Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tonight was week 7. Great night!
We practiced a lot of the CGC tests, and there was a definite focus on tests 1-3. Marge did fantastically; she squirmed a little with for the stand for exam, but was definitely.. passable.. if that's a word. I tried to rely less on the treats -though I did break out the roast beef - and used praise, praise, praise.
A very fun class, made up for week 6 which I found painfully boring. We did a 2-minute out of sight separation. Marge was fine until the end, until she started pulling her way toward the OTHER handler because she had treats in her hand. At least I know the separation part will be okay.
At the end, she had her buddy Fred's "grandpa" come up and pet her. That really was awesome.. it helped me affirm that she's made progress not only with Susan, but with other people as well.
(Which reminds me, she went to the vet to check out some funky hair loss she's been having on her ears. She wasn't even that scared at the vet! She walked right in! I didn't have to drag her! Yippe!! And she went up to the vet tech's face and started sniffing her.. heh heh. The vet shook my hand and told me I did a great job with her. That felt good.)
Next week should be interesting. We're running through the 10 sections of the CGC test. I'm going to try to use as few treats as possible in preparation for the big day. The Sunday after that will feel so weird.. I'm going to miss not going, even though it'll be Easter.
Posted by Sam at 9:43 PM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So I'll admit, we've slackened on the formal training a bit. Instead of having rigid sessions in my living room, I've been trying to work on loose leash training with many distractions. Which means lots and lots of walks.
Posted by Sam at 8:46 AM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So I watched the CGC test tonight.
The main thing dogs failed for was jumping and straining on the leash.
Debbie is an evaluator. One of the three that were there. She said that she thought Marge should have taken it tonight.. think she's ready and that she should have no problem with it.
It was a lot less rigid than I thought it was going to be. The evaluators totally set the dogs up for success and let people retry if their dog didn't do something right.
All in all, I'm optimistic. I'm trying not to get my hopes TOO high, but I feel like we're in really good shape.
For the next month, I'm going to focus on getting Marge more comfortable with people. Walking her through crowded places, increasing distractions. I want her to be bombproof for this. I know we can pull it off.
Posted by Sam at 11:19 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Posted by Sam at 8:40 AM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Only three weeks left of Beginner 2. Man, I feel like we flew through it!
Marge did well tonight.
We started with some attention exercises by moving our upper body forward, backward and to each side to see how the dogs responded. Marge didn't budge when I turned my body towards her as if I was going to make a right turn. She just stood there and watched me, probably wondering what the heck I was doing. She did start moving forward when I leaned forward, though.
We also did some stand for exam stuff.. Marge was brushed and had her ears checked. She stood fine, seemed a little shy but didn't move around. I really want to try this with other people.
We started practicing footwalk for halting. It's so hard. Marge knows how to turn, now I need to know how also!
We also practiced walking through a crowd. Marge was fine. I think all the sessions in the park, Petsmart (we went today, actually) and outside the high school have really helped.
What else, what else.. OH! THE TABLE! We tried out the agility table. Marge was afraid of it at first and then hopped right on! She looked SO interested in it and wanted to keep trying. Agility registration is going to open soon, looks like we'll be signing up..
I'm going to be watching the evaluator give the CGC test to other dogs on Thursday night. It should be good. I've been asking all over about the CGC, but to actually see what passes and what doesn't will be informative.
And that's about it for Obedience. Our trip to Petsmart this afternoon was fun. We got to meet retired racing greyhounds and made friends with lots of people. Marge was very fond of one little boy who I let give her a treat. It was cute to see.
Posted by Sam at 11:38 PM
Friday, March 13, 2009
I wish I could come on here and talk only about the long walks Marge and I went on, the fun she had with her Basenji friend, Buddy, and the zoomies she ran with Husky Niko.. but unfortunatey we had a negative part of our day as well.
I haven't been frequenting the dog park as much as I used to. It's muddy, small, and there and too many unpredictable dogs there. The weather got the best of me today so I decided to head out. It was fine.. a couple of obnoxious teenage pups, but nothing Marge and I couldn't handle. 'Til the very end when some woman approaches with her Pit Bull.
Mind you, I love Pit Bulls to death. I support them every chance I get. I get into arguments with family members and uneducated friends about how great they are. But they do not belong in a dog park. Ever. It's asking for trouble, and trouble is what we got today.
I was going to leave within the next couple of minutes.. and I'm kicking myself that I didn't go sooner. This dog approaches, visibly fixated, and the woman is jabbing on the dog's neck repeatedly with the prong collar such that the dog squeals in pain.
Woman comes in, dog is SHAKING with some type of heightened energy while she takes off the leash. Marge goes over to sniff. All is fine, she walks away.
Woman takes the dog's leash off and the dog charges Marge with a hurricane of nasty sounds and open jaws.
I thought for sure I was going to have puncture wounds to deal with. I don't even know how they got split up. I KNOW the right way to break up a scuffle, but in the heat of the moment I just reached my hands in there, not giving a crap if I got bit, better me than my dog.
In retrospect, it sounded worse than it looked, but in a small dog park with a strange pit bull, I was NOT taking any chances.
Put Marge's leash on and said that's it, I'm out of here.
Told the woman her dog doesn't belong in the dog park. She responds that she's never done that before. I tell her that her dog was FIXATING before she even got through the gate. I inspect Marge, thankfully she comes out of it without a scratch. Double check to make sure that she dog has shots, woman apologizes, I storm off.
I can usually keep my cool.. very rarely do I raise my voice to people, especially strangers. I turn around after walking away and see that she is holding her dog by the prong collar such that the dog's front legs are off of the ground. I went nuts at that point.. I didn't turn to go back but I just ranted like a lunatic as I was leaving.
I don't blame the poor dog at all... her owner placed her in a stressful situation, and she failed to realize that her dog was not responding well at all.
I was so upset.. if Marge would have gotten hurt, it would have been my fault for having her there in the first place.
My dog park visits will remain to be very infrequent. I'd like to still go at the very quiet times when the people I know are actually there. It is such a shame that only 10 minutes before, Marge was having the time of her life with her friends.
Part of me doesn't want to go at all anymore. Who knows, maybe I'll do what others have done and keep Marge in the small dogs section.
I am disgusted over this.
Posted by Sam at 12:37 AM
Sunday, March 8, 2009
So we tried out Wolfe's Pond Park yesterday. I was impressed! It's a really diverse place. One end of the park is woods, another is a beach, another is open fields and the far side borders on a lake (pond?). Marge had a great time.
Posted by Sam at 3:45 PM
Monday, March 2, 2009
We are getting closer and closer to the CGC. Marge has progressed, but I'm not sure if it's enough. The later weeks of Beginner 2 are pretty much centered on the CGC, so we should get more practice time in then. In the meantime, I'm going to try to make Petsmart visits a bit more frequent, and maybe take a trip down to PetCo, too, just for a subtle change of scenery.
Posted by Sam at 7:01 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Pictures to come after I get some much needed rest..
Posted by Sam at 2:12 AM
A rescue from Georgia bounced around from shelter to shelter and state to state with her siblings, Marge did not have the luxury of living in a home - my home - until just past her first birthday. A life behind bars had taken its toll on Marge, whose obvious fear of people, noise, and city life in general left a lot for her to learn about how to get by in New York.
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