Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Training

There were a lot of people there today! I like when everyone is there because it's great distraction for the dogs.

Heeling: So-so. Attention wasn't great, but he stayed with me. I think he knows the difference between this heeling and heeling a pattern for obedience. He is completely different when its just him and I heeling a pattern. So I guess thats ok as long as he performs when it really matters!

Figure 8: Lagged a little on the first turn, but was GREAT after that!! Totally not bumping me on the inside turns anymore! So happy =)

Stand For Exam: Perfect. We did it twice and the second time he sort of released himself a split second before Marc said "exercise finished", so he didn't get rewarded after that. But he never moved for the exam.

Recall: Not too bad. Was a bit crooked on the front but not absolutely horrible. I didn't finish him. The second time he was even more out of position so I lured him into a correct front then released, though no reward after that. He's not twitching anymore when the judge says "call your dog", and he runs at me completely straight, but he sort of goes crooked a the last minute. Not sure what's up with that. He does great fronts when we practice in short distances.

Sits/Downs: Excellent! We did it in another room to change it up this time, and he was great. I was worried because he went down on the sit last time, but he was fine this time. My only concern is when the sit was over, he automatically went into a down in anticipation for the next part. Not sure if that's a penalty or not if the dog goes into a down before the judge instructs us to down our dogs...

Dumbbell: The first time I threw it and released him, he was so excited and went and picked it up by one of the ends. He brought it back and I said, "What's that? That's not how you hold a dumbbell!" So he dropped it and picked it back up properly. After that, he always picked it up correctly. He is getting really good about coming right back and sitting, and holding it til I take it. Now I have to start working on getting him to sit and leave it while I throw it without actually TELLING him to wait or leave it...

All in all, a good class. It's our last one before our first CD trial, which is a week from today!! AHHHH!!! I'm nervous and excited. I just want to qualify - that's all I care about. I've decided I'm not going to get there super early this time. Red does better with only a little down time prior to going into the ring - even though I like to have A LOT of time to prepare myself! But I have to do what works best for him, not me. I would only like to get there an hour or so before we start. Michelle is going to help me figure out when to get there...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Up North

Redders had another fun weekend up at the cabin! It was a pretty chilly weekend though... only got into the mid-60's and was overcast and off-and-on rainy the whole time. So we only took one cruise around the lake and no one tubed this time - even though the water was warmer than the air temp!

Red was super-excited to go - as soon as he saw his lifejacket, he knew where we were going and hopped up into the truck eagerly. But when it was time to go home, he WOULD NOT get into the truck! He laid down on the ground like a kid would do.. "But mooomm, I don't WANT to go home yet!!"

He did better on the boat this time - wasn't acting as psycho as last time. So that's good. Maybe because we were all just chillin and no one was jumping in or tubing or anything. He HATES anyone being in the water without him.

It was just me, James, Red, Dad, Deb and Bella this time. It was a nice, relaxing visit. Since it was cooler, we just hung out, watched TV and sat around the fire eating s'mores and BSing - my kind of vacation! =D

Anyway, here are some pics. (click thumbnails to enlarge)

In the morning... "Can I help make breakfast?"


Helping his grandpa make breakfast by doing what he does best... standing in the way.


Later in the day... "Mom, dad won't let me help with the grill" :(


"Can we go down to the water now, plz??"


Chasing waves


Here's a video of Red chasing waves. Halfway through, my dad comes down and I don't think the dogs recognized him at first, lol

"ok can we PLEASE go on the boat now??"


Hanging out


Checking things out with James


Red and Belle... "You have treats, yes?"


Before Belle fell in... which is why I make Red wear a lifejacket!


"How come you're not getting in the water, mom?"


"Can't this thing go any faster? Let me drive!"


"ok I'm tired, let's go back now"


"Turn the light out... I'm a tired puppers."



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Morning Training

Finally got to go to a Saturday morning class again! There were only 4 of us there this time though, and 2 of them got there late (ehem, Michelle and Bev!) so we started warm up heeling without them.

I wasn't initially planning on doing warm up heeling because we always go for too long and Red loses his focus, but Marc agreed we'd keep it short, so we went ahead and did it.

On-leash heeling: We did it on-leash since Red always heels better off-leash, so I figured he could use the practice. He did really well! Stayed with me, though a little forged, but had good focus. After the warm-up, Marc ran us through a heeling pattern, and he did really well for that too. I'm definitely more confident about Red's heeling now =)

Figure 8: Good! We had people as posts, which I wondered if that made a difference since he had cones at the fun match yesterday and did well, but he did good for this too. Much better, and only a small amount of bumping on the inside turns, but definitely not what they were before.

Stand for Exam: Tarted out for some reason and moved toward Marc when Marc approached for the exam. I clapped and "ah ah"'ed him, returned, repositioned and gave a more stern "stay" command, and then he was fine. Lots of treats to reward the good behavior. We did it again with John doing the exam and he was fine for it. I know he likes Marc, so maybe that's why he moved toward him (for petting?) initially.

