Tuesday, March 19, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 19

Had a late practice this evening; had a very important appointment after work. Okay, it was for my hair, but that's important ;-)

Teddy went first. We did sends from the plank to the weaves and weaves to the plank, using the ready treat.

Louie was so excited to go, I thought he was going to burst. He started with his bang it game, and he was really hitting the wobble board with enthusiasm. We may need to change the surface the wobble board hits to something louder; I'm thinking a cookie sheet. He also did sends from the plank to the weaves and weaves to plank. (Both boys will run in Open FAST at the national.). I played around with some heeling with him and a drop on recall. I don't intend to ever compete in obedience with him again, but he likes it.

We are on our "spring break" - no agility classes this week or next. We do have agility sport group practice tomorrow night so the boys will get some practice on the equipment this week.

Annie choose to take the night off, but here's a picture of her from last week doing a down/stay.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

31 Days of Training - Days 14-18

I've been lax in my blogging ... But not my training!

Here's a recap:

Days 14-15

Did pretty much the same thing each time. Louie and Teddy both worked on weaves and running along the plank. We even did plank to the weaves. Louie also worked his "bang it" and Teddy worked sends with his "ready - set - go" game.

Annie worked obedience. We had trouble with downs early last week and spent the end of last week with her offering downs to me over and over! She loves to practice and is always excited for her turn.

Days 16-17
The weekend was a light training time. I worked Anne's with Louie. I made him do sit/stays and wait while I set whatever he was wanting (water bowl, favorite toy) on the ground and released him. I thought this was going to be difficult for him, since we hadn't practiced it in a while, but he did so well.

Day 18
Today, Annie got to go first. We worked on heeling, back up, stays, and recalls.

Louie went next. We worked on sends and recalls thru the weaves. We also worked on bang it. He can now be sent to the wobble board from a distance.

Teddy worked on running along the plank and did plank to weaves. He didn't like going last!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 13

We got a lot of training in today ...

First, I took Teddy to the club so I could teach my last class for the winter session.  We just had a few minutes before it was time to set up the class course, so Teddy did a couple reps of "ready - set - go" over a set of three jumps.

When we came back home, Annie and Louie were ready and eager to have their turn to play.  Louie worked on the "bang it" game again.  He is catching on quickly.  We also worked "ready - set - go" with the plank and did some weaves.

Annie worked on down/stay first, since that wasn't going very well yesterday.  Today, she did them much better.  We also worked heeling and recalls.  I was playing around yesterday and today and discovered that she knows how to back up pretty well!  We used to practice that against a wall, but now she is getting really good at doing it without the wall right next to her.  What a good girl!

Teddy got another turn to play.  He did "ready - set - go" with the plank and did some recalls and sends thru the weaves.

I was just browsing my pictures folder and found these pictures from several years ago ... just had to share:

Here's a link to a picture of Louie from this past weekend .. he really can fly:  Louie Sunday Jumpers

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 12

Not sure why we are getting snow every Tuesday for the past three weeks, but I am hoping *this* will be the final snow of the season.  It's still not warm enough to practice outside, so I took all three dogs downstairs to our indoor training space.

I started with Louie.  I've been thinking of something I could do that might possibly help him with his teeter "bang" phobia.  I pulled out our old wobble board: a square piece of plywood painted with a yellow paint + sand - similar to a non-rubberized contact obstacle surface.  I used to put a toy under it and have the dogs play on it so that they would become comfortable with a surface that moves.

I took that idea one step further.  I also had a plastic pegboard (which I have used in the past to help train obedience scent articles) that I put underneath the wobble board, as my basement has carpet.  I encouraged Louie to "hit it" so that the wobble board would make a sound.  He was fine with this noise; it is not nearly as loud or sharp as the teeter board at club makes.  I will continue to work with him on the wobble board on plastic and then graduate to other surfaces: wobble board on wood and then wobble board on metal (like a cookie sheet.)  

We also worked on off-side weaves (since that was an issue on last Sunday's standard course) and played "ready - set - go" with the plank.

I had to take several breaks during Louie's training session to get Annie off of the back of the couch, which she kept jumping up on so that she could get a better view of Louie's training session.  She was so up and excited today.  We worked on heeling, stand for exam, recalls, and down/stay.  Annie enjoyed everything EXCEPT the down/stay.  She wasn't interested in doing a down or a stay.  Something to work on in different places.

