30 April 2008

Casey goes over a stile on our morning walk. There is a gap underneath which Ruby uses but Casey prefers to go over the top.


29 April 2008

Casey and Ruby hunting rabbits. They are convinced that if they wait long enough the rabbit will come back out of the hole into their waiting jaws. I hasn't happened so far but one day it might......


27 April 2008

I went for a walk to Lawton Woods this morning. I didn't take my camera as it was raining. I will need to take it in a few days as the bluebells are almost out so want to get some pictures.

Did quite a lot of painting this afternoon. the dogs all kept really close by to supervise. Casey leaned against a wall and ended up with a pale green rear end. Good job there aren't any shows for a few days.


26 April 2008

We went for a long walk this morning exploring new footpaths looking for new walks which aren't as muddy as our normal walk. I found a very nice route which went across some fields with plenty of rabbits to chase and then back along the canal. about 5 miles in total. I much prefer walks which go round in a circle rather than having to come back the same way I went so I will do this one again. And the dogs were pretty clean at the end of it.

I spent most of the afternoon in the garden tidying up. Saffy and Ruby were very interested in what I was doing especially the digging. I had to be very careful what I did with the spade as I usually had at least one and usually both with their noses right down by the spade checking what I was doing. I threw the weeds into the wheel barrow as I pulled them up and then the dogs would take them out and run off with them! I am sure they thought they were helping but I could have done without it.

After a while I noticed Saffy carrying something and putting it down and picking it up again and chewing at it. I thought I better check what it was as I didn't want her getting poisoned by eating anything poisonous. It wasn't poisonous but it was very revolting as it was a large wriggly worm! Eeughh!


25 April 2008

this morning on our walk I decided to concentrate on Saffy's movement for showing. She tends to put her head down and charge along a bit like a bull terrier, where she should move with a bit of grace and elegance. she will never be as light on her feet as Ruby as she is a completely different build but I decided that I ought to be able to improve it a bit so I clicked her for looking at a titbit and then started trotting and clicking for trotting with her head up. this did improve it quite a lot. I also need to work on left turns while doing this. She does come to a stop in quite a nice stand but then often swings her bum round so she is not straight, but has her bum to the judge so I am also practicing standing in one position.


24 April 2008

no agility again this morning due to the fact that it poured down with rain but I did get some training done on our walk this morning. As I started this blog as a training diary maybe I better put some details of what I an training in it.

With all three girls i am concentrating on their drive for heelwork by having a titbit in my hand and moving forward at a speed where they have to really drive to catch up. I click as they catch up and treat and then off again and click as they catch me. It is quite hard work but we do a couple of times up and down the carpark. Each dog only gets a couple of goes but I have to do it three times so I tire before they do.

Saffy and Saffy are definitely driving forward more now. Dora doesn't need it as much but she likes it so we do it.

I am also working on getting them to keep their position near my leg consistently. Ruby is very sensitive to my movement and tends to move away from me just in case she gets trodden on. I am playing a game where I have her in the heel position and push her shoulder a little away from me and then click her for pushing back towards me. I am finding that she is really starting to like this and she is having fun with heelwork.


23 April 2008

Saffy playing with the lunge whip


22 April 2008

At agility tonight Ruby did the Dogwalk several times and is getting more confident on it. We trained with Helen tonight on contacts and weaves. Helen wanted the dogs to do the contact equipment and then wait 2 oin 2 off at the end. Ruby really loves this. She does her show stand at the end of my DW any any opportunity. Helen put a small lid out to put food on and ruby was using it as a target so she obviously hasn't forgotten the target training I did.

We did the weaves from both sides and went over a jump and into the weaves. Ruby can do the weaves fairly well with me on either side and we are building up speed as I run ahead it encourages her to do them quicker. I need to kerep running in the same direction as if i turn even slightly towards another jump she will follow but I am training her to ignore that separately.

The other dogs did the seesaw but I didn't ask Ruby to do it. She has done the DW several times now but I have not asked her to do a full size seesaw since she had her DW problems as she regards the SS in the same light.

At the end of the lesson Ruby was asking to go home and we were approaching the seesaw so I told her it was a seesaw and asked her if she would do it and she did! She went up at a reasonable speed waited for it to tip and then down to the contact. I clicked and we sprinted for the exit as this is the biggest reward I can give her. An inner voice said maybe I should just ask her to do it one more time but I resisted the temptation and we finished on a good note. What a little star she is.


21 April 2008

We lost Amber today.


20 April 2008

Saffy decided to help me with the vacuuming this morning


19 April 2008

Today was the training day with Sarah Delaney. It was a very interesting day. Laura and carol were there with Diesel and Willow. The photo on the Left shows Saffy saying hello to Laura.

I worked Saffy with Sara and we did heelwork and the retrieve. Saffy is very good (if slightly obsessive about) with giving me the dumbell but does mouth it when doing a present so I have some new ideas about how to get over that. We also looked at her moving to see what pace would suit her for heelwork.

Ruby came into the hall several times. She didn,t like the entrance hall as it had a shiny floor but once in the hall she was fine.


18 April 2008

Dora was the one to get muddy today. She disappeared off on our walk and didn't come back for ages. This is something she does sometimes usually when I am in a hurry. The Malinois never go very far, they like to keep an eye on me to make sure I don't don't get lost, and are very quick to find me again if I disappear, but Dora likes to go off on her own hunting sometimes. and can be gone for what seems like hours but is actually usually only a few minutes.
When she reappeared today she had obviously been in the creek as she was black all over. her tan legs were completely hidden so she got a showwer today much to her disgust. I think now the mornings are lighter I will look for other walks as hardly a day goes by without one or other of the dogs getting plastered with mud. It was funny to start with but I am getting a bit fed up of it now.

I put one of the dog beds outside this morning as Ruby likes to snooze outside in them and she and Saffy decided it was a good place to have a fight!

Ruby curled up like a poor abandoned stray in her bed on the patio. Until I started putting the bed out there she used to look even more unwanted lying flat out on the concrete. She prefers to be outside.


17 April 2008

Agility practice this morning. I set the jumps up as we had them on tuesday night so I could practice handling Ruby round them. I also put the poles on ther ground and run Saffy through the uprights so we can practice steering without the jumping.
I set 6 weave poles up with a large distance between them and Saffy runs through them. I tried to video it but it is not easy to hold the camera and train the dog at the same time.
Saffy would normally run through them much quicker but having me hold the camera changes things so she slows down.
Saffy discovered that mum has got some new chickens. Saffy stood transfixed for ages watching them

16 April 2008

Baby Saffy seems to be following in big sister Ruby's footsteps. Today Saffy was the one to get absolutely filthy. She ran in to the creak again and was completely black from the middle down and stank like a stagnant pond.

I am glad that Malinois don't need a huge amount of work to keep their coats in good condition. If I had beardies or some other long coated breed I would probably not find their antics so funny.


15 April 2008

At agility tonight Ruby did the Dog walk about 6 times. Absolutely amazing. Before we did it I let her have a couple of goes hopping on and going down to do the contacts, then I turned round and asked her to put a foot on the up ramp. I clicked and called her off it. I did that 3-4 times.

We then did a sequence of 2 jumps and the dog walk. I had intended to do the jumps and then let Ruby go round the DW to the end and hop on and do the contacts as we usually do but after the jump she went straight onto the DW! She trotted along it looking slightly concerned but not too worried and stopped at the contact for her treat.
We did the same sequence a couple of times and each time with no cue from me Ruby did the dogwalk. A bit later I was standing near the DW talking to Ann when Ruby decided to take me to the DW and asked to do it again. She did it about 6 times altogether.


14 April 2008

Have been training Ruby on the dog walk again. She is happy on it set at about a foot high but she much prefers to go down the ramps and do her contacts and does not much like going up the ramp. She will happily jump onto the dw in the middle and run to the end but tends to avoid it if I ask her to get on and walk up the ramp. I have decided that I need to work on getting her to go up the ramps before I make the DW any higher.
I am letting run down the ramp and have a tit bit then rather than let her run round and hop back on to the middle of the DW I am asking her to walk on, just a step and then clicking, then another step and a click. We did several reps of this and then I asked her to do the whole DW and we stopped for a game of football. Ruby definitly shows more signs of stress going up the DW so will make sure that I heavily reward for it. she is so much happier on the dogwalk than she was and her contacts are lovely. I have no doubt we will get her doing it eventually.


12 April 2008

It has been a quiet week this week. I have not done a huge amount of training as other things have had to take a priority. We had a problem with the car which meant the dogs did not get their normal walk. Instead we went to the fields at the end of the road. thankfully it is now quite a while since the farmer did the muck spreading so it was safe to walk there. We met 2 chubby chocolate Labradors there and Saffy desperately wanted them to chase her. They did try but just couldn't keep up. Saffy had to keep stopping and going back to them. In the end she gave up.

We went to Joy's to train this morning. I was working on Dora's right turns. Several people said they could see a real improvement in her attitude. She loves working but really had an extra sparkle today. Dora can do nice straight turns when working out from me but when I bring her in she tends to throw her rear end out. I have some more ideas to try so hopefully we will get the problem sorted soon.

