Thursday, April 03, 2008

I love my Abby dog.

She drives me crazy and frustrates me to tears at times, but I love her so much. That is all.


It's getting to be that stressful exam-time of year again and that training procrastination! This will be my last exam period for awhile (ever?) since I'm graduating with a biology degree. I'm not sure what the next year will bring - it'll be an adventure for sure. Back to the dog training - Ryan learned to "dance". That would be "beg" with a Ryan-esque twist (ie. he flails his 'arms' around a lot so I renamed the behaviour).
Notice the purdy coat? It got much nicer since the switch to raw.

We're also working on targets still. I want Ryan really driving in to the target plate and giving it repeated, hard nose taps. He's pretty good but he also has zero hind end awareness. So I'm also teaching him to just stand still on a plank with all 4 feet on it in the hopes of getting the idea of 'all 4 feet matter' into his head.He's also learning "flip" (turn away from me and take an obstacle going back the other way so that we both end up running back in the direction we came from). I used to call this 'left' and 'right' but I think a general 'flip away from me' is easier for me to keep straight! He's also learning to recognize "over", "hoop", "tunnel" and "bench" and can be sent to each individually from quite a distance. His agility foundation work is coming along slowly but surely. I'm in no rush - I really like training the basic stuff and I have Abby to work on the more advanced stuff with.

With Abby I'm working on automatic 180 degree turns. As in, if there are 2 jumps side by side and I stay on one side of the plane of the jumps, she should automatically jump over one and back over the other towards me without me using my arms. The clearer my handling gets, the less frustration barking she does so it's win-win.

Abby's AADC certificate arrived in the mail yesterday - I'm pretty sure it's the result of a mistaken Q on the website. I'm debating whether to take it or not. On one hand, what's the point of titles if they aren't legit? On the other, I keep remembering a run where we NQ'd due to my leg supposedly touching her in the weaves, which didn't actually happen (if I had touched her she would have popped out of the weaves for sure!).

I've noticed that Abby's self control has improved dramatically recently. There have been a few excited dog fetching incidents and she has ignored them. I'm thinking it's a combination of flyball training (she really got it into her head that her job is to get her ball and bring it back to me) and also the control exercises I do with her and Ryan together. I often play with one of them while the other has to stay in a 'down', or I put them both in a 'down', run across the field and release them one at time (this one's really hard to do!). Who ever isn't being trained at the moment inside goes into the crate but the door isn't shut - more self control. And I'll play an exciting game of tug but they are only allowed to tug when it's their turn. It's a lot easier to work on self control exercises with 2 dogs since the other hyped up, fast moving dog is a pretty big temptation. Now I just need to find a permanent stream of male joggers to run through the yard and that Abby problem would likely improve drastically as well :) Speaking of which, I'm thinking of investing in a citronella remote-control collar. More about that another time.

Both Abby and Ryan learned to put toys in a box. I'm still working on naming the toys. Abby gets easily frustrated and Ryan doesn't 'think' so much as 'do' so it's a bit of a challenge.

Last weekend was a good one for the dogs. On Friday after a run we went to the new(ish) Petsmart. Abby got a 'chuck it' frisbee that she loves (of course) and a fuzzy, squeaky blue ball. She had one when Ryan was a baby but he destroyed it. Ryan got a "pooch ball". It occupied him for so long on Friday and Saturday - a success for sure! Saturday was a normal work day - both dogs come to the clinic with me. Sunday we went and checked out the pet expo. Ryan came in but Abby stayed in the car - it's not her scene (little kids, out of control dogs, etc.). Afterwards, though, it was made up to her because we went to flyball practice. She loves loves *loves* flyball practice. We were preparing for the upcoming tournament this weekend.

No comments: