31 March 2008

I took some more photos of Saffy at training last night. she is nearly 8 months old and growing up fast. It was quite difficult to get good photos of Saffy as she still struggles to stand still for more than a milli second. When at ring craft she does stand reasonably well but seems to move as soon as the judge looks at her.

She loves training at the club with me. She is very sociable with the other dogs but will try to steal their toys and titbits if she get the chance. She does get into trouble for greeting people a bit too enthusiastically. People she knows get poked very hard in the eye with her nose and it can be quite painful.

Saffy is used as my demo dog if I need to show how anything is done. She works well in spite of the distraction of the other dogs. She is very focused on me.


30 March 2008

Took some video of Ruby doing the dog walk today. She is still not happy doing the full DW but is much happier. She now enthusiastically hops onto the DW and trots along. I am asking her to do more of it and once she is running along the full length I will raise it again.

After she has done the DW we go and have a game of football. The strange noise in the back ground is Ruby


25 March 2008

At agility tonight we set up long straight runs of 4 jumps and a tunnel at the end. Ruby liked racing me as we did the 4 jumps in a row but I found she would not go ahead to the tunnel. This surprised me as I have spent time sending her on to the equipment from a distance.

We did the weave poles with the set up making it easier to do the poles with me on the right and Ruby really struggled. Part of the problem was that the exit from the weave poles was just a bit past the upright of the A frame and I automatically turned towards the A frame about 3 poles from the end which caused Ruby to pop out of the weaves. . I found it surprisingly hard to keep running straight but when I did Ruby stayed in and completed the poles. Ruby was much happier running the poles with me on the left. I have worked on her running poles with me on either side and at a distance from her. She can do this fairly well in the garden but obviously needs more wor at the club. She weaves much slower at the club too, but I can't really use the football as an incentive there.


24 March 2008

We went for a lovely long walk this morning. Stayed out about two hours. The dogs had a great time Saffy was a bit slower than when we started but Ruby was still zooming around as much as ever.

Finally got my seesaw out this afternoon. Ruby had seen it once yesterday when I tested it on the lowest setting and after some initial trepidation decided that it really was not too scary and went over it a couple of times. As the lowest setting does not work particularly well I put it up on the next level. I put it up at the side of the house next to the dog walk. The DW is now set at a whole 1ft high now and Ruby has been hoping onto the midle and doing the down ramp but is still reluctant to do the whole thing.

I took some liver and Ruby out to the seesaw and didn't say anything. Ruby trotted on to the DW and promptlytrotted all the way to the other end.then back again. I could see her taking little glances at the seesaw while determindely trotting back and forth over the DW for bits of liver. I let her do this a few times as she was happy with the DW then I changed my position relative to the Seesaw and waited again. Ruby came up looking worried put one paw on the seesaw and so I clicked, ran her out and played a big game of football with her. I will probably only do that one more time today and then leave it until tomorrow. Her dogwalk and Seesaw phobia is hugely improved but taking things slowly works far better with Ruby.

I brought Saffy out for a go on the seesaw. It is small enough that I can encourage Saf up the ramp, and have her pause at the tipping point while I feed her and allow it to tip very slowly. At first she was not sure about the movement but after a couple of goes was much more confident. I want her to learn to do the seesaw steadily. I don't want her to rush it and hurt herself.

Just went out with Ruby again and she did the DW several times and then again put a foot on the seesaw so again I clicked and called her off the seesaw for a game of football. I think the penny has dropped for her about how to get a game of football as she spent ages afterwards whining by the door ASKING to go out t0 the DW. This is a dog who at Christmas was so stressed by the DW that she could not eat within 20 feet of it and I was seriously considering giving up agility as her fear of the DW was making her frightened of the rest of the equipment. Even the sound of another dog running over it would cause her to shake.

Just went out to have a last go on the seesaw before it gets too dark and Ruby did half the DW and then came straight to the seesaw looked at me and put two paws on it. Of course I Clicked and called her off for a really good game of football.

I did it again with Saffy too. Already Saffy is quite confident tipping the seesaw and she really works her socks off for liver..


22 March 2008

I took the dogs for a long walk this morning. We went round the pond and met dad walking his dogs so walked with him for a bit. Saffy got into trouble for jumping on Mimi to make her squeak so she had to stay on the lead after that.

Once we left dad I decided to go across the fields as the farmer has finally moved the cows. We went into the big field and as soon as i took their leads off a hare popped up in front of them so they all set off in hot pursuit. totally ignoring my calls to stop. The chased the hare down the long field with the hare well out in front, then the hare decided to take cover in the scrub land next to the field so the dogs all followed it through and disappeared from view.

Casey very quickly came back. He is never gone long so I waited for the girls to come back. Then Ruby came back shortly followed by Dora but there was no sign of Saffy. This is rather unusual as Saffy is very good at coming back. I was rather surprised she hadn't been with the others.

I waited about 10 minutes and was starting to get a bit panicky as Saffy is only a baby and not used to finding her way about. then I thought I heard something over the sound of the wind, it was Saffy yelling so I climbed the fence and set of to look for her. Luckily i found her fairly quickly she was the other side of a stream and couldn't get across to get back. I called her a few times and seeing me there encouraged her to try to jump it. She almost made it but landed up to her elbows in thick black mud. I think all the girls must have been in the stream as Ruby and Dora are pretty muddy too.

having gathered all the dogs we set off back to the car. I was hoping that some of the mud would come off before we got back to the car. Saffy and Ruby were running and chasing each other and rolling round play fighting. unfortunately when they got back to me I could smell that it wasn't just mud they had been rolling in. they had obviously found a cowpat too. Thankfully we were almost back to the car so I got them on leads and took them home where I had to start bating the 3 girls.

Saffy In the shower.

Saffy Getting her own back. Yes that is my bed. I came out of the bathroom after cleaning it up to find Saffy rolling about on it.

clean again


21 March 2008

I am way behind updating my blog. have been adding Saffy's blog and the puppy blog to this one.
Did agility at mums this morning. remembered to take the camera with me

Ruby posing on the contacts

Saffy doing the tunnel


08 March 2008

CRUFTS - The day has dawned. Got up at 4:00am. Didn't need to be up quite that early but woke up and couldn't get back to sleep so got the last few things ready.

Set off at 5:30am had a good journey and arrived about 7:00, found the bench and unpacked and made ourselves at home.

After we checked in we were free until 8:45 when we had the parade so went along to discover dogs with Saffi and stayed there. I also stayed there while the others competed. I found I was getting too nervous watching .

When we went into the ring to compete Dora was switched on and working very well. I was having problems with my feet though. I kept stumbling over them when doing turns. We managed the heelwork and went on to the recall. Dora was came really fast and crashed into my legs causing me to step back. She did sit really straight though. We lost 4.5 points over all and came 8th. I was really pleased with her and did enjoy my day once I stopped feeling nervous.

SAffi spen most of the day on discover dogs as no-one else turned up to releive us. She was very good talking to the people and asking them for treats. Dora was on discover dogs too and lots of people asked if she was a Belgian too.

07 March 2008

Last Day berore Crufts. Did more pratice with Dora. Increased the length of the heelowrk pattern to probably twice the elngth that the actual round will be. She is working well very attentive. Starting off well. I am still running off on the starts sometimes and rewarding very quickly for good starts. Plenty of rewards after the heelwork food circuits ot long play with a toy.

Agility with Ruby. I put 8 jumps up in a circle at half height and quickly ran her round them. We did both directions she is jumpiong them well

Put the weaves up at the end ogf the garden and the tunnel at the side making a right angle. Ran her through the weaves and on into the tunnel

Ruby was able to do the weaves and then go right into weaves but she found it very difficult to go from the tunnel turn left to the weaves and get the weave entry correct.



06 March 2008

I did more practice for Dora on our walk this morning. We did heelwork on the carpark. It was not frosty this morning so we could get on quite well. I did lots of food circuits and also ball circuits. Dora is working well. The lady with Sadie the Terv and Storm the GSD puppy arrived while we were working and Ruby and Casey barked at them as they wanted to go say hello. I thought Dora would be distracted but she kept with me until Storm came up to see what we were doing. I let her say hello and then we went back to working.

Did stick circuits with Ruby but she is very particular about which stick she will have . I had 2 sticks Actually one large stick that had broken in half, She would run and fetch one and would chase the other one but would not bring it back.did some nice right circles to a hand touch. When i bring her in she has a nice consistent position Sh is keeping her position much more on static left turns. she rarely drops back. Right turns are still a bit wide.

