Monday, May 30, 2011

Distracted Corgi

Saturday Bug and I had a rally lesson. It was gorgeous so we were outside in Katrin's yard. What we are currently working on is fairly static - Bug finding heel and being rewarded with the Manners Minder.

On Saturday Bug showed me it does not compete with bugs to chase and smells!! So, we worked a bit on recalls with the MM, which worked out well and then he checked in and out as we worked fronts.

The lesson was an awesome reminder that I must work my dog in more than one place - regardless of the level of work we are doing. So I will be using a long line to work my boy outside in the yard.

I was happy that Katrin said she could see progress. I definitely feel as though there has been progress, but it is at such a snail's pace I wonder if I am imaging it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

PRA Clear

When the call went out earlier this month from VetNostic Laboratories seeking approximately 25 Cardigan Welsh Corgi DNA samples to validate their Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) test I jumped at the chance. Bug is line clear for PRA, but I want to support PRA testing any way I can in any and every breed. As many of you know Carmen, my in-law's Miniature Schnauzer, had to be retired from agility due to PRA. It is a horrible disease and unnecessary.

Carmen is doing well. She can still spy a squirrel 100' away, but she has trouble with thresholds depending on the light, is no longer that confident about stairs, and always smells first when greeting now. The only positive is that her PRA is a gradual deterioration.

I received Bug's results today and he is, indeed, PRA clear!! Hooray!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

At Bug's Saturday lesson we worked on finding heel position and then rewarding from the Manners Minder directly in front of Bug. He was a hotshot on Saturday; Sunday and Monday not so much. Sunday and Monday he did a lot of staring at me. I spoke to Katrin about it and decided to back up and reward him for moving toward heel position and slowly raise my criteria. I admit it, I was lumping (again!).

We took Tuesday night off, in part because Ike had class. The secondary reason for taking Tuesday night off (because if I were really motivated I could work him when I got home) is that Bug seems to be a dog who learns when he is not working. Things sink in when he has time off.

Tonight I started just rewarding him for walking toward heel position. Within 10 minutes I had him going fairly far behind me before turning around and straightening up. We'll keep working on it but I am feeling much more encouraged than I was on Monday! I do need to buy a cheap floor length mirror so i can be sure he is straight without me craning my neck.

I also worked Ike on his foundation rear cross exercises - at least that is what I am calling them. Amanda Shyne had suggested I get Ike used to driving between my legs and slowly but surely bring my legs closer together making a tighter squeeze for him. When I first started doing this exercise Ike did not want to go through my legs even when they were more than shoulder width apart! Tonight my boy busted through my legs (maybe a foot width apart) knocking into them!! Hooray! I am also practicing the rear cross on the flat where you have your dog in a sit, cross behind them and the second their head moves release with a toy or food.

I am 100% sure these exercises are why, given the right circumstances, Ike and I can now occasionally complete rear crosses. I am proud of both of us. Ike for getting outside his comfort zone and me for continuing to try even though it is taking years (due to intermittent commitment levels and finding the right method for us).

Small Dog, Please, Mum

Last night Ike and I had agility class and it went pretty well. A classmate of ours got an awesome picture of Ike r-u-n-n-i-n-g on the dog walk. I have asked her to send it to me and if it looks as good as it did on her camera I will post it.

Ike was a good boy last night and I managed to sneak in another rear cross. I am starting to get the hang of it. The only bad thing is I kept going and did not stop to reward! BAD JULIE! Fortunately it was the 3rd to last jump. None-the-less, rear crosses are HARD for Ike (and by extension me). I must STOP and REWARD!!! Gah!

I have been thinking about a third dog for a while now. I am hoping to be ready in about a year. The boys have already made it clear they would prefer a female. As much as I love my boys and would personally really prefer another boy I think a female would be the best fit in our house at this time.

I am undecided about breed. Ike has an obsession with poodles and poodle-mixes. John loves his Schnauzers. I love herding. I am sure we will figure it out. I have a feeling the right dog will appear at the right time. That is not to say I am not thinking and researching options.

