Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Training 32

Sunday Session

On Sunday, we had a training session with my friend and her Westie, S. I was originally set up to be disappointed, as Marge heard loud sounds in the parking lot while we were waiting to go in to the training hall and got all stressy. (She also hates interacting with dogs when she's like this, so she did send a snark or two poor little S's way.) I put her in a crate inside the hall for a couple of minutes for her to cool off, and the sounds seemed to have gone away (though, as I loater found out, it was simply that we couldn't hear them inside the building), so she calmed down.

We ran Rally first. Our first Rally trial is Saturday and Sunday, so I wanted to get in one more practice before then. We set up two courses - the AKC course from S's recent debut (where she qualified!) and then another course with some APDT signs in it. Marge did pretty well. I have been fine-tuning some of my handling, trying to exaggerate my body language to better prepare Marge for making right turns and lefts. It seems to be working.

Then, we did some agility. I didn't want to overdo it, since we're back in to the swing of outdoor classes and don't like to over work Marge, so we worked on the teeter, the weaves, startlines at the tire, and some directional stuff. I helped S and her Mom with back crosses, too.

By then, Marge was feeling fine, and had a little play-bow/chase session with her friend. At the end, I snapped a photo of them looking up at the tempting roast beef in my hand. Aren't they cute together? Both S's Mom and I are thrilled that they get along - we're roughly in the same stages of our training, so it's going to be nice to have a trial buddy who Marge likes. We're hopefully going to have another training session together in two weeks.

Walkie Walkie
Marge's walks have been mostly uneventful. We've been doing a lot of walking in the field, honestly. It has been quiet, so there hasn't been much to test her on, BUT she is dealing decently well with the things that she does encounter, like construction noises. She's perking waaay up when she sees dogs, so I really need to go back to the clicking and treating for both looking calmly and then making eye contact with me. (Strangely enough, strange dogs really aren't a huge issue at doggy sport events.) The warm weather is always a challenge for Marge, as she seems to react more strongly to stimuli when it's hot out. We've been doing roughly one long walk a day, and sometimes a shorter one thrown in.

I want to continue walking her at night, but I'm being very selective about when I do it. Friday and Saturday nights are usually no-no's. If it's too warm, I usually scrap it, too. I do NOT want her to hear a firework and then decide that all walks are bad.

I want to start heading back to the parks, but haven't yet had the time.

Speaking of Fireworks..
We have had a few. Already. #@%$#! On the plus side, I'm pretty much grabbing treats as soon as I hear them and feeding Marge. She isn't running away as badly as she used to, but she is still getting pretty scared. I know I need to step the conditioning NOW if I want the summer to be bearable.

I've thought about playing firework sounds on the computer, but most of them go EEEEEK-POP and she is really not ready to deal with the high pitched "EEEEK." She reacts the worst to that. She's been doing better with whistles, sirens, etc., so I'm not sure I really want to touch that at all. If I play regular bangs and booms on the computer, she usually doesn't think anything of it. Hmm.

I might get some bubble wrap for Marge to go crazy with. She really did love the game in the past where I clicked/treated for her stepping on the wrap and making the popping noise. That might be something to do again.

We're going to agility tonight and also having a private lesson afterwards. But, so that this post isn't ginormously long, I'll save that for another day!


Two French Bulldogs April 20, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

No to fireworks, yes to bubble wrap games. Good luck this weekend
Benny & Lily

Two French Bulldogs April 20, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Golden Woofs! SUGAR April 20, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

Woof! Woof! YES to Bubble Wrap!!! good luck on your agility class. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Sara April 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

How cute the two dogs are together. I'm so glad Marge got to play a bit.

Fireworks are so tough. Misty hates them and gets all shaky and pants uncontrollably. It breaks my heart. She won't take treats at all.

kissa-bull April 20, 2010 at 4:54 PM  

oh we have the bestest idea ever to be!!!! how about . . roast beef wrapped in bubble wrap!!!!!!!
ta-da ! was'nt that the best idea or what?? we're sure she'll agree wiff ush

pibble wiggles
the pittie pack

Chris and Ricky April 20, 2010 at 6:38 PM  

Fireworks already? Ridiculous!

Marge looks so cute with her Westie friend! Glad to know training went well - good luck at the rally trial!

Sue April 20, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

My dogs bark at fireworks. At least they don't completely go to pieces like Monty used to.

Is your Rally trial AKC?

For the Love of Dogs April 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM  

Thats so great you have a training partner! I think it boost the moral of the dogs but i've tried to train my dogs at the same time and completely failed!! Wayy to much craziness!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart April 20, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

I simply do NOT understand why fireworks go off near you year-round. What is with people?

Poor Marge. That must be so hard on her.

Frankie Furter and Ernie April 20, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

Oh Marge, you have got to tell your mom that the Pittie Pack have a super swell idea there. How fun.. and Tasty!!!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! April 20, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

What a nice pikh with S!

My mom feels much of the firework issues many pets have is related to the khhemikhal smells in the air - not just the noise -

Keep up the great work Marge!


The Army of Four April 20, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

Great pic of you and your Westie friend, Marge!
You're doing great! And I'm sorry to hear about the fireworks. I had major issues with those before I lost my hearing, too. My mom would love to see them made illegal!
Tail wags,

Unknown April 20, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

I used to play all kinds of noises on the computer to get my girls used to them. The key is to start with a suuuper low volume and slowly move it up as they get used to it. Then I progressed to those toy cap guns because that put the smell in the air along with the noise. Now they are completely fine with things like gunfire and fireworks. Good luck!

doberkim April 20, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

im entered on sunday in at the SIDTC apdt trial - see you there??? i have berlin, rah and mercury (the albino dobe) entered...

T April 21, 2010 at 11:30 AM  

We have neighbors setting off firecrackers and fireworks all the time. It is a real pain! Jeni,is terrified of them. Nothing I have ever done has helped, but she was traumatized as a puppy, when my house flooded, and ceiling caved in, with lots of popping sounds in the house.

I applaud you with any improvement you make. I know I don't comment on each post, but I have been keeping up on your progress! :-)

AC April 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM  

Fireworks already? Wow. I'm glad they're illegal in our city so we only hear them for a few days around the 4th.

You caught a great picture of Marge and her friend. Have fun this weekend!!

BTW: I was shocked at how expensive l-theanine "for dogs" was. It was 6x as much money as I paid for mine! I can't believe those folks are charging so much simply because they're marketing for pets!

Anna the GSD April 21, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

What a cute friend Marge!! Glad to hear you're doing so well! Can't wait to hear more about your bubble wrap game!

Kathy Mocharnuk April 21, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

RALLY TRIAL, that will be so exciting and sounds like you are ready, hope you have the most excellent time.
That is funny about the bubble wrap, Liz is addicted to bubble wrap and will tear through boxes or bags to sit and bite it, she loves it. LOL, weirdo. I love the idea of clicker training/shaping her to really want to make noise. That new Agility Right from the Start book had some different exercises to get dogs to like noise, they started with just making a soft noise and then a quick treat and then did what you are thinking of and rewarded highly for making noise. I can not believe you have fireworks already, wow.

Dexter April 24, 2010 at 7:14 AM  

Hey Marge! I know all about that being calm stuff. I am totally just restarting to learn how to go on walkies and so far I need to be VERY far away from people and doggies so as not to get agitated.

You inspire me!


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