Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Training 36

Advanced Rally Class
We had our first Rally class on June 20th, then skipped two weeks (one because we were too tired after the SIKC agility trial, the other because the class was off on July 4th).  Sunday was finally our return to Rally.

Marge is doing much better in this Rally class than she did in her first one - partially because she already knows most of the other dogs, partially because we're in a newer, bigger training hall than we were last summer, and partially just because she is less stressy and fearful than she used to be.

She DID have a lot to say to our Golden classmate, though, who also takes agility class with us.  He barely pays her any attention, but something about him bothers Marge.  Tremendously.  Thankfully, that was her only snark of the night, and we were able to use the Golden to play some Look At That.  Oddly enough, she is able to sit on the sidelines next to him with no problem - even wanted to sniff him, but I verbally marked her attempt to do so, so she came back and got a cookie instead.  It is only the first few minutes when he first comes in that she reacts.  I think it's because he's excited to be there and see everyone, and she's the reactive sourpuss (kidding kidding) and wants none of his happiness.  My goal is to get her to stop reacting to him.  Hopefully, we can do it, between both Agility and Rally.

As for the actual Rally, this is AKC Advanced/APDT Level 2 Rally, so lots of new signs are being introduced, and everything is off leash.  So far, Marge has handled everything swimmingly. We've done a lot of it on our own at home, purposely.  Heeling around food bowls filled with treats was a little rough, though.

Performing for an Audience
Last night was the last week of this session of the non-competitive agility class I'm involved with.  I brought Marge along, since she hasn't been getting out much due to the heat/fireworks/whathaveyou.

The other teacher and I arranged a competition between the students.  We set up a short, one-sided (ie. no crosses) agility course and timed each team to see who could run it the fastest.  I had gone to the store before hand and picked up a whole bunch of squeaky toys, so, depending on who had the best time, they got to choose their prize first, second fastest chose their prize next, etc.  I think every one liked their toys.

After the competition, every one took a break to check out their toys and eat some treats.  Marge came out to run the course.  She didn't even look at the people sitting across the room.  She was so excited to see the agility equipment (and the treat in my hand) and ran like the little speedy girl that she is.  She even held her contact on the A-Frame, which was set very low for the students.

She also made great friends with the Chihuahua in the class.  What a nice combination - a tiny dog able to keep up with a big gal, and a big dog gentle enough to play with him.  They made for quite a funny pair, but it was adorable.  I wish I had pictures.  I hope Marge can play with him again sometime.

All in all, it was a very good night, and proof of how far Marge has come.  I got to brag a bit, too, telling the students about the titles Marge has earned and how she came from less-than stellar beginnings.  I told them that even some of the most unlikely of dogs can do sports like this, with just some time and dedication.

Around the House
I have a hunch that Agility is going to be cancelled again tonight, as it just downpoured here.  Since last week was cancelled, I was really eager to get back out there, but perhaps we'll have to wait another week.  We'll find out in a few hours, I guess.

In the meantime, let me introduce to you Marge's newest trick:

We've been working on this for a few days, but today was the first day that we tried it with the actual tissue box.  Eventually, I'd like to be able to say "Achoo!," have her go out to the tissue box on her own, and bring a tissue back to me.  I have a feeling that this trick will be a hit with my family.  I'm most eager to show it to my grandmother, who recently broke her wrist and is feeling kind of down.

A thunderstorm rolled in just a little while ago, and Marge hunkered down next to me on her mat next to the back door.

She wasn't all that scared, though, and took cookies as I threw them to her.

So, that's what we've been up to lately - trying to keep busy and beat the heat all at once.


houndstooth July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

That trick is awesome! I hope it gives your grandma a good smile!

Life With Dogs July 13, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

Consider me a fan of that adorable trick. I'll be calling you when cold season hits. :)

Diana July 13, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

Great trick and useful too!! Love the cookie in the air picture. Great shot. Diana

Chris and Ricky July 13, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

It sounds like all the training is going really well and Marge is doing great with the dogs/people/noise etc!

I absolutely love Marge's new trick!! I don't know if I would pick up a tissue or not but you have just inspired us to try it out!

AC July 13, 2010 at 7:08 PM  

Love posts like this when you can really see all the progress you and Marge are making. I can just picture her with her Chihuahua friend, running agility like a star, and making it through that thunderstorm.

Alright, that tissue trick is too much!!

BRUTUS July 13, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

Oh, I LOVE that Achoo trick! Think I might give that a try! Did you do it with free shaping? The Frenchies seem to LOVE to shape (check out this video of Carmen I just posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qCzWT919Uc - it's a contact beahvior I taught her in just 4 days!) Great to hear you are pressing on with Rally - we have an Advanced entry coming up ourselves, first time off-leash in the obedience ring (stressing....). Marge has come SUCH a long way for you - it's been great watching her progress!


KB July 13, 2010 at 11:48 PM  

I think that Marge would not like my R at all! He overflows with happiness at the start of every class, so much so that he breaks into happy barking (to my embarrassment).

Love the new trick!!!! It will make your grandma smile, I'm sure of that!

Kathy Mocharnuk July 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

wow, look at Marge go with the tissues, she is amazing!!! You know it sure seems that Marge is just maturing and growing into her own, it is soooo neat to see that, she really just sounds like she is making such huge strides all the way around.

I have found that goldens can really set dogs off, because they are big and bouncy which irritates some dogs, and they can be really into doggies faces just being friendly, so even ones that are more polite get the wrath and pay the price for the others of the breed that are a little too in the face ;-). Breeze is a bit of a fun police at our house, she really likes the dogs to stay calmer and when they get riled up it irritates her, she can get all wild but she would not like everyone else to be doing that, LOL.

Gus, Louie and Callie July 14, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

It sounds like you are moving right along in your classes.. Less stress. That is so great..
That is such a cool trick. We could see Callie shredding that or emptying the box...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Bijou July 14, 2010 at 8:40 PM  

Hi Marge and Sam,

You two sure are busy girls. That is a neat trick!


LauraK July 15, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

I love the new trick! I tried that one in the past with Riley, but she can't seem to tolerate the dry Kleenex in her mouth lol. I should work on it again with her, Marge is such a pro!

Sounds like you two are doing well in your classes, I always love to hear about the amazing progress you two are making :)

Muttsandaklutz July 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM  

Love that trick!! That's definitely going to be a hit :-)

Amy / Layla the Malamute July 16, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

Very cool trick! I swear, just within the past week or two, I was telling my brother I wanted to train Layla to do that. We haven't done any shaping or anything with a clicker, and I'd like to use it to teach some tricks.

Your rally class sounds like a lot of fun. I'd like to try Rally with Layla, but not until she can heel decently. I like the different signs and exercises, and I like how you can talk to them.

I hope your Grandma feels better. I know what it's like to suddenly not be able to do all that you're used to. I bet the trick will cheer her up though.

Carolyn July 16, 2010 at 1:22 AM  


What aren't you doing with your dog? That might be the funniest trick I've ever seen! Well done! But seriously, that's like Letterman material.

I feel like a broken record, but keep up the good work. I love reading/watching the amazing things you are doing!



Sam July 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM  

Too funny you mentioned Letterman. My mom wants me to submit it to him. Hmm.

Carolyn July 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM  

You really should. It used to be called "Stupid Pet Tricks" on NBC. Not sure if he retained that name for the CBS show.

I'd like to add a link to this entry on one of my blog posts if that's okay.

This is a great trick!


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