The same classmate who took Ike’s picture last night is heavily involved in rescue and specifically deaf dogs.

She brought her newest rescue to socialize: a nine week old deaf “mini” Aussie named Paisley. Paisley is only 5# at the moment, so she might actually be a “toy” Aussie which would be a disturbing thing to consider. Regardless, this poor pup was going to be euthanized because she is deaf. Thank goodness for kind hearted people.

The surprise was that Ike, no big fan of puppies, liked her! Ike obviously prefers a smaller dog. I doubt I will be adding anything larger than a Cardi, but you never know. I think as long as I get a puppy Ike will adjust. Then I will just have to make sure Bug doesn’t try to boss the puppy TOO much!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Finally, here is the video from the run-thru. I really need to pay attention to Ike's contacts when i don't have a hoop out. He leapt off the a-frame kind of high. I don't remember actually seeing whether he got the yellow or not.

30 Seconds

....of corgi play!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Class in the R-A-I-N?

Ike and I had a great agility class last night – even though it was raw and rainy! I guess playing agility with me has become its own reward since this is a dog that usually acts like he will melt in the rain!

He was GREAT. The course was nice and there were lots of training opportunities. I gave Ike more distance at the weaves, thinking ahead to how I would ultimately like to handle them in this particular course (even though I didn’t get to layer the jump after the weaves like I wanted to – we would have needed to run it once more for me to feel confident about doing that). Ike has pretty independent weaves as it is, they are very high value for him. I plan to continue to work on distance with the weaves this summer.

We did have a run in with a scary tunnel. Truth be told I have not seen Ike act like this about a tunnel in a very long time, but I completely understand where he was coming from. To set the scene: it had gotten quite dark out, it was raining and the lights weren’t on yet; the tunnel was dark, forest green and curved in a tight “c” shape with the dog walk ramp in the center. Ike went in and immediately backed out/turned around. This happened twice before he would complete the tunnel. We partied when he came out. Then he was hesitant about getting on the dog walk. I think it was because of the tunnel as he has done it fine from the other direction and was/is moving a.o.k., and in fact was in extension once he was on the dog walk. Next run the exact same thing happened.

This is easy enough to work on at home. I have a dark blue tunnel. I will set it up in my backyard in a tight “c” shape and practice at dusk when the tunnel is getting dark and scary!

I need to note that even though he had a tough time with the green tunnel later in the class, during the first two runs he went tearing into a dark blue tunnel and actually slipped just before he exited due to his speed and the rain, twice (!), and he wasn’t fazed at all. His tunnel issues are definitely improving. I think Kathleen’s idea of sending him from the tunnel to the weave poles is ideal because he LOVES his poles and definitely picks up speed when he sees them!

Ike blew one of his dog walk contacts (1 out of 4) - this was completely my fault. Ike has “managed” running contacts and I did not support him at all. I had also forgotten to put out our training hoop.

In the 2nd course where all of our “troubles” (relatively speaking) occurred, we had two awesome rear crosses! I walked the course and could not see a way to do a front cross without getting in Ike’s way, cutting him off and slowing him down. I decided he should have enough speed that I could try a rear cross. The first run the rear cross was flawless! I was so happy. The second run it was pretty darn close to flawless again. The 2nd run Ike seemed more aware of me and it seemed like he slowed a bit and checked in, but he was ahead of me, I didn’t crunch him in terms of space and there was no spinning! Hooray!

We have been practicing rear crosses on the flat and him running into my space/between my legs, so perhaps it is paying off!

I feel like my mind set was a bit different last night, I was looking for ways to challenge myself and Ike. I am not sure what has changed. I feel like we had gotten in a bit of a rut where I have been just running the courses to the best of our ability not necessarily pushing things.

I also picked up some AA batteries and downloaded the run-thru run. Hopefully I will get that posted tonight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yesterday I took Ike to Act-Up's first run-thru of the season. We both had a great time! I took Amanda's suggestion and tried some canned food in my food container. Ike thought the Evanger's Pheasant was awesome! My only qualm about it is it makes the food container much heavier. Given I have accidentally hit Ike in the head with the food container before when tossing it (I have awesome aim, not), I need to be very careful if I keep using canned food!

