Friday, March 27, 2009

The Wal-Mart Greeter, and stopped by the cops

I decided to start jogging with Red now that its nicer outside and I have no more excuses left not to... James only works about 1.5 miles away, so I like to walk there with Red sometimes. Truth be known, I probably only jogged about 10% of the way (I thought I was going to die), but it was a good start...

We got there and I took Red's leash off and he just wandered around getting pets from everyone James works with. Then it started getting busier in the store and Red greeted every single customer that came in. He reminded me of a Wal-Mart greeter. The door would open, and he would prance over and greet the next person. He got a lot of compliments on what a friendly and nice-looking dog he is. Everyone loved him. We hung out for a bit while I prepared for the walk/jog back, then were on our way again.

On our way back home, an Oakland County sheriff car pulled onto the side of the road where we were on the sidewalk, and the officer asked, "Is that a Doberman??" I said yes, and he said, "Wow, I haven't seen a Doberman in years! They used to be really popular, but now everyone has Rottweilers..." I was too out of breath to really reply, but then the officer said to have a good day and enjoy our walk, then he pulled away again.

It's not the first time a police car has pulled over to see Red, nor the first time for random people to pull over to comment on him. It used to happen a lot more when he was an obvious puppy, but people still slow down and say "beautiful dog!" as they cruise by. I wonder if everyone else walking their dogs gets that much attention?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red goes to the Mall

Red and I went to Bass Pro again today, which is in the local mall. I wanted take a lap around the mall (which is about 8/10ths of a mile), and thought I'd try to bring Red with me. It was a good day to go - a Wednesday afternoon when it wasn't packed or crowded, but enough people to still offer distractions in a strange environment. I put his red bandana on to help disguise the fact that he was wearing a prong - the friendlier he looks, the better. For the record, I have no intention of trying to impersonate a service dog, and if anyone asked, I would tell them the truth and say he is a therapy dog, not a service dog. And if I was asked to leave or was told he wasn't allowed, I would leave.

After doing some obedience work in our usual corner of Bass Pro, we walked up to the front of the store and into the main mall. The employee standing guard at the entrance told us to have a good day. I kept Red tight at my left side - no walking out in front of me. I wanted him to appear completely under control with me. I fed him bits of string cheese and ham for good behavior as we walked - i.e. walking loosely at my left side and not pulling, and attention on me. Occasionally, I'd halt and he would sit, and we'd do downs and practice focus exercises - nothing exciting or exuberant - again, I wanted him to appear calm and under control and not give anyone a reason to ask us to leave.

We continued walking, and the longer we went, the more he just walked nicely at my left side with me, receiving rewards every so often for his good behavior, and completely oblivious to everything going on around us. We were approaching a mall security guard who was riding one of those wheelie things and wearing a helmet. I planned to smile and say hello as we passed, but as I got closer I realized I knew the guy! I used to work with him like 8 years ago! I stopped to chat for a few minutes and Red just stood there next to me, completely uninterested in anything that was going on. The guy commented on what a nice dog Red was and then had to get back to work. I was so happy - now we definitely wouldn't get kicked out! ;)

Red and I continued our walk, pausing here and there to sit and focus. I heard people saying things like, "oooh! Look at that dog!" or "wow, what a cool dog!". No one approached us, though, because it was clear that Red was working and not just out for a leisurely stroll.

We looped back around and entered Bass Pro again, walked through to the back of the store, and out into the parking lot to leave. Red got jackpoted the rest of the ham and cheese from the treat bag. I was so pleased with his behavior in the mall. Very proud of my Redders today =)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We match!

Remember this post? Red won a gift certificate for the Paco Collars photo contest and they agreed to make me a bracelet that matched Red's collar.

Well I received my bracelet today, and I love it! Now Red and I match =)

click to enlarge


Friday, March 20, 2009

Rally Advanced A - 1st Leg

Today was a good day =) Red earned his 1st leg toward his Rally Advanced title, with a score of 95, and 2nd place in our class.

