Wednesday, December 30, 2009
An interesting thing happened today. I logged into facebook and found out my nephew (my darling loving nephew who I love dearly) is engaged. Nope, he didn't call anyone. Just posted it on facebook. I'm wondering if the invitations will be through facebook as well. If you want to attend the wedding, just friend him I guess. These times, they are a changing. Sometimes I'm feeling quite old.
This week has been about getting rid of clutter. Clutter I have alot of. Yesterday took EIGHT large boxes to good will. I know that I could find homes for most of this stuff, but I just need to remove it from the house.
Found a few old photos while cleaning. Many memories in this pile of stuff. Some make me smile, some make me sad, some I'm like, "why'd I keep this?" But all of it is good. Been in this house 10 years now and have moved one persons stuff in and collected a few other peoples stuff and just accumulated alot of my stuff. I'm into clean lately so the clutter must go.
The hardest part is that I have made a mess in trying to get the place clean and I have a bunch of people coming over to celebrate Christmas on new years. It is time to stop the organizing and just get the place clean. Oh well. I knew this vacation couldn't go on forever.
Fin's contacts are looking good again. This weekend will be a good test. Next week it is back to regular classes. Can't wait.
Happy Holidays to everyone. I'll be writing more in the new year and send you best wishes for a safe and celebratory new year!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I'll admit, I don't get rid of things like I should. I just found an entire box of mail from 2001!
Oh well. I am working hard at filling up all of my recycling boxes. I can see that this is not a one day type of job. Decisions about what to keep are difficult and I am leaning heavily on the "we don't need it" scale of decision making.
Hopefully when I am completed, my office will feel new and wonderful, I'll be able to see the floor, and the dogs will have plenty of space to lay their sorry little heads.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Today is the first day of Kels vacation so we took a hike. Last hike with Kel at Harvey Bear I was charged by a cow. I have been to Harvey bear since that time, but I will say, I have developed somewhat of a fear of the cows now since my friend was chased by a cow last Wed.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
On Christmas day, my mom and sister are coming down and we'll have a nice dinner. Thurs it is breakfast then a movie. I'm voting to go see Avatar again. We'll see if I win.
In the meantime, Fin's contacts are broken. Broken as broken can be. She thinks her contact is to go as fast as she can (this is a good thing), come off the bottom and lay down....not what I'd expect, but it is what she thinks.
So we are back to basics. My good buddy from the east coast sent me a video of her practicing contacts in the SNOW!!! she had to shovel snow in a path so her dog could find the dog walk. She had to shovel snow so she could run. Her video demonstrates that there is NO excuse. We can get out and have fun with our pups. I don't have to shovel snow, so my contact practice is going to be good!
Work outs have been tough. David is showing me that I can do all kinds of things I didn't think I could do. Skip sideways on the treadmill (mildly dangerous, but he is a skilled professional so I do what he tells me), push ups (yucky, I HATE push ups), suicides (OMG could we make it any more painful...I don't think so), lifting 200 pounds (Oh yeah!), multiple variations of sit ups (ok, I know I've got some ripped abs under my belly fat!), and other painful exercises of his own making.
Trick videos are coming. Just haven't had time to play with the camera.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
One of my friends came up with an idea. Let's have a Trick night. So we convened our first trick night. At first we didn't know what to do so I made some soup and we sat around sipping our soup and making a plan.
Paw over muzzle trick.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I wanted a strong right before starting the left.
In this first session, you can see how amazing this stuff is. Even though I have terrible timing, my food delivery is somewhat chaotic, she still is excited to work and eventually figures out what I want!
When she gets frustrated you can hear her growly voice. In the beginning I do my talking with the clicker. When she starts offering the behavior over and over, I also reward with my voice (last video).
Often I get frustrated in shaping behaviors when I haven't thought out what I'm going to do. For example I really want to work on more tricks, but Fin needs them broken down. She will not continue to offer if I am not clear on what I want. She will bark, lie down, back up, lie down, and bark some more. I believe what I need is more of a written plan. This is why I'm working on right turn right now. It is a relatively easy one for her to do as she naturally has these moving behaviors.
Each of the sessions today lasted between 1-3 minutes. In between the sessions, we played tug and retrieve for 2-5 minutes. I went into these sessions with a plan to break down the turn into just a look, then a turn of the shoulder, with feet movement, then more turn, then finally all the way around.
We did get there after 3 session today. No cue yet, I think I'll work this a few more times and in multiple places before adding a cue. After adding the cue "right" then I'll start to ask for multiple behaviors so that she learns the difference between them.
This last video, I get a little too enthusiastic. I generally like to keep quiet during shaping sessions, but I couldn't help myself. I was so excited that we got "behavior" in 3 sessions today that I was "good girly" a little too much.
