Sunday, 27 January 2008

Thomas' First Show

Friday night I drove to Grantham and stayed in a Travelodge which was also a first, I wasn't sure if Tom would bark all night or settle down and sleep I needn't have worried as as soon as he went in is crate he was asleep.

Well off we went to the UK Arena and our first Dog Vegas show where we had to collect our running orders from the secretary, another first. The format of the show is that you get 2 runs in the jumping and agility classes which was great as it means you get to run the course again which is something I'm sure all agility handlers have wanted to do at sometime or another.

Tom's grade 0 jumping was first and was designed for young dogs between 15 and 18 months and didn't have weaves which was a shame especially after all the work we did last week but was a nice flowing course with no real traps and I'm pleased to say that he got a clear with his first run with a time good enough to get us a 3rd place which put me on a real high and made me perhaps slightly over confident with his next run. As you'll see from the video he needed to turn left with me crossing behind which wasn't the problem it was me completely forgetting to use my arm at all and I just shouted left which although it worked made him very wide and catch a whiff of something interesting which in his 2nd run took his attention and caused him to get very distracted and sniffy. I decided to to just carry on and have to say there were some parts of the second run that were much better than the first including his finish where he flew and finished 3 jumps ahead of me.

His agility started well even though his dogwalk could have been better as he slowed down right at the top, the rest was good until I stepped across him into the collapsy tunnel and pushed him past it, you'll see what I mean in the video and what happened to training him well watch the second dogwalk you can almost see the red mist that came down:) The agility was not a great success partly due to me and partly due to his sniffing, his 2nd run was a complete write off as he just ran about and wouldn't come back to me, it only seems to happen where there have been any horses and sometimes in training when he get's tired or confused by what I'm telling him.

In conclusion I was really pleased with most of what we achieved at our first show, especially his 3rd place, and in all 4 runs there were bits that were excellent and bits that were awful but mostly I came away really positive.

Thomas' First Show - The Movie

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Waits and weaves

Tom and I had a lesson with Nancy this morning and her plan was to work on our wait routine and our weaves with some clicker work thrown in, that'll teach me to keep a blog!

After watching me do what I normally do we had a go at firstly getting me to RELAX a bit as Tom was really picking up on me being a stiff as a board, I do try to but I think after the last couple of lessons I've got a bit stressed out. Nancy got me to put his tuggy behind him and send him to that rather than over the jump etc this is to get him really enthusiastic but with me able to have some control as to whether he starts the course or goes for his toy.

We've done some clicker stuff at home but we did some more to confirm that he knows what it's all about and to get my timing better.

On to weaves and working towards getting him more independant so I don't have to be with him when he's in them like I do with Duds and Suzi, although I'm going to try some of the exercises with Suzi too. We used the clicker for this and clicked and rewarded him when he did a sequence correctly with no 'NO' if he didn't just no click and no food. Nancy suggested just saying 'you cheated' if he popped out but not in a down beat way. At the moment when he's in the weaves I either say 'weave, weave' or 'ssshhhhh' not very consistant eh? The plan is that I just give him the weave command then leave him to do them without me interfering and messing him up and to start doing this this we used the V weaves to give him more chance of not popping out. We started off with me sending him in and running wider than normal, clicking if he did them and Nancy putting a treat on his pot, then with Nancy holding him and me recalling him through still clicking and treating and the last thing we did was me standing halfway down the weaves with him in a wait then calling him in and past me, clicking and treating again. He was a bit hesitant coming past me but a quick 'weave' from me got him going again. I was so pleased with him as he really started to get the hang of it, well pleased wasn't quite it I was over the moon and on a real high.

and then for a massage...

After Tom's training session this morning we went to see Julia at Galen for some massage therapy. I took all three dogs as I wanted to make sure all was well before the season kicks in and if they needed any extra treatments now was a good time to get them started.

Dudley was first to go and even though he lets her do so much then wanders off and has to be brought back to have the other side done I think he really secretly enjoys it but likes to make out he doesn't. There was nothing seriously wrong and just needed some loosening up round his back legs, this could be caused by his all in wrestling matches with Tom and doesn't need anything else done.