Michelle, being the awesome friend she is, came with me for moral support even though she wasn't entered in today's trial. She met me at the house and we left around 10:30am. I takes about 25-30 minutes to get to the club and we arrived at about 11am. The trial was set to start at 11am, starting with Excellent B (18 entries) & A (4 entries), then Advanced B (24 entries) & A (9 entries), then Novice B (13 entries) & A (8 entries).

Red and I are in Advanced A, but I wanted to get there with plenty of time to get relaxed beforehand. They were just starting the Excellent walkthrough when we arrived. I was glad to be there early so I could relax and get myself calmed down before going into the ring. The last 2 trials were so rushed and I felt very frazzled - I hated it. I was happy to know I'd have a lot of down time.

We left Red in the car while we carried in our chairs, the crate, and my bags (my "bags" being my purse, my camera bag, and my dog stuff bag). We found a spot and set everything up. While I was setting up the crate, Michelle saw the course maps taped to a nearby table and went to see what I was up against. She read out the exercises, and I relaxed a bit - nothing too bad. I was hoping there wouldn't be the 180° left pivot or the halt, side step, halt - since both of these exercises were not polished at all. And thankfully, neither exercises was in the course. phew!

After everything was set up, I went outside to get Red, and took him directly to the potty area like I always do. He sniffed around for awhile before squeezing out a few drops to satisfy me. We went inside, and he was very excited as usual. I took off his flat collar, and attached our show leash to our show choke, and prepared my treat pouch. We warmed up with a few exercises, went into the practice ring and did some heeling and a few exercises. Then we went back to our chairs to play around with the frisbee and burn off some excited energy. After he started to calm down a bit, I put him in the crate, which he went into without a problem and accepted his treat.

Michelle and I sat and watched the Excellent B class do their runs. Unfortunately, I hadn't had any coffee yet this morning and forgot my cash that was laying on the dresser, so Michelle bought me a coffee and I happily sipped it as I relaxed and watched the other teams perform. Red being completely silent and still just laying in his crate watching the world go by. I was feeling much less nervous and anxious than I was this morning. I love watching the excellent teams trial, and I also played around on my new iPhone for a little while too ;)

Our friend, Dawn, who has the Mastiffs, Atticus and Delilah, arrived and set up her crate next to us. She was trialing Atticus in the same class as me, Advanced A, for his 1st Advanced leg, and Delilah was entered in Novice A for her 1st leg.

While we were waiting, we got a couple pics (click to enlarge):



Excellent A & B finished and received their rosettes and ribbons, and they started changing the course in preparation for Advanced around 1pm. I had planned to leave Red in the crate until after the walkthrough, then get him out again while Advanced A was running. The judge called everyone from Advanced into the ring and told us that we would be doing the walkthrough now, but she would be taking a 25 minute break afterwards, so the first Advanced B dog would be going into the ring at 1:25pm.

I walked the course 4 times this time. I have never done an Advanced course before and there are more signs than Novice, and the course seemed more complicated - easier to get lost. The ring size was 40' x 50' and the signs were as follows:

1. Halt, Sit
2. Straight Figure 8, Weave Twice
3. Left Turn
4. Halt, 90° Pivot Left, Halt
5. Moving Side Step
6. Call Dog Front, Finish Left, Forward
7. Halt, Walk Around Dog
8. 270° Right Turn
9. 360° Right Turn
10. Left Turn
11. Send Over Jump (16" height)
12. About Turn Right
13. Fast Pace
14. Normal Pace
15. Halt, Turn Right 1 Step, Call to Heel, Halt
16. Right Turn
17. Halt, Call Front, Finish Right, Halt

After the 4th walkthrough, I felt pretty confident that I wouldn't get lost, and confident that Red could do all the exercises well. I did want to work on #15 more when I got him out again because we hadn't trained that one in awhile. Everything else was ok.

Since the judge was taking her break, they announced there was lunch available for $5.00 per person. The stewards and people running the show brought a potluck from home, including shredded beef sandwiches, tuna salad croissants, salad, rolls, cookies, and pie. Michelle bought me lunch and we sat and ate in the eating area.

