February 26, 2009

7 months old today!

Dazzle is now 7 months old! Time is already flying by with him. It doesn't seem like all that long ago that I brought him home as just a little pup. Now he's almost 47 lbs. and 22.5" tall.
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Today he got a bath because we are going to be staying at the Ritz this weekend! Free room (the only way I could afford the Ritz!) for a big dog show where we will be helping to represent Dog Scouts of America. Big thanks to Martha for making the right connections for the rooms for all of us! Because of the bath, he looks more "fuzzy" than usual. But the photos in this post were taken before his bath. :-)
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We went to a local park to get some posed photos. It was a light drizzle when I started, but by the time I snapped the one on the log that I liked, it was raining. So I didn't get nearly as many photos/locations as I had planned. Also, while it started out nice, bright, filtered sunshine, it got gloomy pretty fast. So we came home. I did spend some time talking with (and educating) a couple about Dazzle, reward based training, finding a good breeder (or rescue dog) and the Malinois breed after they saw me posing him for the first photo. So that was a nice chat.
Yesterday, I had planned to teach him to smack a target with his foot, but somehow it turned into teaching him to push a small ball with his nose. :-) Once he understood what I wanted, he was really sending the ball flying across the room with a flick of his nose. I think I found another trick he really likes! He would push the ball then stand there watching it with his tail wagging. Today I taught him "are you tired?" which means he should lay flat on his side. We also spent some time practicing the "get the money in the bucket" trick with real money and taking it from my hand instead of the floor. At first it confused him when I handed it to him because so far he has only gotten stuff to deliver TO my hand. But he figured it out pretty quick and was back on track. It will be interesting to see how he does with this at the show. I'm taking my camera, so hopefully I'll have photos/video to share.
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Tonight we have Rally class. Then I need to finish packing. I'm hoping the snow/sleet predicted for the morning won't cause us any problems or delays.
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Not sure if I'll have time to get to a computer during the trip, but if not, I'll post about our adventures when we get back!

February 24, 2009

Quick update

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Yesterday, instead of attending the show prep class in the evening, Dazzle and I went to the training center when no one else was there. It was quite nice! We worked for about an hour total on several behaviors with LOTS of play time. I started working on putting the reward outside the ring, asking for short behaviors, then clicking and letting him run to get the reward (ball or tug toy.) I realized in working him that somehow eye contact has dissapeared from his heeling. So I started working on the eye contact game and then a few steps of heeling with eye contact to get his reward. I think it will come back pretty quickly.
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I also pulled out the tunnel and he raced through it a few times, even in a U shape. I can't bend the tunnel I use at home because it's meant to be an upright tube used as a barrier for paint ball games. But it's VERY sturdy and the right size, so it has worked well so far to teach the tunnel behavior. I also pulled out the wobble board and had him walking across that to get his toy. The first time across he didn't expect it to move and did a flying leap off of it (It's only about 4" high.) But after that, he knew it would move and was fine.
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Overall a great training session. I just wish the center was less than 30 minutes away! I mostly want to use it to practice the parts of a formal obedience routine and freestyle. I need the ring gates and open space for those things.
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Tonight we have a C-wags class.

February 23, 2009

Pro photos from 2-8-09

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I checked my post office box and found the disk I had ordered after the Rally trial in Hamilton on Feb. 8th. I'm VERY happy with the photos by Dick Clark Photography! Here's some of my favorites:
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Focus at the start:
Nice front position!:
Malinois smile- a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea:
First turn was a 270 degree:
Directly into a 360 turn:
Nice focus through the serpentine:
More grinning- actually he's probably thinking- throw the ball...throw the ball... throw the ball... (which he thought I had in my right hand):
Sit for the last sign (you can see he looks like a coiled spring, he's still convinced I have a tennis ball in my right hand that I'm about to throw for him. He did get the ball as soon as I left the ring though!):
He maintained great focus throughout the run. To see the video, click on the date set on the left that starts with Feb. 8th:

February 22, 2009

Scent training

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I got his training so far for scent work on video today. I did it in 4 steps, but it's just a small sampling of the steps I've done with him. I worked on each step longer than what is shown on each video.
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If you want to teach your dog to indicate a particular scent, you'll first need to pick a scent. It could be something as simple as a spice from your spice drawer, but if you want a useful behavior, you might choose fake drug scent (if you can get it) or gun powder I as I used (never know when it might come in handy to have the dog locate a hidden gun!) Other possible scents are termites or bed bugs or even diluted gasoline (for arson detection.) You can also get some scratch and sniff cards from the gas company with the mercaptain scent on them (the harmless chemical used to add "odor" to natural gas.)
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Next you need to decide what "indicator behavior" you want the dog to do. What do you want him to do when he finds the scent so YOU know he found the scent. For drugs and bugs, the dogs often do an active alert on the hiding spot (scratching, barking, biting, etc.) If you are teaching your dog to find explosives or a gas leak or evidence of arson, you probably want a passive alert (sit or down while looking at the target area) so they don't blow themselves up or destroy evidence. During tracking, I'll teach Dazzle to indicate a found article with a down, but for the gun powder I chose a nose bump as the indication behavior I want.
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Step 1 video: The first step shown in the video is simple targeting of the scent on a piece of paper towel in my hand. At first you click for contact with the scent, but then you would add in the indication behavior if you aren't using a nose touch. I think I could get Dazzle to do an active alert very easily, but I don't want him tearing up my stuff if I hide the scent in the house! So it would be
a) sniff the scent
b) get the dog to do the indication behavior
c) then click
You want the scent to BE the cue to the dog to do the indication behavior of your choice.
Then I add some discrimination (not shown on the video) where I hold the scented paper towel and an unscented paper towel and only click if he targets the scented one.
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Step 2 video: Next I put the the pieces of paper towel into separate containers. I'm using pill bottles because that's what I used to create the scent wheel (shown in step 3.) At first I repeat the targeting of the single container (not shown on the video.) Then progress to offering a scented container and an unscented container (which is what I'm showing on the video.) I would click him for indicating in some way when I started, but I've progressed in the video to waiting for multiple touches of the correct container.
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Step 3 video: In the next video, you see the containers attached to the scent wheel I made. Each container (pill bottle) has a hole drilled into the bottom (which is now the top) so scent can come through. Only a single container is scented with the gun powder paper towel. But additional scents could be added to the other containers that you want the dog to ignore (food, bits of tennis ball, etc.) I have seen scent wheels made from coffee cans as well, so a whole tennis ball or maybe the dog's favorite toy would fit in that. Often, a toy the dog can play with as a reward is used as the target object and put in a container with the target scent so it takes on that smell. I think I'll do that with a tennis ball and the gun powder for future hiding spots. I plan to use an older tennis ball that doesn't have as strong a scent as a new ball would. Though I would guess I need to start using real guns at some point since they will have other odors besides just gun powder, like cleaning solvents and burnt powder residue.
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Not shown on the video is the introduction of the search cue. I'm using "find the gun" as the cue. I introduced it when he was still working on the scent wheel after I knew I could predict that he was about to get the right bottle, then I started giving the cue earlier and earlier. Then I used it when I did some easy searches (when it was easy for him to SEE the "hidden" container.)
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Step 4 video: This video shows one of his searches. We are just now starting with the scent object being hidden. While I hadn't intended it this time, I think he found it by sight, but it is still good practice.
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I think he's on his way. I'm doing this mainly as an intro to tracking (and training for his scent discrimination badge :-). I just want to give him the concept that I might ask him to find something by using only his nose. I don't know if we're to that point yet with the hidden objects though. I'll likely also teach him to indicate a natural gas odor (mercaptain) and do a passive alert for that.
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On a weather note, we got more snow today and it's still falling, but only about an inch has accumulated. I have to go out tomorrow at some point to get the dogs more food so I'm hoping the road crews keep on top of it so the roads aren't bad.
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February 21, 2009

Is it Spring yet?

