September 29, 2010

Two year aniversary!

Hard to believe it's been 2 years to the day since Dazzle arrived here!  He was just a little spitfire and we have come SO far!  I'm so pleased to have him and proud of his progress.

Here's to hoping for MANY more years together!


September 26, 2010

New Title!

We were up at 6 am (ick!) to get to Dayton for an AKC Rally Obedience show.  But it was worth it!  We had a great run and would have had a 98, but the judge couldn't tell Dazzle wasn't lying down when he should have been sitting.  His elbows were about 3" to 4" off the ground (which I'm sure would not have been counted as a down if it was a down that was required) but she said she couldn't see that from her position.  So we lost 10 points each of the two times he did that for a score of 78.  I didn't re-cue him to sit because I thought it was clear he wasn't down and I didn't want to lose points for giving a second cue.  Guess that will teach me not to trust that the judge can see him :-)  And to think at one show he didn't qualify because his elbows were 1/4" off the ground and the judge didn't think that was "down".  OY! But the scores don't show up on the title certificate and *I* know it was a 98, not a 78 :-)

I had the video camera at the show and would have loved to have proof, but the video cemera operator hadn't had enough coffee so all I got was a few seconds of video of the floor. :-(  Oh well. Like I said, *I* know it was a 98 because if his elbows HAD been down, I would have given the second cue. :-)

September 18, 2010

PSA Regional

I went to watch the PSA regional competition in Cincinnati today.  Very interesting.  It is a protection based sport and is more realistic that some of the other ones I have seen.  They start with basic obedience, including heeling along a trail of toys and other objects that might tempt the dog's attention to the ground. At higher levels, there are decoys in bite suits (the same guys the dog will bite on later) walking/running right next to the working team and the dog has to ignore them.  At higher levels, it also includes a retrieve of any object- this trial, the judge used a cordless drill with the battery removed (an odd shaped, off balance and heavy unusual object).  The dog has to maintain focus on the task at hand through the sound of gun fire too. On the stay, when the handler walks away, the decoys near the dog toss toys, food and other objects near the dog to try to see if the dog will break the stay.  It was impressive to see the dogs do all this.

Then after lunch was the protection phase for those dogs that passed their obedience portion. It started with a simulated car jacking (or in this case, a truck jacking):
It's hard to see, but the handler and dog are in the vehicle when the "bad guy" approached and "asked for directions". Just as he was turning away, he came back and raised his left arm, which had a "hidden sleeve"- meaning the protective sleeve that the dog bites was hidden by clothing and was not visible as a bite sleeve. When the dog gripped the sleeve, he fired two shots (one low, one high) while yelling.  When the judge (in blue) told him to freeze, the handler cued the dog to let go and the decoy moved away.

Another interesting scenario was the long distance send from the car/van. The handler in black is approached by a decoy who said "That guy just stole my keys!" as he points to the other decoy across the field (the guy in blue is the judge and he's stationed half way across the field when the dog gets sent).  The handler sends his dog to get the second handler who is all the way across the field and waving a stick and yelling at the dog.  But this exercise has two parts.  On one send, the dog is called off from the bite half way there and on the other send the dog is expected to go all the way to engagement.  But the handler doesn't know (until the day of the competition) which order those will happen.
At the higher level, there are 2 decoys that run toward the handler at the same time.  The dog is sent to engage one (his choice I think), but the second continues on to "attack" the handler. The handler has to call the dog off the decoy that is fighting the dog to have him engage the one attacking the handler.

There is also an exercise where the dog is sent by the handler around a "blind" (hiding place for the decoy) and the decoy does something to try to deter the dog from biting.  At this competition, the decoy dumped an entire bin full of toys, balls and empty water bottles on the dog as soon as he came around the corner (most of the pile of contents is not visible in this photo). Then used the empty bin as a shield as the dog circles and looks for an opening to a leg or arm.

