Wednesday, December 30, 2009

rope.. coat.. what's the difference?

Redders says he's confused - they sound the same!

Maybe we should work on word recognition, lol

(facebook people, view the video here:

Training in the garage

We haven't done much training in awhile, and I got the bug to get back to work and really practice the Open exercises.

Everything has been going pretty well except the retrieve over jump. He doesn't understand he's supposed to come back over the jump on the retrieve yet. I think once the light bulb goes on, it will be easier - its just getting to that point.

The problem is that I can't set up jumps in the yard because of the snow, and the driveway is completely iced over. So I figured we'd do it in the garage. James is at work so his truck is gone. I put the jump in between the work bench and the front of my car, so there was no way around the jump - he HAS to go over it.

Another thing I wanted to start working on was toy/tug rewards instead of food. So I bought a new tug to start using. From the videos I've seen, the handler always holds the tug - never letting go to let the dog have it. In the past, I'd give Red somethin to tug, then let go and let him play-shake it. But I think holding onto it is better so its MY toy and I'm only letting him tug on it - which builds drive to want it.

Anyway, we started out with some heeling. Then we did the flat retrieve. I've been throwing the dumbbell once and then going to get it, and then sending him on the second throw. Hopefully this will help stop is anticipation to get it on the first throw. I hate throwing the dumbbell on the cement garage floor though... it sounds like the dumbbell's going to snap in half. So I softly tossed/slid it instead. I should get some sort of mat to use or something. The retrieve was nice except his came in crooked to the front. Those damn crooked fronts!! It might've been because I had the tug/treats on the work bench behind me and he was trying to angle himself to see them. I'll have to move them next time. But he never dropped it and held it nicely.

Then we did the retrieve over jump. Again, I tried not to throw it too hard and break it on the cement floor. I sent him with the "over" command, he went over the jump, grabbed the db, and came right back over without the slightest hesitation. I didn't even wait for him to front before I released and threw a party for him. We only did it once, then did some high-drive heeling, then released to be done.

He LOVES that tug. Toward the end, I had a hard time getting him to "out". I think its going to be easy to transition him onto the tug instead of food. A very productive session today!

- Continue building drive with the tug
- Wean out food rewards
- Work on straight fronts on the flat retrieve
- Work toward getting a return jump on the retrieve over jump
- Get the broad jump out and work on the "over" command without hand cues
- See about putting down a runner or something in the garage to throw the dumbbell on

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Helicopter vs. Doberman

James got a little mini helicopter for Christmas... and of course I had the camera handy for its maiden voyage ;)

(for the people on facebook seeing this post who can't see the video - go to this link:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Red Meets Santa

Red met Santa today. At first, all he wanted to do was root around in the candy cane bucket, then in Santa's crotch - at which point I had to drag him off poor violated Santa...

At least the pic came out ok, lol (click to enlarge)


This was at the place where we go for Saturday morning training. Marc has a new building now and had an open house today with Santa pics and contests and prizes. There was a lot of people and dogs! I used the opportunity for some distraction training.

Red ended up winning the "tricks" contest with his hilarious "play dead" routine. He didn't die right away and I had to shake the gun (my hand) at him a few times before he finally keeled completely over and the crowd cheered, LOL

It was fun and I think he enjoyed it too =)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun Match - Open Obedience

Now that Red has his CD title in Novice Obedience, we've moved onto training for Open. It's so nice to train something different for a change! Novice Obedience is kinda boring imo, so its good to be able to work with jumps and the dumbbell now. Red loves learning new things and is doing pretty well in the short time we've been working on all the new stuff.

Our heel off leash and figure 8 are fine. The retrieve on flat is usually decent except for some unknown reason today he picked up the dumbbell wrong and then dropped it when he came back - which he hasn't done in a long time, so not sure what's up with that.

We've really been working on the drop on recall. I had to change from a verbal command to a hand signal, because for some reason he wouldn't drop fast enough with the command and wanted to get as close as possible to me before going down. The hand signal seems to be working better. We're still at a short distance and I'm working us up to longer.

The retrieve over jump is our hardest exercise. He'll go over the jump to get the dumbbell, but he wants to run around it on the way back. So I did it on-leash for this fun match and ran with him. When training this at home, I'm going to have to find some way to set up a jump with barrier on each side so he doesn't have a choice but to come back over. But I can only do it outside and there's snow on the ground now, so not sure how that's going to work...

The broad jump is the one thing we haven't practiced at all and he did it beautifully today. Go figure, lol

Anyway, here's the video:

The judge commented at the end... "Well he's certainly enthusiastic!" haha yep, no problems there...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Camera Hog

Yesterday James wanted to take some pics of stuff to put on Craigslist but when I got the camera out, Red thought it was for him and kept trying to sit in front of where the camera was pointing. He's SUCH a ham!