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Today started in the low 40's really early this morning and then the temps took a nose dive. By the time I woke up, the yard was covered in white and great big snow flakes were falling.
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I'm REALLY looking forward to spring, but I don't think Dazzle will be. He was just outside taking a nap stretched out in the snow! We have a dog door so he can be inside if he chooses. He was SO excited this morning when he saw snow outside that he went out and was running around the yard biting and barking at the big falling snow flakes while I was preparing the dog's meals. He came back in just as I was ready to set his bowl down :-)
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He spent more time OUTSIDE today than inside. I think he shoved his big blue ball over every part of the yard. I knew he was still doing ok out there whenever I heard it hitting the house or door :-) He would come in from time to time (covered in snow) to thaw out (or check to see if I would go out with him) and then went right back out. I spent a lot of time today just watching him (from inside) and enjoying his antics and pure joy and fun out there.
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The other dogs would go out now and then to join him and play, but they didn't want to stay out nearly as long as he did :-) I think he is really going to miss the cold. I can envision him spending a lot of time playing in the pool to stay cool during the warmer months that are hopefully coming soon!
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He saw the neighbor outside today and boy oh boy does Dazzle have a deep, menacing bark! No idea what he would do if the neighbor came closer, but I have a feeling he would be defensive of the yard. It could be an issue in the summer when the neighbor teases the dog with his tractor as he mows the grass. Coyote and Buster both go ballistic at the fence and I often have to either call them in and block their access to the outside or make sure they hop in the pool to cool off so they don't overheat. It is the only thing that will stop coyote mid meal. If he hears that tractor, he will leave his food to go out and bark at it! For those that don't know him, that is unheard of for him! If Dazzle is out there with them, there could be some re-directed aggression. I have a feeling I'll have to do more management this summer.
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On Thursday in class, a person in the next ring was tossing and squeaking a toy for her dog. Dazzle decided he wanted it and from a stand still, he popped right over the ring gate to go get it. Thankfully I held his leash so he didn't get far at all, and he hopped back over just as effortlessly when I called him. I don't let him jump if I can help it, but he sure has beautiful grace when he does jump! Hopefully he never learns to jump our 6' perimeter fence!
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February 19, 2009

Title plaque

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I ordered this beautiful title plaque from RapidPins.com (Rapid Rainbow Designs) and it came in the mail today. They include a magnet with the dog's name and have title "pins" (they can be made as pins or magnets) for most of the different venues and dog activities. She's working on UKC rally pins at the moment. I think the plaque is very reasonably priced at at $3.50 each for the title magnets, can't hardly beat it! So far, I got him a 2009 (so I can keep track of the year he earned titles, I'll get a year magnet each January), a CGC and an RN.
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Because these are all magnets (along with his name plate) I can arrange them however I like. The photo just slips in the frame, so that can get changed anytime. It can be either vertical or horizontal. I'm VERY pleased with this item! I first saw them at the Hamilton Dog Training club when I was showing there. They have two walls full of them from their members. I think what I heard was that the owner buys the plaque and the club pays for all the dog's pins for titles they have earned.
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So this is what his "corner" looks like so far:

Today I worked on some scent training with him. I'm using gun powder because I have it available and who knows when it might be helpful to have him be able to find a hidden gun! LOL
I started with just a nose target to a scented piece of paper towel in my hand.

Then I held an unscented piece in one hand and the scented one in the other hand. I only clicked when he nosed the scented one. I switched them from hand to hand and held them in several different positions.
Then I put the towels into the containers and held out the scented one with an empty one. I switched those around in my hand as well.
Then I attached the containers to a home made "scent wheel" so I could vary the location of the target scent just by spinning the "wheel" around. I checked the colors of tape I used to be sure they were the same "tone" by scanning them and then turning the picture into a "grey scale" and found they all looked alike. I used a few different colors so just in case the colors were recognizable by the dog as different, he wouldn't be able to pick out the ONE that is green which indicates the scented container. With Dazzle and my other dogs, it's clear they aren't using the colors to select the tubes.
Once the scent was on the wheel, I could vary it's location just by turning the board.
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Near the end of the session, it "clicked" in his brain what I wanted and then it was clear he was being very deliberate with his checking and selection. I have chosen a "nose bump" as his indication signal. When I was teaching this to my beagle, I found it helpful for him to clearly indicate where something was hidden rather than just doing a sit because some of the areas where things were hidden had a lot of potential hiding places. Having him put his nose on the target and leave it there really helped!
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Now I have to get going to rally class!
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February 17, 2009

