Friday, April 30, 2010

A thinker

Well, last night in class was to say the least, well, interesting. Deuce is a huge thinker, probably alot because I do tons of clicker work and shaping with him. It is starting to really show in our agility class as Lori ups the anty and he is starting to run slower and slower, trying to think through things instead of just do. While I like the fact that he is body aware and does not go balls to the wall, I hope we are not looking at a dog that is going to trot around the course thinking about every little detail. I don't think i can be a cheerleader and that was what I was doing all night last night. In his defense, the wind was blowing 100 mph and his favorite three dogs in the whole world were present but they are there every week, doing the open practice while we run our pups through their paces. I don't mind him looking at them, but I want him to not disengage from me and go see them, which he sometimes does. Last night we did more running a-frame work, channel weaves open very far out, and jump tunnel work. I love class because it gives me so much to work on. Previously all of my running a-frames were with me being behind him, either sending him or letting him get ahead of me to focus on the target. Last night we ran with and he was very confused. He also has been using a plastic target to target to and all I had last night was his treat bag. You wouldn't think it would make a difference but he would drive to the bag and just look at the cookies on the bag, like "what I am suppose to do with this?". I will be incorporating different elements for him to target to in our target work from now on!

We also did some channel work and I hope that doesn't screw anything up with the 2 x 2 method. To me it is a very different picture, but I may need to ask my 2 x 2 friends. The channel was spread way apart so that the dogs are just having a good time running through, absolutely no weaving involved at all. I don't want any weaving going on until his growth plates are closed, especially since he is so big. I have seen too many dogs come up lame or have signs of dysplasia or OCD before they even reached two because their owners were in too big of a hurry to weave. Weave takes muscle skill but it also takes brains, so I am in no hurry to start doing anything with the weaves other than running through channels.

I don't want to worry about his performance, but I am human so i am a little worried. We put so much hopes and dreams into our next dogs and we place our previous criteria from other past dogs on our babies. Again, we are human and we are going to do this. We are use to things being a certain way so when performance is different, we tend to worry or doubt. You know, even if deuce never did agility again, there are so many other avenues that we could pursue or he could just be a big lap dog for all i care. I think I could use his thinking ability for tracking and obedience, and of course, who wouldn't love to do herding, but what is important is i LOVE this dog and would be content to just snuggle with him for the rest of his life! I am going to keep that in the front of my mind so that I don't put any unnecessary pressure on my baby.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

a horse is a horse of course of course

Had a great weekend in KC at the GKCDTC show! Deuce as always was up at 4 am ready to go so am glad I am bringing my little red crate to put him in, otherwise I wouldn't be getting enough sleep for sure. Deuce got to see his brother for the first time in a long time and boy did they play! So cute to see them play with the same style of play. So many dogs won't play with deuce because he is all feet and wrestling. Deuce also got to go to his first horse show this weekend. He was not a good boy! He thought horses were very scary, even though I am pretty sure he has seen horses out at Lori's house. He was very nervous and barky around them so I had to go up to the top of the arena and work on quiet with him. He was finally allowed to watch them go around the ring as long as he kept his mouth shut. He was also very nervous about the horse statue in front of Kemper arena. No clue why so we did lots of behaviors near and on the statue and lots of cookies on the statue in the rain no less. Will have to work on this one more out at Lori's house where I can get near horses and not have to worry about him spooking a horse and throwing off a small kid. Of course when we went over to watch, they were doing all the kid's classes and I really wanted to work through this behavior but not have a kid get dumped. He was barking under his breath so thank goodness it wasn't loud but it was enough!

Looking forward to class this week. We need to really work on his a-frame for sure!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, I have been very slack about updating my blogs but this is the time of year when I am outside the most! I am a huge lover of the outdoors and will go pick up sticks in the yard just to be outside if the weather is nice. I love yard work and love working in the flower bed or garden. This year, since we had deuce and he seems to have a fetish for the garden plants, we had to put up a fence. Makes it a pain for us to get in and out of the little garden but i was tired of replacing plants that he decided were tasty. Apparently pepper plants taste the best as he has eaten three pepper plants and one okra plant. This morning he was such a cuddle bunny though! It was raining when i got up for the second time to let them out so they could have their morning outside time, so I let him out of his crate and he got in bed with harley and miller and i and cuddled up and we all snoozed. I swear I think I could have stayed there all day! Tomorrow is going to be hell though as I need to pack for KC this weekend and I know the dogs will be amped and ready to go. Miller will probably have me up at 4:00 am rearing to go, even though we aren't heading out till friday night.

We have had two puppy classes now and I am pleased with deuce's progress. He seemed alot less distracted last week even though two dogs were doing the open practice. I did loose him once to go see Barb's whippet who was zooming around (can't blame him) and once to Addie, a very cute scotty that was working on the table. We mainly worked on his running a-frame and him driving ahead of me to targets. I will try and post some video tonight if I think about it, since i will be in the house due to the rain. The pouncing behavior is getting better but of course we are having to use a hoop to try and regulate his stride and break this behavior. We also have been working on some jump/tunnel sequencing with all kinds of crosses before and after the tunnel and he is picking it up rather well. He wasn't driving as much as I like last week but it was the first real hot day we have had and he has a ton of hair so I think he was just hot. Guess I need to get him his on cool coat soon! Thank goodness he is water dog as he loves to get in the kiddie pool, even got it in monday when it was cool outside. I have been taking him to the open practices since his big brothers are there anyway practicing. I usually just take the big course that we run with the other dogs and break it down to small three or so obstacle sequences with lots of rewards. I even let tony run him on a particularly nasty course I made up and he did so well! Tony paid me lots of complements on my training of deuce but of course, this is my fourth agility dog I am training and of course I am going to change all the other things that I didn't like about my other dogs!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

bad, bad deuce part two and herding instinct test

Well, I am happy to report that Deuce seems to have passed all of his garbage gut, although he has had some pretty bad diarrhea all weekend. He pretty much work me up all weekend long needing to go out but wanted to play and seemed to feel very full of himself all weekend. I did crate him at night when were at the hotel as sometimes he gets very antsy when we stay over and he keeps me up by climbing on me. I just used one of my little cheap red pop-ups and he was a good boy, never tried to get out.

The show we went to this weekend was a huge cluster with agility, conformation, herding, lure coursing, and obedience going on all at the same time. Deuce got to watch his best friends, the whippet girls lure course and of course watched his big brothers run agility. We even took him over to the conformation ring before aussies went in and had lots of people ask where he was from and who he was out of. We also got invited to go do an ASCA puppy match but I just registered Deuce a couple of weeks ago and I didn't have a number for him yet. I did decide to take him over and get his herding instinct tested. It was 50 bucks a pop, but I knew he would love it and he deserved to get to do something other than just sit in a crate and watch all day. We were going to let him try lure coursing but waited for hours for them to get done so they would start the fun match and finally gave up. Anyway, he got to go under two different judges to get his scores and boy did he have a great time. I was slightly worried that he would be missing the momma when they took him in but you can see he quickly forgets i am not in the ring. Tony was video taping so a couple of times he came towards tony but the second time he was pretty much all business. He had a great, great time and I was so proud of him! 9 months is AKCs lower age limit for testing so he barely made it in. I got huge compliments from both judges!

I would so love to herd with him but have no where really to go around here that is reasonable or close. Then it comes down to the whole money issue of course. Would love to do multiple things with all of my dogs but it takes money and time and agility is my main focus right now. I know they have a sheep camp and several agility folks are going out to do it but I only have so many days off and I really don't have the cash to fork out right now. Oh well, maybe something will come along so that we can do more herding. Berry is actually my best herding dog of the group even though she is getting up there in age. She was my first aussie and I specifically got her to help me on the rodeo stock farm I lived and worked at.

Friday, April 9, 2010

bad bad deuce

Deuce decided at 4 am this morning that he was up and so should we be as well. I knew taking his nighttime/morning crate out to the car was a bad thing. He hasn't done this much but when he has, I have always let him go potty and then put him in the crate with a chewie. Now I didn't have that luxury so we tried everything to get him to go back to sleep but he was done with that. I think maybe me packing last night for this weekend got him amped up or something as it does for miller for sure. Anyway, we finally got him to at least lay still enough for us to go back to sleep till the alarm went off at 5:30. I got up fed everyone, let everyone out to potty and then we all headed back to bed. Deuce got his morning chewie, which he has been finishing in record time, and then he watched Tony get ready to go to work. Tony said that as he left, he noticed Deuce had a little gleam in his eye. Here lately, Deuce has gone through a chewing stage. He has mostly limited it to unimportant things like cardboard and paper from the recycling bin so we haven't much worried as he is just helping with the recycling movement, right? Well, the other night he got a jug I was using to fill up the dog water with and it was full and he proceeded to take it to the only carpet we still have downstairs and shred it. When we got home, it looked like a water bomb had gone off and again we laughed when we probably shouldn't have. Fast-forward to this morning, alarm goes off at 7ish which is when I get up and let everyone out so they can have an hour or so outside in the nice weather. All the dogs are in the bed with me except deuce. Deuce is no where to be found and I can feel the other dogs looking at me with that look like they know something and I am going to be mad about it. Now, I am not 100% sure Deuce is 100% guilty but when I came down the stairs, the garbage can in the kitchen was turned over and stuff was everywhere and Deuce was standing in the middle of it looking very guilty. I had thrown away a bag of kettle chips that was now half eaten in the floor. I had also had a chicken breast and a chicken thigh from the grocery store last night and the box I had put the bones in was empty on the floor. OMG!!!! Chicken bones are the worst!!!!!! I also vaguely remember throwing out some broccoli and rice that tony had cooked last week that could have also been in that garbage that was now missing. I called my vet immediately and while I wasn't hugely concerned, I knew that bones could cause blockages and illness but that most dogs ate them and passed them with no problems. My biggest fear was and still is gastric explosion. I had to work today as I had a five day experiment that had to be finished today and was going to take me all day to finish. Add on top of that the fact that we are leaving tonight to head to Wichita for an agility show for the weekend so I needed to get to work and stay at work to get done quickly. At the time of posting this blog, I have not been home and neither has Tony. Just in case, I filled up Deuce's litter box and put in his crate so maybe he could aim his explosion in the box. I fear I may come home to newly painted walls if you know what I mean. Furthermore, I have a feeling that tonight may be a long night as we are staying in a hotel and I fear he is going to have a long night stomach wise. I would rather go through gastric disruption at home but we need to get down there tonight. I won't be around a computer till sunday night so look forward to part two and hope that it is a good ending!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fun night

Not much to report other than I got to run Deuce in open practice tonight. I set up the ISC JWW course to let tony and harley do some work and to also work miller on some different options. At the end, I decided to go ahead and run Deuce at 8 inches. I did alot of rewarding to get through it but we successfully made it through it (of course with no weaves). He did take off running a couple of times to see what miller and harley were doing and tony yelled at him and ran at him so he came back pretty quickly. We need to make the fun with me and not with them and I need them there to work through this. He only left twice so I am hoping if we can do this once a week, maybe it will get less and less. We did do a few dog walks and he has now forgotten what toes is. I finally got a couple of good full runs into toes but I got several running dog walks that weren't toes at all! I did let him do a few full sized a-frames and i got superman leaps so not a good idea to go up that quick. Oh the temptations when everything is set up! We also did a few teeters but the beginners tonight were working on teeter so there were lots of good cookies laying around the end of the teeter so his nose was on the ground and he was not paying attention to me at all!

This morning was the first morning i did not crate deuce for a couple of hours and I am happy to report he did not tear anything up nor did he keep me up. He was a good boy, chewed on his rawhide and then snuggled in bed with me. He is such a snuggler and I love that! He will root as close to me as he can in the bed and then sigh and go to sleep. I love my baby boy!!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

the one more syndrome

I had decided since we did so much yesterday that i would lay off and just have a good day playing and doing work around the house. I had alot of cleaning to do since I had been gone several weekends and of course the laundry as always had piled up. Some one keeps getting in the bed with poop still attached and then it mysteriously lets go in our bed so I have been doing lots of sheet and blanket laundry lately. I also had many big hair bunnies to clean up and then had to clean out the shop vac as it was full of doggy hair too. I tell you, I don't miss the carpet at all but it sure is a shock to see all the hair that gathers in corners and underneath furniture. I also cleaned the yard several times today. I have been trying to be very vigilant to ward off any eating of the logs and I was shocked at how much I cleaned today by just going out three or four times and doing a sweep of the yard. My dogs poop alot! I have them all on wellness but maybe I need to look at another food where they have less waste LOL! I did notice that the diarrhea I had previously been seeing seems to be less as well. Unfortunately, every day and every weekend will not be like this so I am glad for now I can keep it picked up but won't always be able to be this careful.

As the day wore on, I felt the urging to go do something with Deuce. I finally caved in and did a few running a-frames. He is four striding right now so I am happy with where we are at. I am excited to have Lori watch him in class and see what we need to change or if we are headed down the right track. He does act a bit different in class though so will be interested to see his a-frame in a class setting. I have really been working on distractions lately with him, making sure he is connected to me before I ask for some behavior and trying to get him pumped by doing "ready, ready, ready" before I ask for a behavior. I have been getting a few breaks with amping him up but you think about how they will be at a trial and they will have the juices flowing so might as well work on that now rather than later. Instead of just calling it good, I decided to work on rear cross/turn some more with the jump. He was doing great, great distance, great turning, really paying attention and I should have quit but the "one more" syndrome caught up with me. Well, it started falling apart fast. I was getting the turn before the jump or the jump and a turn to the wrong side. He wouldn't even sit either so I had to go back to just getting him to sit, then sending him to the jump, and then asking for the turn. As soon as I got one correct jump, I had a big party and quit. I have to remember he is just a baby and I shouldn't expect so much from him as it really cost me in training today. I hope I don't take too big of a step back as he was doing so well yesterday. I did later on do some circle work and even incorporated the jump and he was up and having a good time with that so I think he will be okay.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

spring days are awesome!

