Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Boy Steeler

Steeler and I have been working on obedience stuff in addition to agility. Stays are my nemesis, though I am getting less and less nervous about them. Yesterday we went to a show n go at the training center. Steeler's first run was early before the start so that I could Steward for utility. Side note: some people are just plain nuts - though I am not training in utility yet so maybe I am full of it. Someone was very insistant that their articles that were scented not touch the other articles because there were 5 shows coming up and she wouldn't be able to show if the articles got mixed up.

OK - back on track! Steelers first run was nice! Great attention, stayed with me, his recall/front was dead on straight. We do need to work on working with a long line though. His first run can be found here. I need to teach Lisa how to edit - the video is a bit long. Steeler then spent some time in his crate in the building instead of out in the car. And he was actually pretty quiet! Good Boy! My friend Jane was crating her golden nearby so she fed Steeler several time for being quiet.

Later in the day, after lunch I brought Steeler back in for a second run. There significantly more noise and commotion, lots of people and dogs right on the ring gate. Steeler's heeling wasn't as nice - but he did pretty well. I was especially happy with the fact that I only had to call him back to me once (and he was only a couple feet away) - he wanted to go say hello to the border collie leaning up against the ring gate right in front of him. But his turn back to me was instant! And Judge Laurie said I did good! :-) Again his recall was very nice - even with the noise! And then there were those dreaded STAYS!!!! and OMG - Steeler STAYED! I know I shouldn't be surprised by now! But I knew I was rushing into the ring and I was too tight on the leash. Not that long ago being tight on the leash like that and walking past dogs would have had Steeler reacting to the other dogs around him. No reactions at all this time. For stays were were second dog from the end, between a sheltie and a lab. The sheltie he had seen a couple of times in class and a friend knew the woman with the lab - a very sweet yellow girl that Steeler was making eyes at. :-) I didn't actually let go of the leash for the sit stay - but Steeler stayed put even though he was making eyes with the lab. Then for the down Stay I did get all the way across the ring a few times, and spent the majority of the time about half way across. Steeler even held his stay when another dogs dumbell landed right behind him on the other side of the ring gate! What a good boy!

We even got to meet a new dalmatian puppy! She was very cute! And Amy was nice enough to walk her up and down the drive in front of Steeler so I could work on - oh look here comes a puppy! And Steeler was awesome!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One Tired Spotty dog

Well I have one tired spotty dog today and no pictures or video of what made him so tired. :-( Today we went up to my old stomping ground to pick up our raw food order from my friend Krissy. She usually picks up my order for me so I don't have to make that drive during the week and that gives us an excuse to take Steeler for a walk with one of her dogs. Usually her old girl as she seems to like Steeler and she doesn't like all dogs. Steeler had a great time! After that we stopped by the nursing home to see my Grandmother. Steeler stayed in the car for that visit as he moves too fast for my Gram. Actually he would be fine going for a visit - but since he makes my grandmother a bit nervous I decided he could take a nap in the car.

Then Steeler and I met my friend Ann who is dog sitting this weekend for Maetteo - an intact male Italian dog (I forget what she said he was - basically an Italian water dog). So - anyone that knows me would be reading this and saying - Wow ... Jenn took Steeler for a walk with another intact male dog - I wonder how much valium she needed? LOL - well the answer to that is NONE! Maetteo is a super sweet well mannered little boy! Steeler actually actually played with him! I wish I had gotten it on video. We went for our walk at a park near my house that I had driven by several times but never checked out with the dogs. It was a nice walk - not a long one - but there are places were the dogs can swim - and while we did run into a few dogs - it wasn't super crowded and mostly dogs were on leash. It seems like it would be a great place for training around strange dogs.

What I found very interesting about this walk with Maetteo is that Steeler never once reacted to him in a negative way. Usually we have a little bit of leash fustration to deal with and there was none of that today. We did run into a small white dog on our leash and I was able to actually move Steeler off the trail a couple of feet and have him focus on me and take treats! Usually we have a bit of trouble with this - I think because we usually run into big dogs that are straining to the end of their leash. So clearly I need to get some more practice in with smaller calmer dogs. We did have a bit of a reaction at the end of our walk while we were at the car to a yellow dog - maybe a golden mix. A couple of "let's go" and moving away from the dog got Steeler back focused on me and then I was able to move closer and c/t for looking at the dog and not reacting.

Ann thinks Maeteo's Mom would be up for some play dates - so maybe Steeler will have another walking buddy. I can't tell you how pleased I was with Steeler today! What a good boy! He's so dang cute when he is tired too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stress! and a GREAT Tuesday Agility Class

So - I haven't posted in a while because I have been kind of cranky and whishy washy feeling about training, and work has been insanely busy, and just generally I think the pressure of everything has been getting to me. I am thinking that I might take a break from obedience class for a while. The stress of getting to class on time is just one added thing that I am having trouble with. I know I might not be able to get back into that class again - the competition classes where I go are full and someone pretty much has to die for there to be an opening in the next level class - and I don't want that to happen.

On the plus side - Steeler had a GREAT agility class tonight. We have a new dog in class - a Springer Spaniel who seems very out going. Steeler barked at him as we were coming up the path to the agilty field - so when we did our first run I asked for them to wait on the other side of the fence while we ran. And actually - Steeler was just a little bit distracted - but didn't leave me to go check them out. Catie had set up a novice course since a couple of people are competing this weekend for the first time and Steeler did GREAT. We've started putting him in his crate if he drifts off to be sniffy to break the pattern of leaving me for something he deems more interesting. No harsh words or handling - just a "oh you need a break" and into the crate for 10 seconds. What a difference that has made in just a couple classes. I really need to work on following through at home too. We ran the course 3 times tonight, and the second and third time Elliot (the new dog) was in the ring for the 2nd and 3rd run. On the 2nd run Steeler looked at him once and moved in his direction but was quickly back on course with me when I called him. And when I say "moved in his direction" - well Steeler probably only took maybe 3 steps in that general direction. Probably only because I started to get a litte anxious in that area because Steeler was coming down off the Aframe and then later thru the shute with a direct line of sight to Elliot. But my little boy NAILED his contacts (all of them) and his weave poles. Oh and he was able to run with me when there were a couple of people in the next class watching us who he really really wanted to say hello to. :-) I did let him say hello after - but at that point he was more interested in what I might have for him.

In the last month or so we have done a few other things as well. Steeler and I went to another APDT Rally match and Catie had run thru's at her house at the end of September. I am glad I went - even though it was raining! It wasn't too crowded and the people were all really nice - I played judge for someone and people played ring crew and in general were really helpful. Steeler was a bit distracted and had trouble running with all of those people and dogs watching. So I went back to starting with a restrained recall across the ring and working in the far corner. On the plus side - he was willing to play tug with me down there and we worked a series of jumps to the dog walk - with the dog walk coming back towards all the activity - and he nailed his contacts! On his last run - I did the same thing but instead of spending most of my time down there in the far corner - I played tug for 15 seconds - then did the jumps to the dog walk. Dog walk to table - then ran the entire novice course from the table. :-)