"oh hai, wanna take my pic??"


"How bout I pose in front of the tree??" I totally didn't even put him here - he went in front of it, laid down carefully, and cocked his head in a posing way.


He was NOT happy when I pulled Titus into the photo. "Moooomm, he looks like roadkill... he's RUINING my picture!!" *whines*


"The other cat is still behind me, isn't he?" *scowls*


*smugness* "That's right, I'm the star" =)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Down on Recall

Down on recall had been my focus for the last week or so.

Previous to this, I was just concentrating on getting a fast down in heel position or in front position by command. If I added distance, he would go down in position, but once I added in the motion of the recall, he wanted to get as close to me as possible before actually going down.

So I tried putting a treat down in the middle of the path in the hopes I could down him at the treat and reward, but that didn't work because he knew to avoid the treat since he wasn't given permission to eat it, so he'd step gingerly around it and by that time, had forgotten what exercise we were doing. Fail.

So I stopped doing the treat thing and started stepping into him and pointing down as I said the command, and that seemed to help somewhat, but he was still taking more than a few steps and trying to get close before actually going down. I was making no progress.

Then I decided to do something different - use a hand signal only instead of the verbal - so he'd stop associating the verbal down with being close to me. Change it up completely.

So I started in the living room with him across the room. Put my right arm up and gave the down command, and when he downed, released and reward. Repeat 2 more times. On next attempt, I did hand signal only and he went down - success! End session for now. I repeated this later in the day, but only giving the command with the signal the first time, and the second time just the signal only, and he downed both times - success again! End session. Next time, added in the recall and used the hand signal and command, and he went down! Practiced this a bit and I'm quite happy with the results so far. Living room training going well!

Went to training this past Saturday, and I went further away than we had been doing in the living room. Gave the command and signal, didn't stop so stepped toward him and gave the command again and he went down. Tried it a second time and it was better - though he took extra steps.

Tried it again tonigh with some yummy extra-crispy leftover bacon from dinner. Went across the room, gave the signal only and he went down - yay bacon! Set him back up, went across the room, called for recall, gave the command and he hit the floor immediately!! woo hoo bacon! Ended on a super happy note and played for a bit.

Hopefully I can continue working him this way and he'll have it down.

Next have to work on the retrieve over jump... he'll go over the jump on the way to the dumbbell but wants to run around it on the way back...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Red's Turkey Day

This year for Thanksgiving we went to my mom's in Grand Rapids, Michigan (about 2 hours away) and spent the night. Of course, Redders came along :)

Two of my younger cousins were there (ages 9 and 5) and they tired Red out! Red was so good with them though - he's such a good dog :)

Some pics from Wednesday night (click to enlarge)


Red showing Katie how to shake


Dancing with my mom


And then Thanksgiving morning...

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade with Josh


"Do we HAVE to watch the Detroit Lions lose AGAIN??"


"Grandma, can I help you with the turkey...?"



My mom spoils him :)


Being a good boy while everyone ate


And of course, he got his own piece of turkey


"Can I have it now???"


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red's Day in Canada

Red and I went to Canada for a few hours today to visit my sister and nephew =) You should have heard the border control officers both coming into Canada and going back to the US... "oh he's so handsome! What's his name? How old is he? I know someone who has a red doberman too!" He can sure win them over - they didn't even ask for his credentials! ;)

Anyway, it was a nice day so we went to the park, and goofed around a bit =)

Click thumbnails to enlarge

"please throw the frisbee for me"


"I'm waiting..."


Watching very carefully...



Finally got it


Red and Bradley hanging out on the slide



Red looks enormous in this pic!


Me and Red


Time for a break


Back home and time to play




Getting love from auntie =)


Friday, November 13, 2009

Walking with a celebrity

Went for a walk down to James' work today (about 1.5 miles) away. To get there, it requires us to walk down the main road which has a lot of traffic - though we are on a sidewalk, don't worry!

It's so funny because Red gets so much attention in public! Everyone cranes their necks to get a look at him. And apparently people know us from seeing us out because people point, honk and wave.

Almost every time we walk down the main road like this, at least one car pulls over to talk to us. Last time it was an Oakland County Sherriff wanting to chit chat and see Red up close.

This time is was a guy in a pickup. As we were walking, I hear someone call behind me, "Excuse me!" and thinking there was someone on a bicycle wanting to get by, I moved to the side. Then the voice said again, "Excuse me!!". So I turned around and a guy in a pickup had pulled off the road and was trying to get my attention. I doubled back, thinking he needed directions or something (another thing a lot of people ask me when I'm walkin). But he said, "I see you have a Doberman Pinscher."

"Yes," I answered.

"Do you have any pups for sale? I've been looking for some in the area and your boy is perfect," he asked.

Shaking my head, "No, sorry - I'm not a breeder and my boy is neutered. He is not breeding quality."

The guy looks at me confused. So I continue quickly, "But if you go on the Doberman Pinscher Club of America website, they have a list of reputable breeders sorted by state. I think the website is" The guy writes this down.

He seemed interested and willing to take my advice so I continue, wanting to educate him as much as possible while I can, "Don't buy a puppy from someone in the newspaper. You want a pup from a reputable breeders who health tests their dogs, that's very important."

He thanked me for the information and went on his way. I felt so good that I was able to educate someone and hopefully prevent them from supporting a BYB (backyard breeder) and getting a poorly bred puppy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Photos

I have some fall photos to share =) These were taken over the last the month or so. It seems like the leaves start turning and falling so fast, then its over =(

click thumbnails to enlarge

Starting to see some color in mid-October



End of October


Chasing squirrels..






Taken today

Red and the neighbor dog (both waiting for treats ;))


"oh are you raking leaves?"


"I can help!"


"wow that's a lot of leaves..."


"On second thought, I will supervise" :)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Second Rally Excellent trial

Since they were doing Obedience AND Rally on Saturday, we didn't have to get there til later in the afternoon since they always do Obedience first. The Rally Excellent walkthrough was set to start at 3:30pm, so we got there about 2:15pm or so.

It was packed - I spend a couple minutes wandering around aimlessly looking for a spot to set up the crate. Finally someone was nice enough to let me squeeze in next to them. There wasn't any room to set up a chair next to the crate, so I ended up just putting the chair in front of it.

They weren't checking in for Rally yet (or giving out course maps), so I went out and got Red out of the car once I had everything set up. There was pretty much no room to play or do any warming up, and it was raining outside, so it was difficult to manage...

Sam was there, though not with Mally - just to watch Jeff and his rott, Sam, for their Open run. And they Qualified! Very happy for them - especially since it was their first leg.

They didn't let anyone check in for Rally or get their maps until Open was finished. This was at about 3:15pm, so we only had 15 minutes to get about 30 people checked in and get familiarized with the course map before the walkthrough. It was really poorly organized. They weren't checking in people out of the line like they were supposed to - just taking random people crowded around them. Then they were checking in Excellent B first, which was not smart considering Excellent A was the first group to go! Everyone was getting really irritated and pissed off. I just stood there waiting until someone finally told the stewards that I had been waiting the longest and they finally checked me in and gave me the map.

It was the hardest course I'd ever seen! The judge had all the hardest Excellent signs - the back up 3 steps, moving stand/walk around, and moving down/walk around. Plus it was a very tight and confusing course. And a very challenging set up too - for example he had the back up 3 steps right after one of the jumps. I was not confident at all about doing well. I haven't been practicing the moving stands or downs at all, and the back up 3 steps was still iffy. And I was nervous about the honor now too since he blew it yesterday...

The judge called both Excellent classes into the ring and gave a very stern briefing. He was like a Nazi - saying the moving stand/down was the Utility exercise and he will IP anyone who hesitates even the slightest, and the 1 step to the right should be done this specific way, and on and on. We were all terrified by the end of it.

After the briefing, I got Red out of the crate. We were the 3rd or 4th team into the ring so we had some time to chill for a few - which I've found works better than getting him out when the team ahead of us is in the ring.

We entered the ring and the very first exercise was a jump, which Red LOVES, so he was all into it. He did really well! We redid the 3 steps backwards exercise (as did everyone else in our class) since it was right after the jump and the dog was charging forward by the time we got to the sign. The moving stand was good! The moving down was decent, and he held the Honor down/stay.

We ended up with a score of 86. We got 3 points off for redoing the 3 steps back, 1 point for a crooked front, and 10 points for the moving down (which apparently I hesitated on..). But we got 1st place!! I was utterly shocked. That tells you how hard of a course it was when the high score was an 86!

We got a 1st place and Qualifying ribbon, plus a coffee mug. Though I spoke with the trial secretary about how we were in the wrong class and they redistributed the ribbons, but I got to keep my mug and Qualifying ribbon =)

After the ribbon ceremony, I gave Red a special squirrel stuffy that I'd been saving for after his run, and we took it outside since it had a squeaker and I didn't want to disturb the other dogs who were trialing. Red was in stuffy heaven!

As we were outside, someone came out the door behind us and introduced herself as someone off DT! She had recognized us and came over to say hi =) It was so cool to meet someone off DT! She doesn't post much but lurks a lot and knew all about Red's photo scandel and everything! She was there for Rally Novice with her pit bull. I really wanted to stay and watch, but still I had't eaten lunch, and wasn't sure what James' dinner plans were, I couldn't stay. It was a good thing we didn't, eiher, because she said later that they didn't go into the ring til about 7pm! But they got 3rd place in their class and Qualified! I'm really glad I got to meet her. She lives in the Grand Rapids area and may come to othe shows in the area sometime.

I'm really bummed none of these shows are counting toward our title, but it's been a lot of fun, and the pressure as sort of been off knowing it won't count anyway. Red has been so awesome, and I'm very proud of my boy - whether it counts or not! =)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rally Excellent trial

We had our first Rally Excellent trial today. We have another one a little later on tomorrow afternoon.

But neither of them are going to count toward our title =( I accidentally registered for A instead of B, but now that we have our CD title, we have to be in the B classes. And you can't do a lateral move from A to B classes, only a move up from Novice to Advanced, or Advanced to Excellent. I guess they are changing the rules in January 2010 but that doesn't do me any good now.

I wasn't too upset though, because I haven't trained with Red in a long time, since I was sick and we've been working on the house. We haven't really done any Excellent Rally training at all, so I was a little nervous about it. But since it doesn't count, the pressure was off to Qualify, so I can just treat it like a fun match.

I forgot how much easier Rally is! You can talk to the dog, lure them into position, etc. A lot more fun that strict Obedience where you can't talk to the dog and have to hold your arms in a certain position, and only use certain commands/signals.

The other good thing about being in a high level of Rally, is you know what time they start in the morning (they start with high levels and down go to Novice). So we got there 1 hour before the walkthrough was set to start.

I did the walkthrough, which was a pretty straight forward pattern, not difficult to navigate. But the judge had the "3 steps back" exercise there, which we still aren't great on yet... I wasn't worried about anything else really.

After the walkthrough, I asked someone if they could video with my camera, and she said she wasn't good and volunteered someone else to do it. I recognized him as the judge of 2 of my past rally trials. Turns out he didn't know what he was doing either, even after I explained to him how simple it is, and he forgot to push the button to record...

Anyway, we were th 4th in the ring, and I got Red out of the crate right after the walkthrough. We played some tug, then I just fed treats for focus. We went into the ring and started.

His jumps were beautiful. It was nice I could talk to him so I could remind him to sit at the halts, which he has a hard time remembering to do when we're in the ring for some reason... We messed up one sign that called for a sit, stand, then down. But he sat before he went down which I knew to be an IP, but I didn't care and didn't feel like redoing the sign so we just went ahead. The 3 steps back was actually pretty good! I wasn't sure at the time if we took enough steps back but I think we did. After we finished, there is an honor exercise which means the dog is in a sit/stay in the corner of the ring while the next team is doing their run. I never worry about Red's sit/down/stays because he hasn't had any problems in a long time. But since this one is done on-leash instead of off-leash like he's used to, I'm not sure if that threw him off or not. Right at the very end, he went down on the sit!! WTF!!! Apparently its not an NQ though, its just 10 points off.

So figuring in the 20 points we lost for the IP sign and the down on the sit/stay, we ended up with a score of 78. We we lost only 2 points on th entire rest of the course, which is great. I was still happy with how he did, though I was really disappointed about the honor station. oh well... he still got hi usual jackpot and special prize afterwards =)

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Michigan Renaissance Festival 2009

Just got home from a long day with Redders :) First, we went to training at 9am this morning where we started working on Open exercises for CDX, then for a nice walk in the damp woods, then onto our annual visit to the Michigan Renaissance Festival! We were there for about 4 hours, and Red and hubby are both passed out on the floor sleeping, lol

As usual, we couldn't make it 10 feet without someone either commenting on Red, stopping us to admire him, or asking if they can take a picture of him! He's my little celebrity :) All very nice comments from everyone, and Red was very well-behaved and accepted pets from adults and children, and even met a few other pups too. It was the perfect day for it - overcast, a little rainy, and about 60 degrees - sets the mood nicely and not super-packed with people.

Here are some pics (behold the watermarking debut... *sigh*)... click to enlarge


Me and Redders


We went to a show which featured birds of prey. Here you can see one of the falcons, and Red watched the one on the peak of the roof very closely...



Dad lets Redders finish the last drops of his Guinness beer..


Red with the living statue


The Guinness Pub is where all the serious Renaissance folk hang out - you get to see some of the most elaborate costumes and get-up here.



Very fun :) We look forward to this every year. Michigan has one of the best Renaissance Festivals in the country, rivaled only by Texas and Maryland. It's fun to go, have some drinks, browse the shops, and people watch. I always end up buying a trinket or two as well... This year I bought a delicate silver puzzle ring with Celtic knotwork :)

Red has been coming to the Ren Fest since he was 6 months old, so I think he finally knows what its all about now and enjoys himself :)