Then it was Tom's turn and this was a bit more serious as he was really tight in his glutes (think that's the spelling) and is the probable cause of his 'terrier hop' which he's had since Christmas. The vet has already confirmed that it's not his patella or perthes which is the main thing. Julia did lots of deep massage on him and also some laser treatment, he wasn't very impressed by any of it and kept gently mouthing Julia and the laser gun to make the point he wasn't happy. She thinks he will be a bit sore for a few days and may hop a bit more but should loosen up quickly. I've got to carry on with the massage and make sure I really warm him up before agility to make sure he's nice and limber.

There was nothing wrong with Suzi at all and she was the one I thought had the problems.

The only problem we had was that two of the dogs wanted to play while the other one was being worked on:)

Friday, 18 January 2008

Wednesday night training was........

one of those days when I should have stayed at home. Admittedly there were some really good bits, he's really started to turn tightly over jumps at times and he is really enthusiastic about training BUT he was having real problems waiting. He twitched and danced about as if we had never done any work on him waiting and after a while I was finding it very hard to just keep going back to him and putting him where I wanted him and trying again without getting cross. He was back to stopping half way down the dog walk and Mac suggested I waited until he moved down himself before saying anything and I have to say he did start to get the idea.

My handling was crap at times and I didn't really help either Tom or Suzi but was definatley worse after the glass of bubbly we had to celebrate one of the club member's first 1st. This a tradition at Sevenoaks when someone wins out or get's there first 1st it's nice but you can tell who had a glass:)

Tom has started to get really good entries into the weaves but kept popping out at number 10 and we couldn't see why, I tried using my hands to guide him, putting them behind my back and in my pocket but he still kept popping out until Wendy suggested using my opposite arm to guide him, it seemed to work but I'll see tonight.

It was freezing on Wednesday night and poor Suzi was really cold by the end of the class so I was really glad that I'd taken her coat with us. She always looks pathetic when she's cold and really shivers.

I had something happen when running her that I'd never had before, I'm used to loosing sight of my dogs but I've never had it where the dog lost me! She came out of the pipe tunnel and had to go up the dog walk, there was plenty of room between them so I thought I'd race her along the dogwalk and shouted up as she was in the tunnel, I don't think she heard me as when I looked round to work her contact she wasn't there and was looking round for me back by the tunnel, she suddenly spotted me and came racing up the school. She looked so relieved to see me I had to laugh, the others said she came out of the tunnel and it was as if she'd hit a brick wall, perhaps she needs glasses:)

Sunday, 13 January 2008

When I was made redundant I got some John Lewis vouchers and I finally got round to using them and bought myself a Dolche Gusto coffee maker I think I may now bankrupt myself buying the pods. The latte ones are lovely but the best ones are the hot chocolate I'm just about to whizz off and make myself another one.

I love Tom loads but I have to admit to thinking that the robot dog on the Fiesta adverts has been modelled on him :)

Just watching the live Two Pints of Lager on BBC3, really don't know how they are keeping straight faces.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Busy time for Tom

Last night we started back to training with ANJU and even though we got soaking wet getting the equipment out of the trailer I really enjoyed our lesson and I think Tom did too. We had two new dogs starting with us and I thought he might be a bit distracted by them but he didn't really take any notice of them other than a quick 'Hello' and was more interested in tarting with one of his girlie friends.

Targeting his dog walk again seems to have got him going right to the bottom again and he's really confident when running along it, he loves his contacts and even did the seesaw quite well although he did hesitate a bit just as it started to tip. He was a bit naughty and kept breaking his wait so I'm going to do more at home with him as I've let them slip a bit over Christmas. I usually make him wait after I let him off the lead on our walks and only release him once Dudley has run off but I have to admit to being a bit naughty and just letting him go.

Today Tom has been to play with Obay Caught in the Act (Kizzy) at Andy and Nancy's and is now stretched out fast asleep......BLISS!!

Although Kizzy is younger than Tom she's so good at weaves and consistantly gets her entries wherever Andy is and he let me in on the secret, which is to work on doing entries from all angles on the lead until the dog confidently gets them every time. We had a little play on the seesaw and doing some tight turns wrapping round wings then had a cup of tea while the dogs chased round with Kizzy showing Tom lovely things like the compost heap, I think Tom may be in love as he's found a girl after his own heart.