Teddy went last.  We worked weaves and ready - set - go.  He is really enjoying practice.  I have him entered in a trial next month (if we get in).  It will be good to see how his training will translate to a trial situation.

Monday, March 11, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 11

Today was our last night of Sequencing class for the winter session.  In just a couple of weeks, the SPRING session will begin.  I'm hoping the spring weather comes as well.

I had to leave the club early tonight for another commitment so I couldn't stay for both classes, but was able to run both Louie and Teddy in the early class due to a couple of students being absent.  The course was a review of all we have worked on this session.

Both boys did very well:

TEDDY ran so fast!  I think the "ready - set - go" game is making a difference.  He even started to move out ahead of me in places.  His weaves picked up as well.  I definitely see an improvement in him from the beginning of the session.

LOUIE showed improvement as well.  We had a teeter on our course and typically, he doesn't run when our club's teeter is out.  The noise bothers him.  Tonight I got him to run up until the teeter and after some effort (less effort than usual), was able to get him to do the teeter (more than once).

Overall, I'm very happy with how our training is going and will continue to work on our areas which need improvement.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 10

Today was the second day of the agility trial. Louie did very well! We started with jumpers, which had the weave poles as obstacle #2. That really wasn't a motivating start for Lou. Once he finished the weaves, he zipped around the course and made up the time he lost in the weaves. He qualified!

I wasn't sure how standard would go. Yesterday, he was bothered a lot by the bang of the teeter, since it was so close to the start line as the second obstacle on the course. Today, I kept him away from the ring for as long as possible, bringing him to the ring at the last possible minute so he wouldn't have time to worry about he loud teeter. It worked; he ran well. Unfortunately, he popped out of the weaves towards the end of the course, so we did not qualify. It took me some time to get him back on track after that bobble, but he finished the course. He was very pleased with himself when we were done ... which makes this run my favorite of the weekend.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 9

This is what training got us:

That's right ... we qualified!!! Louie earned his first Master Jumper Preferred leg.

This is my happy boy after his run:

He was showing me where his treats were.

In standard, the teeter was the second obstacle. Louie saw a few starts before he ran, and quickly discovered that they have a loud teeter. He refused it and took a tunnel instead. I was able to get him back and run the rest of the course (most of it at least), including the table. He was still pretty pleased with himself, so as long as he's happy, I'm happy.

His "girlfriend" Bizzie qualified and placed first in jumpers as well, so it was a good day.

Here's Louie in the hotel with his ribbon. More runs tomorrow!

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Friday, March 8, 2013

31 Days of Training - Days 7 and 8

I haven't missed a day of training yet ... just slow to blog!

DAY 7: Yesterday, I had to stop at the store after work, plus we had dinner plans, so I had limited time to train. Louie and Teddy each played "ready set go" with the Ready Treat and our contact board, running along the board to the R/T. It really encouraged them to move out ahead of me and RUN on the board. Annie worked on heeling.

I also made some sweet potato dog treats using my food dehydrator.

DAY 8: Today, I also had limited training time because we had to get ready for a dog show this weekend. Louie and Teddy did the "ready set go" game again and Louie also worked weaves.

I am hoping our training will pay off at the agility trial. Louie is ready to run!

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Location:Red Roof Inn

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 6

Today was a great day for training!

I teach agility class on Wednesdays. Normally, I teach my class and then go home. I don't even bring a dog anymore!

Not today.

I left for class EARLY and brought Teddy with me. We had enough time to stop for gas and food (so much for my diet) and still get to the club early.

I brought the Ready Treat with me. (See yesterday's blog entry for details on the Ready Treat.) We set up two jumps in a line with the RT at the end, as a target.

Teddy and I played Ready, Set, Go! over the jumps to the RT. He did great! He was much more "up" and eager to work than he was in class on Monday.

After class, we headed home. I planned on spending the rest of the evening on the couch, but I was met with a stare from Louie. He followed me around, waiting for his turn to train! How could I say no to a face like this???

We used the RT as a target after the weaves and then played with his tennis ball. Louie loved it.

Louie is snuggling up next to me as I write this. What a good boy.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 5

Today was a great day to be inside and training!  Outside was a snowy mess.