I finished my lunch and it was about 1:25pm. I wanted to get Red out and take him outside to a neighboring vacant field, and let him run a bit. I grabbed the frisbee, got him out of the crate, and went straight over to the field where I let him off-leash to run off some steam. It was a bit chilly, but sunny and not too windy, so it was a nice day. Red chased the frisbee happily for awhile, then we played some tug, and just generally hung out out there for about 15 minutes. Then I put the leash back on him and since he didn't potty out there, took him back to the potty area, where he refused to go. Normally I wait til he goes, but he just didn't seem interested at all so I figured he must be empty...

We went back inside, cue the usual bounciness of being back in the building. We played more tug. Once he seemed like he was tiring of tug, we went into the practice ring to practice the side step thing. After a couple minutes, we went back to the chairs and started doing some casual focus exercises for treats. Advanced B was still running and I planned to keep Red out this whole time, otherwise I'd have to re-prepare him all over again if I put him back in the crate. Preparing = get out of the crate, take outside, come inside, play and tug, then focus and work.

Advanced B finished and had their awards ceremony. Red and I would be the 2nd team to go in Advanced A. We were supposed to be 3rd but the first team was absent. So while the first team went, I removed my treat pouch, grabbed a handful of hotdog bits and stood in line at the gate in preparation to go. I did focus exercises and few other things with Red while feeding the hotdogs from my hand. I fed the last bits as the first team was finishing.

Michelle said to start being formal when we go into the ring, so he is in working-mode and ready to go. It worked great - I heeled him into the ring and halt/sat at the Start sign as if it were an exercise. I removed his leash, handed it to the steward, and we were off!

For the very first exercise, a simple Halt, Sit, I thought he was going to keep walking or throw a very crooked sit, but he pulled it off and was better after that. The cones were a little rough, he did bump me a few times and I vaguely wondered if that would count against us... The left pivot was really nice, just how we practiced. Everything else went smoothly. The jump was fine and he didn't tap it - thank god! and came right back to heel (though bumping me a little in the process). On the Halt, 1 step right, Halt, I thought for one horrid moment that he was going to move with me - even though we had JUST practiced this over and over in the past 30 minutes, but he didn't - came back to heel position, and sat. phew! The very last exercise was a call dog to front (without moving the feet). During training and even earlier today during warm-ups, he came to front beautifully. But during this exercise, he only came halfway and sat out of position at about a 90° angle. I contemplated for what seemed like a long time, but was only a fraction of a second if I should retry or not, and decided not to. Then I couldn't remember which way to finish him, so I had to glance at the sign to see it was supposed to be a right finish, halt. He finished fine and sat, and then we were off through the finish sign.

Once I got the leash back on Red and we left the ring, I lavishly praised him and took him back to the chairs where I let him dip his nose into the treat pouch. My initial reaction after the run was that I thought it was just ok. I knew we had lost points on at least one crooked sit, and he didn't completely front for sign #17 (the very last one!). His attention wasn't the best but he stayed with me. But other than that, I was happy with everything else, and especially the jump since he hasn't had too much exposure to jumps. Michelle said we looked really good, and all she saw wrong was the out of position front. I was glad she thought we looked good because I always think we do worse than we really do. She checked the scoreboard and reported that we got a 95. I was so relieved to hear that! Phew!! And we might even place too.

Dawn and Atticus did their run and did very well. I always really enjoy watching them trial. We got them on video, too, since I think seeing yourself and dog work is a very helpful learning tool. They did well, but we didn't know what their score was since they took the sheet down without posting it.

Our Advanced A class was not a good one. Out of the 8 people that trialed, only 4 qualified - including Red and I, and Dawn and Atticus. There were 2 dogs that went running around the ring during the middle of their trial, completely spazzing out. The one was dismissed before they could even finish since it was clear the dog was out of control. I had never seen a dog do that in the ring before.

Red and I earned a score of 95 out of 100, and 2nd place in our class. We lost 4 points for the bumping/handler interference during the cone exercise, and 1 point for the out of position front during the last exercise. Dawn and Atticus got a 94 and 3rd place. Atticus had a slight issue with one of the dogs during our ribbon ceremony - we think the clapping set him off. He went toward the springer spaniel, but didn't do anything. It was more startling than anything else. Dawn had him back under control again, and then he was completely fine again.