Recall: Good!! Still a little crooked on the front from my view, but everyone else said it looked ok to them. I right finished him this time which was very good. Lots of treats! We usually do two recalls - down and back - but I didn't want to push my luck and only did the one ;)

Sits/Downs: Retard went down on the sit AS SOON AS I left!! WTF??!! I marched back to him, choked him up into a sit (and he cowered back into a down), so I repositioned him, and gave a very firm "stay", and he was fine after that - 2 minute sit. This is what I get for thinking his sits/downs were fine and skipped it at the fun match yesterday!! I didn't reward with treats when I returned, but did give good verbal praise and pets. The down was fine. I did tell him to "leave it" once for a little sniffing, but that was it. 5 minute down. I gave a jackpot after this.

Dumbbell: LOVES it, as usual. Is very exuberant with his retrieves and I keep reinforcing with jackpots, especially when he comes right to front, sits and holds it for me. Good boy =)

For our free time, I pulled out a tall jump and had him go over it a few times, which he did without a problem. Then I noticed a bite sleeve on the wall and pulled it down to play with. He immediately started biting on it and playing tug. I let him carry it around and chew on it a bit.

I talked to Michelle about the WAE and about how I think Red just didn't know what to do, so I figured I'd play with the bite sleeve a little. She didn't seem thrilled and thinks I shouldn't encourage that behavior since we are involved in therapy work. I agree to an extent, but dogs who pass a WAE aren't necessarily unable to do therapy work. A Doberman should be able to tell the difference between a threat and a non-threat. I do see her point though. I guess I'm just not used to failing anything with him and want to be able to pass next year! Don't get me wrong, I'm not all worried about passing it or anything, but I think it would be nice to have the certificate since he did so well on the other parts of the test. Lori, Red's breeder, thinks the WAE isn't a true temperament test anyway about how the dog will act in a real threatening situation, and some dogs can tell that the aggressive stranger is not a real threat. Anyway, no biggie... just thinking out loud. I do love the therapy work, but I think he is still capable of passing the WAE and doing both.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun Match

It was supposed to start at 9:30am, and I like get there about 30 minutes early so I got there at about 9:05am. Got his crate set up, signed in at the #2 spot and paid the $6, then brought him in. We did a few seconds of heeling then started playing tug with his frisbee. Then the lady came up to me and said they were ready for us! Okay... he hadn't even been in his crate yet. I had planned on having someone video me, but obviously going to happen today =(

I think I've discovered that Red is better with little or no down time before the run (complete opposite of me!!). The longer he sits around, the more energy saps out of him and the more lackluster his performance. But when he can have like 10-15 minutes in his crate after arriving, and then pull him back out - he's great! I don't know how I would work that for a show though... that's cutting it way too close for my comfort. Anyway, I didn't wear my treat pouch in this time. Instead, I packed hot dogs bits into my both sweatshirt pockets.

Heel On Leash: Good. Ok attention - he got a little distracted on an about turn near the gate separating the next ring and gave him a slight collar pop, but other than that, I thought he was decent. I tried to keep my head up and didn't talk. I think he pays better attention to me if I'm not looking at him. Our fast and slow paces were better this time and were noticeably faster/slower than normal pace. The judge said he bumped me a little a couple times, but nothing major.

Figure 8: Better! Not as much bumping as usual, though they used cones instead of people posts. Not sure if that makes a difference to him or not. He had better sits this time and paid better attention.

Stand for Exam: We did it twice. The first time, he stood sort of cock-eyed in front of me, which put him out of position, but he did great for the (very thoroughly touchy) exam and didn't move his feet when I returned. The second time, he stood straight, but moved his feet when I came back around him.

Heel Off Leash: Great! He always seems to do better off-leash than on. His attention was great, and he stayed with me and wasn't distracted at all. Even though I was trying to stay silent like we were in a real trial, I couldn't help letting quiet excited praise words slip out. LOTS of treats after that one!

Recall: Did this twice as well. He tarted out the first time, and sort of danced around in front of me before finally choosing a thoroughly crooked position far away from me. I guided him into a front, and didn't finish. The second time, I used my hands and said front as a reminder as he was coming in. It was better but still not very straight. Didn't finish that time either.

All in all, except the recall, I was happy with the run! The judge liked him and said he would definitely qualify. We didn't do sits/downs - I'm not worried about them and we will be in class tomorrow morning and he can do them there.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

WAE - Working Aptitude Evaluation

Red took the WAE today! For those that don't know what the WAE is, it's a temperament test given by the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America), for Dobermans only. The evaluation determines whether the dog has the temperament that Doberman's were meant to have - that of a loyal companion and resolute protector. It tests the dog on neutral, friendly, and aggressive strangers, as well as reactions to audible and visual stimuli (i.e. gunshots), willingness to inspect strange noises/objects, and willingness to cross unevening footing. You ar not supposed to train your dog for this test - you are supposed to just take your dog and see how he/she naturally reacts in these situations.

I have been sooo looking forward to today! I really wanted to see how Red reacted to everything. The only stations I was worried about were the gunshots (he has been shy of fireworks), and the aggressive stranger (which is the part that most dogs fail).

It was the shittiest day ever. We haven't had rain in over a month, and the day that I have something important gong on outdoors, it POURS rain ALL DAY LONG. I'm not even exaggerating when I say POURING rain - not a drizzle or light rain at all. It was cold and miserable. Sometimes I really hate this state...

Anyway, the walkthrough was supposed to start at 8:30am. My mom and I wanted to get there at 8:00am to give us enough time to settle in and then do the walkthrough. The evaluator/judge was flying in from North Carolina this morning to do this test - and he flight was delayed due to weather. He didn't get there until about 10:30am. And there's no postponing - its rain or shine since the judge comes from out of state.

My mom and I sat in the back of her Saturn Outlook with the hatch open, playing tic-tac-toe on my iPhone to kill time. Poor Red was in the back seat of my car the whole time. Everything was SOAKED. There was no where to set up a crate or anything. There was a pavillion, but that's where all the helpers, food, and raffle prizes where, so everyone kept their dogs in their cars.

I did get to meet someone from the Doberman forum, though, so that was cool. He lives about 20 minutes away from the park, so he comes every year to watch. He said in all the years he's been going, its NEVER rained like this. Figures...

We didn't do a real walkthrough. The evaluator talked through station-by-station with us under the pavillion and out of the torrential rain. Then it was time to start. I just wanted to get this over with so I could get the hell home and into some dry clothes, so we were 4th in line. I had my own flat leather collar and 6 ft leather leash, but they put a different leather collar on him anyway, since mine had tags. Not sure why it mattered, but no biggie. Thank god I wore jeans and brought a hooded sweatshirt with me. Though by this time I was already freezing. I didn't have a raincoat and all the slickers were taken by the poor helpers that had to stand out in the rain for the test.

The evaluator was a really nice guy and made sure I understood each station before we started. First was the neutral stranger - I walk up to the stranger and they ignore the dog and we talk without shaking hands. The dog must have all 6 feet of the leash. Red completely ignored this person.

Onto the friendly stranger. He pretty much ignored her too - obviously wondering what the hell we were doing on a casual stroll out in the rain...

Next was the audible stimuli - rattling can behind the van. As we walked along side the van, the can started to rattle and the dog was supposed to go around and investigate the noise and can within 12 inches. No problem - as soon as it started, I said, "What's that?" and Red went right up and around and touched the can.

Then along to the gunshots. We were to walk in front of the person with the starter pistol and once we were about 10 feet past, they fire 3 shots. The dog can react, but shouldn't show avoidance and needs to recover within 10 seconds. I was a bit worried about this station, but he was completely fine. He startled a bit, but recovered very quickly.

Next was the visual stimuli - someone opening an umbrella in the dog's face. We walked up to the umbrella, it popped open and he actually went around behind it to see the person sitting there. But once I encouraged him to investigate the middle of the umbrella like the exercise calls for, he did it and we moved on.

Uneven footing was next. You can bunch up the leash at first, but then have to give the dog slack in case they try to avoid walking on it. We had a slip and slide (great for rainy weather!!) and a folded down x-pen. At first he didn't walk over the slip and slide, but probably because I didn't approach it well. The judge had us do it again and he was fine. He didn't go completely the whole way over the x-pen, but did enough of it for a pass on that station.

Lastly... the part that most dogs fail... the aggressive stranger. There are 3 parts - first the guy shuffles out from behind the truck, then slowly approaches, then charges. At first Red wasn't sure about this dude, and I kept encouraging "Who's there? Watch 'em!" and then he stood out in front of me tall like he should, but once the stranger charged, Red's fight or flight kicked in and he was like HELL NO, and took off the other way, clotheslining himself when he reached the end of the leash. FAIL.

oh well... this was the part I was really curious about and wondered if he would pass. He's never been in this type of situation before and doesn't know how to act. The evaluator says that most dogs fail this because they are taught not to act defensively. Out of the 11 dogs tested, only 4 passed. I would like to try it again next year - hopefully we'll have better weather. It can't be any worse!!!

Anyway, here's the video:

Afterwards, I could swear he was sad or maybe just tired. He just sort of stood there, then finally laid down on the concrete under the pavillion. I don't think he was nervous after the aggressive stranger part, but maybe just still a bit stressed and tired from the crappy day. He's zonked out on the floor right now after chowing down a 12" bully stick...