Katet: a group bound together by fate to achieve a common goal

Archive for April, 2007

Back to the Basics

No training on Monday night for the dogs.  I, however, went to my first Cardio Salsa class.  It was fun.  At the end the instructor told me that I need to drink more water, eat eggs and take vitamins.  Not sure what she saw that made her say that.  I was just reading that Vitamin A is good for a person’s complexion and one of the 3 natural sources of it is eggs.  I have class again tonight and this will be my regular night.  My friend, Glenda, is in that class too.  It’ll be nice to know someone there.

Last night at SchH training we went back to the basics with Vada.  From the previous session I noticed that she forgot how to turn on.  So I put her on her harness and stopped outside the blind and turned her on.  She ran out to the end of the line and when it got tight she got concerned and started coming back to heel position.  I gave her the command again and when she went out I told her what a good girl she was.  That’s about all it took.  It was nice to go back to online bites to work on her grip and to just let her be free of any obedience.  I forgot how much work it is to post though.  LOL  She really enjoyed it.  She was pretty tired after her session too.  That’s always a good thing!

After we were done with club training I took Narc out to let him walk around and check out the field.  First he was like You’re not my papa.  Then the decided that was ok.  I walked him to the back part of the field away from the barking vehicles – not that he cared.  I tugged with him for a bit.  He was a freaky nut silly boy.  Like a kid in a candy store.  He didn’t know what to do with himself.  LOL  It was cute.  After I tugged off some of the egdge I had him sit.  Then I stepped next to him into heel position.  I said Fus and when he looked at me (instantly) I said yes and rewarded him with the tug.  I asked for a tiny bit more duration of attention each time.  He did great.  I did a few reps with him.  Then I held his pinch collar (didn’t even need it since he outted really well) and threw the tug and told him Bring.  He went and got it.  Just before he got to it I called his name.  He was doing nice fast pickups and bringing it back to me to tug with him.  He’s super mouthy on the tug.  Like letting go and regripping alot.  It’s scary!  I’m worried he’s going to misjudge and bite me.  If he keeps his mouth on the tug then I know where it is.  LOL  I talked to Angeli about it and she just said to tug shorter and reward his calm solid grip by releasing the tug.  That helped and just tugging a bit and taking the edge off helped.  He did really well.  He was in heaven too.  His toe nail didn’t seem to bother him at all either.  People asked if he was part greyhound.  Angeli asked if who Mr. Long Legs was or something like that.  LOL

When we were done training I took Copper out to do some obedience.  I’m going to enter him in the UKC Family Obedience trial that we’re putting on in June.  So I did a bit of heeling with him.  It’s so much better since I’ve been training him differently.  Then I did a sit in motion that was perfect.  The down in motion needed a few reps.  First he sat – it worked the first time – lol.  Then he was going down but he elbows were not.  So that needs a bit more work.  I might go to a food reward for that and just walk back and drop food between his front legs instead of releasing him to the toy.  His attitude in working obedience is SO much better then in the past.  Not sure if it’s the different style of training I do or because I am a better trainer and handler now.  Or because he’s old and not the dog in the limelight anymore.  He will be 10 on Saturday.  If I can find my bakery book I will make a birthday cake for him.  I’m sure he’ll share with everyone.

After I trained Copper I let them all out to run free across the field and stretch their legs and sniff in the bushes.  Everyone else had left so we had the field to ourselves.  It was a great night.  I was very proud of how well all 3 of them did!