One exercise I didn't get a photo of was where the dog was put in the front seat of the minivan and then the handler walked to the back of the vehicle.  A decoy came up from behind the vehicle and "attacked" the handler while yelling "Stay! Stay! Stay!".  One dog did hesitate, but most didn't.

It was very exiting to watch the dogs figure out how to get the "bad guy" (only when they were supposed to), and still be listening to the handler and stop as soon as they were told (even before the bite in some cases) and be able to focus on the handler and their job around the decoys and others on the field who weren't wearing bite suits.

So if you have an opportunity to watch a PSA (Protection Sports Association) trial, definitely go! The Nationals will be held in Columbus Ohio October 16-17.

September 14, 2010

"Did I hear you say... outside?...  Ball?... Fetch?...

I think I did..."

This is what I see when Dazzle is bored and wants to go out to play fetch.  If staring at me doesn't get my attention, he tries "pointing" at me (holding a front paw up sticking straight out toward me), his most recently learned trick.  If that doesn't work, he crawls in my lap and does a big stretch, making it really hard to type (or see the TV if I'm in the living room).

If I say or use sign language for "outside" he zooms outside and waits for me to arrive with the chuck-it.  I don't use the cue unless I'm really going to go out.  If I'm not able to indulge his boredom, I tell him to lie down and relax. Sometimes this works.  Sometimes he brings me a ball, as if I maybe I didn't understand his earlier message. Sometimes he goes and bugs one of the other dogs, usually Buster.

I have created a well muscled, aerobic monster!  But he shouldn't have any problem getting the new "K-9 Fitness" badge :-) 

September 11, 2010

nature photos

Went for a drive through the park today.  It was a bright overcast day so I thought I might be able to get some decent photos.  Not as many opportunities as I had hoped, but a few. I also saw a red-headed woodpecker and a pair of young deer, but couldn't get them photographed.

There were lots of these flowers.  Not sure what they are.

I like the touch of purple the vine provides to this shot

This grouping of thistle was along the road in a large meadow

September 10, 2010

meeting night

I have had a class or a meeting almost every night this week!  Tonight was the training club's membership meeting.  Dazzle met his girlfriend Koda in the parking lot and then took a nap next to her after some play time.
He wasn't sure what Greg was doing with the camera down by the floor

But eventually he ignored them and went back to trying to nap.

September 09, 2010

Crop harvest

Another harvest and Dazzle is facinated by the big machine :-)

September 06, 2010

Labor Day- festival and photos

Today was a really beautiful day!  We went to the St Peter Festival and lost a bit of money on raffle tickets, had some delicious home baked brownies and met several nice people who admired Dazzle. The photo just doesn't do justice to the huge crowds at this event!  Wall to wall people in several places and lines for the chicken dinner were all the way around the building!

After leaving the festival I thought it was too nice to go back in the house, so I went for a drive with my little point and shoot camera and found a few photo worthy shots:

This was next to a person's mailbox and with the sun backlighting the flag and acres of field behind, I thought it was pretty.

I drove for awhile, and found myself in Batesville. There is a famous tree growing out of the court house roof, so I got a few shots of it:

While driving around, I saw the city was decked out in these double flags on all the light poles.  I just had to find one with a good back drop. It was a bright day, so the lighting isn't the best:

Happy Labor Day!

September 05, 2010

I got some video today of how I exercise Dazzle every day that the weather is not too wet. I also measured the distance.  It's about 190' when I use the entire yard, which means he's running 380' each fetch.  I typically do 20-30 throws before he (or I) get tired or hot or cold depending on weather. So between 1 and 2 miles per session and often we do more than one per day.  He's currently begging as I type this for another session! 

Today was sunny and cool and after 22 throws, he wasn't even breathing hard!  He has gained so much stamina, I'm not sure how long it would take in cold weather for him to get tired (as opposed to stopping because he's hot, which has been the case lately.) Today, even with the Chuck-it, my arm wore out before he did!

Here are a few more photos from the video.  Link to the video is below: