Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Class notes

Problem areas:

1. Playground monitor-Zig occasionally still defaults to herding behavior and tries to bust up other dogs' playtimes.

2. Leave it-haven't worked it at all

3. Still doesn't like hands over the head. At all.

Good stuff

1. Sat and greeted two strange men outside of class very politely.

2. Worked for a strange MAN quite well (this was actually a little annoying, as the guy was shoving sausage in Zig's face to keep him with him, but I suppose the practice was good for Zig, so I'll try not to be too annoyed.)

3. Nice off leash heeling.

Stays still so-so.

Puppy in the nice chair

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Puppy intermediate class

Holy moley, wish I had video of my puppy heeling all around the room at class today off leash,around the other puppies, balls being thrown, treats being dropped...such a good boy.

He met a four year old Aussie owned by our instructor today and it was like instant breed recognition. He leapt for him like "hey, we're related!" Got a little reprimand from Sawyer for that, but took it well. And, he made friends with the Blue Lacy that he was snarky with from week one...boy that pup changed in personality! Not at all leaping at other pups' heads like night one. I've never met a Blue Lacy before, they are cute.

I'm so pleased that he is so much less concerned about being in a room full of other pups now. He is more relaxed, happy to interact but prefers to work if it's working time....such a good little man.

Got to get some updated pics. Here's a cameraphone one with big brother.

Ziggy Intermed and Griff

So after complaining about a. lack of toy drive and b. driving time to class, I decided to skip agility on Monday and work Griff at home, so we did some jump work and stay practice (while I cleaned my car in the front of the house). Griff wanted to inform me that my last complaints about his lack of tug drive are bullshit, so he happily did long downstays and heeling for retrieves and then tug games. So there, he sez.

I did not brag on the pupper either. Last week in PI, we had loose leash walking practice, which Zig did, off leash, in heel, around the other pups and people. Only occasional distractions when someone couldn't remember we don't walk our dogs right up on top of another dog. He also played during free play and only tried to herd twice! Beautiful recalls out of play as well. He's S-M-A-R-T. He loves his fur tuggie (only gets it during training) and was happy to work quite hard for it. So yay for Zig too. We'll see how tonight's class goes. He spent ten good minutes retrieving his babble ball last night, so he'd like me to mention that my concern about his retrieve is perhaps not warranted (well, he sez bullshit too, but I told him he was too young for such language).

Agility foundations was cancelled for this week, so I really should spend some time trying to free shape two back paws on the phone book some more, but this exercise frustrates me so I put it off.

Zig is getting longer than he is tall, I hope it's just a freakish growth spurt and not a sign that he'll be longer backed.

This rain is making me nervous that our engagement photos on Saturday will be of two wet people and four wet dogs. Awesome.

And in totally non-dog-news, I am glad Glee didn't jump the shark with its original songs episode. I was worried. But Blane and Kurt storyline was so sweet, and I thought Lea Michele was much more Rachel from early season one, slightly off-putting but endearing. The original songs, well, the good ones were the outtakes (Trouty Mouth? Big Ass Heart? Hell to the No! greatness!) I must say, Sue needs to get back to the Cheerios where she belongs. And we need more Artie, and Mercedes needs some romance in her storyline! Do I sound like a fan dork? Sorry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

shaping frustration

Playing more shaping games with Zig, and finding he is not what I'd call a fiend at throwing behaviors. Since we've played so much on two on two off phone book work, his first attempt is to put paws on the object, then walk over it. If that doesn't work, he'll sit or lay down by it, as if to say, see how good I'm being! I was trying to shape him to pick up an object (in this case a light nylon bag). We got two feet on, walking on, four feet on, nosing the bag, then scooting the bag with a foot. The funny thing is, he will pick up anything off the floor, especially things he shouldn't all the time. He would not, however, even attempt to mouth the bag flat on the floor. When I held it up, he did put his mouth on the strap, which I clicked and rewarded, but as soon as it was down on the floor, here went the two feet on again. He just doesn't seem motivated enough to throw many behaviors out there, or have I rewarded him too much for stationary calm behavior?

It's frustrating, I really want a better retrieve and more retrieve drive, and I figured shaping the pick up and give would be a good place to start, but apparently he's not going to greet frustration by trying different things, but by laying down and offering good dog behavior. Seems a silly thing to complain about, but sometimes I worry he is growing up to be too mellow?!?

Sounds nuts, but Guinness stopped wanting to play with anything by the age of 2 and never found it particularly reinforcing. Zoe likes to play by herself and will tug but I never could use it much as a reinforcement because her shyness issues made her shut down in classes. Griff will retrieve well and I can use a ball as a reinforcer in class, a tug is less reliable. Zig seems to prefer to tug, but outside doesn't think toys are of much interest. *Sigh* I really wanted a toy nut.

In other news, driving is getting really old and it's going to cost me Griff's agility class I think. Since it's an hour to work each way, it is becoming harder to get motivated to drive an hour on my day off to Griff's class. If I could time it with work it might be easier, but then he'd have to spend 10 hrs in the car or time in the clinic, and I'd rather he not have to be exposed to that environment. *sigh* I guess I'll have to start putting out feelers for a closer class.

Even with complete lack of training Dad, John and I ran the Shamrock Run Sunday. Worst feeling race I've ever run although I don't think our time was much different than last time. Next year I really want to do the 15 K since they get medals. My knees were being assholes but that seems to be what I'll have to deal with if I want to run at all.

Crappy cell phone pic pre-race.

Monday, March 7, 2011

slacking, slacking, slacking

Short update...

Zig is in two classes right now, Agility Foundations and Puppy Intermediate. Agility foundations uses the Greg Derrett system supposedly which I'm not sure how similar it is to the way I've trained Griff, but there are definite differences. For one, no targets on the ground are used. We are focusing mainly on handling exercises such as focus, heeling with attention, jump drive, teaching two on two off (which is done with a clicker and shaping, and is slow going). We have run tiny"courses"-two jumps with no bars, table, tunnel, so a very small amount of sequencing. I wish I had my own equipment so I could start him on contact equipment but I guess slow is better than nothing. He does pretty well, it can take him awhile to warm up to shaping exercises in class but he's got great jump drive, loves to run the mini courses, his heel is coming along (for one of my dogs ;) ) and he's working on impulse control when the other dogs are running.

In puppy intermediate, which is our second time through the class, my main concern is getting him more comfortable around dogs his own age. He seems to have the most problem with pushy puppies his same age. He does well with younger ones and is very respectful of older dogs, but somehow pups his own age he seems nervous about. In particular, the really boisterous in your face types that like to launch into play before proper intros set him off. We will see how it goes. I also want to keep him thinking that people are a good thing. He barked twice at strangers yesterday on our walk, but one was a whole group with a boisterous dog. The other was a man in his backyard with an aussie of his own. Zig woofed but seemed to want to say hello, and then when the guy was obviously not coming out of his backyard, Zig laid down and waited for me calmly to finish talking.

Griff and I have practiced some one-jump activities to refresh his jump drive. He didn't knock any bars at his last trial although he did pop a weave pole at 12 which he has not done before (if the entry is clean, usually the whole set is clean). God, what I wouldn't give to have my own set up (and a giant backyard!)

Guinn turned 13 last week. OMG. That dog is amazing. Here's hoping he continues to be my old man.

Zoe is Zoe. Basically a good little housedog, not up for more at this point.

My goals are to finish Griff's level 2 CPE title at the next trial (we need one stupid colors and one stupid jackpot), figure out if I can find a place closer to home to train (getting very tired of driving!) and keep challenging the Zig monster, especially more shaping games, offering behaviors, and increasing play drive.

21/2 months til the wedding, eek!