Louie, Teddy, and Annie all had some practice.  This is what we worked on:

LOUIE - Switches (rear crosses on the flat), rear crosses into the weave poles (channels, slightly open).

TEDDY - We used the Ready Treat to play "Ready Set Go."  I put a treat in the Ready Treat, set Teddy up a few feet away, and encouraged him to run to the Ready Treat (Go!)  I really wanted to get him wound up and wanting to RUN!  He's very food motivated and not at all interested in toys, so the Ready Treat works very well for him.  We also worked on sending through the weave poles (six poles, channels, slightly open).

ANNIE - Annie worked on having fun while heeling.

Monday, March 4, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day 4

Today's training session could have been easily been changed to a night on the couch playing the game "4 Pics 1 Word" - but that didn't happen.

Monday night is class night for us. The boys each are each in an agility sequencing class, which means I run for two hours! (OK, not two hours straight, but you know what I mean.)

Tonight's course worked rear crosses. That's not really our thing, but we gave it a try.

Louie (who I was calling my "teenager" all night) did awesome! He ran very, very well. He ran like a youngster and his rear crosses were executed well.

Teddy showed me that I shouldn't ever get over confident. He does well at home, but we are still working on his level of enthusiasm away from home. He did OK, but rear cross work didn't help to build his excitement. We tried, though!

We signed up tonight for the spring session. Both boys are taking Drills. I'm teaching one section of Drills, so both boys will have to be in the same Drills class, after the one I teach. Good thing they jump different heights; hopefully that will give me some breathing time in between runs!

On top of all that, I'll be running my new agility partner, Buddy, in agility fundamentals class. Buddy will help get Lou and Ted a little jealous before their class, which never hurts.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Training Challenge - Day 3

Day 3 = complete!

Gave Annie a bath and a haircut. After that, she wasn't interested in hanging out in the basement (where we train), so she got another day off.

The boys worked weaves, heeling, and turns ("switch"). We have rear crosses in class tomorrow, so we were trying to get ready.

We also got more TV watching and napping in today.

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31 Days of Training - Day 2 (yesterday)

I didn't think a tough day would come so soon - but it did ... on the second day. I really didn't feel like doing much, except hang out, watch TV, and take naps. Things my dogs enjoy too.

I did get a lot of hanging out, TV watching, and napping done, but I also worked with my dogs too. I couldn't skip the SECOND day of a training challenge I created!!!

The boys and I played and did some trick training. They each have a bunch of tricks that they know. Some they haven't worked in a while.

Annie was enjoying a nice nap. I didn't want to disturb the princess.

When I first took Louie (the oldest) to puppy kindergarten, the instructor gave us a homework assignment: learn a trick. I was able to teach Louie to sneeze on command. No, I didn't come up with the idea myself; I watched a show on Animal Planet where someone did the same thing. Give the dog a treat when he sneezes. I tried it and worked with him to understand the command "sneeze."

Now, Louie will offer an over-exaggerated AH-CHOO when he wants something. I created a sneezing monster.

Louie can:
- Sneeze on command
- Bark on command
- High five
- Roll over
- Go "nite nite" (lay on his side)
- Jump up and touch my hand with his nose
- Go between my legs "through"
- Get in his "house" (kennel)
- Get his ball / green guy

Annie can:
- High five
- Roll over
- Go to her kennel

Teddy can:
- High five
- Stand on his hind legs and "twirl" around
- Go between my legs "through"
- Jump into my arms
- Bark at howl at "strangers" when I say "What was that?"
- Go to his kennel

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Friday, March 1, 2013

31 Days of Training - Day One

I created a training challenge on my Shih Tzu Agility blog called 31 Days of Training.  Each day, participants practice "something" with their dog(s) - agility, obedience, tricks, manners.  Just a little bit each day makes a difference and strengthens the dog/owner bond.

Today was "Day One" - here is my training session:

Louie - worked contacts (running on a board) and weaves - channel (six poles) and weave entrances.

Note to self: It's difficult to take pictures (and train).  Just don't have enough free arms.  Use the tripod and the remote.

Teddy: Worked weaves (send thru the channel weaves) using the Ready Treat remote trainer.

Annie: Couldn't wait for her turn.  Was so excited she nearly jumped off of the back of the couch into the training area.  We worked on obedience - heeling and recalls.

Day 1 = Success!  Looking forward to Day 2.