Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Training 10

Where to start, where to start.  

Bad Blood
The blood I mailed out last week to Dr. Dodds' Hemopet Lab in California apparently never made its way out there.  I e-mailed them on Monday to ask about the results since I hadn't heard anything, only to find they had never received the sample.  This is horribly frustrating, because the last thing I want to do right now is drag Marge back in to the vet so she can be pinned down by two technicians who will prick her with a needle.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet.  The blood is good for another few days (apparently it "spoils" after two weeks) so I'm going to hope and pray that the Postal Service digs it up somehow and gets it there.  If not, I may put the issue to rest for a little while, at least until after the November trial.

Good Walks
Marge's walks have been going a bit better as of late.  I've been trying to take her out for at least a half-hour long walk each day, with smaller ones and training sessions scattered in between.  Especially when we're in the field, she has been less concerned about the sights and sounds of the neighborhood.  She has walked on numerous occasions while there are sports events going on, something that was a no-no for whatever reason last month.

I am really trying to make sure I don't tense up and just go with things.  It seems to be working.  Today, she passed several people, weird men running around with what seemed like no direction, two little barking dogs and the parks department golf cart, all with no problem. Of course, the fact that she's on her 20' leash and has at least 20' of distance from all of these things (more, in most cases) helps tremendously, but it still says something that they didn't bother her.

The moving truck two houses away didn't bother her, either.  Nor did the men screaming from inside of it. Hopefully what ever individuals move into the house will be just as easy for her to deal with..

Really Really Reactive
Hopefully this will be a relatively isolated slip up, but Marge was extremely reactive tonight, the most she's been in a long while.  

Her victims:
  • the PWD at agility class: she had SO much fun playing with this dog last week, but tonight Marge thought otherwise.  It doesn't come as too much of a surprise to me based on the situation (happy, big dog zooming and bouncing at the end of her leash), but it sure was weird to see Marge bark and growl after being so happy about this dog last week.
  • the husband of one of the handlers: I put Marge in the car for a little while to hang out with my sister while I walked the course.  I went back to find her growling with her hackles up because this particular man was standing behind the back windshield.  Also a weird occurrence, because he wasn't paying any attention to her and she was taking treats from him just a few minutes before.
  • one of the handlers: she LOVES this girl, but I don't think she realized who it was initially (the girl was wearing a hat) so she ran up to her growling.  She calmed down quickly, but I wish she wouldn't have been so impulsive and would have explored the situation before getting so crazy.
  • a lab who dropped in to our class:  I anticipated this happening because I know this dog's goofy nature.  She was on leash, took me by surprise and lunged, only to go crashing through a jump simultaneously.  Not a big deal.  We played Look at That during the rest of his runs.
That was it for agility class, but she then reacted toward one of my neighbors who decided to come up to my car as I was parking.  And they WONDER why I don't like to park there..

I then waited outside with her for awhile, playing some attention games in my driveway, but she then spotted her archnemesis, the Rottweiler, and puffed her self up and grumbled as she finished her cheese.  

What a change!  Maybe I put too much social pressure on her during class.  I usually hang over to the sides with her, but I was a little closer to the general center of activity tonight.  I also think that the fact that winter jackets, hats, and other poofy clothing items are coming out is making people look bigger and more scary. Guess we'll go back to basics and do a lot of click and treat work over on the side.

It doesn't help that there are other somewhat reactive dogs in the class.

Clean(ish) Runs!

The bright spot in tonight's update is definitely the actual agility itself. Marge was totally on the ball tonight, thanks probably to a long walk, some backyard training sessions and a game of fetch (the Marge version - don't bring the toy back) before hand.  No zoomies what so ever, and she only tried to leave the ring a couple of times.

I'll just work my way through the sequence..

- She was a little weird about her start line stay tonight.  She did NOT want to sit in the grass.  It was most likely either wet or previously peed on by another dog.  So, we did stand-waits at the beginning.
- Dog walk was good, a little slow tonight for whatever reason.  Definitely better about hitting her 2o2o.
- She performed jumps 3 and 4 beautifully, totally ignoring the tunnel and coming right in to my hand between the two jumps.
- Tunnel to frame actually surprised me.  I had to pretty much leave her back there while she was in the tunnel, and I guess I just didn't really think she'd know every time to go over the A-Frame.  
- Front cross in front of the A-Frame wasn't bad at all, though I thought it would be.  She had a little trouble with obstacle discrimination on a couple of her runs, but eventually understood that she was supposed to go in the tunnel.
- Jump to table is pretty self explanatory.. she had a couple of pretty good plops down on the table, good for a dog who has seen it probably less than half a dozen times.

