Monday, 23 February 2009

Marc & Raz - Cool Run at Newton Heath

Another high, Marc & Raz, have the final combination of wins to go Gr 7 and run Champ Classes. It is brilliant, they look so super, and are terrific to watch. Babyoli was a darling too and came second in her agility class. Methinks it is going to be an very exciting agility season. Thank gosh, LO brought me a super girly camp chair to use when I sit and cheer everyone on in Champ. I am going to be tough and watch the large dogs this year, I could not last year, without a dog to run it was just too hard. But this year, I be there supporting all friends every step of the way :-) Might have to get some cheerleading pom poms!
p.s struggling to get you tube to upload to blog, hence the delay, does anyone know how to get round this?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Indiana Jones and the quest for knowledge

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull - what has that got to do with agility training? Its Indiana's insight at the end of the film. The aliens were not searching for gold, to them their treasure that they sought was knowledge. I was like 'bingo' that is so utterly true, without knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge where would we be with dog training? If Karen Pryor had not had the foresight and wisdom to find a method of reward marking behaviours, and publish it in a way so that it came available in the general public domain. On Monday night I free shaped the tyre with Zev, using a clicker as a marker. The speed in which he did this was brilliant, and you know I had a fantastic time, we both really enjoyed the session. Then there was a really powerful reminder on Susan Garrett's new 2 x 2 DVD, about building the 'want' to do. The value the dog places on the activity it is doing with you, it is so important. I know Zev, will have that value and 'want' channelled in the best way that I can. Thank you Susan, for this very salient reminder. Why is it salient to me? - because I want my dogs to 'relish' their time with me whether we are training, relaxing, having a 'riot' or chilling on the sofa. So be on a quest for knowledge, as it is the most useful treasure along with love to have.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Nutsey's 9th Birthday - photos in honour

This is for Nuts, a dog that I am so proud to have partnered and share my life with, we have a fantastic time. I was so gutted when he had to retire from Agility at 7 and half years old and realised his indomitable enthusiasm for working with me also meant that obedience could not be an option either. What I am truly grateful for is the Vet who guided me to get Nuts back to be so fit and well, you would never know if you met him he has osteo arthritis in his elbows. And we can enjoy lifes journey today, knowing he is OK. The decision to retire him was easy in terms of benefit to his health, the decision in terms of agility meant I cried, due to knowing the sheer joy of running him was never going to be experienced again. In some ways daft I know, but to me running in agility is not just running the course, it is about stepping up along side a dog that has given so much in so many ways. Thanks Nuts, and Happy Birthday.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Progressing jumping foundation - progressive grid

With the weather it has thrown some challenges in creativity in keeping the guys entertained. However, we managed yesterday to try out the progressive grid. There is no height involved, my brief interpretation is that it is about helping dogs to judge distance and drive through the progression, working on extension and looking for fluidity/confidence/understanding of task in how they approach the grid. One of the things I really like how Salo breaks the tasks down and all the positive aspects. This I find really useful as we do not have a horsey background and sure we can look at agility courses and think that seems about right. But I have often lamented if only we could convey the information to dogs about jumping, then Salo goes and does it - well cool. It is the stuff that makes it a well honed skill rather that 'crikey, how did my dog do that?'.

Another beautiful thing is Rivi, adores doing the exercises this weekend and does them just great, she actually comes up with a toy and is like 'my turn', which is really gratifying, all the others do it, but with Rivi she did it before she was hormonal, and then that 'me,me' behaviour has not resurfaced until this weekend. Woohooo, way to go Rivi.

It was really interesting with Zev, he was like the facilitators are in my way and knocked a couple, bearing in mind these are 4 inches high, I was like 'bugger', so scoope up the toy. His toy focus is terrific, but he can be 'my toy, right now'. And his little face, he was so shocked at no toy. I felt bad, but I have learnt with my guys that they are so used to being rewarded, a non-reward is a very strong signal. Blimey!!! So set him up again, this time his leg touched one and he actually turned around a looked, so set it up again. He did it, and we worked on smoothness ensuring that he would be successful and that he was learning the task. We were all quite worn out as it is so intense and you have to really concentrate watching strides and deciding to adjust and use the additional stride bumper if required. I wished we had it on video, to show, but you will just have to take our word that it was a really productive session and taught us and the guys an awful lot.

I must admit, I was sceptical about getting this DVD, has I received one last Christmas about control in agility by someone else and it was not good. But I am so glad I did with this Salo one, it has taught me alot, and challenged my thinking 'Yep, it made me think!', and I love the positivity. Now looking forward to spring, so that these excercises can be incorporated regularly into the guys and our training.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

First Snow for Zev and Big - Feb 2009

The two younger uns, having a fab time in the snow, along with Mr Nuts to keep an eye on proceedings.