Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trial, Hurricane, Surgery...

Sorry again.  It looks like this blog is going to take (well, already has taken) a major downturn now that I'm working full time.  I just want to spend all my time actually with the dogs rather than writing about them.  That said, here's a quick update on some things:

Jonah has been running well at class. We've had a recurring problem with weave independence at DogStar.  I've been pushing him with some difficult asks, like having him weave directly away from me while I stand still.  He gets to pole 10 consistently, but can't quite do that last bit.  It's good to have something to work on.  Other than that, he's been really good.

Nika graduated from Advanced Beginner class last week and she's doing well.  There's a CGC test at the end of November that we're thinking about putting her in.  Right now I think the biggest challenge would be meeting people and standing for brushing.  She gets a bit overexcited and likes to jump/wiggle.  We'll see.  She's doing great.

We went to a trial at Muddy Paws this weekend.  I'd signed up for Standard and Colors.  His standard run was good.  He was excited to be there, actively wanted to go in the ring and he ran fast.  He stayed focused the whole run, too.  There was a really fast jump line into the weaves and he missed the entry, but other than that it was a really great run.  I was pleased.  Then we waited and waited and waited, and eventually we just left at 1:00, as there were still 75 dogs to go before us and we had to get home to pick up a rug before the place closed.  That was disappointing, but you can't control those things.  CPE trials just run really, really slow.

Hurricane Sandy came through yesterday.  I took down all the agility equipment before the storm and moved it over to the new house.  It's not set up, but it's all there.  Exciting!  As for the storm, it brought down a lot of branches and one big tree on the fence.  We lost power a few times, but never for very long.  So, we lucked out on that one.

Nika got spayed and had her hernia fixed last week.  The surgery went well and she's recovering nicely.  She didn't even need the silly Elizabethan collar!  The biggest problem now is that we still have to keep her quiet for a few more days, with leash walking only.  She has a ton of energy, so that's difficult.

So, things are good but busy busy busy.  Hopefully I'll get to post again soon.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What's Been Happenin'

Nika continues to be brilliant.  She's the star of her class for sure.  Now she does all the regulars very well (obedience things, heeling, etc) and we're teaching some other tricks.  She targets at 25' distance, she backs up, we've done some hind leg awareness exercises, and we're learning "jump" and "off" to have a command for when she jumps on people--that's our weakest thing right now.  She's so friendly, but people don't always like being jumped on.

As for agility, she's doing awesome with her pre-agility exercises.  She's great with running heeling and does very well with transitioning from handler to obstacle focus.  She has excellent table performance, jumps her jump at many angles including backside, lets me put front crosses in, does obstacles from distance, etc.  Rear crosses are difficult.  I started teaching her rear crosses, and it's going a little slowly, but it's good to have work to do.  She's a great girl.

Jonah is awesome, too.  At class this week we did one course where I worked at really extended distance, not moving hardly at all.  He weaved directly away from me, did a nice "right-tunnel" off the A-frame, and did lovely jump work with me barely moving.  Everyone was super impressed (I heard "did he just...wow" at one point), and I very pleased.  At one point Grace teased everyone that she would have me go first and then make everyone handle the way I did.

Fun times.

Today I'm going to move some agility equipment to the new house.  We're working on the fence, and hopefully it will be done in the next week or so.  That will be very exciting!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dave's Guest Post

Nika and I went to her new class for the first time tonight. Well, it was Nika's second time, since she went with Katie last week, and it was the third week of the class altogether. Anyway, we got there a little early, but "Some Nights" by fun. was on the radio, and I like that song a lot, so we listened to that. I often wonder what the dogs think of the music in the car. When it's just me and a dog, I tend to turn the music up fairly loud. Does that sound louder to dogs than to humans? Is it uncomfortable? They don't complain. I do at least keep the volume down low enough so that it doesn't hurt my ears, which I don't necessarily do if it's just me. Since dogs hear better, does that mean that they just hear sounds that we don't hear? For some reason I always assume that to hear things we don't means that everything else must be amplified. Also, I wish that "fun." didn't have that period in their name. It's very hipster and it makes it hard to write sentences about them.

Class began with me talking to the instructor and the bait bag mysteriously falling to the floor. I realized this, but too late: Nika had already finished the two string cheeses and most of other treats. I don't think she stole the bag off of me, but she certainly didn't hesitate to take advantage of the situation! Fortunately, we had some extra treats in the car, and they were a kind that I could break up into thirds, so we made it the whole way.

We practiced heeling, sit-stays, down-stays, sits and downs with hand signals, and recalls during class. Nika did really well at all of them. She's funny though, in that she'll bark at me if I'm not giving her something to do. She can quietly do an extended stay, but if she gets ignored for any amount of time, she gets demanding. That means that we really did spend the entire hour working. The other two handlers and their dogs maybe spent 35 minutes? When the teacher talked they would listen, and their dogs would just sit there next to them. Not Nika! She wanted to work the whole time. Fortunately extended stays give me the chance to at least look in the teacher's direction while I'm walking away from and back to the dog and feeding her.

It was fun. We'll go back next time. I think we should teach her off/jump on command, and then try using off when she jumps on people. Hint, hint, Katie :-)