Went to mums to do agility put jumps up in squares and put the weaves up 1/2 inch off set. Started with Ruby and ran her as fast as I could over several jumps and did the weaves several times. Running her very quickly did increase her enthusiasm and drive. Will try short sharp bursts of activity. She did get very distracted by the dog next door barking constantly and ran off to bark at it. she was not as switched on once I got her back. tied her uup and got Dora out. did heelwork around the jumps. I was using liver for treats and Dora REALLY likes that. She was noticiably mor enthusiastic and worked really nicely.

ran Saffy over the jumps on the ground again still practicing steering her left and right. ALso did food circuits with Liver and cheese. She managed to see those treats ok


05 March 2008

More crufts practice on the morning walk. I am trying to extend Dora's work using praise and play rather than titbits so she will keep going in the ring. Very icy out so could not do much on the carpark at the lake as it was too slippy.

Went to Middlewich to traain later on. I did lots of food circuits with Dora and used people arriving and getting out of their cars as distractions while doing heelwork. Dora does tend to look at them but quickly looks back at me. Of course nothing replicates the Crufts environment. Also played with her teddy and practised setting off.
When Chris came we did stays. As i was talking to Chris I kept rewarding Dora for staying.

Did food circuits and played with Saffy. did circles with a hand touch held low to get drive.


04 march 2008

no agility this morning but diid some obedience on our walk.
Working on starting off with Dora again in preparation for Crufts. again I played with the toy for a few seconds, then asked her to release it and set her yup for heelwork. did a few steps of good attentive heelwork and then give her the toy back.

At agility tonight with Ruby She did very well. she jumps all the jumps and is getting better at responding to directional cues. She did the weaves well. The firdt time she missed the second to last pole but did them all the second time speed is increasing.

In between runs we practice turns, heelwork, stays etc.

after Agilty I went to Danesford where they were having a pre-crufts party for everyone.

They presented me with a photo of dora in an inscribed frame and loads of good luck cards.


03 March 2008

Did some training on our walk this morning. Again concentrating on building excitement and attitude. Did food circuits with Dora on the field with the occasional ball throw. did several throws and then into heelwork. The ball worked better as the treats were hard to spot in the grass in the half light.When doing circles I am trying not to look at Dora much but become aware of her position by feel. I also want to move away from making eye contact with her as this brings her a bit too far forward. I am shifting the emphasis onto her following my hand. I am particularly looking for her changing her position as I move my hand when changing from right hand to left hand circles.

With Ruby I used digging in a mole hill for her reward as that is what she wanted most. It work better than a stick as she can't run off with a molehill! I encourage Ruby to dig in the mole hill, then ask her to leave it, cue a behaviour. When she does the behaviour correctly I click and then send her back to the molehill. and get her to dig again. This worked very well. I need to keep the rate of reinforcement high with Ruby or she loses enthusiasm so I only ask for one or two behaviours then reward. I am gradually extending the duration of heelwork, being careful to keep the attitude I want. I also played with a stick. We played tuggy with it again using my voice and quick movements to encourage her. I did food circuits and then threw the ball for her to pick up. She did run after the ball but wasn't keen to bring it back. I then switched to the stick and played eith that, did a couple of trows, then threw the ball and asked Ruby to bring me the ball to get the stick back again. that worked better than the food. will keep at it

We did some agility at mums agian this morning. I set up the weaves offset by an inch and Ruby ran them well.

i set up all the jumps in one long zig zag to practise sending Ruby on ahead of me but she has not really got the idea yet. She runs well alongside me or to catch up with me but does not continue ahead very well. I need to work out how to get her to carry on ahead.
i did more playing with Saffy round the jumps getting control. Tugging then asking her to release and rewarding the release with the toy. did some running through the uprights. She is not sure about running to the toy when doing this she tends to expect food but I want to move on to toys as she has problems seeing the food quite often.

This evening I took Saffy and Dora to training and after the class again worked on speeding up food circuits. With Saffy I did several circuits, then into a circle and clicked for her catching up and touching my hand. Throwing the tidbit ahead. I also did a few food circuits and then threw the dumbell for her to bring back. She did stop and look when she realised it wasn't food but picked it up and brought it back to me.