Fundraising Training

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Yesterday I spent about a half an hour teaching Dazzle to do the fundraising trick I have taught my other dogs. They will take a dollar (or $5 or $10 :-) from a person and drop it in a bucket/bowl. To see them in action at Bass Pro raising funds for the local disaster response team for animals, view this YouTube video I made last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bee17QsDGPg
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As you can see, they enjoy their "jobs" and have raised thousands of dollars for various organizations and projects like the disaster team, search and rescue dogs, providing bullet proof vests to local police K-9's and our Dog Scout troop.
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The first video starts with targeting a crumpled, fake dollar bill. After he targets it a few times with his nose, I start tossing it and clicking him for touching it. He offers picking it up on his own. I used fake money because it's normal for the dog to occasionally tear the money during practice (and sometimes even when they are good at the behavior.) I crumple it in a ball at first to reduce the chances that it will get torn and to make it easier for the dog to pick it up. As you'll see in later videos, when it's less crumpled, he tears the bill a few times.
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I did edit the video to remove the barking dog distraction, cat distraction and when I jiggled the camera trying to move it, nearly knocking it over. But other than that, I included everything he did in the following videos from start to finish.
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Dazzle had the advantage of watching Coyote cleaning up his toys (putting them in the toy bin) and helping me pick up various things I had dropped, and Dazzle enjoys retrieving toys and other objects, so if you try this with your dog, it might take longer.
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I stayed mostly silent and you can hear the clicks and what I say on the video. The gate you see part of was up to protect the video camera and block access to the toy box, but I don't think I really needed it.
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Video 2 was after a very short break and it is just over 8 minutes long so it might take some time to load. In this video I introduce the bowl. I use a bowl with as wide an opening as possible to give the dog the best chance possible. At first he seems to get some lucky shots, but I don't know! If he tries to remove a bill from the bowl, it gets no click. Tearing a bill also gets no click and I simply remove the pieces and start again with a new bill. Funny note: when I'm out with Bear and Coyote doing a fundraiser, Bear will sometimes take money out of Coyote's bowl when Coyote's not looking and put it in his own bowl! LOL

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Video 3 is only 2 minutes and is filmed after a short break. In this one, I start using a new bill for each retrieve (as will be the case in a real fundraiser.) The bills are a bit less crumpled. There are a few times he is clearly deliberate in his placing of the bill in the bowl. There have been several times when he checks the bowl for the bill right from the start. When I started using different bills and leaving previously retrieved bills in the bowl, he got a bit confused. It's like he was saying "but there is already a bill IN the bowl!" or maybe he thought he hit the bowl.
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Video 4 is the last one of the training session and is only about a minute and a half long. I start with the bowl where it had been, but then move it farther away from me and to the side. For most dogs, this is a big change and a difficult step. Dazzle just took it in stride and we ended on a positive note. The entire session from start to finish used 1 cup of kibble and lasted less than 1/2 an hour.
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From here, I'll start working with real money, having him get it from other people and practicing in different locations. I'll do this by starting with the level of behavior he is doing well and working him up to the level I want to work on.
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February 15, 2009

4th Rally Nov. Q

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Today was an extra run that I used to practice some new things. We earned a 94, so I'm happy with the run, but I'll need to do some work before we enter a higher level. The first thing I tried was to ONLY hold my leash in my right hand. I tied 2 knots in it near the handle to shorten it a bit and to be sure I didn't shorten it further during our run. This seemed to work well and I'll likely do more practice with this. My left hand was still going back without my knowing it through the serpentine, but since I didn't have the leash in that hand, it didn't really matter. :-)
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The other thing I tried (which we have done in practice) is to let him see that I set his reward outside the ring (on his crate.) On all of our previous runs, he was thinking it was hiding in my right hand. Since the change in leash holding would make that ruse obvious, I decided to try it this way instead. He was DEFINITELY more distractible, but not overly so. Even when a little Pom did a fast recall in the next ring and he lost complete focus, he was willing to quickly come back and continue working. He was forging ahead a bit, but he wasn't wrapped around me and in my path the way he was when he thought the ball was in my right hand.
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It was clear at the end that he understood the big "yes!" I gave him when we finished because he raced out of the ring and directly to his crate to get his ball. LOL So I think with a bit more practice, this can be perfected. Now that I can practice in a ring at the club just about any time I want, I'll be able to work on this more and return the precision the ball generates without having to hide from him the fact that it's not in my hand. I'll also include putting the leash back on as part of the exercise before he gets to go for the reward.
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Here's the video:
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Overall I couldn't be happier with his performance this weekend! It was a VERY distracting environment, brand new to him, and he had to do a lot of waiting around (which he really doesn't like.) But bully sticks helped him relieve his frustration with pent up energy and not being able to play with the other dogs and he actually took a few naps in his crate dispite all the hustle and bustle around us. So I was very happy with that too!
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I found out there is a UKC Rally show nearby at the end of the month which I'd really love to enter him in since they are offering "4 shows" during the weekend and he could get another title in that venue. But I may be going to MI for the massive Detroit Kennel Club show at Cobo Hall to help "meet and greet" with him in the Dog Scout booth. It's currently still up in the air which I will be doing and I'm waiting on the answer to a question I have about the Detroit show that will help decide where I'll be.
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February 14, 2009

Rally Novice Title Earned!

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Just got back from the show and edited the video (below). Dazzle did a FABULOUS job, only losing a single point for a crooked sit. His HANDLER however, cost us 4 additional points because I couldn't seem to leave the leash loose. ARG! Still, I am very pleased with our 95 and thrilled with his performance!
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Scores were high today, so 95 wasn't enough to get a placement ribbon, but the green qualifing ribbon is all we needed!! This is his third qualifing run, so he earned his Rally Novice title today! We're still going back tomorrow because it will be his 3 highest scores that will go on record. If we can earn more than 85 points, it will be worth the trip. Of course it will be a learning/practice experience and worth it regardless of our score :-)
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I'm going to try borrowing a 4' leash tomorrow so I don't have to have the leash in both hands. I even entered the ring trying to concentrate on my tendancy to pull the leash behind me for no apparent reason, but I have no idea I'm even doing it. So it's hard to overcome. I thought I had done a good job of not doing the leash pulling till I got out of the ring and was told I did it several times. DRAT! I'm going to try to keep my leash hand glued to my hip tomorrow and hopefully that will help. Dazzle wasn't even getting ahead of me when I was pulling it behind me, so I'm not sure why I'm even doing it. Oh well, what fun would it be if I had nothing to work on? LOL
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Another nice thing is that I was able to get him tested with an AKC evaluator at the show for his Star Puppy Title and his CGC (Canine Good Citizen.) His CGC will need to be taken again after he is a year old to keep that title though.
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So he is now:
Loup Noir Jasper, DSA, BA, RN, Star Puppy, CGC (in the order earned)
A good start for just over 6 months old!
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Here's the video:

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P.S. As of the membership meeting last night, I was voted in (with several others) as a member of Kuliga dog training club.

February 13, 2009

FIRST PLACE! Score of 99!

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Out of 100 possible points, Dazzle got 99! He also got first place out of 6 dogs! The green ribbon above signifies that the run qualified and of course the blue is for 1st place! I am SO thrilled! Unfortunately, the ribbons given at this show are no where nearly as nice as the ones at smaller shows, but I did also win $10 for the first place :-)
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Especially because we got there too early (I was expecting traffic and parking to take a lot longer than it did given the fact it was a weekday and the show is huge!) And because the ring was running over an hour late. So we went and did some shopping in the other building to kill some time and keep him busy. I was glad I had brought in his crate though. By the time we were finally getting to the course walk-through, he was in it taking a nap. I was also glad I had attached it to a crate dolly so I could wheel it from the van because we had to park in "East Bajeezuz"!
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I pulled him out of the crate and warmed him up probably one run too early, but it was hard to judge because they had a lot of "move-ups" of the conformation people and even ran some of the Novice B's before finishing the A's. But obviously it all worked out and he performed GREAT! Once again I had him thinking I had his ball in my right hand, so you'll see him crouch in anticipation of having the ball thrown when I do the sit at the back of the ring :-) His sits were straight, so no risk of needing to "fix" them and getting points off :-) And we practiced a lot of downs during the week, so that was fixed too. I could NOT be any happier with his performance! It's clear from his wagging tail and grin that he's enjoying it and THAT is the primary objective!
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We will go back again tomorrow (and Sunday) to compete, but first I have a training club meeting tonight where, as long as no one objects, I'll become a full member of the club and get a key to the building. Then I can start working on freestyle and formal obedience to try to help him have as much fun with that as he's having with Rally. If he gets his Rally Novice title this weekend, there's not much else I can pursue with him because all the higher levels have jumps. Since I can't and won't jump him till he's over 1 yr old, we'll work on the freestyle for fun. Who knows, maybe I'll actually get a routine together and submit it by video for a title in freestyle. :-) We will also be working on behaviors for the C-Wags trial in April, but not much new to learn for that.
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Here's the video straight from the camera:

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February 12, 2009

Quick update

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At 6.5 months old, Dazzle is 22" tall and 44.6 pounds (according to the scale at the petfood store.) I took some photos today of him with his favorite ball. I colored the grass (which is actually about the same color as Dazzle.) I am using the photo as my desktop photo on my computer because it reminds me that maybe, hopefully someday soon, the grass really WILL be green!
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Now I'm off to bed because I'm getting up early to go to Indy for the Rally with Dazzle. Wish us luck!
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February 08, 2009

1st Rally Q!!!!

