Sunday, 24 February 2008

I would like to Thank Nancy for being so patient with me today and coming up with some really good techniques for helping me with the sniffing 'problem' and making me realise that it's not the end of the world and will get better but that I have to work out a plan and really stick to it. Consistancy is the word and I'm afraid I not very good at that so will really have to condition myself rather than Tom.

The biggest and hardest thing was for me to not call him to me or nag him in any way but to just go neutral, collect him and just put him back where he was before he went of sniffing. We had done lots of clicker work with him, just walking around the equipment and clicking when I got some good attention and just changing direction and walking away if he got distracted. This worked really well and for 90% of the time his attention was on me and we got some good work done until right at the end he went off for a sniff and Nancy said to just go and pick him up as he wasn't paying any attention to me at all, as I bent down to get him he started running off (you know that close enough but not close enough to catch moment) He ran round and round for ages with us just ignoring him and walking away from him, you could see he was slightly unsure but was determined not to come but couldn't work out why I wasn't calling him until finally he trotted up to me and nudged my leg then sat while I popped him on the lead. This may seem like a bit of a failure but to me it was a major breakthrough which carried on when we went for a walk on Ashdown Forest afterwards.

When we are out on a nice walk and relaxing I have no problem with him sniffing as this is what dogs do but I need him to come back when I call as I would hate for him to get into a dangerous situation because I can't catch him. Today there were two occasions when I needed him to come immediately, one was when we came upon the road unexpectedly and one was when a horse came round the corner and I wanted to put him in the lead as he has chased horses in the past, both times he came first time and sat while I put his lead on.

Dudley, on the other hand, had a whale of a time as he got the scent of something and was off. I could hear him barking in the distance which keep getting closer then further away until he eventually appeared after what seemed like ages but was in fact only 10 minutes. At time like these I usually wait where he left us and do some waits and things with Tom. I know this is not ideal but he's so much better than he used to be and he comes back much quicker if I don't keep calling him. Wish I'd known the stuff I do now when he was a puppy.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Of my three dogs I bet you would never have guessed which one rolled in the biggest, smelliest pile of fox poo today on our lovely walk in Eridge, this is getting to be a favourite with me and the dogs.

Tom was a bit shocked and had to have a closer look.

She was not impressed when I plonked her in the stream and made her swim up and down a bit to try and clean some off. Luckily I had her coat with me so she didn't get too cold on the rest of the walk, although to be honest I was tempted to let het get cold as she smelt to high heaven.

Sorry the quality isn't better but I only had my phone with me.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

I'm a bit sad at the moment and a bit at a loss what to do about it. Tom and I don't seem to be enjoying each other at the moment and I can't put my finger on quite what the problem is. He's going through the 'I wont be caught' stage when we are out which Dudley went through too so not too worried about that but he doesn't seem to want to spend any time with me at home either, I'm used to him sitting on my lap and being in my face to play and for the last couple of weeks he just doesn't seem to be interested in me at all. He makes a fuss when I get home but doesn't seem as 'loves his Mum' as usual.

Perhaps I'm imagining things and just feeling paranoid because of the sniffing at training but I don't want to think he's unhappy. He's also started barking during the day much more than normal and for no apparent reason which is annoying Dad, which I've told Tom is not a good idea:).

I'm sure things will get better now the evenings are getting lighter but I just wanted to write it down and see if I'm just being silly, I'm sure Leah will tell me if I am!!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

It's official........ little boy is a 'Small'. I took him to be measured today and all my worrying was for nothing as he is most definatley under the bar. I knew he was really but he's not much smaller than Dudley so I was getting in a pickle thinking I was going to have another mini medium.

Training this week was mainly much more positive but he was still very sniffy, Mac suggested rather than waiting until he started sniffing and calling him to me I should say a sharp 'Ah,Ah' as his head was going down. This seemed to work so I will keep trying this combined with running away from him if he really gets his nose into something.

Dog walk - nice and fast over it and if there is a target straight to the bottom, no target and stopping halfway. Leah thinks we may be having the same problem as Nancy where I'm eyeballing him as he comes down. He knows he has to stop but seems intimidated by me looking at him so I will be encouraging him down by being with him for a while then try running past but not look at him.

Before and after

Monday, 11 February 2008

Weave workshop

Sunday morning I took Tom and Suzi to Sharon Eldridge for a weave workshop. Suzi was in the first group which was made up of babies and less experienced dogs as although she's been competing for 2 years she's not very independant in the weaves and I wanted to really go back to the beginning and see if I could encourage her to push on without me. I got some good ideas but have to admit that he sense of humour kicked in again and she tried to pretend that she didn't know how to get weave entries. I knew she was laughing at me:)

Tom was in the group that had done a bit more and I was a bit nervous as I wasn't sure that he would be up to it, I needn't have worried as he did all the exercises the others did including going into the weaves on his own while I stood back, he nearly managed to do all 12 without me.