And, (sadly), not on tape.. we ran the second half of the course completely clean.  Her weave poles were BEAUTIFUL tonight and she was responding to my changes in direction and body language superbly.  She went on in front of me for two jumps at the end of the sequence.  Not only did she do it correctly, but she didn't leave the ring after going over the last jump, either.  Very happy about that.

And, there you have it.  We don't have class next week, but I will be likely making a trip out to New Jersey this Friday for a private lesson at my instructor's house.  I will also, hopefully, be taking Marge to the trial site.  (Everyone in my class was totally excited by the fact that I entered.. my instructor said I'm going to be mad that I only entered one class.  Hope it's true.)

Tomorrow's my long day at school, so hopefully the events of today will leave Marge pooped out enough to not require much from me tomorrow.  Oh, the excitement!


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! October 6, 2009 at 11:53 PM  

Good lukhk with things -

Mom and I are snikhkering at your last paragraph!

We don't EVFUR wear down!

PeeEssWoo: Tank woo fur khoming by my khorner!

Carolyn October 7, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

They always do their best work when:
A. The camera isn't filming.
B. No one else is looking!
but usually...
C. All of the above.


You guys are gonna do great! You've definitely given me some inspiration to get back to agility with Cooper, I'm just not sure that he's interested in it (outside of the backyard, that is). We need to "check in!" - lol - with our trainer someday.

Have a good one!


Dexter October 7, 2009 at 5:48 AM  

I hope they find your blood. It would be such a relief if there is something funny in your blood that makes you confused about how to react sometimes.

Winter clothing is hard. Sometimes in the winter if momma wanders too far away from me I don't always recognize her when she is coming back and I get scared and give a warning bark until she tells me it is her (and Master in his snow blowing suit is really freaky).

So many things to process at once, and being scary keeps those things away so you don't have to figure out if they will hurt you.

But all is forgotten when you are running your agilities, huh? Too bad you can't always have a little jump with you to focus on in stressful situations.


KB October 7, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

I so much hope that they find that blood. What a pain!

It must be so hard to have Marge do so well at some scary things and then not at others. I'd be confused. I think that your guess about winter clothing is a good one.

Marge and you looked great in that video. Go Marge!

Martha October 7, 2009 at 9:40 AM  

We do hope the blood turns out - it would be too bad to have to get poor Marge to go through that!!!
We have days that are good and bad too - especially in relation to other dogs. Not with Martha - she is not bothered too much with other dogs.
Bailey can meet a dog one day and play and be all sweetness and light - the next day she could be snarling at the poor dog for no reason!
Onwards and upwards!!!
You are getting there - the agility training appears to be going great - we are very impressed Marge!
Keep up the good work.
Martha & Bailey xxx

Astrid Keel October 7, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

we hope your blood turns up (it's strange writing that!) and that it gets analyzed.

The run looked good! I'm so impressed!!!

RILEY AND STAR MY MALTESEKIDS October 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

HI Marge,

Hope they find your blood. Mommy says that's not a good thing to loose cause you don't want to get dizzy! And she nose!

Thanks for the good thoughts and good luck to you also.

Luv ya,
Riley and Star.

The Army of Four October 7, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

How frustrating about the blood! I hope it shows up at the Lab in time!!!
Your agility run looked like great fun!
Play bows,

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart October 7, 2009 at 6:56 PM  

The case of the missing blood. What a pain!

You are probably right about the winter clothes making familiar people look weird. It also could be the difference of fall lighting (darker sooner, lights on field, etc.). It could make everything look very different to Marge.

My best guess is that Marge amped up, and the only resolution was the roller-coaster ride of reaction upon reaction upon reaction. Once that energy builds up, it has to go somewhere.

That's the reason we work so hard at "resetting" Lilly's baseline mood, when she starts to gear up.

She looked great on course. Congrats! I'm so glad her concerns don't transfer into the ring. Trust me. That is no fun. I cannot tell you how many times I crawled into a tunnel when Lilly went in and refused to come out.

BRUTUS October 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

I'm so disappointed that we didn't see the 2nd half of your run! Would love to see Marge's weaves! Yo uare lucky to have someone to tape you, I can't seem to get anyone to accompany me, and we are in private lessons right now!

Marge IS so responsive to you! ANd you do look confidnet handling her! Good for you!

I always feel like I'm struggling to stay ahead of things, the obstacles come up on us SO fast (and Brutus is not exactly lightening fast!). Working on a lot of front-crosses this week, and it's all I can do to not trip all over myself!!

Did you enter that trial you were talking about??


Sue October 8, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

Tell Marge that PWDs can get on anybody's nerves. They're so full of energy.

Sometimes we all just have a bad day. Put it behind you and go on .

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