I would really like to thank Andy for letting me in on some of his training techniques and Nancy for letting them both come out to play, I got lots of things to think about but for now I'm happy that Tom's so tired and I'm going to enjoy the peace while I can.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Back to training

Started back at Sevenoaks last night and Thomas has been moved up a class which means a)not such a rush to get there and b)we get a bit longer for training.

Tom was very excited to be back and I thought he was going to be very sniffy but he actually worked very well. The first half of the lesson we were with Mac, he had set up jumps and a tunnel in a circle around the A frame and we were working on sending into the tunnel and getting tight turns to go over the A frame. We also did some stuff on turning the dogs away from you over a jump which I was having great problems with because I kept forgetting to change arms from the one closest to him pushing him on to bringing the other arm across to turn him while trying to remember what direction it was. Poor Tom he tries so hard to understand my body language and I don't really help him sometimes. We also had to put them through the tunnel then turn round and immediatley put them back in. I was trying to work out how to do this quickly and decided to just say 'right, right' which turned him 180 degrees and back in the tunnel I was most impressed as it worked really well, not sure if it would work if he was working ahead of me but something to try in the future methinks. Going over an obstacle then turning straight round and doing it again is not something I would normally do as it seems to teach them to back jump but Mac and Wendy have both had courses where they've had to do this so wanted us to work on it incase it is the 2008 'fashion'.

The second half was with Wendy and we had the weaves, dog walk and seesaw. Tom is still a bit unsure on the seesaw so I only did it once and made a big fuss of him. He's started to anticipate the stop on the dogwalk so I was trying really hard to get him to run right to the end using targets, he has no fear on the dog walk and really whizzes across. I was most pleased with his weaves last night as even though he popped out when I pushed him too hard the second time, he was looking straight ahead for the entry and while he was in them. I stood upright and he went through really well but not super speedy but a darn sight faster than Dudley does them.

More training on Friday.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

When I got to Dad's last night to pick up the dogs I found that he'd been stuck in his chair all afternoon with Suzi and Thomas both on his lap fast asleep. I asked him why he hadn't just pushed them off and his reply was 'Well they looked so comfortable'. Ah I thought until he continued 'and all the time he's asleep the little ginger git isn't getting up to anything'. Poor Tom I'm sure Dad just doesn't understand him!

He has a very high pitched yip when he wants something and the tone is just right to set the other two off howling and last night we were treated to a prolonged chorus as the more I told them to be quiet the more Tom yipped and the more the other two howled, God knows what the neighbours thought. I'm so glad he doesn't bark when he's doing agility:)

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Not a lot happening at the moment, we start back at training this week so will hopefully have more to write about soon.

We have had some lovely walks and all the dogs have been coming home really muddy which they don't mind and luckily it brushes off when it dries but I have to admit I can't wait until it dries up and the evenings get lighter.

Dudley got in trouble yesterday at the stables, one of the stables has just had new planking put in at the bottom and Dudley decided that he could smell something interesting behind it, probably a rat, and started chewing at the wood until he'd pulled off a great big chunk. Quite rightly he was in big trouble but what annoyed me was that 5 people stood and watched him do it and not one told him off or called me to come and get him.

I'm having real trouble getting back into studying for the Canine Anatomy course I'm doing, I've done one of the questions which took 3 hours but I have still got about 8 more to do, I really need to sit down and get on with it but I can't seem to get started. I'm hoping that once I've done the first unit I'll find it easier as I really want to pass and perhaps move on to the diploma of canine massage course.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

It may just be wishful thinking on my part but either Tom is more intelligent than I give him credit for or it was just luck but he seems to have found another use for the elephant trick. Dad has a coffee table that is just too high for Tom to see on to without standing on Dad's chair but the other night he wanted to see what Dad had left on his plate. We had been practising the trick on a small box that I'd left by the table when the next thing I knew Tom was standing on it looking over the edge ever hopeful that there were leftovers waiting for him. He must have pushed the box along the floor to get it in just the right place too.

He may not be able to go round in a circle yet but he sure knows how to do something much more useful.
Web Statistics