Tuesday, March 30, 2010

deuce's running a-frame

Okay so decided to go ahead and teach the running a-frame with Deuce. I may go back and do a stop as he knows his contact behavior so I know I can add it in at any time. At this point, I am not using a "method" per se, just kind of trying some different things and seeing what works. I already know a few things that don't work for sure. Throwing anything makes him pounce or watch me instead of where he is going. Putting targets out or food tubes makes him pounce as well. If the food tube or toy is too close to the end of the a-frame, he stops with his two on and two off. Right now I am putting him in a sit, leading out to about half way and as long as I am ahead of him and running, he strides through the contact. If I am behind him, he jumps instead of striding through. I am using the jump at the peak and keeping the a-frame low at this point. I just want him to run. I did notice after looking at the video, if I am running toward the house or toward the deck, he isn't driving as much but I think that is because I am not able to continue to run all out, am getting caught by the deck. He seems to drive more when I am running away from the house and have no obstacles in my way. I am not using a clicker at this point and not rewarding for anything other than him driving all out.

I start classes with him tomorrow night so excited to see what Lori has to help us with our quest. I am still doing a two on two off for the rest of the contacts as this has never confused miller. I look forward to learning and trying this new technique. I LOVE having a running a-frame with Miller, however I really did not do much training with him, it came naturally.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Deuce's First Show n Go

I decided to take Deuce to Truine's show n go and just work on the teeter and stays in a different surrounding with different equipment. I am so proud of him even though he did get the zoomies and I spent most of my time getting him to come back from where Harley and Miller were stationed. We did several bangs on the teeter and then a few full teeters with contact criteria. I also got to sequence the table in so he did his table behavior and then teeter. I also got a few start line stays in as well. I am slightly worried that he was very concerned as to where the other dogs were at all times. Previously at the shows, he never cared if I got him out and worked him or even took him over the practice jump off leash. This was the first time I saw a little bit of stress in him as he kept running out of the ring to go see them. I had started all of his training with them out of the picture in a "sterile" enviroment where he couldn't see them or hear them and I have slowly been working them back into the picture (great for stay training for the big dogs). He will some times diengage from me and go check them out but not the extent he was showing me at the show n go. I tried to get Tony to take them out so Decue could work with me and not worry about them (miller was not happy i was in the ring without him and was barking) but Tony was not in a good mood and argued with me so I gave up. He basically didn't want to go out into the mud so was pitching a temper fit. All in all, I am very happy about our progress and very grateful to get to take him to a different place with new equipment. He as well as the other dogs have been cooped up this whole winter so a little bit of zooming was good for him. I imagine when we get ready to show, he will do this then as well but he is so dang cute zooming that I am sure we will just laugh and go on!

I hope to start working on the a-frame after I drag our new one home from nationals this weekend. I bought one of the a-frames that they will use in the rings. I am going to start out teaching him a running a-frame and go from there. I will try and video this process as well. I also hope in the next couple of weeks to start him in class so he will get on Lori's equipment on a regular basis. We haven't done much with the full height dog walk or the a-frame so looking forward to start training these obstacles.

Nationals will be deuce's first big time away from me as I had decided to just take miller and not have to worry about him. He will be with his daddy and his other grandma all weekend so they should keep him entertained. I would love to take him but really need to focus on the miller man as this will probably be his last AKC nationals:(, plus it is so much easier to travel with just Miller. He is quiet, you can leave him in the room by himself and not worry about him barking, and he goes potty when told and has a very regular schedule which is helpful late at night when you just want to sleep.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is here (finally)

Well, spring has sprung finally. Starting to see green grass and flowers poking their heads up from the ground. Starting to see mud being taken over by greenness. Starting to have daylight later so I can do some training at night. I am still trying to keep the majority of my equipment off of the backyard so that the grass can get all the sunlight it needs to dry out and grow. I did drag the teeter out tonight and some jumps to do a speed circle. We worked on toes on the teeter a few times and then launched into some speed circle work. Once I got him going really good, I would call out a here or an out or a turn or something to see if he was really paying attention. Keep in mind, I am having the jumps set extremely low so he isn't really jumping, more just paying attention to commands. He had previously done some "drive by nipping" as I like to call it but for whatever reason tonight, didn't do any of that. If I noticed he was focusing too much on my movement or looked like he might nip, I would throw the food tube and give him a go on command. This helped him to focus forward and not so much on me.