What a beautiful day! I got so much training in today with this wonderful weather. It really motivates you and makes you want to be outside! I tried to do several very short sessions on the exercises that Lori taught us in class the other night. I then took some of the exercises and did them in the park where there was tons of other people and other dogs to distract him. I am so proud of him, he is doing so much better so can't wait to get out to Lori's field to see if we improve. Short sessions are so much better for deuce and I try to rotate between flat work, jump work and a-frame work. I probably went out 10 times today for five or so minutes and worked him. I so wish I was already retired so I could just focus on working my dogs LOL!

Here is the very short video I made during a couple of our afternoon sessions. Thanks to my neighbor who provided the soundtrack!

I did try and drag out the dog walk planks that I had previously used to work on Deuce's 2 on 2 off but one of then planks had broken in half and the other one had some rotten wood on it so we took them both to the dump:( That was the last of our dog walk so guess we will have to buy a new one now for sure! We are looking into getting a frame made locally as Alice has had one made in the past and is looking to make another one so we may get a mass order in for dog walk frames. We will probably at this point cover it in wood and then get aleucobond skins when we go home to TN. Well enjoy and enjoy this Easter holiday with family and friends and this awesome weather! Remember, HE lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today (favorite hymn of all time, love Easter hymns) I serve a risen savior!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

deuce's first official class!

Wow, first night of classes and I have so much to work on! Boy was he distracted but we got through most everything. It definitely showed me what we need to work more on. Lots of attention work is number one! It is so funny how good they can do in your backyard and how that all goes out the window when you take them somewhere! Overall, I think he did really good with most of the exercises. The only exercise he really struggled with was the go jump exercise. For whatever reason he would not go away from me to take the jump. Guess we need to back up and start out very close and then work our ways backwards. He is also having issues with the rear cross but Lori really broke it down to the basic, basic level so I have stepping stones to work up from. We just did jump exercises and on 8 inch jumps at that. I am sad that we won't have class next week due to Wichita show but I have lots to work on in the mean time. I do think that he left a little stressed as I had to stop half way home to let him go potty and he has pretty much had diarrhea since he has been home. Unfortunately I do think he is going to be very similar to harley with his stomach issues. Harley at 7 is finally getting his stomach settled so I really hope I don't have to wait that long for Deuce!!!! May have to try him on another food other than chicken based food, maybe lamb and rice as Joc is giving her dog. He doesn't get anything other than food and cookies and one chewie a day so not sure why he constantly has diarrhea other than the poop eating. I am excited to start working on the exercises that Lori gave us and will try and do some videoing when I can.

Potty Mouth isn't working:(

I was so excited thinking the potty mouth was working but it isn't:( Deuce came in this morning with such horrible breath that I almost threw up. I have been cleaning the yard every night but am missing the am poop break that happens at 5:30 in the morning when it is still dark. At least he isn't getting much poop but one log is enough (ICK). I guess I am not sure at this point what to do next. I have tried all the homemade remedies before and they have never worked. Funny, someone pooped in the house last night (on the plywood thank goodness) and he didn't eat that. I think he targets miller's poop and miller would rather die than have an accident in the house.

Tonight is our first real agility class and I am so excited! We know all of the obstacles and our foundation skills but doing them with other dogs present and tons of distraction will be a whole different story. I have tried letting my dogs be present on sit stays while i work deuce or even let them be milling around in the back of the yard while i work as distractions but that is so different than his "friends" in class. I am so excited to get Lori's advice on my running a-frame project and to get him on other people's equipment. We are slowly amassing all pieces of equipment and also looking at land to rent so that we can have our very own practice field and I am super excited. I think now all we need is a dog walk and a broad jump and we will be set. Our backyard is way too small for us to do much practicing in so looking forward to having something close that we can spread out and play on. I am hoping to go by this weekend since we have nothing to look at the proposed land and see if it is doable and talk price. Unfortunately it will not be a place where we can have power but for spring, summer and fall, it will be perfect. I am so ready to have a place to call my own! I totally miss having an agility field as we did in our rental house but the house was tiny, tiny, tiny, especially for four dogs. We did try to buy it at one time thinking we could raze the house and build a new one but she didn't want to sell:( I loved mowing my own field and setting up my own equipment however I wanted it.

I will blog later with how Deuce did in his first "real" class!