We had three runs and they were all very nice. The first two runs I was silly and did a landing side cross after a 180 - it was awkward. Ike forgave me though. Run 3 I finally chose to do a rear cross into a tunnel two obstacles later. It worked much more smoothly. I am not sure why it took me so long to figure that out! I have video from the first run and then the battery in my Flip died.

Run-thrus more closely mirrored a trial in the sense that Ike was out for a bit, ran for 60 seconds and then I crated him in the car. He was definitely more barky than class or the Act-Up outdoor trial, but I am pretty sure this is because Monty is staying with us. Ike likes Monty but his schedule and life is a bit out of whack with the additional corgi. And Ike does not like the way Bug and Monty play!

I also ran a nice Aussie named Snicker. Her owner and I had spoken at the last club meeting about me possibly running her in some trials. I was going to try and get down during the weekdays to practice with her and develop a relationship. With all that is going on in with the house that hasn't happened. J let me run her all three runs while she ran her younger dog. Snicker is a very nice dog with excellent skills. She stresses at trials and will typically only run as fast as her handle is running. J thought she might pick up speed if she is running with someone faster. We had an excellent time together. She is a very responsive dog.

It was really fun to run a bigger dog. It is so different from running my guys! I am going to try and get together with J and Snicker again and we'll definitely hook up at the run-thrus. Depending on whether I have a chance to continue to work with her J might have me run her in some classes at the August ASCA trial.

I will post the video of Ike's first run later, after I get replacement batteries. I also have some cute video of the corgis playing which I'll share too!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Yesterday the boys and I saw our chiro.

Bug and C have a very strong bond. I think because she helped him so much when he was in so much pain. Bug regularly tells her things. He has woken her up in the middle of the night to tell her he needed an adjustment! He told her he was not ready for Adequan injections when I was getting ready to start them. He often tells her specifically where he is hurting.

Last night I put him on the table and he immediately laid down on it. Odd; he has never ever done that before. C said, “Interesting. Let me check his pelvis in a down.” He was out – by a LOT. I knew he was off on the stairs, but that is usually his sacrum. It would have taken us quite a bit of sleuthing to realize he was out in a down if he hadn't told us.

We also checked him in “perch” position because we have been doing that a lot. Bug was out in “perch” position. It now makes a lot of sense that he has been having some trouble with moving his rear feet while on the brick after he was initially so awesome at it.

I love that we have this awesome, intuitive practitioner available to us and that my dog knows he can tell her what’s up. We’re very lucky.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I want to note that when I trained with Katrin a very familiar refrain was, “Give your dog a cookie!” I would say people do it about 50% of the time – even with the verbal prompt! People get so hung up on running the course/finishing the course, when they should be breaking it into pieces and celebrating the small successes. The biggest change in my rewarding, that happened when I started training with Kathleen, is that I now rarely reward from my hand. I always throw treats away from my hand or toss Ike’s cheese container. This really gets Ike going. He loves food and being a terrier he loves chasing things. Combine the two, food and chasing, and you have a very happy Schnauzer!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Ike Rocks!

Here are two videos from last night's class. It was the first class outdoors this year and all the dogs were full of it. Ike was raring to go and so happy!

This is our first run where I did not go deep enough between the jump and the tire and so Ike did not commit to it. There is also a funky cross at the jump before the teeter. If we had a solid rear cross I would have used that there. Great happy run! I left in my rewarding Ike even though it eats up time because it is key to why he is such a happier Schnauzer.

My rewarding was even heavier when I first started with Kathleen, and as it is I think it is a bit heavier than some of my classmates. Ike appreciates the feedback!

This is the second course we ran. I pulled Ike off a jump again. I really need to work on my commitment to obstacles! :)

I am so happy with how we are working together as a team. Things that would have shut him down in the past no longer do. There is so much more JOY!

Thanks, Linda, for being willing to video us!