Afterwards we went for a walk in some forestry commission woods near Battle, it was only supposed to be for about 45 minutes to give Duds a quick walk after sitting in the car all morning but the path didn't turn as I thought it would and we ended up being gone for an hour and 40 minutes and on this occasion I was really worried that we were lost and was considering phoning Sharon to get her to send out a search party. Nice quiet evening though as Duds and Tom just crashed out when we got home. Dudley had a whale of a time charging through the undergrowth but came back at one point with blood all down his face where he'd caught his ear on something.

Suzi and Dudley are at the hairdresser tomorrow so I will post some pictures of them looking clean and smart tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Friday night training.

Took my video camera with me last night and talked on of the other handlers to video some of the stuff we did.

The first clip is the first run and you can see me and Leah discussing where he stopped on the seesaw, the second is after us working on getting him to run to the end of the contact using cheese squidged on the end. Poor Julie who was filming was very apologetic as she thought she was filming the seesaw work but had forgotten to press the button. You can see that he was definatly going further but not right to the end so more work there but I'm happy that he is getting more confident about going on there and doesn't get all wimpy after the first attempt like he's been doing.

I've also included a quick bit on him doing the weaves, I've decided to get a really special toy that he only gets when we do weaves as although he's not that slow I think he can go much faster. I've been clicking his exit but last night managed to get my timing completely wrong TWICE and clicked him as he missed the last weave.

Training 8th Feb 2008

The problem with having a white dog......

is when you go for a nice long walk in the winter this is what they end up looking like:)

We all went and tried a walk I read about on Nancy & Andy's blog at Broadwater Forest near Eridge. I parked near the rocks and set off but soon realised that I should have worn my wellies rather than my walking boots as boy was it muddy. Dudley was in his element as mud, water and woods are his most favourite things and he ran around non stop and is now fast asleep in Tom's bed. He found a pond or two to swim in too and although this photo isn't brillient it shows how slim he looks under all his hair.

Plus have a look at the colour of the sky, I can't believe what a beautiful day it has been and how warm, luckily I didn't wear my big coat as I would have been boiling.

Luckily I've got quite a good sense of direction but even I was starting to wonder if I'd find the car again as I'd been following Dudley and not really taking too much notice but I needen't have worried as he seemed to know where he was going and eventually the rocks came into sight way before dark:)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

More on waits and sniffs

Training last night was a more positive evening with Tom, he did lovely waits and worked really nicely. He still got distracted by gorgeous horsey smells but the second time I just ran away without calling him and the next thing I knew he was sprinting for the finish passing me to get to his pot first. The others said he suddenly looked up and realised I wasn't there, he did a beautiful running A frame too and luckily I had his tuggy in my hand so could have a really good game with him.

The rest of the lesson went well until the last 10 minutes when he started sniffing again but came back as soon as I called rather than his usual head down and ignore me.

Suzi was a good girl too but kept testing me by appearing to be a bit flat and slow then suddenly speeding up just as I was trying to do a reverse or front cross and making me have to run to get there when I thought I had plenty of time. I think she has a weird sense of humour and gets real pleasure from seeing me get in a kerfufle.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Waits, Waits, Sniffs and Waits

Well this week has been an tale of broken waits, highs, lows and piles of horse poo.

Wednesday night started badly with no wait at all, it was as if he could hear what I was saying but either didn't understand what 'w..a..i..t' meant or he couldn't be bothered to even try and it got very frustrating I have to say. I tried just putting him back where I wanted and carrying on, 'Ah,Ah,Ah' didn't seem to work either and a downright 'NO' just made him look around for sympathy. Things went from bad to worse with me eventually just putting him back on the lead and letting someone else have a go. In between runs I did lots of wait practising putting his toy behind and sometimes realising him backwards to his toy and sometimes forwards always in the lead so I could prevent him breaking the wait.

Then we got the sniffing which wasn't helped by him finding loads of bits of pony nuts in one corner, at the moment this is much more annoying as it takes a while to get him back so he is self rewarding all the time I can't get him to me. The coming back is something I'm having problems with when walking him too, he comes back but stays just out of reach so I can't put his lead on, I remember Dudley going through this faze at the same age so I'm trying to be patient and am rewarding him every time he comes back.

Today we went to Cside where he had 4 runs, two G1-3 runs and two G1-7s. On the whole I was very pleased with him but he found a some horse poo in the agilty ring, I think he saw it as he was on the seesaw and after a handling error on my part coming out of the tunnel and onto the weaves his shot off and tucked in, Bernadette was the judge and got me to put him back in the tunnel and try again, off he went again but as him came back he went over the jumps before the tunnel, in the tunnel and straight in the weaves then finished the course really well. Jumping was jump, jump, weaves and although he went in the weaves he got a sniff of something and came out again. As he was messing about I ran past and carried on with course which he did really well, I even managed to send him in the tunnel and recall him over the next jump which I wouldn't have tried if we hadn't got E'd.

The best bits of all four rounds was that on each on he did a fantastic wait!!!

I'm hoping that when we get outside his complete obsession with horse poo may deminish as hopefully there wont be so much about.
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