We received a lovely red rosette, green qualifying ribbon, and a small stuffie toy. After the awards ceremony, we went back to the chairs and Red started happily tearing apart the stuffie. I promptly took it away once he put a hole in it and started removing stuffing.

Michelle got a photo of Red and I with our ribbons (click to enlarge):


I put Red back in the crate and we sat back down to wait for Dawn and to trial Delilah in Novice A. They had a great run and ended up with a score of 100 and 1st place in the class! Very cool, and I got it on video.

After that, Michelle and I packed everything up and departed. It was about 5pm when we left. Red fell asleep on the way home since he didn't sleep at all in his crate all day. It was a good day =) And thanks again, Michelle, for coming with me and supporting us!! You are awesome!!! *hugs*

Without further ado, here is the video of our run:

And here is Red posing with his rosette and ribbon after we got home (click to enlarge:


Redders is now passed out in front of the fireplace... one very tired puppy! =)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obedience Fun Match

The was an obedience fun match tonight at the same place where our rally trial on Friday will be.

My general feeling with the night is disappointment. I think it was because of the way the judge was critiquing. Now don't get me wrong - I am there to learn and soak up information, and I really truly appreciate those people and especially the judges who volunteer their time to run these fun matches. But I think her criticism could have been delivered a little more constructively at times - I mean, this is supposed to be helpful AND fun. She made me feel like I was training my dog all wrong.

Sits/downs - The judge went longer than the 1 minute/3 minute. She did 1.5 mins/3.5 mins. Red was competely fine, no problems. Except when I went back to him after the down and was going around him, the judge said he very slightly picked up his right elbow. I didn't see it, but I will be watching that from now on.

On-leash Heel - Just ok. Not horrible but not wonderful. His attention could have been a bit better. The judge said our slow was not slow enough. In an effort to walk in a straighter line, I tried to keep my head up as much as possible and aim for a spot to walk at, so I think I did better with that.

Figure 8 - Not bad. I thought we did ok, though he bumped into me a few times. For some reason during the middle of the exercise, the judge told me I could correct him during fun matches. I didn't respond considering I didn't know what she was referring to correcting.

Stand for Exam - I didn't notice this until the judge pointed it out, but I said "stay" as I was taking my hand off his shoulders to position him. I need to make sure my hands are completely off him before I give the command. Also (and I also didn't see this at the time), the judge said when I returned to him and walked around behind him, he lifted his right front paw slightly. I saw it in the video when I watched it back. Will have to keep an eye for this. Michelle also said afterwards that the SFE seemed rushed. She said don't be afraid to really take my time and position him before leaving, because he seemed like he was in an awkward position and that may have been why he shifted a paw.

Between the STE and and the heel off leash, Red completely tarted out and tried to leave the ring, and then wouldn't get re-focused. Gave him a very firm correction with the choke and he snapped back into reality at that point.

Heel on Leash - After his correction, he sat in heel position waiting to go forward. I waited, and the judge just stood there and looked at me. Then moved her mouth - it was noisy in there and not being able to hear real well, I thought she said forward. I started forward and she snapped "I didn't say forward." Jesus Christ, lady - get your shit together and lets GO. She said forward and this heeling wasn't too bad. He stayed with me in better heel position, but his focus was not there. There were a couple crooked sits at the halts as well.

Recall - Michelle told me that I could tell the judge that I'm not going all the way down since we have been working on straight fronts and Red has been doing better with shorter distances. I told the judge this and she proceeded in a dissertation about why I shouldn't do that, and I am training it all wrong. I am very annoyed with her at this point. I know she's trying to help, but please let me do this run that I paid for, in my own way, and you can critique it afterwards. In the end, I did it anyway. I went about halfway. I called, "Red, front!" and he came in pretty straight. Apparantly I thought it should be straighter so I backed up a step to lure him into it straighter, then he went around to finish himself for some reason. So that was my fault, I should've just taken the front he gave me. I have been saying "front" instead of come, because he seems to understand where front position is, and has been coming in straighter for me. The judge proceeded to tell me I shouldn't say front and I should use a different word.

