the rain lets up I will bring both Carmen and Bug and run them. When the club put Contact-A-Coat on their A-Frame we also did the A-Frame at the Seekonk facility, so that would be another A-Frame for Bug to experience.
Paws crossed the rain stops sometime soon. It’s June!!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
FDA Suspends Temporary Emergency Permit of Pet Food Maker
Evanger's, operating in Wheeling, Illinois, deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company's thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products. The deviations in their processes and documentation could result in under-processed pet foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a bacterium that causes botulism in some animals as well as in humans.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I brought Ike because I thought he would like to get out and have a run about. I ran Ike through the Jumpers course Marie had set up a couple of times. He nailed his set of 12 weaves and seemed to be having a good time. I stopped while he was happy!
I brought Bug out to Marie's ring where the standard course is set up. I stretched him and did some massage. I started with just the A-frame. Bug tried to run around the A-Frame the first time, but after that was 100% committed to all the contact obstacles. I was sure to verbally reward him and click him in the down contact.
We did tire, jump, jump, dogwalk, tunnel, a-frame (or something like that); And then reversed it. Bug is VERY hesitant about the tire. Not fearful, just not sure if he is supposed to jump through the tire or go through the tire frame and the tire. So, we practiced the tire a couple more times. Bug seemed to get tired pretty quickly between the work and the sun, so I did not push it.
While Marie went to get her toy poodle, Spritey so that she could play with the boys, I stretched Bug. We settled down to have some sweets, coffee, and a chat. Marie let me run Spritey through the Jumpers course a couple of times which was super fun. She is like a little race car - she handles very nicely!!
After we left Marie's I brought Bug to the Dirty Dawg Wash for a bath.
A very tiring and fun day (except for the bath part, says Bug).
Friday, June 12, 2009
I cancelled it this morning.
Last weekend Bug stayed with Katrin and her boys. He ran around like a goon. Sunday he was very stiff. I iced him, massaged him, and stretched him.
We saw Cheryl on Wednesday. Bug was EXTREMELY tight. He held his pelvis, but his iliopsoas and surrounding abdominal muscles were really, really tight. With a little bit of trigger point therapy and adjusting his head he felt super!!
I asked Cheryl if she thought I should cancel my herding lesson. She said to wait and see how he is. If he stays loose, keep it.
Well, he appears to have remained loose. However I am really worried about putting him in a position to become so stiff and inflamed immediately following being so stiff, tight, and inflamed. I don’t know if there is any logic to the reasoning that another strenuous incident on top of having just been so stiff would exacerbate his injury?
I don’t know. I have actually sent Cheryl an e-mail to inquire about her opinion.
Last night to try and build Bug’s muscles back up we did a short Get On The Ball (GOTB) session. Recently on the Clean Run list there was an inquiry as to how to use GOTB to recover from an iliopsoas injury! Perfect. Debbie Gross Saunders responded:
I always start dogs with an iliopsoas injury off slowly on the ball - get them up in either a standing or lying down position to equally distribute their weight. Sitting may be a bit awkward. Begin with weightshifting the dog from side to side and backwards and forwards. The initial goal will be to increase the weight and the muscle tone of the rear legs, specifically the gluteals and the hamstrings. Try this for a few minutes and then call it quits. The tendency is to overdo it with iliopsoas injuries. Begin slow. The beginner program on the DVD is perfect for rehab and dogs with the problem of an iliopsoas problem. As the dog progresses, she can be progressed to the intermediate and advanced program on the Get on the Ball DVD.
Another great exercise with the ball is to encourage the dog to just place their front legs on the ball. This will stretch the back legs, and specifically the iliopsoas. Do not do this if the injury is less than two weeks old. You do not want to stretch a muscle at that point.
I forwarded her response to Cheryl asking if she thought it would be okay to do with Bug. Cheryl said, since Bug is holding his adjustments - yes. Yesterday was the first chance I have had to do it. We did a VERY brief session primarily stretching standing on the ball and standing on the ball while I moved it gently. The ball was shaking like a leaf because even that small amount of balance work was very hard for Bug. Afterward I stretched him and massaged him. I think he might be one of the best loved corgis ever.
Ike also had a chance to play GOTB. He loves anything that involves treats and one-on-one time with me! Unlike Bug who remembered the ball from months ago and immediately wanted to hop up on it, I have still not convinced Ike he is capable of hopping up on the ball by himself.