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Training Update

It’s been awhile since I posted.  The week went by pretty quickly.  Lots of wedding issues came up.  Things seem to be worked out now.  Karl and I are working on our planning more now too.  We had some other issues come up too.  I’m not very happy with the vet who we let do our dogs heartworm tests.  We went through a fundraiser clinic that was raising money for a rescue group.  I e-mailed them ahead of time to see if we could get a prescription.  They said yes.  So we went ahead with it.  At the clinic I asked for the prescription and they said that they would just fax it over when we had the place we ordered from call them.  So Karl placed the order and when they called the vet clinic they refused to do the prescription.  So Karl called them and they denied that they would write a prescription and said it wasn’t their policy.  Karl ended up buying from them since they matched the price but then added on alot for shipping and also tax.  I hated giving them any money but the only other option was to have someone else do the heartworm tests again.  The AVMA code of ethics say that they should write a prescription if a client asks for it.  I may report them if I’m still ticked once we get our product.  That is black mail.  The wrote a prescription for the formula size that they did not have in stock.  Plus they basically accused the rescue group of not passing on information even though they lied to us AT the time of the heartworm tests.  But we should be done with this BS now for 2 years.  12 months of pills will get us through 2 years since we give it to them every 40 days.

Wednesday night was Vada’s last agility class in this session and out last level 4 agility class.  We have next week off and then we start again on Monday nights outside.  She did really well.  I did too until the last sequence.  I totally was brain dead and screwed up alot.

Thursday night both of my agility classes graduated.  I had 5 dogs in Level 1 and 4 in Level 2.  I hope they all go on and continue.  I’m not sure who will go up to Level 3 and who will repeat Level 2.  I hope most of the Level 1 dogs continue on to Level 2 also.  It will be nice to have this week off!

Saturday I went to SchH training only to find out that our helper wouldn’t be there today.  It was nice to get outside and work our obedience outside again.  Vada did really well.  She lost her sit in motion but we worked on it.  I think it’s just temporary as I teach her the stand.  She’s having a hard time with the stand but she’s slowly getting the idea.  It’ll be nice once she knows it and I can work the different positions.  Lesson learned for next dog to not wait.  She also retrieved her first SchH II dumbbell ever and had no problems.  She actually did better as it’s heavier and she held it tightly and calmly.

Sunday was flyball practice.  It’s been a few weeks.  I brought Narc.  He has not done flyball in over a year.  The last time he got points in a tournament was at the end of January last year.  We think that was it for him and he didn’t go to practice after that either.  He was coming back for a ball.  He started running around looking for other balls.  He started crossing over to the other side in the run back area so that he could chase balls on the other teams side.  He would run through people and dogs and since people were trying to block him he was crossing over sooner and sooner.  I started Narc by the box and added a jump at a time.  He remembered what to do but he wasn’t sure.  He went to the box very slowly.  He was coming back faster as he was getting the hang of it.  It was slow but it wasn’t crazy in drive so I was able to out him every time.  I only had to correct him with his pinch once.  Then he was fine after that.  He only dropped his ball kind of early once so I waited a little longer to show him the tug.  He’d drop his ball and run by and grab the tug.  Then his ball would roll by so he’d chase it.  I just called him and once he got the ball he would come back to me.  I would tug with him and then out him to get rid of the ball and then tug with him again.  He just doesn’t understand to come back to me to play tug.  He plays with himself with the other ball.  I thought he did VERY well.  Once I put him back in his crate I noticed he had a ripped toe nail that was bleeding.  And a small cut on his other foot on the side of it.  He had been fence fighting with the neighbor dog alot so he was probably tired too.  We worked on Vada’s box turn.  We’re now looking at her striding from the last jump to the box.  Jennifer Dawson watched a video of her doing the box and suggested that.  They all think we are on the right track.  We had the jump board with an upright (4″) out just over 3′ and that seemed to be a good place.  John thought she was coming off the box nice with a good push which would help her be tight.  So, time will tell.  We’ll keep working on it.  Unfortunately, we have practice next Sunday and then I’m busy for the next 3 weekends.  But if we are able to make progress with this then I’m ok with keeping her out of tournaments for longer til it’s fixed.  Pro ran in the pack and did well.  She enjoyed it.  Seven did more box work.  I forgot the 10″ board so he was jumping kind of low.  I don’t do the tug very well either.  So that went ok.  He’s done alot of box work.  Progress is going slow.  But we haven’t worked him at home at all.  He would love to be able to run in tournaments again.  Too much to do!

SchH Training

I finally went to training last night.  It was actually not too bad out.  It could have been a tiny bit warmer but it was alot warmer then it has been.  Vada was very excited to be outside again.  She hasn’t done bitework outside since October and she hasn’t done bitework period in about 2 weeks.  So we just give her an online bite to get her settled in.  Tom was in the blind and I turned her on and she didn’t know what to do!  She forgot!  LOL  So we’re going to work on that in future sessions.  It’s always good to go back to work on foundations too.  It gives the dog a break and work in improving the basics.  So we’ll go back and work on her grips.  We put a line on her and did bark and holds.  She was clean every time.  Also, Angeli and Mike walked in to her while she was barking.  She looked but then ignored them.  So that was looking really good.  Then we did some back transports.  They were perfect.  No room for improvement there.  Angeli even said that!  So then we worked on the side transport.  That could use a little more work.  She wasn’t comfortable lining up between me and Tom at first.  The second time she was a bit more comfortable.  So we just need to practice it a bit more and she’ll have it.  Vada was nuts again by the time I got home.  Apparently working just feeds her addiction and makes her want more.  LOL

Copper got to be a neutral dog and walk by Chewy a few times.  He got treats and he got to get out of the van so he was happy and liked that.

It was nice to be outside again in nice weather.  Saturday is suppose to be nice again and we can make it to training finally too.

House was good again tonight too.  It’s getting funny in spots again.

Busy Weekend

It was another busy weekend!  This time it started Friday night.  We had pre-marriage class.  I was very nervous.  But it went well and it was actually alot of fun.  They had decorated the tables with table cloths, center pieces, candles and hershey’s kisses with wedding messages in them – as if we were at a reception.  Alot of the information I already knew.  Much of it came from Gotman’s book.  I find it very interesting information and I’m glad they’re teaching it in pre-marriage classes.  Friday we mostly talked about conflict.  They talked about noticing your differences in things that you do and things that you learned differently and the different environments you were in growing up.  And they talked about ways to deal with conflict like using soft startups and stuff.  The 3 hours went by very quickly.  After we got back to my house Karl and I talked for a very long time.  Our talks are always very good and going to these kinds of things gives us even more to talk about.  Unfortunately, it was already late and we had an early morning.  Karl had brought the dogs over that morning so he could just meet me at class after work.  He stayed overnight too since there were only a few hours between the class ending and Saturday mornings class starting.

The pre-marriage class on Saturday went really well too.  We talked about finance for a long time.  They gave us a spending sheet to keep track of spending and you use that to create a budget.  They suggest married couples use it.  We’re going to start using it individually to get into the habit so we can do a joint one once we’re married.  We also learned about the 5 Love Languages.  Karl is confident on his main one.  I’m torn between 3.  I really do not know.  I have the book so I will have to pull it out and read it.  We also talked about sexual purity and watched a few videos.  Since we were out and about Karl and I stopped at a pizza place on our way to Lino Lakes to go to the 4pm church service.  Then Karl and his dogs went home for a few hours.