I brought Saffy in at the end to see if I can get her playing more in different places. Saffy is very fixed on bringing me toys to swap for treats ut not so keen to play tuggy away from home. I brought the long rope toy out but she would not really play with that for more than a couple of seconds so I switched to doing food circuits for cheese interspersed with throwing her squeaky ball and she enthusiastically fetched the ball back.


10 April 2008

Tonight was the last puppy class and we had the results of the road safety test. Saffy passed with flying colours scoring 98% and was joint top of the class . She is really comical at training as she tries to spend the whole hour giving me things to see if she can have a treat. She is forever rooting about in the training bag passing me dumbells and toys and even trying to pick up the titbit container which is really too large for her.

When I get fed up of this and tell her to settle she does for a few seconds then goes and tries to steal toys out of Ann's training bag to give me.


07 April 2008

Saffy found a dead rat on our walk this morning. She does seem to like finding dead things. I could cope with that if she just left them there but she does like to carry them around. Eeughh!
She carried the rat for quite away, refusing to come close enough for me to take it and not putting it down. on the odd occasion she did come close Ruby came to see if she could have the rat so Saffy ran off again so as not to lose her prize. She did eventually decide to put it down to eat a biscuit so I quickly grabbed its tail and threw it into the ditch where she couldn't see it. Eeughh again!!! she sniffed around for quite a long time before she finally gave up looking for her rat and came with me.

Did some agility this morning. I put some treats in a small plastic container to throw as a reward for Saffy as she is so poor at spotting thrown treats. It did work quite well but she still missed the container sometimes. She tries so hard that when she has done an obstacle she looks straight to me for her treat and if I don't get the throw just right she misses seeing where it goes.


06 April 2008

We woke up to several inches of snow this morning. Hard to believe it is April. Not good as we had to travel to Leicester for the BSDA Open show.

When we got there there was even more snow than at home. The opbedience ring was identifiable by the path round it brushed clear of snow. At least the breed judging was to be inside.

I took Dora int to do her obedience early as she always works better in the morning. It did take her a while to realise that I wanted her to walk to heel and that she was supposed to be doing obedience. We don't train in snow! Once she worked all that out she was very good. I was worried we might have a problem with the retrieve as the dumbell is white but we were directed to throw it on to a clear patch so no problem there. Dora did really well and she won the class.

Next it was Saffys turn in the breed ring. I was a bit unsure how she would behave as at the last show she didn't really want the judge to touch her but I was prepared with a large chunk of liver and Saffy stodd nicely gnawing on that while the judge went over her. Saffy was placed second in the class of 5 over both her brothers. She was only beaten by her sister lexi who was awarded best of breed so I was very pleased with that. We took some photos of Saffy and her parents and brothers and sister. It was nice to see the whole family together. Saffy is very like her dad.

I took Ruby into the ring for a training round. at first she wasn't really concentrating but she did setle down and do some nice heelwork and then played with her ball. I brought the medium sized ball as she is getting better at playing with it although she does prefer a big ball. The judge said afterwards that I should try her with a smaller ball as the big one was hard to manage at times but Ruby really won't play with a small one. She has to have big sticks too. The bigger the better. Whan out on walks I use tree trunks as a reward and ask Ruby for a bit of heelwork and then send her to bite the tree trunk as a reward.


05 April 2008

For the third time in a fortnight Ruby has managed to get herself so mucky rolling that she needed another shower. I am seriously thinking about not taking her for walks until the mud all dries up or getting an all in one suit for her.

Ruby really loves being toweled dry after a shower, She probably only loves playing football more so I am wondering if she is deliberately getting mucky just so she gets showered? At least it was only her this time, the others seemed to stay relatively clean thank goodness. She does tend to get really mucky when we have driven to some fields so of course then I have to put a really filthy smelly dog in the car .

Look at the colour of that water! She only had a shower 2 days ago.


02 April 2008

Saffy doing the tunnel


01 April 2008

As we have a show at the weekend I thought I better start practicing with Saffy. I often tell mum that she needs to take Zeva out and practice moving her so she gets used to the routine and mum learns the best pace to move her. I started trotting with Saffy and realised that I hadn't done enough practice. As soon as I moved off Saffy started bouncing and cantering and generally messing about. I should practice what I preach.

We did a few goes at down and back and triangles and got her standing at the end. Mum said it was nice to see how she stood square naturally when I stopped She does stand nicely but it is the result of me training her to do it. I haven't done enough work on moving her but we do practise standing quite a lot. why is it people assume when a dog is being good that it is the dog but when it is being naughty it is my fault for not training her ?