Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wobble Board Experience

Soleil relaxing in the kitchen - 8 weeks old

Soleil's first time on the wobble board - 9 weeks old

So this morning I thought I would introduce Soleil to the wobble board. My plan was to start a game of tug to get her in drive and then gradually move closer to the wobble board and see if she would get on or put her paws on it. Well Missy had other plans. I had just laid the board down and turned my back to get her tug toy when I heard this big BANG. She had jumped onto the board, made it bang, and then jumped off and took off running.
Oh great, I thought. Now she's scared and I've totally ruined her first experience with the wobble board.

Nope! She zoomed in a circle and then before I could stop her, she jumped back on the board and made it go bang again. Then she saw the shiny screw in the middle and began to scratch at it and then growl because she couldn't get to it (it's recessed into the wood).

We then played tug on the board and she was happy to jump on and off. She offers this behavior. Nothing about the sound or movement concerned her. Actually, she thinks its great fun!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's a Girl!!!

It was a CRAZY week. I picked up my puppy on Thursday and that weekend had an AKC trial. Monday my computer at work was infected with a nasty virus so I spent all morning with IT. So then I had to play catch up the rest of the day. So this is the first chance I've had to post about Soleil.

She is the medium sized girl of the litter. She has very pretty classic markings. She suddenly became available the day before I was to pick up the boy. Her personality WON me over! She has spirit, confidence, and an ATTITUDE. She reminds me of a certain Blue Merle Sheltie girl in South Carolina ;-)

Her registered name is Little Miss Sunshine. And her call name is Soleil. When we arrived home Thursday afternoon, Soleil marched into the house and made herself at home. The Border Collies still don't know what hit them. She never whined and she confidently checked out her new digs and packmates. She went potty everytime I took her outside and she slept through the night in her little crate next to my bed.

That weekend, she went to her first agility trial (crated upstairs away from the general population) and was quiet in her crate while I was working or running Summit. She met lot's of people including children and played tug.

So far, we've just been playing lot's of chase games, restrained recalls, and tug. She is a growler and shaker when tugging. We started leash training this morning.

Sage is tolerant of her and Summit pretends she doesn't exist. I'm sure she'll win them over eventually. Speaking of Summit...
He double Q'd this weekend with a 2nd and 3rd place. I am really holding his A-frame contact at AKC trials in order to prepare for USDAA Nationals in October (where I will be quick-releasing all his contacts).

More pictures to come! We have three weeks off of agility competition so will be spending time training and hiking.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back to basics

Although I rarely ever run a full course in training, I do like to set up very technical short sequences to work advanced skills. This week I decided to work on the basics of cueing turns with motion (decel and lateral).

I really enjoy working through these simple sequences as it:
1. Gives me feedback on how my dog is reading my motion
2. Works on my timing (when, where, and how much decel I need for each dog).

I also worked a second exercise (squares) with a LOPush and then wrap on an angled jump.

Every once in awhile I made a point to walk back and release Summit from his starline stay and throw his toy behind him. It's so easy to get so involved in working sequences and take that start line stay for granted. I am guilty of this and so have made a mental effort to randomly reward his stays while training.

Nothing much going on this weekend. I am hiking the dogs Saturday morning and then working (from home) that afternoon. Sunday morning we'll do another hike. When we are not competing I try and get the dogs out for hikes every day. It's a great mental break for them to run off leash and just be dogs as well as contributes to physical conditioning.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A photo, a video, and a puppy update

Summit - USDAA RM Regional 2010

Finally received the photo I ordered of Summit at the Regionals. I think this was taken during Grand Prix Finals.

We have two weeks off and have been having fun hiking in the mountains. Saturday Jen and I took the dogs hiking up the South Mesa for 3 1/2 hours and then went to visit puppies. Jen got some good video of them running around and playing. Then Sunday afternoon, Summit and I had an agility workshop (4 hours) and then Monday, I hiked a new trail (Flat Irons Vista). I really liked this trail as it started out at a large pond and wound its way up into thick trees which made it very cool for the dogs. It was a big loop and ended just North of the pond so the dogs could swim again and cool down.

Today I went to visit the puppies again. Wow! They sure changed a lot in four days. They were really running now - zipping around the back yard and investigating everything. I'm really seeing a lot of differences in their faces now. The tiny girl is STILL tiny. She will probably be small like her Mom. The big girl is fairly tall - even her bones are big. The boy and the other girl are in the middle.

Here is a video Jen took last Saturday. This is the boy tugging (and although you can't hear it very well, he was really growling while he tugged).

Two more weeks and he comes home with me. I plan to pick him up on a Wednesday and then take Thursday and Friday off from work so I can have four days to help him get used to his new home and routine.

I have also been going over the spreadsheet that I had developed for Summit's puppy and foundation training. I've made a few slight adjustments but everything else pretty much stays the same; especially the games.

This weekend I plan to hike the Vista trail again both Saturday and Sunday. And then the following weekend we have a three-day AKC trial in Castle Rock. I have been lax about keeping track of Summit's QQ's so I checked online and they show he has 11 Double Q's.