Monday, January 30, 2012

Similarities in the breed, or in the dog?

Bella, to me, was always a little different. She was a lot like what I was told a GSD should be, but also very different. That was, and still is, okay with me. Difference makes the world go 'round. But now, as I live with Simi, I'm seeing a lot of similarities between the two.

Although Simi is a much better bred GSD than Bella, she still has some of those little quirks that have got me flashing back to moments of Bella doing the same, or very similar, thing.

It's just got me thinking... was Bella more like a GSD than I thought, or is Simi more like Bella than I could have ever dreamed...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

She's on fire!

Psyche and I hadn't been out to the agility barn for winter training since at least before Christmas, I'm thinking. We've gone once all season. But we went out on Sunday and had a lot of fun.

It wasn't a busy day -- there were only 2 people there, 3 working dogs total between us, plus Simi, who didn't do much. We decided we were going to work on some weave drills, and since Psyche hasn't done any in a while, that was a-okay with me. She was ON FIRE! She was totally 'on' and she was just ripping. And doing pretty well with her weaves, too. There were a couple times at first she was struggling with them, but it was 12 poles and we haven't done agility in ages. However, before long she was hitting her weaves and nailing them nicely. Good girlie.

She did have a few stressy moments, but there were far more success moments. I got some video, that Bev, the other lady there, filmed for me on her camera, since mine was dead, that I'm working on getting onto the computer and into a video, so stay tuned for that.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This requires a blog entry.

So yesterday was the 'January Thaw' a horse-related trade fair where every horse lover in the local area comes out and celebrates their ponies fuzzy coats.. okay, not really. They actually come to spend money and socialize.

Anyway! Thinking I'd go help mom with her booth for a little while, then go to Simi's breeders for some training, I brought Simi along... and also because come on, lots of people, new place, new smells... need I say more? GREAT training opportunity! So I bring Simi along with me, and since her crate is buried under tubs and tubs of mom's stuff, she has to help me help unpack. So I take things I can easily carry and still manage a puppy and start in. Simi walks into the building like it's nothing. No fear. Loose leash, offering eye contact, calm cool and collected.

From there I set her crate up and we started socializing. She met LOTS of new people. Like, I mean a lot. I'd be trying to take her out to pee and people would be like "*squee* PUPPY!" and stop me, and we'd have to wait. That said, a lot of people did just look from a far until I'd say "You can pet her if you want -- she's here to meet new people!" She also met a lot of new dogs. I believe there were 2 Great Danes, Pit Bull, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Golden, Bernese Mountain Dog, and a couple of Boston Terriers. She didn't like the Bulldogs much, or the Pit Bull much, but I think that had a lot to do with the situations that they met in. The Pittie pulled it's owner over to us, then backed her into a wall of stuff and was standing over her in a friendly, but obnoxious, manner. As for the Bulldogs, well, I don't really know about those. I think she didn't like the Frenchie because it was wearing clothes, but either way, I took my clicker and treats out and worked on it and she was fine then... so really, for it being her first time meeting new dogs, I think she did okay.

Then today she turned 4 months, and went to the barn with Psyche and I for some agility. She didn't do much other than play with Psyche and their friend Cyclone. We did do a few restrained recalls, though, and some racing to the tug toy, one tunnel and a few sit-stays with a release to me, over a bar less jump, just to get her used to the jump standards.

Can't believe how grown up she's starting to act! Well, not really... she's just getting good at pretending to be a good dog out in public!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Transitioning Rewards

The last few weeks I've not been using any treats at all with Simi's training. We've been working on her down with the tug as a reward, offering behaviors in general, and Friday we went to the vet and she was offered her tug instead of treats throughout. She's been doing really well and she's really doing well with tugging in general. I found her to be a little leery in her tugging before. She wanted the tug, but she wasn't going to fight you to get it, but as we've worked with no treats her enthusiasm is getting better and better! She's "fighting" a lot more to keep the tug and that's what I like to see.

Anyway! Today I was working on holding her back while I threw the tug out ahead. We've done it a few times before, but she usually just saunters over, grabs it and plays with it by herself. Today the first time she RAN to the tug, got it and came about half way back to me with it, so not wanting to let this be a session where she learns she can run to get it and dink off bringing it back, I went and grabbed four treats. I was only going to try with the treats because I fully expected her to just lose interest in my tug when I had treats. She got a treat for giving me the tug the first time, and after that we did three reps. Driving towards the tug and bringing me the toy back. She wasn't crazy fast about bringing it back, but by the third rep she was catching on.

But the cherry on top is that she was fine with bringing the toy back, getting a treat, tugging some, then setting up to do it all again. There was no loss of interest in the tug, and honestly, at one point she wanted to keep the tug, not take the treat. Can't say I'm going to complain about that one!

Just a very small victory, but worth enough to me to share!

And that said, Simi did very well at the vets office. She got her last round of shots and is a "big dog" now. Time to start getting out and about even more and meeting new dogs! At the vets office she was very keen to play with a lab that was there (but did NOT want to play with her) and really, she was being flat out obnoxious trying to play, so I've got to start getting a handle on that. She happily met all of the staff, though, and gave kisses to all. And at one point during our actual visit with the vet she pranced over to where I'd sat her tug, grabbed it and started playing with it, so while I talked to the vet we tugged. I was VERY pleased with that. New person, new place, new smells, new situation, and she still wants to tug with me? Score!

Anywho, that's about all for now. I'll try to get some fresh video of her soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Training Goals : 2012

I guess it's about time I do this, huh?

I've been thinking about where I'd like each dog to be by the end of 2012. It's been hard because I don't know where I will physically be. I may not still be in New Brunswick, so I don't know what clubs I'll be training with, etc. I've also been on a waiting list about my ankle that I'll find out more about this year, so I don't know if I'll be able to run, if I'll be being operated on, all of that. It's hard to say, so I was hesitant to make a "list" of things I want to do by the end of 2012, because I don't want to look back at the end and be disappointed for not having reached each goal.

So this is a draft of my goals that will never have a "good copy", really.

With Zoey I'd mostly just like her to be happy and healthy. She's more or less retired, but I've been throwing around the idea of getting her obedience better and maybe looking into some therapy work with her. She loves people so much this is likely what she'd be happiest doing.

For Psyche my one biggest goal is to be able to be stress free at a trial by the end of the year. This might mean lots of trials or not very many at all. We're starting some private lessons that should help, and so hopefully by May/June we'll know just how likely that wish to trial will be.

I'd also like to teach her a boat load more tricks and just have fun with her. She's a fun dog, and I don't want to waste any time I've got with her not taking advantage of that fun.

With Crash I'd like to have him sequencing and doing most if not all obstacles by late-June. I've got two friends coming from Maryland to visit and they both do agility, so I'd like for them to be able to work him when they come, since I don't know how well Psyche will work for them. I'm also thinking maybe a trial by the end of the year. It's hard to say. It all depends a lot on what I have for equipment here, where I'll be, what I'll be doing for work, etc., and how much training I can actually do with him.

I'd also like to start him on sheep and see where we can go from there.

And of course, a continuation of the work on his anxiety.

With Simi I've got "big" hopes and dreams but they're not really big tasks. I'd like her to be well on her way to her BH by the end of the year, start in agility classes and working as appropriate for a only slightly over a year old puppy. And maybe somewhere in that year get her CGN title. And to start in sheep herding. So agility, schutzhund and herding. Sounds like a lot, right?

Over all, I just want to love my dogs and see them happy and healthy for many more years.