Sunday morning we had to be down in Lakeville by 7:30pm. It’s about an hour drive from my house.  MMBC was hosting a UKC weight pull.  The first in this area.  I’ve been helping with planning the pull but I did not take a top position in the pull.  It was a very smart decision since we ended up having the pre-marriage class this weekend.  I was still able to help with it a little beforehand and Denise and Lissie did an awesome job!  The entries weren’t huge but there were some dogs.  And it went very smoothly.  Lots of qualifiers.  I hope we do another one soon.  I was certain that Vada would not pull.  I had practiced with her and the cooler before we left and she was not liking it.  She would just stand and look at me.  I thought she’d get to start with the little cart but they started her with the 350 pound cart.  She pulled it but I think before she crossed the line she touched me.  It was just a nose poke as she was pulling forward.  So I fessed up.  That meant we incured a fault she had to pull that weight over again.  You get 2 faults and then you are done.  But it gave her an opportunity to pull the lighter weight again and be successful.  On our next turn they had added 3 cement blocks that were 38 pounds each.  So she was pulling 464 pounds.  She did it!  I was very pround of her!  Then on our next turn they had put another 3 blocks on for 114 more pounds for a total of 578.  She tried and tried and pulled a little each time but we ran out of time.  So I went up to her and put my hand on her harness and that gave her enough support to pull the cart over the finish line.  I have not worked her enough so she doesn’t know the proper posture and technique for pulling.  I was very proud of her for trying so hard.  She never quit trying.  And her 464 pull was enough for her to earn her first leg towards her UWP.  2 more to go and she’ll have earned her title!  Karl got to be a hooker for the morning!  He very much enjoyed it.  He had to hook up the dogs to the cart.  He did a good job.  But he was VERY tired by the time we were done.  We cleaned up and put the mats back and stacked up the weight blocks and loaded up the trailer with the pull equipment and were done by 11:30am.  Then we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch.  I was SO hungry.  We were very tired too.  I took a nap when I got home.  Karl went home and napped and got a few things done.  I was very tempted to enter Copper in the pull since he’s done a few pulls before.  I figured he would quit if his back hurt.  Karl kept me in line and I decided not to enter Copper.  I’ll think about it for next time but before I do I’ll do situp exercises and stuff to help his back muscles be stronger.  I just feel so bad that he can’t do stuff like he use to.  I think he could earn the UWP title since it’s not a huge amount.  He’s pulled 1K pounds in the past.  And to earn the UKC title they only need to pull 8 times their weight.  That’s about 400 pounds for him.  So if he had pulled the 464 then he’d have earned a leg too.  More reason to get them in shape and keep them in shape.

Karl was back at my house by 6:30pm and we were off to our 4th and final dance class.  They did mostly review but added a few little things.  We did well and had alot of fun.  We’re thinking we’ll do a set of Level 1 classes again for review and then do the Level 2 class.

Not alot of dog stuff this weekend but it was full and busy and went fast!  And I got to spend alot of time with Karl which is always enjoyable!

Thursday Night Teaching

Well, I wrote this post already on Friday and then it got lost.  I didn’t feel like retyping it at the time so I’ll try to write it again today.  Hmm, actually I have no idea what I posted about.  I taught week 7 of Level 1 and Level 2 agility class.  I setup the set point jumps for both levels.  It went ok.  Most of the dogs got it.  The GSD had trouble and the overweight dog had trouble.  It’s tough with the lower drive dogs or the dogs of different body types.  I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it as we do more of it.  I think it will help build value for the jumps too.  I’m going to start using it right away in the next Level 1 class.  I worked both of my dogs after class.  I did the set point with both and they did well.  I only put the second jump up to 8″ since it’s concrete in there.  I’ll raise them up once I setup this exercise outside.  I worked contacts with both of them.  Vada is doing really well.  Copper doesn’t totally get hopping on the aframe from the side.  So I lured him and something clicked.  He was suddenly trying so hard to get on and get into postion for the food.  They both did weaves well too.  I put Vada’s tug at the end and she popped out so we worked on that and she got it.  Only the 1 oops.  It sounded like things went well for Lisa when she covered for me last week.

 It was very nice out so I was able to get some stuff done before class.  I put Vada in her weight pulling harness and had her pull the cooler around the yard.  She wasn’t very crazy about it and didn’t really get what we were doing.  I got her to pull with lots of food.  I had my hand in front of her nose and I kept putting pieces of kibble in my hand as I walked backwards.  Sometimes she would stop and not do anything and sometimes she would lie down but overall she did good.