I was very disappointed with the judge's behavior during my run. I wish she'd just let me run it how we trained for it, and then critiqued what we would have lost points on afterwards, and then give pointers on how to correct those areas. I don't need her to tell me I'm using the wrong words or training my dog wrong. By the end of our run, I thought we did horribly because of the judge's constant sniping - though Michelle said it wasn't as bad as I thought. I think it was because I was being beaten down by the judge the whole time which made it seem bad.

Anyway, that was that. I was thinking about running again, but it would've been too late and I didn't want to miss Michelle's run with Maisy because I wanted to video it for her.

So our next big day is Friday! Hopefully g et our first Advanced Rally leg! I hope Red doesn't tart out in the ring like he did during the fun match, but I think he should be ok.

My epiphany for the night: I have been MAJORLY slacking in Red's training and need to buckle down again. I lost a lot of working practice during the winter because our house is too small to really work or heel in, and it had been too cold to do anything outside. And I can only take him to stores or often to practice. Now that its warmer out, I will resume our more rigorous training on a daily basis.


1. Focused heeling. I need constant eye contact. Michelle suggested changing his training now so the word "heel" means in heel position WITH eye contact. Start fading out "watch" for this reason. I think the lack of eye contact is the root of most of our problems in the ring, and by fixing this, other things will work itself out.

2. Straight fronts for recall. This is a continued work in progress.

3. Enthusiam to WANT to work. I am hoping this will come along with getting into a more structured training schedule again.

4. Distraction training. Michelle thinks that even training at Bass Pro is not enough distraction for him. We need to go somewhere with a lot of noise and action. There are a couple outdoor malls in the area that allow dogs, so I am thinking of going somewhere like that to do some work.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Protector

A funny thing happened last night. James was laying on the couch, and I walked over to him and leaned over to give him a kiss, but instead (in a playful but rough way) he quickly grabbed my arm and said "what are you doing?" in a mock angry voice. I said "hey!" loudly and Red was there in a split second. He wedged his way in between James and I, and was pushing James' hand off my arm until he couldn't hold on anymore. Once James let go, Red just stood there and looked between us, watching.

Red sometimes gets jealous and wedges himself between James and I when we are hugging or snuggling or whatever, but this was different. I got the distinct feeling he was protecting me from what he thought was a threat. It happened so fast, but I could tell by his body language that's what he was doing.

I was really impressed with this reaction. Just when you think your dog's a big mushball and wouldn't protect you from anything, something like this changes how you view him. I thought it was really interesting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday morning training

Our next rally trial is coming up in 5 days... so it was good I could finally have a Saturday off work to go to the training group on Saturday morning. This will be our first attempt at the Advanced course, so I am a bit more nervous...

Heeling - did it off-leash this time. He did very well at the beginning - very good focus. After awhile, though, he started drifting out in front of me too far, so I put the leash back on him, put it around my back and to rein him into the correct position. I think for short bursts of heeling, like during a rally course, he will be fine. But for the long amounts of heeling we do during training, he sort of got sloppy with it.

Figure 8 - was forging and bumping me a lot at first, then got a lot better. I was taking my inside post too tight, so I need to allow more room. Good quick sits at the halts, and good focus.

Recall - I didn't go too far away from his this time - maybe 15 feet or so - because he comes in straighter for the shorter distances. I want to shape and reward this, then slowly build up more distance. He came to me with more enthusiam this time and we pretty straight, though I still took a step or two back to help get him completely straight before rewarding. No finishes!