This weekend Bug and I are going to my friend Marie’s house to play on her contacts (she has Max 200 contacts versus rubber). I feel comfortable doing this because while the impact of contacts are tough – we are not going to do a lot of them AND I truly do not feel it is as intensive as the turning and running in herding. I will be giving him Traumeel and stretching him beforehand and then stretching him and massaging him afterward. Possibly ice depending on how he seems.
I am worried that I am being overprotective about herding with Bug. I HATE to cancel the lesson, but I am really worried about keeping him healthy. My number one priority is to ensure he will be able to play for a LONG time with me. Argh. Am I being crazy? I don’t know.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
First we did the weaves with all the cages on, then with one side off, then with no cages. Carmie did three perfect sets of weaves with no cages (and no *helping* by me). We have been practicing a lot, but it still amazes me that she is finally getting it. It has taken SO long. Different dogs, different brains. And I would say we are still probably at 70%? Maybe a bit better than that? It is hard to judge.
On to the class portion. It was not one of our best classes, not a bad class – just hard for us. I was a bit foggy. Katrin wanted us to stay toward the center of the speed circle and move minimally. Carmen wasn’t really committed to working away from me and I had to support her more than I anticipated. She was also very cued into my lack of consistency in my movement and would turn into me when I changed my speed poorly. After a bit she was fairly pattern trained and committing more easily to taking the jump ahead of her at a decent clip.
Switch remains something we need to do a lot of work on. After a few gaffs, I think they started to have a bit more flow, but it is still not natural for us. Lots of practice on that one. However, there was much less spinning than I typically cause in my dog. I tried to draw my line slower and I only did the switch for Carmie once. That is an improvement!
Katrin also taught the class how to pace jumps/obstacles. She taught me this a few years ago and I use it every time I set stuff up in my back yard. 8.5 paces = 20” for me. Katrin counts “1 and,” I count “one, two, …”
In NADAC most obstacles are placed between 18” and 21” apart. So it benefits you to know how many of your paces are in 20”. In order to figure this out we walked three panels of the barn (which are approximately 20” each). Then divided by three. I walked it again and my paces came out to exactly the same number as last time.
I have to put some serious effort into switch. It is so much fun to watch dogs that have it down execute switch on command (hehm…Remy, Aidan), and of course it is a huge benefit on course.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It ended up being a gorgeous day – although a bit hot for the dogs.
The trial had six rings running concurrently and the workers schedule was a masterpiece (mind-boggling initially)! I worked 4 classes – two in the morning and two in the afternoon. In the morning I worked hospitality and ribbons, in the afternoon I worked as a bar setter for two different classes. Typically I hate working as a bar setter, but in this instance it gave me an opportunity to watch two classes uninterrupted and as luck would have it one of the classes had a bunch of Schnauzer friends in it!
It was really fun to watch dogs from all over the country, of all levels (Level 2 thru Level C) compete. I feel you can almost always tell who also plays NADAC with their pups.
The two classes I worked as a bar setter for were Standard and Jumpers. I wish I worked Jackpot. In Jackpot (Gamblers), out of 600-plus dogs, only 34 or 36 qualified! Here is a copy of the course map – definitely worth playing around with at home.
Classes were finished by 5pm. I hung around for a BBQ with friends and club members and then headed home.
I had left Ike with my in-laws and Bug with Katrin. This was the first time I had left Bug home since he came to live with me. I was a wreck about it. However, he and I both survived and he seems to have had a great time running around like a goon with Katrin’s boys. Katrin kindly allowed me to pick him up late Saturday night and I had the in-laws drop Ike off, so the whole family was together again to snooze and relax on Sunday.
Friday, June 5, 2009
My goal is to try in get a minimum of one hike in a week in order to help build Bug's strength up. Hopefully I can manage that!
As a reward I picked up some deer shanks at Coolen's. My boys LOVE these and will chew on them for days even after the sinew, skin, and marrow is long gone.
Tonight Bug is going to be boarded with Katrin and Ike will be staying with the in-laws (gulp!!! I guess I know what parents feel like when they leave their kids with a babysitter). I am headed out to the CPE Nationals to work on Saturday. It will be fun to watch competitors of all sorts play!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
It was not an auspicious start to the day.
As we continued our walk, I felt pretty terrible that my boys had this outburst. Gah, not good at all. So, I was a little down and starting to beat myself up. We spotted the reactive beagle again (we were walking on a cul de sac). I immediately put my boys into sits and started click and treating for looking at the baying beagle and refocusing on me. Success. No outbursts. I kept them focused on me.