This weekend I did get him over the practice jump at the show and did some great drill work and was so proud of him. We are working on rear crosses and he is coming along so nicely! He is really reading my motion and my foot work and know exactly which way to turn. He seems very in tune to my body, so much so that I can just say turn and turn my shoulders, not using my hands at all and he gets it. We also worked on front crosses and wrapping tight (jump super low) and jumping collected. Granted no one was in the ring while we were working but I was really proud of his attention span and his work ethic.

I have also been very happy with his behavior in the crate or ex-pen as we have been using at shows. The last two shows have been very small so we have experimented with using the ex-pen instead of dragging four crates in. I LOVE having the ex-pen because all four dogs fit and they can all stretch out and rest. Unfortunately we won't be able to use it at all shows but it sure has been nice to use it lately. Of course miller hates it because he loves small dark places so crates are his favorite and deuce steps all over him but he tolerates it pretty well. He tries to go in everyone else's crate that is near! He will get to go to Nationals with me all by himself as I am leaving Deuce with daddy so he will like that alot.

I am still having problems with Deuce eating poop. I have started all dogs on Potty mouth and am trying to pick up the yard everyday. He and harley still are finding poop to eat though and I am doing everything I can to stop it. I actually caught harley trying to catch it as it came out of berry's butt this morning (SUPER ICK). I don't have time to clean the yard twice a day so hoping the potty mouth takes care of it. It is going to cost us a fortune as all dogs have to be on it for two weeks and they get 1 pill per 10 lbs of body weight so everyone gets 4 except miller who gets 5 a day. I am just sick of the poop eating. I fear that it is a learned behavior now and i will never get rid of it. Am seriously thinking about using an aversive to deter them if the potty mouth doesn't work. Hate to do it but it is a very yucky unhealthy habit. I don't like leaving them out unattended at all anymore as they find poop and eat it so they aren't getting much outside morning time. I can't imagine they are nutritional deprived as they get the best food I can afford (Wellness) and both Deuce and Harley get a cup 2 x a day. We have a ton of toys and chewies outside so they have plenty to do and are only outside maybe an hour unsupervised a day. I don't know what else to do as home remedies have not worked for me in the past with other foster dogs we have had with this issue:(

Per Ami and Melissa's training advice and videos, am teaching Deuce how to do a hand or paw stand. We are shaping him putting his hind feet up the door by putting a cooler and then a taller cooler and then a clothes basket up against the door. He is doing great with it and hope to have some video to put on here soon. We may never get a full paw stand but I like how it helps him stretch out and helps him think things through. I LOVE shaping behaviors and seeing the little wheels in their head click and try to figure out what I want. I am still working on "put your big butt in the air" which is basically a play bow. He still is doing great with wave, shake, high five, low five, sit, down, back up, back up the the steps or beep, beep, and roll over. I need to teach him to put his head down and are you shy. Only so much time in the day though LOL!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Deuce and the escaping red aussies

Not much to report this weekend other than a very glowing report on Deuce's recall. We were in wichita and after having him and the other boys in the crate all weekend, we had decided to take them out to the campground and let them run. Well, Harley and Miller took off like bats out of hell with Deuce on their heels. The first few times, we would call and they would come back and then all of the sudden miller took off and didn't come back with harley and deuce right behind him. We were screaming at the top of our lungs but to no avail. We called Deuce and even though he was so far away from us that we could barely see him, he came running back! I am so proud of this boy for listening to me! He got lots of cookies for coming back and lots of praise! Tony had to go on a trek to get the other two naughty boys. In the end, everyone was covered head to toe in mud so we found Wichita's only do it your self dog wash and everyone got a bath. Now I have nice slick, clean smelling fluffy aussies and the knowledge that Deuce has a good recall!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lawn bombs

Well, the weather was very nice today so took off as soon as I was done working and got home and took Miller and Deuce for a walk on the track. I really thought there would be more people out walking with the nice weather but the track was empty. I decided to let Deuce walk without his gentle leader today. He walks great with it on but take it off and he is balls to the wall. I fear we may have to use it for a very, very long time. Miller has been acting very hyper here lately so he isn't helping the situation. Usually he is very laid back and nothing phases him but on our last two walks, when we have walked past a dog in a yard and the dog is barking, he has started barking back. Very weird for him and of course that send Deuce over the edge because if Miller is doing it, so should he. Now, every time we walk past any yard, if it has a fence, even if there is no dog in that fence, he gets very excited. Looks like we are going to have to take the clicker out and try and mark good behaviors with clicks and treats to try and increase those behaviors versus the bad, barking and lunging behavior. Thanks alot big brother Miller!

I decided also since the weather was so nice, I would go ahead and clean up lawn bombs. Much to my dismay, the yard was fairly clean meaning that Deuce is eating ALOT of poop. Looks like he isn't eating his own thank goodness but everyone else's. I am wondering if maybe I cut him back on food too soon? I have no clue what drives a dog to eat poop? The only time he is out in the yard is in the am for about 45 minutes. He and harley are both out together so maybe harley is also eating it? I did notice harley had something in his mouth and I yelled at him and ran over and it was a poop log. YUCK! Maybe I will try some type of remedy with them even though I have never had any luck with any of the remedies in the past. Am also wondering what to do with all of this poop. I wonder if I could compost it and not use it for anything but just compost it to get rid of it. I hate just putting it in garbage bags and leaving it for the garbage man.

On another note, which might be a good thing, we are probably going to have to stop letting the dogs out in the backyard anyway. Half of our yard is shaded thus no grass grows so half is mud and half is grass. Well, due to the extreme amount of snow we have gotten this year, the usually grassy side has turned into mud as well. I fear that it might not recover and we may have a huge yard of nothing but mud this year. I went ahead and took all of the equipment off of it today to try and give it all the sun it can get. I am hoping with the warmer temps, maybe we might get some drying action. I really need to at least go and get some straw to try and at least make the really muddy side a little bit better. We have pretty much had snow all year on the ground so the ground is super saturated:( So the up side or down side however you look at it is that the dogs may not get any play time in the fenced yard anymore or at least till it dries out. This will help with the boy's poop eating habit but won't help them get rid of excess energy. I am going to have to get my butt out of bed and walk deuce and harley in the morning instead of nestling down in the bed and putting them out in the yard:(

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poop, literally

I have been having a heck of a time with Deuce and his stomach. We first thought he had a food allergy but the allergy food made him worse. I stopped giving him any treats other than his own kibble and started giving him rice, probiotics, and no sugar added plain yogurt. Nothing seemed to be working and although he doesn't act sick, the amount of loose stool that comes out of him is amazing. We have had him checked for every parasite possible and have de-wormed him for every worm possible just in case, even though he is on HW treatment year around. He also seems to always have poopy butt so I have scissored and clipped till i can't anymore without just shaving his whole butt down to the skin. No matter what I do, he always has loose stool and it is always all around his little butt hole and hair surrounding it. He also pretty much always smells like poop because of it. I take wet wipes with me everywhere we go so I can clean his little butt. I really don't know what else to do for him.

We have caught him a couple of times eating poop in the backyard and even though I try to keep the backyard picked up, it quickly becomes a problem in a couple of days. Our backyard isn't huge but it isn't small either but for whatever reason, he thinks poop is good. I had a foster dog that did this and we tried every product on the market and nothing worked. Tried pinapple, distaste, potty mouth, pumpkin, and some other home remedies. Nothing worked, sent the dog to live with a single dog family that had to walk him on a leash. Now, I do think this is part of the problem, but this just started to happen. I am wondering if this started because of something going on in his stomach or with his digestion? None of the aids we have tried really have helped him so I am at a loss as to what to do with him. Harley has a sensitive stomach but it seems like at 7, he finally is starting to calm down stomach-wise. I hope we don't have to wait till Deuce is 6 or 7 for his stomach to settle down!!!! I can't tell you how many times we had to take harley out at shows and wash his butt off with a hose and then towel him off and go run him inside due to his stomach issues. I don't want to have to worry about this with deuce too!