Saturday, December 27, 2008

Training class

Went to Saturday morning class again today =) I used my new DT tote bag that I got for Christmas and I LOVE IT!!! I feel so cool carrying it around =) Everything I need fits in it nicely and it looks good too.

Red was much better than last week. I can really tell the difference when we haven't gone for awhile versus when we can go regularly. He was quick on his down commands this time - which I was worried about after his brain farts last week.

We got there and played tug with the puppy jute for a couple minutes, then warmed up a bit. I rewarded with the jute after almost every exercise to build up motivation with it so I can use that drive at the trials. He seems to really like it.

We started with heeling, as usual, but didn't heel for as long this time. His focus was better and I only rewarded for focus and being in correct heel position - he has a tendancy to want to drift ahead of me out of position.

Next were figure 8's and he did really well for that as well. Good focus and nice sits.

Then recalls... which is what we need to work the most on. He anticipates the recall when the judge says "call your dog" and he hops forward a bit. So we had the judge say "call your dog", then I'd walk back to Red without calling him. Did that twice and it seemed to help because he wasn't bouncing when the judge said it again after that. Then there are the problems with the straight fronts... I've been working a bit with Red at home and using the word "front" to mean sit in front straight, and he's been doing that well with short distances. But the further away I am, the more likely he is to sit crooked at the end. So for this recall at class - which is a long one - I didn't quite go all the way back, and when Red got close, I started backing up saying "front" and he came in straighter but still not perfect. I am not finishing him AT ALL now. I think if I continue to work on the "front" command, it will improve, but we still have a long way to go in this department... Who woulda thought recalls would be the hardest thing for Red to do???

Next was sits/downs. We did every other dog in line this time - meaning every other one sat or downed, and then reversed on the next go through. I think we did 3 minutes each this time. We did the down first and Red did really well at first. I was clear across the room with my arms folded. He went down in a sphinx position first, then rolled onto a hip for a bit, then completely flopped on his side, then went back into a sphinx. At the VERY end, he popped up into a sit. GRRR! We almost had it! I didn't reward him when that exercise was over.

The sit was a bit better. I didn't go clear across the room for this because he is more likely to break a sit and go down than he is to break a down into a sit, and I wanted to be closer to correct him. Sure enough, at the beginning when another dog broke her down (she was next to Red), Red went down. I walked back, got him back into a sit and walked back to where I was, arms folded. He was doing really good, so I went back and rewarded him once, then walked further away. Then it was over and I rewarded well for that one.

Then the others set up the jumps and broad jump to go through a course with their dumbbells. I went off to the side and practiced short recalls with straight fronts. He does so well when its a short distance!

Then they had me take Red through a Novice obedience run. The judge told me to really make my slow/fast paces noticeably different than my normal pace (which is naturally quite fast). Other than that, the heeling was very nice - both on leash and off.

The recall was better this time, he came in and sat quite straight after I backed up and said "front", but then when I reached around my back to get a treat, he moved out of position crooked again in anticipation to accept the treat. So I'm going to have to have the food in my hand before I call him next time.

The stand for exam was excellent! I only gave the command/signal to stand once, told him to stay, and he didn't move his feet at all when the judge approached and put his hands on him. He did reach his nose around a bit to sniff though, but didn't move his feet. I returned and really rewarded for that!

Then we were done. I had to go because I was waiting on a phone call from my mom - my sister is (hopefully) having her baby today and I needed to be on call to go to the hospital when the time got closer. But anyway, I was glad to be able to do the full novice run-through. It's good for both me and Red to do all the exercises in a row like that.

So all in all - good training this week!

1. continue to work on "front" to the recall and slowly add distance.
2. work on long sits/downs without returning to reward

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Red sends a big wet "Merry Christmas" kiss to you and yours. Hope you have a great day and safe travels where ever you may be going today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Red is Runner-Up in Holiday Photo Contest

A few weeks ago I received an email newsletter from Paco Collars. They were having a Holiday Photo Contest and said the winner would receive a free Paco Collar of their choice. I sent in this photo of Red, and immediately received an email back from Ana (the owner) saying how much she loved the photo and to consider it entered in the contest. =)

Well I just got an email again today which says:

"So the bad news is that you didn't win, but the good news is that not only was your picture good enough to show off on the site, but you're also going to win something! While there's only one grand prize, every picture that won a runner-up position will get something cool in the mail.

So you know have two duties...

1. respond to this e-mail with your current mailing address and
2. go check out the site!

There were so many entries that it was really hard to decide, so there's reason to be incredibly proud.

Have a great holiday, thanks for sharing, and congratulations!

-- ana poe"

I'm really excited, especially to see his photo on their webpage. And curious to know what I will be getting in the mail. I love my handsome Redders! =)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

House troubles

Over the past week or so (since the first 12" of snow), our house has suffered some major water damage from leaks. We had to cut power to James' computer work room because water was running into one of the light switches - creating a serious fire hazard. Then it started coming further across the ceiling and leaked on his personal computer desk and our TV and everything. It's been a disaster. At one point - Red went to his crate and wouldn't come out. I couldn't understand it and finally coaxed him out 10 minutes later.

We've spent the last couple nights moving computer desks and computer stuff to the spare bedroom and basement, and preparing to tear the wall out. The insurance company is going to cover it but its been a big pain, and its only going to get worse as everything is torn out.

Red has been "helping" by following us from room to room as we move stuff, and standing in our way as we try to walk by. And today when some work guys came out to try to stop any further water damage to the house, he excitedly greeted them with a wagging nub and hand licks. The guys were here working for a good 3 hours or so, ripping out the ceilig and parts of the wall, and we had to keep Red away because he just wanted to watch them and what they were doing. He hasn't slept all day and now doesn't want to nap in the computer room because of all the noisy blowers and dehumidifiers that are in here.

And we can't even go out for a walk because its been too cold with the windchill - below zero. But hopefully tomorrow and the next day will be a bit warmer for us. Another good thing is that we will be attending training class this Saturday and next Saturday so that wll give Red some time to get out of the house as well.

ah... the joys of homeownership!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Training class this morning

This was the first Saturday morning class we've been able to attend in about a month. Red was glad to be back, but it was obvious that we haven't been there in awhile because he seems to have lost some of his brains since then...

There was a new dog - a French bulldog - that Red was really interested in at first and didn't heel well at the beginning because of it. But finally got over that, then heeling and focus was really good.

Then he decided he's not going to go down anymore on the down command - just sits there are looks at me. After two good corrections for ignoring the command, he miraculously remembered again, though he was slow to obey.

Figure 8's ok - nothing really to comment there. He's getting better at reading me for the left turns when I cue with my shoulders so he's not bumping me so much. So I was happy with that.

Long sits/downs - he went down once on the 3 minute long sit after the dog next to him kept breaking position. Did pretty well with the 5 minute long down - though he flopped on his side to begin with, he sat back up and did really well up til the end when the same dog next to him kept breaking position, he went into a sit, but went back into the down when told and was fine the rest of the time. So not horrid, but not really great either.

Recalls were iffy. He was jumpy the first time I walked away in anticipation, so I returned to him once and walked away again. And he won't come in straight to save his life. I don't finish him on recalls anymore, and I've been backing up to try to lure him into a straight front, but he just won't go straight no matter what! It seems to be getting worse. I really have to work on his fronts.

Michelle brought him a puppy jute for tug which he loves. It will be a good motivator for class in the future. He demolished his "tuff" tennis ball on the rope.

I had him off leash for the end portion of class and he did really well - stuck by me and didn't wander off at all. So that was good.

We will be going to class the Saturday after Christmas and New Years so that will be good to get another 2 weeks under our belt with our next Rally trial looming on January 17th.

1. Revisit downs, and get quick responses.
2. Work on fronts.
3. Stop finishing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Red and Titus "playing"

I recorded this video at about 1am last night. I had gotten the mouse toy out for the cats, and Red just couldn't help himself - he wanted to play with it too! But needless to say, the cats didn't appreciate this, especially Titus. The mouse toy is Titus' most favorite toy ever and he doesn't like sharing it. He even growls when you try to take it away! (which you can hear in the video)

Listen for the wapping of paws, and please try to ignore my annoying giggling... And see if you can spot the doberbutt ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Update on the rawhide roll

Well, Red ate that rawhide roll on Monday around 5:30pm, and its now Thursday about 11am, and still no problems. So I think we're ok, thank god!

I feel bad - he needs to go out for a run, but I've been sick with a bad cold and haven't left the house at all. Poor guy needs some running time, but I'm just too sick to go... Well, we will be able to go to training class Saturday morning, but I'm afraid he'll be a crazy nut without any time to get out and run beforehand...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ate a rawhide roll whole...

I gave Red one of these rawhide chew things yesterday, and he was chewing on it for like 10 minutes, then I went in the other room to feed the cats, came back in the room and the whole thing was gone! I was only gone for maybe 60 seconds, if that. He's had these before and never ate them whole. I'm really worried he's going to obstruct or something.

So far today he's been acting normally and ate his breakfast ok, but I found vomit overnight - some clear liquid and some digested food fluid with what could've been a hairball, but one of my cats is a puker and it could've been him too. But I'm just not sure. I have to work all day and I'm afraid he's going to get sick and I won't know it.

And come to find out, Red's littersister, Didi, ate some kind of foreign object and is now undergoing exploratory surgery. What are the chances they'd both eat something funky like this?? I really hope she does ok, and I really really hope Red passes this damn thing. I'm never giving him one again!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Lights Parade

Went to the town's holiday light parade last night. It started at 6pm after dark and all the floats in the parade are decorated in Christmas lights. It was a very cold night, but was neat because it was snowing and made it seem really festive.

James was working with the police department to help close roads and direct traffic, so as his wife, I got to sneak in and park right in the middle of the road - no long walk for me! =D

Took Redders with me - had him in his fleece sweater. He did really well. Sat beside me while the parade passed, and amused people by trying to catch snowflakes as they fell =) His favorite part was when the reindeer walked by - he couldn't figure out what they were and wanted to go sniff them to bad!! Couldn't really care less about the horses or the band, but was very interested in the guys skiing down the road, LOL!

Then we walked down to the park through crowds of people and other dogs, and so many people commented on what a beautiful dog he is! He got lots of attention, and kids loved to pet him.

Didn't stay out too long because even though I was warm, my feet were frozen, and I figured his feet must be cold too. So we went back to the car and drove the whole mile or so home =) Then he laid in front of the fireplace for the rest of the night!

Here are some photos of the parade:








And then some of Red:

"Can we walk or something?? It's too cold just to stand here!"

Watching the horses

In front of a float

With Santa and Mrs Claus

and SpongeBob =)

Lots of fun!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good work but... grrr

Poor Redders hasn't been out for a walk in a few days (I keep getting home from work after dark) so he was really wound up when I got home. I cut up some dog food roll, nuked it a bit, and put it in my treat pouch, which always gets Red really excited because he knows what that means! Took off his leather collar and put on his chain choke that we work in, and set to work in the computer room where we always work when its cold outside.

Hubby started bitching and moaning about Red being too bouncy and the floor doesn't have support, and blah blah BLAH BLAH BLAH... I don't like to do anything else or talk to anyone while I'm working with the dog because I want Red to have my fullest attention, but DH just would not stop, so I was forced to quit working the dog and proceeded to get into a drawn out argument about who knows what - a bunch of stupid shit not even worth arguing about.

So anyway, training was decent, but I felt we got ripped off. Red was SUPER motivated to work and I couldn't take full advantage of it. Tried to end on a good note, which was difficult with all the BLAH BLAH in my ear... grrrr. oh well... there's always tomorrow, I guess...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Poor Redders attacked by the dresser this morning

I wake up to a horrendous crash next to my bed this morning, and see one of the dresser drawers upside down in the middle of the room! And poor Red looked like it fell on him - he was standing there all hunched up with his ears down.

I thought maybe one of the cats got trapped in there and somehow made the drawer fall out, but turns out one of the tags on Red's collar got stuck on the handle of the drawer or something and he pulled it out on top of himself. Poor guy! I found out it was his CGC tag because the clasp was snapped off and it was laying in the middle of the room. His collar and the rest of the tags are fine, and I don't see any lumps or bumps on him, so I suppose he's ok too. So I ordered another CGC tag today - only $6.00 so not too bad.

We have been taking his collar off at night because he's been getting little bumps on his throat where the collar rubs, but for some reason we didn't take it off last night. We'll have to definitely remember to do that from now on!

Also, on a different note, here is a short video of Red's left pivots:

And a video of Red getting smacked by the cat... poor boy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We've been tagged by Kim to list 6 things that Red really likes:

1. Walks - or should I say... runs! He LOVES going over to the grounds of the local high school and running off leash in the wide open spaces, trails, and around the pond. You should see how crazy he goes when I say the word "walk"! Definitely this is one of his favorite things.

2. Car rides to somewhere fun - like the petstore, grandma's house, training class, etc. The car rides he doesn't love, but he tolerates because it usually means something super fun at the destination. He hops right up into the back seat and he really good in the car. He especially loves the summer when he can stick his head out the window =)

3. Dinnertime - He gets more excited about dinner than breakfast for some reason. He spins around and then waits patiently while I feed the cats, then gets all excited when its his turn. The food is gone in like 30 seconds flat.

4. Working - Red LOVES going to training class. Absolutely adores it! But he also likes when I get the treats out for some obedience work at home. He loves to work for his yummy treats and usually puts his all into working. As a side note, he also loves having his nails trimmed and ears cleaned. He gets all excited when I pull out the supplies!

5. Kong Frisbee and Laser - His two favorite toys in the world. I have gone through countless Kong frisbees because he somehow rips a hole out of the center. Good thing I get them for like $5 through my work. And at night, he loves chasing the laser, though we do this very sparingly and only when he hasn't had much exercise that day - probably only once every couple weeks or so.

6. Sleeping in front of the fireplace - now that winter is upon us, we always have our fireplace on, and Red loves sprawling out in front of it to sleep.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I've been working with Red on pivots for the last two days. Not because I have a sudden, burning desire for good pivoting, but because its so freaking cold outside, and the very limited amount of space in my house doesn't allow for practicing much else...

The right pivots have been so-so. He understands to move with me, but the sits are not very straight and he tends to drift out in front of me a bit. Still needs a lot of work...

The left pivots are something that he never quite understood until last night. Before then, I wasn't using any verbal commands - just the motion of me doing the 90' turn and expecting him to adjust accordingly. But he'd just sit there and look at me, not understanding that he was supposed to move his rear with me and stay in heel position. Then I started using the dowel to try to guide his rear around with me. Didn't work - thought I was going to snap the dowel in half trying to pull his rear toward me. So then I used my word for left turn (which is "turn"), and lo and behold... he pivoted left! Jackpot! It was great =)

I had stopped using the word "turn" for left turns during heeling and just using my shoulders as a cue, which he has transitioned to beautifully for heeling, but apparently the resurrection of the word helped him understand what he was supposed to be doing for the pivot. These little mini-successes are so fun =)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Red was in charge of the Christmas tree this year...

Since Red was only 10 months old for his first Christmas last year, and now he is nearing 2 years old, I figured he was old enough to be in charge of putting up the Christmas tree this year. No live tree for us, just a good ol fake one... Anyway, here's how it went.. (click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pics)

"ok, first of all, its hard to assemble the tree when I'm trapped here by this ginormous box.."

"I'm not exactly sure where all these branches go.. They're supposed to be color-coded, right?"

"How's it look so far, mom?"

"ok, tree is up and in its proper position. What's next?"

Testing the lights

"Yep, these ones work."

Titus getting in on the action

"Whadaya mean I can't tell Titus not to steal my spotlight?"

"Mom, can you help put on the lights?"

"That's not what I meant."

After awhile... "holy moley that was hard work! Time for a nap"

"What do you mean we're not done yet??"

"Mom, we're supposed to be decorating the tree, not me."

And... the finished product!

"ok, I am seriously done now."

The End =)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Odds and ends

Not much to report lately. I've been working all weekend, but have a couple days off now. It's been really snowy - we have a good almost 6" on the ground now, and the snow continues to fall in the bitter cold. So we haven't been spending much time outside - least of all to train.

I did run across this YouTube video called "It's Yer Choice" (thanks to Ruthann on the Rally Obed yahoo group), and I've been doing some of the exercises with Red. They are good indoor games that teach self-restraint and patience. Red caught on fast and seems to enjoy the games.

I received Red's 2009 TDI card and collar tag in the mail yesterday. And also his red TDI bandana! I was happy about that. Now he can be official and wear his bandana on visits. I was wondering about getting a TDI shirt for myself to wear, but I haven't decided whether I want to spend the money on it right now or not. It's been a few weeks since Red and I have done a visit - I'm thinking I will schedule one for next week.

On another note, I have switched Red from a combination of dry and canned Pro Plan Selects Chicken & Rice, to just dry to see if his stools firm up at all. It's really hard for me to monitor the quality of his stool because we live on about 1.25 acres and he poops at the very back fence line - and I usually don't just take strolls out to the back of the property everyday to search for poop piles. Especially in 6" of snow, which has been covering it up so I don't know what's new and what's old. The only time I can really see the poop right away is if he goes while we're on a walk. But he doesn't even go on every walk, so again, its hard to tell. All I know is that while he was on the canned and dry, all the poops I'd seen him do have been soft and unformed. I have done fecal floats and giardia tests but nothing comes up. Someone on DT recommended just trying dry and cutting out the canned. So I will see if that works.

I just bought another 33# bag of Pro Plan Selects Chicken & Rice, but I'm not sure how happy I am with it. Red's coat seems kind of dull - though I don't know if that's because its winter now and drier in the house or what. I was contemplating switching to the Turkey formula of the Selects, but I wonder if I should switch to a completely different brand altogether. I go back and forth about this all the time and drive myself crazy. I just can't seem to find a food that he does really well on all the way around. I think at this point, the Science Diet has been the best... There is a thread on DT about Costco's Kirkland and dogs have done well on it so maybe I should try something like that? It seems like cheap-o food, but I guess the proof will be in how the dogs do on it. Once we finish this bag of Selects I just bought, we'll see where to go from here...