Dazzle did FANTASTIC at the show today! Apparently I need more work, but HE did great! LOL His score was an 85 (out of 100 possible points), but 10 of those points were deducted because I had him adjust his sit after he went to heel position. If I had left him crooked, it would have only been 1 point off. Live and learn! He didn't want to lie down at one of the signs, so that was the other 5 points off, though he eventually did down. If I hadn't adjusted his sit, he would have had a 95 and second place.
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Instead he got 4th place out of 7 Novice A dogs and I'm pleased as punch!! We had fun today and that was the goal. One of the dogs, a little Pom, got a 99! Kim ran the video camera for me and other than some zoom issues, did a great job. Thanks Kim! She also filmed the awards, but I just trimmed it to show our award. :-) I know I have the wrong date on the intro, but I realized it after I had finished it and didn't want to bother with re-doing the whole thing to correct it. It's only 1 day off, so close enough :-)
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I did not, however, spend the night prior to the show as I had planned. About 10pm Coyote went after Dazzle for starting to play with Buster, or maybe he was near a Nylabone, I'm not completely sure. It was over pretty quick and Dazzle was mostly just trying to get away from Coyote (a good sign that he's gotten some respect for him) BUT Dazzle did end up with a puncture on his face. I was SO mad and upset. Coyote was put in a crate and I took Dazzle to the ER. Rather than shaving his face and making it completely obvious with a stitch or two, the vet was able to flush it out and use tissue glue to close it. It had been staying closed, so there wasn't much force working against the glue and it has worked perfectly. After that was done, you couldn't even tell there was an injury. However, by the time we got home it was starting to swell (that's when I took the photo below.) I held ice in a towel on it for awhile, but he does resemble a bit of a hampster with one cheek full at the moment. Poor guy. He never once, even right after it happened, bothered the wound.
As a result, Coyote is going into the crate right before I come home (an exciting time for the dogs) and when Dazzle starts playing with Bear or Buster or any other time of high excitement. I'm praising him when he chooses not to act stupid, but if he looks at Dazzle wrong, I interupt and either a muzzle goes on or he goes in a crate. Dazzle has a LOT more respect for Coyote and is giving him a wide berth, so I think as long as Coyote is managed, they will be fine. I don't think the injury was due to a hard bite or on purpose, I think it was just a tooth hitting thinner skin. But it didn't even bleed. He's on antibiotics till next Saturday.
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On a lighter note, here's video of the boys playing in the snow set to music (a 5th of Beethoven and Axel F.) It was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hard to believe this was just earlier this week. It was in the 50's today and yesterday, so almost all but the deepest snow is gone- YEA!!! I wish it would STAY warmer, but since it's only Feb., I'm guessing that won't happen. :-( They are predicting a "winter mix" for Friday when I need to drive to Indy for that show. Maybe I will be getting a room in Indy after all? Hopefully I don't need to do that.
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February 07, 2009

Visited the show today

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Although I had him entered for Obedience, I didn't compete with him today. We just went to find the show location and get acclimated in prep for tomorrow's rally show. It's a nice place and I hope he will do well tomorrow, but fun is the top priority. I'm looking forward to it!
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His hormones are starting to kick in and he has gotten into fights with Coyote three times now. Thankfully they both have excellent bite inhibition so no injuries (other than a very small puncture on Coyote- likely caused when we were trying to pull them off each other.) Problem is that once they latch on, neither wants to let go. It takes both of us to get them apart. I have no doubt this will resolve itself and maybe it has. Today, they started posturing, but stopped immediately when I yelled at them to "knock it off!" However, I ordered another "softie muzzle" just in case. If they both have to wear muzzles for awhile, then that's what will happen. For the most part, it's not an issue between them. But if excitement levels are high or if Dazzle is playing roughly with Buster or Bear, it takes very little to ignite.
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At least with plenty of warning signals, I can stop things before they start and reward them for good behavior choices (ignoring, looking away, shake offs, etc.) We went through this with Coyote and Bear too. And now those two are fine with each other. Coyote easily won fights with Bear even though BEAR didn't want to stop fighting, so it might be a bit different outcome with the bigger, younger Dazzle. We shall see.
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Stay tuned for a report from the Rally show tomorrow!
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February 04, 2009