Agility Class

Vada and I had agility class last night.  I thought it went really well.  She nailed almost all of her contacts.  She is understanding them much better.  I’m working on lateral distance on the contacts and she is handling that very well.  I was having trouble handling the serpentine types of sequences.  I need to work with her more on those.  Just doing the T jumps will help alot.  There is a really good handler in my class so I can watch how he does it and see what I was doing wrong which helps.  I feel like it’s all starting to come together for me and for Vada.  I tried to start putting her toy on the ground at the end of the sequence too.  She needs more obstacle focus and less handler focus.  She sure knows where here toy is though.  So, we need to work through that.  She got better by the end of class.  She was glancing at her toy but not going to it.  I also need to teach her to look at the first jump when she is on the start line.  I didn’t want to take up class time to work on that but last night it was painfully obvious to me that we need to work on it.  All of the dogs at the seminar were very good at that.  It helps when they’re setup in weird positions.  It’s neat to feel like we’ve really made alot of progress since we started the classes 2 sessions ago.  I felt totally out of place when we started and now I definately feel like we are ready to move up to the next level.  The past few weeks Vada has been weaving all 12 poles with no guides and she’s been doing them beautifully!  One more week left of this session.  Then we have a week off.  Then we start on Monday nights in Level 5 outside.  It will be so nice to be outside!

Cold, Wind and Jumping

Thursday night Lisa covered both agility classes for me.  I went home from work and finished packing up my van and went to bed early.  I got up at 1am and hit the road by 2am.  I drove to Council Bluffs, IA for a 4 day Susan Salo jumping seminar.  Friday and Saturday were foundation skills and Sunday and Monday were advanced skills.  It was about a 6 to 6.5 hour drive.  I went right to the seminar on Friday.  I was looking forward to getting away and getting a break from my daily responsibilites and all of the thoughts that go along with them.

The seminar was held in an unheated, uninsulated building with a dirt floor.  It was VERY cold.  I ended up with 2 layers of gloves and wool socks and Sorrell boots and my long underwear shirt with 2 layers on top plus a coat.  I was still cold.  One person went to Wal-Mart and bought out all the feet and hand warmers and sold them to us.  The seminar place was surrounded by plowed corn fields and a sheep pasture.  No trees.  The wind there was amazing.  Huge gusts of wind. 

Friday after the seminar I stopped and got food on the way to the campground.  I got there and tried to self register but they didn’t have any forms.  I folded up the crates and used the dog blankets and my sleeping bags and made up a bed in the van.  I plugged in a power strip and had an electric heater and my alarm clock plugged into that.  The dogs food was still frozen so I took it out to thaw for their breakfast and we went to bed at 7:30pm.  I was very tired from the little sleep the night before and driving.  That night it got down to 15 degrees!  They broke the record for the coldest temps Friday night and Saturday night!  I was ok for most of the night.  I did wake up in the morning a bit chilly.  The next morning I rolled up the sleeping bags, setup the crates, fed the dogs and went off to the seminar.  I had to stop for breakfast on the way so I could use a real bathroom to put my hair up and brush my teeth.  The campground did not have running water or showers or flush toilets.  Just outhouses.  It was cold again for the seminar.  Saturday night I got smart and put the crates up front and blew up the mattress that I had brought with.  I let the van like that and let the dogs veg in back on the mattress all day Sunday.  Sunday night I got even smarter and zipped the sleeping bags together to help keep the heat in.

I tried to work the dogs inside over the lunch break.  Some rude lady came in after me and tried to start working her dog.  After smacking him a few times she then announced to me that he was aggressive.  Yet she was working him off leash?  When she saw that I was already working my dog?  It really pissed me off that she was so stupid but I didn’t want to put my dog at risk so I just left.  I went out and worked in the sun on the side of the building where there was less wind.  It was actually nicer outside.  I put Copper and Vada through the Schutzhund obedience paces.  I did some heeling with both of them and sit and down in motion, a few recalls and some send outs.  I worked on “stand” more with Vada.  She has moments when she is getting it.  Monday I worked with both of them on doing contacts as there was a super low dog walk out back as well as an aframe.  The dog walk was metal so it was great to get the dogs on something different.  Shelley suggested I work laterally on Vada’s contacts so I’m trying to remember to do that.

