Another reason why I need to teach article indication…

I lost my keys while playing frisbee with Kes and Aeri on Friday. I spent hours combing the field with no luck. This morning I came up with the brilliant idea to bring Z with me for another search – she had some SAR training as a young dog and we’d just started teaching her to seek out a specific scent when we were washed from the program so I thought she miiiight be able to help.

I scented another key fob and put it in a ziplock bag like I’d been taught to do, asked her to “check” it, and then sent her. She loped along aimlessly for a few minutes, poking at a spot in the grass where a bit of goose poop was, sniffed a wrapper, and then, as I was about to give up hope of this crazy plan working, I saw her give a clear head turn, approach something in the grass, pause, and then continue on. I walked over to the spot and VOILA! my keys!!!

If only I’d had her along on Friday! So yea, all 4 dogs will be learning an article search ASAP as I doubt I’ll ever stop losing things, but I usually have a dog in tow! LOL

The joys of a Carolina fall

Today dawned clear and in the 50s, so the dogs and I met up with a friend and her dog for some dock diving practice. Both Aeri and Kes are entered in their first national level event at the South Eastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC in February, so the more practice we can get on the dock before the big day, the better!

We just practiced Big Air and Speed Retrieve since that’s what they are both entered in, no EV this time around.

– My throwing is in need of polishing after a break.
– Kes’ jumps look very similar to those before our recent break, even with crappy throws, once he got back into his groove.
– Aeri is getting better about holding her stay for the Chase method I would like to use in Big Air.
– Aeri appears to not be watching the toy as she hits the end of the dock, which may explain her flat jumping style in Big Air.
– For Speed Retrieve, Aeri does better if I pull her back, allowing her to maintain eye contact on the spot where the toy went in vs. turning her around and walking her back, breaking eye contact.
– Aeri’s swimming is much stronger and faster and she’s much better about keeping an eye on the toy even during splashdown – I’m VERY glad I decided to enter her in SR as it’ll be fun to see how fast she is!

Snipe was able to play in the lake a couple of times and, with the help of our friend’s dog as a role model, she’s starting to venture further out. She swam on her own (tho wearing a vest) several times! I’m hoping once the water warms up I can wade out with her and help her gain confidence in the water and when jumping off the dock. It’ll be a while for that though, so we’ll keep playing in the shallows until then! Light and fun is the way to go!

2x2s continued

I got a nice note back from my helpful critic and she didn’t think I got all huffy, so that’s good. 🙂 I haaaate not knowing – if only I weren’t so interested in what other people think of me!

Kes and I had another 2×2 session on the 9th, so here’s the video for that:

Some nice work, but it would appear I neglected one side in my entry work sooooo that’ll need to be fixed in our next sessions.

Aeri and I played around with jumping and some obedience work after Kes and I’s session and it would appear that we’ll be rebuilding a few things that have apparently deteriorated with lack of practice. At least she’s insanely eager about both food and toys, so we’ll have lots of options for how to do so!

Of 2x2s and feedback

New location and added the second set today = funny offerings by Kes, but overall a nice session.

I decided to post this video to facebook to show my fellow agility nerds what we’ve been working on and was reminded why I tend to keep training videos to myself until the behavior is finished: well meaning, but sometimes rather pointed criticism.

I’ve been getting a friend’s input on prior vids and she’s been awesome about putting up with my “yes, buuuut”s and my endless questions/ing so I thought I was ready for more feedback. When a fb friend asked if I wanted her thoughts, I gladly accepted. The feedback she gave me was spot on (i.e. I knew that she’d prob pick up on several differences between what I was doing and what Susan Garrett does), but without tone it felt rather overwhelming! Of course I also got a phone call right as she sent the info, so I hope she didn’t think I got all huffy when I didn’t reply! (Gah social pressure!)

I did go ahead and try to reply to her points (I need to be closer, I should reward between the sets first, my dog is looking for the toy because of the way I throw it), but she was offline already and I’m not sure she’ll see why I’m ok with doing things a bit differently. :\

Darn limitations of electronic communication!


Errands as dog training

After all my 2×2 weave training yesterday I realized that I needed more PVC before I could move on (two sets of poles are the next step).  It was a gross day and Aeri was quite busy in the house, so I decided to bring her along on the trip to Lowes. Best.idea.ever!

We worked heel, autosit, leave it, and loose leash walking for 20 mins before picking up our PVC and cutters and when we got home I had a malinois who was very happy to flop on her dog bed while I assembled the weave poles! 😀 Perhaps we need daily trips to Lowes….

Final video from 12-6 sessions

More 12-6 2×2 videos

12-6 session videos

Two by two!

I spent a few minutes this afternoon slaving over our first 2×2 weave pole set in preparation for starting Kes’ weave pole retraining tonight!

Evidence of my hard work:


The session itself went ok, but 1. I think I need a different motivating toy since his speed wasn’t there, and 2. I need to get better at throwing the toy before he turns back to look for it.  He’s getting the idea, but those two issues are slowing our progress down I think. 😛

I do have to say tho that having an indoor training space (1/3 of our garage) is especially nice on nights like this: dark and very rainy. Bleh!


As I start yet another blog, I figure it might be wise to lay out some of my goals for this clean slate.

In no particular order, I want this blog to:

  • serve as a journal of the work I do with my dogs in various sports/activities
  • motivate me to train all four dogs more frequently
  • record important developments in each dog’s learning process and skill set
  • document the small successes that are so easy to overlook in the journey to a specific large goal
  • provide a central location to assemble training plans, outline training ideas, and record ideas for future training projects.