Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Training 20

Forgive me for all of the training news lately - it's all I've got! It's been so cold (and WINDY) here lately that we haven't done anything else, besides our usual walks in the neighborhood.

Ready to Rally
The Rally run-throughs on Saturday went smashingly well. Aside from one growl at one woman, Marge's behavior was absolutely wonderful. There were only a handful of dogs there and Marge wasn't forced to be near any of them, so it worked out perfectly. She mingled with old human friends from the club and lay down right outside the ring, waiting for her turn and watching other dogs play the Rally game.

I did not get my first run on video, but it was flawless - we would have Q'd for sure if it was a real trial! Marge really seems to get into "work" mode when we're at events - it brought back memories of how she strutted her stuff during her CGC evaluation last April. I did use treats, but pretty sparingly, for she didn't need them. I tried to stick to the APDT rules of only treating after a "halt" exercise - and still, Marge did great!

It prompted questions from friends about whether or not we were entered in the APDT trial next weekend, but, the answer is no. Though I considered it in December, I feared we were not ready and also that my APDT registration wouldn't have made it in on time. Neither of these are apparently true, based on Marge's performance and the information from other knowledgeable people about APDT registration, but that's okay - there will be other times.

Here are our third and fourth runs of the day.

You may notice that Marge is wearing a slip chain collar. However, as a disclaimer, I feel it necessary to make sure that all of my readers know that I am NOT NOT NOT a correction-based trainer - such would be a horrible mistake when working with a fearful dog. The collar is always loose and is not used to punish for bad behavior (I use verbal no-reward markers). In fact, I am using the chain collar for the opposite reason than most do - I like it because it is light. Marge's best Rally actually happens offleash, and, since the collar is slack around her neck, I have found that it simulates the feeling of offleash the best. Though I plan on buying a leather collar for obedience work (since some venues only allow leather or fabric collars), I wanted to use the equipment Marge is familiar with for now.

Back to Class
It's been two weeks since our last agility class, so it was nice to get back into it on Monday. Though we were pressed for time, we did one large course and one small course, both skills-filled.

Tunnel/A-Frame discrimination did not prove to be much of a problem, as I thought it might. However, seeing the A-Frame reminded me that we really need to start solidifying our contact criteria - she really has no contact right now on the Frame. Dog Walk is currently a 2o2o and will stay that way, and the teeter is a running, because I know my dog is not brave enough to try any crazy fly-off stunts.

Otherwise, the course worked some crazy front crosses, some of which I had trouble executing. It was a lot of equipment in a little space.

Her weave entries were great and she did not break early from the poles at all - I'm crossing my fingers that our weave issues are behind us now.

One other thing to note is that Marge's table performance was almost non-existent - she would not stay on the table! We haven't worked the table in a while, so I guess that's just a cue for me to drag it out during our next practice.

Other Tidbits
The @#%^$ people in my neighborhood did some fire works over New Years. I was out walking at about 4 PM on January 1, thinking that it'd be safe, but there were still some around. Marge wasn't nearly as bad about it as she was over the summer - took treats and didn't pull home like a freight train - but they also were not particularly loud, so I'm not sure if I can count that as improvement. Either way, I'm hoping we don't hear those darned things for a long, long time to come. Really, where is the appeal in making noise, anyway?

We've kept up somewhat with our night walks. The holidays have thrown us off, but we're getting back into the swing of things slowly but surely. Monday night's walk was a little odd - there wasn't much around but the wind was blowing - Marge had her head up the whole time and was not really stopping to sniff as she usually does, but instead was making very frequent eye contact with me. One explanation I can think of was that I had very very high-value treats with me, and "watch me" is a very very reinforced behavior, so those two things combined led Marge to want to get the cookies instead of sniff around.

I'm hoping to get out and do some doggy-dog stuff this week, but temperatures are expected to drop even further, so I'm not sure how likely that is. How I miss the park, beach, and, most of all, the woods!


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! January 5, 2010 at 12:55 AM  

Merdie and I have managed to shame my mom into our normal too walks -

I just make her layer on sufficiently!

Tank woo fur sharing your video -

Now, how about sharing those treats!?!?

Khyra & Khousin Merdie

Scout and Freyja January 5, 2010 at 1:25 AM  

Isn't it the pits when it gets so cold? Our temps have dropped terribly so I don't let the dogs out for too long. Otherwise they are picking up their feet and doing a dance. As big as they are they still need their momma to look after them☺

Sara January 5, 2010 at 6:15 AM  

Marge did great with the Rally. She looked very confident, at ease, and looked like she was enjoying herself.

Sorry about the fireworks. Don't people know we have sensitive dogs????? UGH!

Dexter January 5, 2010 at 7:13 AM  

Yuh. Momma never ever uses those collars on me because I am kind of a scardy dog myself. PeeWee sometimes walks with a pinch collar which works for him because he is very bold and confident.


Frankie Furter and Ernie January 5, 2010 at 8:38 AM  

I would say that you did a very much excellent job with your walk when fireworks were going off. Good for you girl.

Jules January 5, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

Congrats on the rally run-thrus. That is awesome.

KB January 5, 2010 at 9:01 AM  

You two are becoming such a tight-knit team. Marge couldn't be luckier than to have you!

Are you allowed to use treats in 'real' rally trials? Just curious.

I wish that you'd had an agility video. I love seeing those - and seeing how you two are progressing. Did you see the agility on ESPN on Sunday? I taped some of it - it was way cool to watch. I'm saving it for watching when I'm recovering from surgery. If by any chance you're interested, I could mail you the actual videotape (if you even have a VCR. kynabear5 at gmail dot com is my email if you're interested). I bet some is on Youtube now.

Kathy Mocharnuk January 5, 2010 at 11:43 AM  

EXCELLENT Rally work, very cool!!! I really want to try some rally this year. FIREWORKS, ughghghghg, sounds like Marge handled things really well, GREAT progress, however loud they were.

Kari in Alaska January 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

Look at the happy tail on her!

Gus, Louie and Callie January 5, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

Oh what a wonderful video.. Marge you are an expert at that stuff...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Sue January 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM  

Sam, she's ready!! Her tail was wagging thru the entire course and she looked relaxed. I'm sure that RN is just waiting for you this year.

Cinnamon and Mint January 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM  

Marge is doing very well at Rally! I would like to try Rally Obedience with Cinnamon, but there is no club nearby that offers Rally classes.

The Army of Four January 6, 2010 at 9:50 PM  

Our mom would be SO lost out there! You both deserve a lot of kudos for what you do!!!
Tail wags,

Muttsandaklutz January 6, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

Marge is so cute doing rally, with her happy tail and all. Her focus on you is a thing of beauty. You two will go far in anything and everything you put your minds to, I've no doubt. :)

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