 I also tracked with them on Sunday and again Monday on my way out of town.  They both did really well and I was proud of myself for tracking.  They were our first tracks of the year!  I had to.  It was very nice and green lush grass down there.  The first two days were way too windy but after that it was pretty good for tracking.  Monday was windier but they both did well.  They were both short tracks.  1 corner on Sunday and 2 on Monday.  Monday was longer then Sunday.  I just wanted it to be positive, fun and no stress.  That is my tracking goal this year – to not worry about precision so much and just do lots of tracking.  How they track is how they track and I should make my next track better to work on whatever their problems were the last time.  I looked at a few places but ended up tracking in the state park that I was camping in.  It was along the lake.  There were geese and some weird black ducks there and people fished their quite often.  So a bit of distractions.

Saturday after the seminar I took the dog on a 3 mile walk in the park off leash. They were so happy to be out of the van and able to run free and stretch their legs and smell all the smells.  I thouroughly enjoyed it too.  There were deer in the park too but the dogs never saw them.  Copper was pretty tired the next 2 days from the walk.

The seminar was really good.  The foundation one was setup so that there were 3 groups of dogs.  In the morning group 1 went through the exercises.  Then in the afternoon group 2 did all of the exercises followed by the 3rd group.  I learned alot and got a bunch of exercises to bring home to work on with my dogs.  Also, some things that I can use in the classes that I teach.  The advanced days were setup by exercise.  Almost all of the dogs were 20″ jumpers so everyone did all of the exercises then we did the next exercise and everyone did that one.  Each part started with a lecture.  For the advanced lecture we were able to do it in the obedience building which was heated.  It was a nice break from the cold.  And it was easier to take notes with bare hands.  We had lunch in that building too which broke up the day.

Sunday night I watched videos on my laptop.  I watched agility runs from past trials.  I feel so bad for my dogs.  I am a horrible handler!  But I hope I am getting better now.  I also compared video of Vada’s flyball box turn to AJs.  I think Vada is hitting the box too high.  She looks like she sets up ok (which is something we talked about at the seminar so I wanted to look) but her front feet and head are alot higher then AJs and he is bigger then she is.  So for the next few practices I’m going to have the top flipped up to encourage her to hit it lower.  Once I get my video camera back I can video tape it and compare in slow motion.

In some seminars by the end of the last day my brain is shot.  It wasn’t too bad this time.  I was tired and worn out from the cold but I didn’t feel brain dead.  I think it helped that it was all the same topic.  And it was just a few exercises but done by a variety of dogs.  It was nice to see the troubleshooting for the dogs that had problems.  It might have helped that I could go back and just hang out in my van afterwards or go for a walk.  And I didn’t have other responsibilities to worry about in the evenings.

I was ready to go home by the end.  I was missing Karl and missing the dogs.  There were other dogs there that reminded me of Karl’s dogs.  I was able to call Karl every night since he was sweet and picked up a phone card for me.  The first 2 nights I called from Wal-Mart.  That was a scary place and the phones are in a really bad location in the store.  Then I realized there was a pay phone at the campground so I used that to call him Sunday night.  It was much nicer!

The drive home went well.  Smooth sailing the whole way.  We were done by 2:40pm on Monday.  I went tracking and was on the road by 4pm.

Tuesday night it was cold again and they were promising snow later in the evening.  So I decided to stay home from Schutzhund training.  I was still tired from my weekend and sick of being cold.  Karl had gone to Winona so I had all of the dogs so they got to stay outside longer since I stayed home.  It worked out well for everyone.

It’s still snowing today.

I got my platelet count checked again today.  They are at 131K!!!!  They have not been this high in a long time.  I hope the trend continues.  I really think that stopping taking the cod liver oil helped.  I will add back in the borage or flax seed oil but only one at a time to see if it makes a difference.

I found our wedding cake topper last night at Michaels.  It was perfect.  It’s a bride and groom dancing.  Karl and I are taking dancing classes so it’s very fitting.  I also got paint for the little plaster dogs that will go on the cake too.  Soon I can start painting them so they can look like our dogs.

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