With Dora I did more food circuits, alternating with the ball or a toy and into circles. also did set ups for Crufts.

02 March 2008

Met at Joy's for a final training session before Crufts. The Good Citizens team was running through their demonstration of the bronze award for Crufts.

once they had finished I got Dor a out to practice. We did the gate a few times. She can do that without a problem.

I got the toy and did the same as the show yesterday, played, gave the toy to the steward (Gwyneth) and set her up for the heelwork. She was much more distracted than yesterday I found it more difficult to get her mind on working with me.

Gwyneth suggested doing some food circuits both with food and occaisionally with the ball. We really got her working well. Gwyneth showed me that I ned to put a lot of effort in to really get Dora running about. Dora does like it and her heelwork really improved, she bounced along with her eyes shining. People are always impressed with how happy she looks when she is working well. I must remember to keep the fun in the training and not get too hung up on the technicality's. This will help all the dogs as I like the dogs to look happy and enthusiastic when working.

Did a training session this evening with each dog this evening concentrating on keeping the energy high, plenty of reinforcements running aftwer treats and playing. Ruby is playing with me much more happily these days and if I can get her playing well she will respond to cues with enthusiasm. I need to keep her energy level hight to get the attitude I want.

With Saffi at first she didn't really want to play, she was looking for food but I want to get her wotrking for the toy so iI brought her in, tried to get her to play and if she wouldn't I put her out again and brought another dog in and trained that for a few minutes. On the third time of trying Saffi started playing well with her toy. I worked on playing then asking her to leave it and then getting it again when told, keeping the excitement high. I also did some tranistioning from playing with the toy to working for food and back again.

With Ruby I used food working on getting enthusiasm for running for the treat. I could really use a larger area for training as the living room is not really big enough. I concentrated on building Rubys enthusiasm for the treat by moving it round fast before throwing it a little way and pretending to throw it.


01 March 2008

We went to Reedyford Obedience Show near Preston. Dora was entered in Beginners and Novice. II decided to use both rounds as training rounds as this is the last show for Crufts. I took a toy into the ring and played with Dora then handed the toy to the steward who set us up to do some heelwork. this is the part that is most problematic for us. Once the toy has gone Dora tends to switch off and often does not start off when I do in heelwork. It can take anything up to half the round for her to get back to working. The last few days I ahve been setting up as normal and then setting off quickly to try to catch her out a bit I think she is taking more notice of what I am doing.

We did the set up 3 times in Novice. The first time she was quite hard to set up and didn't set off with me. The ring was right by the door so there was a lot to look at, the second and third times she set up much quicker without switching off.

In our beginner round we did the same and Dora set up well and set off with me doing some really nice heelwork.

Ruby was entered in beginners. I also did a training round with her. We did our round right at the end of the day. My only criteria was for her to play in the ring and not stress out. We had been in and out of the building several times during the day and she had been playing with a stuffed toy outside the ring in short bursts. I still need to keep a close eye on Ruby if other dogs come to close to us as she will nip them or react but the reactions now tend to be only one woof, She recovers very quickly.

We went into the ring with the toy and I set off straight into heelwotrk. The Steward was wandering about the ring. Ruby kept an eye on her but was not unduly worried. We did a circle of heelwork. Not really close but Ruby was paying attention to me most of the time. After a few steps of nice heeklowrk I clicked and produced the toy. She was able to play with it enthusiastically. I then did a very short recall, just the leads length into a present. No finish but she was able to do that and then had another play. no retrieve as I didn't want ot push her too hard. We talked to the judge afterwards and she was quite happy to let the judge stroke her head and ears. her eyes were nice and soft and her tail was not tucked. I was very pleased.

Steve was stewarding at the show and at lunchtime he went over Ruby. Ruby stod well for him. Steve took it very slowly and gradually worked up to running his hands right down her back. Her eyes were soft and her tail not tucked. HEr spine was straight. she only curved away from him once briefly. I left her harness on and of course the environment was different from a breed show.

Ann came to the show with Saffys brother it was lovely to see him again. Saffy had a really good time chasing round wuith him. Kobra was on a long line as he is not always reliable at coming back.They ran round and round us.