Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday Training 4

Woohoo! We had a GREAT night tonight at Agility. Popped 1.5 mg of Melatonin into Marge's mouth right before we left. I have now used it for the past two weeks before agility class and I'm hoping it's making a difference.

I am happy to report that she had no reactive incidents tonight. There were only two of us in class tonight as opposed to the usual three plus the occasional drop-in. She is able to watch the other dogs run much better now that she used to. Certain dogs set her off, yes, but on the whole she can watch and not react. Playing Look at That from Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed has truly been a Godsend in this scenario.

Because of the heat and humidity, we didn't do too much. There was only a Jumpers course out, and we did a couple of different sequences on it. This one was the first:

I'm thankful for Marisa being there to yell out to me, as I would have had so many more mistakes without her there. I kept screwing up and not helping Marge though the weaves enough, and had the same issue repeatedly with the tunnel, as you'll see in the video. She took the reins from me at one point and took Marge over the triple and through the weaves. Marge worked really brilliantly for her. Still, I'm really proud of my handling down those straight three jumps and doing that front cross. Marge was on her A-Game tonight and I'm glad we were able to get a sequence as large as this one in.

She was charged by Chase, the BC, after a similar run, but didn't seem bothered by it afterwards. I praised her for not reacting towards him, even though the two of them get along pretty well. I couldn't really complain - Marge has ran up to Chase on more than one occasion, I guess it was time for a taste of her own medicine! I'm just thankful it was a dog who she knows and likes.

I also did a smaller sequence that we did not get on video, but featured a back cross. Marge turned away from me just fine, since it was her "strong side." We still have to work on the other side in regards to back crosses, but at least she's getting it right one way.

At the end of class, she socialized again with little Maddie and Russ, the Viszla, who she play bowed for. She has such a thing for intact males.. she got treats and pets from some of the other handlers and just had an all-around good time.

Class took alot out of her, and she's got quite a few bug bites, so now she's out cold on her green mat across the room from me. We stopped at Grandma's on the way home, but Marge was so tired she just plopped down on the cool tile near the doors and didn't do much else.


As far as the melatonin, I'm still using it on and off. I don't think it makes much of a difference around my neighborhood, but has worked well for thunderstorms and may be helping her to focus at agility. I'm due to call the vet back in another week or two to let him know how it's working for me, but I don't really know yet what to say.

We still aren't walking around the neighborhood, as Marge has shown absolutely no desire to do so. Construction is taking place on all sides of us.. it seems everybody decided to build a house this summer. So, it really hasn't been the best time to go experimenting with how she'll be walking around the block.

She has been exponentially better in Miller Field the past couple of days, both on her early morning walks at 6:15 AM (she's had two so far) and smaller ones scattered throughout the day. I'm trying to hesitate less with her (running away from people at the first sight of them) and kind of just let her experience things for myself a little more.. it's possible that my attempts to get her attention or play the Look at That game might have only made her worse in these situations. Hopefully these good results will continue and we can then decide what our next step will be.


PoochesForPeace August 12, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

you two look like you're doing great! woohoo!

Cinnamon and Mint August 12, 2009 at 5:20 AM  

Wow, you are doing the Weaves very well in the video! That's great!

BRUTUS August 12, 2009 at 8:42 AM  

You guys are looking fantastic! How long have you been training? I got the impression only a few months (don't know why) but your weaves make me think it's been longer (we have SO far to go to get there...). I'm always astounded how responsive our dogs are to our body language - what I thought at one point was Brutus blowing me off was actually (now that I have a better trainer to tell me this) being caused by subtle things I was doing - actually Brutus was SO in tune with me, I just didn't realize!!

I think the same holds true for even casual walking - if we have any trepidation about something, the dogs can pick up on that even before we notice it ourselves! Brutus is just pathologically friendly, so my challenge is to get him to walk by another dog & not have a temper tantrum if I don't let him stop & play. I used to dread it when I was someone heading our way, but now I look at it as an opportunity to work on his self-control (too much time watching dog shows on TV, I think!).
We wish you continued success with Marge!!

Michelle & Brutus

Astrid Keel August 12, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

You're doing great with Marge! Hope the melatonin keeps on doing its charm during thunderstorms

Tee August 13, 2009 at 1:58 AM  

wow, what great agility moves Marge! Thanks for sharing about melatonin ... that was very informative!

Licks and wags

Tuffy and the Dog Woods Pack

Life With Dogs August 13, 2009 at 1:21 PM  

Considering the heat and humidity, I am very much impressed. Our dogs would be passed out panting!

Sue August 14, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

Glad to hear she's getting some relief during storms. She's looking good in practice. Do you have any trials coming up?

Muttsandaklutz August 16, 2009 at 8:23 PM  

Marge is a beautiful dog, and so athletic! Looks like you two are having an awesome time together in agility. Keep up the great work!

Carolyn August 17, 2009 at 11:17 PM  

Just Awesome!

Marge would run circles around Cooper! And that's "Advanced Beginner"? Well done!

What kind of agility are you training for? We do NADAC (not that we will ever compete necessarily)...but I know there are other options.

She really looks great and your handling skills are wayyyyyyyy better than mine.

Good job!

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