Other things that I am working on right now are retrieve, backup, situp, and my recall.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
This is it till January. We feel we've done real well this 1st year of Fins career. We've started in Masters in USDAA and in Excellent standard and open JWW in AKC. Haven't competed in any other venue and have not done a ton of shows. Baby steps.
Areas I want to improve:
- Run faster - take off the weight and add more sprinting to my workouts
- Decision making when walking a course - I am still making mistakes when I plan my courses. I want to get better at following a specific system. It is ok to experiment, but not ok to think I'm doing something right but end up screwing it up.
- Excel at distance work - still not really doing well here and I need more practice.
- Independent obstacles - I should be able to be anywhere and my dogs should finish the weaves and contact correctly.
- More tricks - as an added bonus and relationship bonding experience
If I can improve in these 5 areas, next year I should have my ADCH and MACH. Each month I'll outline what I'm doing and plan to put in place measurements to demonstrate improvement.
These coats are on the higher end side of dog coats, but for Fin I think this is well worth it.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A nice clean fast run. As I watch it, I see so many areas of improvement.
The jumpers run from Sunday. One refusal as I rear crossed too early and pulled her off, but the rest was nice. Need to pick it up at the end so she doesn't turn and watch me.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Silvia uses shaping and some lure, but mostly shaping. She is all about small steps. We were introduced to all kinds of fun stuff:
- grabbing a pole, soda can, stuffed toy and holding it
- walk backwards up a wall and do hand stands
- penguin walk
- sit up and wave both paws
- go from sit up to stand up and back to sit up
- back up through your legs
- jump into your arms
- leap off your body
- shake your head
She is working on teaching her dogs to clean her house! Can't wait for that video.
All of these are done using shaping. Her little dog La is SOOOOO fast and trys about a billion different behaviors before I can identify one. Silvias timing is incredibly good. I took the clicker for my friend and was supposed to click when "SpaceMonkey" lifted her rear paw. She would lift her paw and I would instantly click and I still found my clicking was on the foot going down. I found I had to almost "predict" when I thought she would lift her foot and then my click would happen correctly. Really fun stuff.
No pictures...just too dark for my puny little camera. But look forward to fun tricks video. I'm inspired.
This week I have watched absolutely no TV. No time. I was busy every evening. I didn't miss the TV, but I did miss my sleep. Looking forward to some rest this weekend...oh wait, I'm headed out for another agility trial!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The team is fortunate to be able to attend seminars with some really cool, knowledgeable, and interesting folks. Last night we attended day one of the tricks seminar. I was amazed at how many tricks and how far some individuals were able to get on their tricks in only 2.5 hours. As it was after my usual bedtime, I found the dogs had more energy than me, but I'm glad I went and will attend day 2 on Thurs.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The leaves are falling and darn it, we can't help but get out there and play in those leaves. No raking for this family, we LOVE the leaves.
Tonight we are headed out for an evening seminar by that trickster Silvia Trkman. We'll see what tricks she has up her sleeve and try to come home to practice over the next couple days. Since I also need to fix my weaves AND my contacts, it is a busy week for training.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Edited: Thanks to Laura from team small dog we got a picture!!! She posted a bunch on facebook.
She set up some really tough sequences. One of the first things she said was, "if these aren't tough enough, I can make them harder." Since I was at that point trying to figure out how in the heck Fin and I were going to make it through, I did not think it needed to be tougher.
If the goal was to show your weakness so that she would be able to help out, I achieved my goal. Fin had no contacts, couldn't finish her weaves unless I was right there and I was late, late, late, and even later. Oh vey!
Basically what she did was evaluate the path you chose to run your dog and show you a better path (this usually involved the handler being somewhere they weren't the first time). Every person improved their line due to her advice. Even top handlers that were there benefited from her eye.
I didn't think her advice was totally new. What was new was the way she set up the course to challenge us. Weave entries were really troublesome and exits weren't much better.
For me, basically the advice was to:
- Move smoothly (I tend to run fast and stop). My motion was pulling Fin out of weaves and she wanted me to move quickly but more consistently.
- Timing needs to be better. I need to be aware of my timing and how it is effecting her line (wide turns).
- Run faster. Hmmm. where have I heard that before.
- Send on straight aways, keep closer on tight turns. She is in a position to help her dog in turns. She wants our position to be in a place to guide more than I was today.
- Independent obstacles. Hmm. I thought were were better than we were today. Some body better get out there at noon and do some training!
All in all some really tough courses and some sage advice. I had a great time even if I was late on a serp and fell in front of EVERYONE AND my friends took photos!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
We went for an agility trial. For the AKC. Four runs, one Q. But that Q was a good one.