Misc. photos

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I cleared off my camera card this morining and wanted to add a few photos I took.
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First is a photo from the ice storm on Jan 28th. We had a few inches of snow, then about 1/2" of freezing rain, then several more inches of snow. The rain melted some of the snow that was under it and on the driveway we ended up with nearly an inch of ice!
Dazzle didn't care that it was dark and snowing, he not only wanted to go out, he wanted US to go out with him to play!
Buster had been outside in the snow and came in to see why Dazzle wasn't out there. Buster's back is all black. The white specks are the snowflakes he brought in.This is a photo I took on the day he turned 6 mo old. (Jan. 29th) It's hard to judge his height though because I think his front feet were through the layer of ice and the ball wasn't.
Here's some funny photos. I bought this bed when he first arrived as a little pup. He really likes it and STILL tries to sleep in it each night. LOL
He doesn't quite fit, but doesn't seem to mind. :-)

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February 03, 2009

Conformation award photo

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I braved the blowing snow and icy wind to walk to the mailbox, since we are once again snowed in. The drifts in some places are over 10" deep on the driveway and the road. It is still snowing with about 4-5 more inches expected by this evening. Winds up to 20 mph are expected to continue as well with steadily dropping temps.
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But it was worth the trip (thankfully no falls) because the 8x10 award photo was waiting for me (as I thought it might be.) I'll frame this and hang his medals on the frame.
Intermediate class was cancelled again, as was the hair cut appointment we tried last week (when the snow/ice hit) and today. Eventually, maybe in the spring at this rate, we will get that last intermediate class done and get our hair cut :-) Next Tuesday we start a C-wags class at 7pm (with the last intermediate at 8pm) if it doesn't snow/ice again.
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Conformation photos

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Today I recieved a few of the photos I ordered from the conformation show last weekend. These are just scans of the 4x6 photos I ordered, so the quality isn't as good as the originals. I'm still waiting on the larger, posed portrait with the judges and medals we took sunday after the show. I plan to mat and frame that photo and hang his medals on it since it's his very first awards :-)
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This one is pretty cool because all 4 of his feet are off the ground!
We were turning a corner, but this is a decent trot. Because he was turning, his shoulders look lower than his butt:
He crawled up in my lap to watch the dogs in the ring behind us. I think he learned a few things because he did a much better job in the ring after he watched the other dogs! He still thinks he's little, but he's quite a lap full now!
Other than the Freestyle seminar on Saturday, we have kind of been taking a break from daily training since about Tuesday because I have been trying to get caught up on so many other things. I did, however, order a really nice working harness for him which arrived the other day. It's sized for his future adult build, so right now, it's a bit too large for him to use. But I have done a few different sessions in which I reward him for putting his head into it and for wearing it loosely. We also have done a few sessions with the crate games. But that's about it.
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Tonight (well yesterday, since once again it's past midnight :-) we had an advanced class. We worked on reminding the dogs to ignore distractions on the floor (everything from food to toys set around the ring) and then went through a rally course I set up. Since rally is my main focus right now, I'm going to set up a course each week during this class to practice on (probably separate from the advanced class.) I should be able to get a key to the building at the end of the week (or early next week) and then I can work there on whatever I want when it's conveinient. I think that will really help his obedience, rally and freestyle training! I'll be able to use play as a reward without having to worry about how distracting it is for other dogs. We will still take classes to practice around other dogs, but the private sessions will be for polishing known behaviors and learning new things.
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Today we attended a 3 hour meeting for Dog Fest and he was content to quietly chew on a bully stick for most of that time till he took a nap. We did some grocery shopping on the way home too. It's nice not having to worry about getting back home (thanks to the above freezing temps and sun) I was able to clear two tire tracks up the hill on our driveway. The whole top part is still ice, but because it's pretty flat, I haven't had any problems after I get past the little hill. They FINALLY plowed the ice off the road last night after we had a day above freezing that helped melt it a bit. So now there is more road visible than ice, which is a good thing! Of course more snow is predicted for tomorrow and temps well below freezing - oh joy.
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