Long sit/down - We do the 3 minute sit and 5 minute down. First of all, I didn't set him up right for the sit - for some reason I changed my signal and put my hand out in front of his face when I said "stay" (like a lot of other people do), but this is his signal for stand, so when I did that, he went into a stand. And I never have him sit while in a stand, so I had to release him, then put him in a sit and did the normal stay command. So it was bit confusing to start. Then he broke the sit after not even 2 minutes. He went into a down - I said "ah ah" and started to walk back to him and he got up and started to come toward me. I corrected him with the choke when I reached him, and firmly put him back into position and gave the stay command a bit firmer. He was fine after that to finish out the remaining minute. No reward or praise after that though.
And for the long down, he was completely fine. No problem there whatsoever. Lots of praise and treats after that. I hope he realizes that not breaking the sit/down means lots of praise/treats, and breaking it means a correciton and no reward afterwards.

After we were finished with that exercise, its sort of "free time". So Michelle set up the broad jump for me so I could practice taking Red over it in case they used it instead of a regular jump for my Advanced trial. He'd jump it, but he'd sort of do it sideways in an attempt to get back to me, so he'd jump at an angle and run into my left side. After trying a few different things, we finally got him jumping in sort of straight and calling him back to heel in an effort to get him in the correct position so he doesn't plow into me. Then we set up the regular jump and he did that fine. He got lazy a couple times and kicked it - in which case I didn't reward him - so I'd take him over it again and when he cleared it fine, he received a reward. I hope he doesn't get lazy during the trial...

We finished up after that because I had to get home and get ready to go to Grand Rapids to visit my mom for the day.

We have an obedience fun match on Wednesday, 2 days before the trial and at the same venue as the trial, so we will be able to practice more jumps and everything.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New camera, New photos and video

I got a new camera for my birthday :) It's still a point & shoot (not a DSLR), but its an upgraded version of the other one I had. It's a Sony Cybershot DSC-H50. I got an 8GB memory card, a mini tripod, and a nice case with it.

I could tell the photo quality on my old one was deteriorating - I always had to do some sort of photoshopping with the brightness/contrast on them to get them to look halfway decent. And most of the action photos were blurry - I'd get more blurry ones than crisp ones. I guess that's what happens after 10,000+ photos... But the photos with the new camera are perfect - almost no editing necessary except for cropping!

Also, I couldn't zoom in and out during video recording on my old one, and I can on my new one - which is a HUGE bonus. I use the video mode a lot.

Anyway, Red and I took a walk today and I got to try it out for the first time! I freaking LOVE this thing! All the action shots were crystal clear, and I adore the zoom on it - especially during video mode.

Here are the pics - click to enlarge









a couple non-action shots



and I really like this one... its Red's footprint and my footprint :)


And the video - behold the power of ZOOM while recording! And I thought it was funny... the pond is still half-frozen, but Red wastes no time in wading into it and laying down, LOL

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wall of Fame

Here is an updated photo of our "Wall of Fame" =)

click to enlarge

Hoping to continue to add to it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wet Walk!

It has rained steadily for the past 2 days non-stop. Red was an annoying ball of energy yesterday, and I couldn't imagine going one more day without letting him run a bit, so we went out for a walk today - in the rain.

I don't mind the rain. In fact, I love it. I'm a Pisces girl so water is my thing, and Red is an Aquarius, and he LOVES water too! =) We walked a couple blocks to our usual off-leash spot. From the moment the leash came off, Red ran the ENTIRE time. It seems like he tries to run between the rain drops, lol - and he likes to open his mouth wide and "bite" the rain. He was soaking wet, but having a ball. The edges of the pond were thawed, but the the majority of it was still frozen. Red proceeded to lay down in the half-frozen water! So much for thinking he was going to be cold in the rain!

We made our usual circuit around the pond and back up the trail, and then back home. I had to towel him off completely before letting him in the house, and now he smells like wet dog. But he really needed that run - he was driving me crazy!

Training Update
After we returned from the walk, we did a short training session in the living room. We are still working on the 180 left pivot for Advanced Rally. He's good with 90 degree, but doesn't swing completely around for the 180. And also still practicing nice, straight fronts. So did that and only treated for proper position.