As I walked home I realized that many years ago I would have foolishly said, “Sure” when she asked if the dogs could meet. Now-a-days I see tight leashes and amped up dogs and say, “No.” C/T to me.
I think I will go knock on her door some weekend soon and ask if she wants to let the dogs meet in a more neutral manner. I feel bad, she is a new owner saddled with a dog who is WAY over stimulated by other dogs. It’s a lonely feeling to have a dog who doesn’t “behave” in the manner we humans have deemed proper. I might try to subtly ask her where she is training with him, too.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I set up the weaves, jumps, and tunnels. The back yard is nearly completely dry which will open up our playing space significantly. I need to make some more jumps (I only have two) and I plan on making some hoopers to work on with Bug.
Bug went first and worked on start-line stays, jumps, and sending to the tunnel. This was the first time in a while I have practiced with him in the in-laws' back yard and he was really focused. I am so pleased!! You might recall last time we tried to practice in the back yard I very nearly lost him to a softball game 200 yards away and through a creek! Those eyes - they see everything.
Ike was next. His weaves are rocking. He LOVES practicing SO much. I practiced sending him over the jumpes to the tunnel from quite a distance and he nailed it repeatedly until he ran out of steam. Such a fun boy. And need I tell you how happy it makes him to play agility?
On to Carmie. The light has changed enough that where I set up the equipment the sun was a none-issue. Perfect! Carmie had some really nice weave poles. However as she got tired (I am guessing that is what was going on) she did start to skip/miss a pole or entry. We ended on a high note with the weaves and had much more success than failure. I did practice sending her to the tunnel (and she does well with that), but what I really need to do is get the teeter out and practice sending her from the teeter to a jump. Sending to jumps is where we run into some troubles.
All in all I feel really good about the mini-practice session and I had SUPER happy dogs. I even played with Joey, the evil Yorkie, and to be honest I don't think I have ever seen him so happy! We went over some 4" jumps and I introduced him to the tunnel (straight and shortened).
Every dog was grinning by the end and so was I.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
John and I got married in September of 2002 – we had been together for 3 years and having grown up in a multi-dog household, I really wanted a dog. My mum’s current dog was some kind of herding dog mix and I thought I wanted a Border Collie. The majority of John’s dogs had been Schnauzers. After we decided a Border Collie wasn’t a good fit at the moment as we would most likely be living in an apartment for a chunk of its life, John convinced me a Schnauzer would be the way to go. I went to the AMSC web page and started e-mailing local breeders.
We met Ike during a visit to meet Carmie. The breeder had explained that Carmen was 9 months old and wasn’t working out for the show ring – she was a hair too tall and her temperament wasn’t ideal for the ring. We got there and were greeted by a HERD of Schnauzers.
I had read online and bought some books on Schnauzers but had done none of the research I would do now if I were interested in a pup. Ike sat on my MIL’s head and that was it – we were hooked. The breeder convinced my in-laws to take Carmen home for the week and see what they thought….obviously she stayed!
Ike was born 10/5/02 – he came home with us on 1/25/03. We missed an important chunk of socialization and we have been making up for it ever since. The progress Ike has made with his fear and reactivity issues has been phenomenal. Without Ike I would NEVER have become so interested and involved in training. Ike also taught me how to listen to my dog. Ike’s idea of a good time is hiking or hanging with his loved ones – or just hanging out alone! He thinks trialing is stressful. Training, though, is lots of fun.
Bug came to live with me last May (’08). I was researching both Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Giant Schnauzer breeders (primarily focusing on GS at that time). I really wanted a dog that I could try herding with and continue to do agility with. My timeline was the end of ’08.
In April of ’08 I received a call from Katrin that the breeder of her CWC Monty (who both John and I adore) had a male she was looking to place in the right home. I spoke to Holly and decided we would like to have Bug come stay with us and see if he was the right dog for our house. We had many dogs in and out of our house the past couple of years, mostly for pet sitting although one for fostering, and it had become apparent how important it would be for the next dog to be the *right* dog for Ike’s sake.
We drove out to pick up Bug on Derby day. I swear we weren’t even home yet and I KNEW he was the right dog for us. He and Ike figured out their boundaries immediately and have been fast friends since. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Bug – we have had a great first year and I hope it will only get better. As always I must thank Holly for trusting me with this wonderful boy. I can’t imagine my house without at least one Cardigan in it, I suspect there will eventually be more!
I will tag:
Tracy at K9 Crazy
Shaya at Paws and Reflect
Nancy and Stewie
Jenn at Connecting with the Dots
Katrin at By My Side
Blue at The Rainbow Doggess