Then I took out the dumbbell and had him hold it while I danced around in front of him - all the while he's watching me like I've lost my mind - but he didn't drop it, and only released it when I took it from his mouth. (Thanks Maylissa for the idea to do distractions while he holds it!!). And then I tossed the db, gave him the ok to get it, and he brought it right back and sat in front position, and held it until I took it!! YAYAYAY!! Jackpot for that and then we stopped training and had a fun play session. I was so happy! I guess there's hope after all! =)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Full res photo from the trial

I received the full res trial photo via email, plus an 8x10 of the win photo with the judge in the mail today. I'm going to frame the win photo and put it on Red's "Wall of Fame" =)

Here's the "action" photo I ended up choosing. I like how we are looking at each other, and lined up perfectly with the sign =)

click to enlarge

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Home Depot... not too friendly...

I've heard a lot of people say that Home Depot allows dogs, and I wanted to try a different working environment today. I had the prong on him since he was excited and bouncy when we got out of the car. I walked confidently inside with him at my side. The first lady manning the door just smiled and said hello. Once we were inside, however, another lady stopped me and told me I couldn't have the dog in there.

"oh really?" I replied sweetly. "I've heard Home Depots allow dogs."

She eyed Red suspiciously. "Well, not BIG dogs like that."

I bristled. What was she implying? "He's a therapy dog. I have his identification if you'd like to see it."

A pause.

"Well, I suppose its ok. Just try to stay out of people's way," she snapped.

I smiled politely. "Thank you! I was planning on just going to a back corner to do some training."

"What do you mean "training"?" She said sharply.

What kind of training did she think I meant? Mauling children? "Oh, we do competitive obedience, and I like to work on heeling and different things," I explained, still smiling. Red just stood there politely, looking around.

"Oh I see!" Then she smiled. "If you head straight back and to the left, you can use that area."

"Thanks a lot!" And we scooted off quickly before she could change her mind.

I headed toward the back of the warehouse in the direction she had indicated. Then I started working with Red - doing fronts and heeling, turns, and pivots. Working on attention during heeling. I had originally wanted to work on short recalls and sit/down/stays, but I decided not to push my luck - I didn't want them to see him off-leash, even though he would be fine.

A few minutes into the training, the same lady came back in my direction... I'm sure it was to check on us and make sure Red hadn't killed any of her customers yet. I just continued to work him, and he performed well. She approached and wanted to chit chat and pet him. Red stood there while she talked, and another employee came up to pet him too. Red stood there uninterested in these people - either looking off in the other direction, or staring up at me. After they walked away, we continued to work for a few more minutes, then we quickly made our way back up to the front of the store and left. We weren't there very long. I didn't want to overstay our welcome...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Red has his own "dogbook" profile now! And Cloud and Titus each have "catbook" profiles too =)

If anyone wants to be friends with them, here are links to their profiles:




Sunday, March 1, 2009

Busy weekend / Dumbbell update

Not much time to for walks or training this weekend. And Red has been couped up again due to frigid temperatures. God I can't wait til spring is here!!!

A little update on the dumbbell...

I'm turning it into a fun game. Whenever I say, "You want the dumbbell??" He gets all excited. Then I whip it out and he jumps around all happy. We play hide and seek with it - I hide it and he has to sniff it out - like I do with treats or his other toys.

I'll also have him hold it for a few seconds, until I take it out of his mouth. Then I'll have him go retrieve it and ask him excitedly to "bring it here" and then take it out of his mouth before he tries to drop it. One time, I actually got him to bring it to me and sit without dropping it and I quickly took it out of his mouth and gave a big jackpot for that!

One time, he was in the process of bringing it to me and he dropped it and then sat there expecting his treat. But I said, "oh what happened??" and he kinda looked confused, still waiting for his treat, and I repeated, "what happened to the dumbbell??", and he turned around, picked it up, brought it to me and I took it from his mouth - THEN he got a handful of treats! Now if he happens to drop it before I can take it out of his mouth, I look at it and say, "oh what happened??" and he immediately goes and picks it up again and brings it to me, so I take it from his mouth. I think he is starting to understand that he won't get rewarded if he drops it, but he will if I can take it from his mouth. At least I HOPE he's starting to catch on...

So I think the positive/fun training with it is inching along... =)