April 30, 2011

Dock Diving

SO nice of the weather to be PERFECT for the Dock Diving event today!  Dazzle had a great time playing with new friends, swimming (and swimming and swimming) and jumping off the dock. 

"What do you mean it's not my turn yet?" 

Here's a photo of him waiting for his turn to jump.  The end of the dock they were jumping off was behind the blue slide (no, the dogs didn't get to use the slide :-)
There was a nice lady there who took over 700 photos of the nearly 40 dogs that were there and those photos will get put on-line.  I'll share those once they are available.  She said she thought she got some good ones of Dazzle.

It was held at Presnell Plantation (1 sq. mile of property!) which is a VERY nice place, set up for multiple activities.  There was a bow hunting competition going on near where we were too (they were not shooting our way).  I think it might be a working farm as well.  Not sure, I only saw a small part of it as I drove in. But the lake where we were had a little cabin that was very well maintained.  It was not an "official" dock, but it worked just fine for practice.  I heard a rumor the owner might be considering the installation of a competition dock!

Dazzle had several practice jumps before they started the competition (only 2 "waves" (rounds)). Each dog gets 2 jumps per wave and the longest distance of the two is the one that counts.  Dazzle's jumps were:
(Wave 1) 16' 3" and 18' 3" (his best of the day!)
(Wave 2) 13' 6" and 15' 0" (he was clearly tired by the time we got to wave 2 :-)

All in all a GREAT day!  And I now have a tired dog! Thank-you Indy Dock Dogs!

April 29, 2011

FINALLY! Good weather!

The first day of no rain in 2 weeks!!  AND it was relatively warm AND it was sunny!  I had to celebrate by taking Dazzle to the park.  We went biking around the short path, then I let him run after his ball for a bit in a field.

 This evening was Agility practice and he did great running with Sarah, especially since I haven't made it to a practice session with him for a few months!
I tried to get other photos, but the darn digital delay caused them to either be snapped too early or too late :-(

Here are a few other photos I got today...

Trees are in bloom and the ducks are enjoying the sun.  I think even the ducks are glad it stopped raining!

Statues in the park

April 27, 2011

When will the storms end?!

I have not slept in my bed since April 16th!  ELEVEN nights of thunderstorms so far. :-(  Since Dazzle doesn't like thunder and he gets a bit snippy with the other dogs, we keep the dogs separated during thunder.  Dazzle has never bothered Bear though, so Bear also gets the special treatment (as he pretty much insists!) 

I have basically been living in the office and back half of the house since the 16th when the string of storms started.  I even ended up moving a mattress into the office!  This way I can keep the TV on and drown out some of the thunder for Dazzle.  As you can see, the dogs LOVE the idea! I woke up in a pretzel position trying to sleep around the dogs last night. :-) 
We have had record rainfall for the month so far and according to the weatherman, we will have nearly 13" of rain by Thursday (28th) when they say it might actually take a break for a few days!!

Thanks to the high winds, we have some damage to the house that also needs to get fixed and so much rain has blown in the dog door we have wood starting to rot!

Have I mentioned how much I really hate strong storms and tornado warnings!  I am SO ready for the calm warm days of summer!

April 14, 2011

Explosives detection dog?

Since Dog Scouts of America just announced their Scent Detection competition program, I decided to step up the doodling I have been doing with Dazzle's identification of (the scent of) gun powder.  Just for fun, I got a photo of him doing his "point" behavior at my desk clock (I took it outside for better light and angle):

He did this behavior on his own (a sustained pointing) when he wanted a ball.  But I haven't yet been able to get it reliably on cue so I can use it as his alert behavior.  For the seminar this past weekend, I switched to a nose touch with duration of contact, but I still want to work on getting the "point" more reliable :-)

April 11, 2011

Steve and Jen White seminar

Over this past weekend, Dazzle and I attended a 3-day seminar presented by Steve and Jen White.  They are incredible people and I felt like I really learned a LOT!  Friday was the scent work seminar and while it got a bit off-track and we didn't really follow the planned power point, I do think it was very helpful and Dazzle and I made progress.  After the seminar, Dazzle had a chance to play with the new scent wall at Posidog in Columbus:
The wall has 3 holes per panel connected to pipes on the back side that hold the scent item and allow a tennis ball or thin tug toy to be delivered to the dog when the dog finds the hole with the scent.  Distraction scents can be put in the tubes as well (one had a tennis ball in it).  The tubes can be moved around so that the scent can be placed at different holes/levels.  Dazzle did well locating the target scent and thought the ball dispensing wall was awesome! 

We had working spots on Friday for the "Reliable Scent Work for the Real World" and on Saturday for the "Raising the bar" session.  I have SO much to work on now :-)  I was reminded of just how much a behavior can get broken down into smaller components.  And that several other factors (like accuracy, speed, latency, etc.) need to be worked on separately along with the usual 3D's (distance, duration, distraction) when raising criteria.

Sunday we had an observer spot for the "problem solving" session and Dazzle got to spend more time in his "convertible".  Here is his typical pose when people were practicing- resting his head and watching what was going on: 

When it was just lecture, he laid down and went to sleep.  The top can be zipped closed, but he prefers it to be open.  If there was anything that caught his attention, he would "meer cat" through the top to check it out :-)

I worked on some new training plans and found Steve is right (big surprise! :-) "The training plan only lasts till first contact with the dog" because once we started working, I found I needed to modify my carefully laid out plan to meet Dazzle at his level (either easier or at a higher level than I thought he would start).

There was a big group photo taken on Sunday, but I don't have it from Chad/Sarah yet.

April 04, 2011

Belated March 31st snow photos

I took these on March 31st while visiting in Cleveland.  Hard to believe it's Spring when the snow is piling up outside! 

Thankfully it didn't stick around long.

Now we have thunderstorms and potential tornadoes to deal with, but at least it's getting warmer.

Dazzle got his CD title!

This past weekend, we were in Medina for an obedience trial and Dazzle earned the CD (Companion Dog) title. Four trials were offered (2 each day) and we entered them all. 

Trial 1- Dazzle had a beautiful run for the on lead heeling pattern, Figure 8 heeling, stand for exam, of-leash heeling and recall (I think that was everything :-)  Then we went in with the other dogs in his class (Novice) and did the off-leash group exercises (1 minute sit stay and 3 minute down stay) with the owners across the ring. While on the sit stay, Dazzle started to sniff the floor around him and then sank into a down literally FOUR seconds before the judge called "return to your dogs".  I couldn't believe it!  That meant the entire run was non-qualifying!  Four freakin' seconds!!  Then I found out we would have gotten High in Trial with the highest score of ALL the obedience dogs of all the different levels in that trial!!  AAAGGGGHH!  I've never gotten a HIT award, but really would have liked to have it!  Oh well.  I still loved his run and was very happy with how well he did.

Trial 2- After waiting around for the other competitors to finish (Novice was the last class of the day), Dazzle was bored and tired and cranky and his run was not nearly as pretty and focused and crisp as his morning run.  But he didn't try to take it out on his leash and he did stay with me and did as I asked and he remained in the sit on the stay :-)  We qualified with a 185 and took first place (others were having trouble too, so we had the highest of the lower scores :-) A dog in a different class scored higher and got the HIT award.

Trial 3 and 4 on Sunday Dazzle was really "on" both shows and had wonderful runs!  He had a few crooked sits we need to work on, but scored a 194.5 and a 194 taking a third place in trial 3 and a 2nd place in trial 4.  
Over all I was VERY happy with how he did and I'm glad that is out of the way so now I can concentrate on teaching him the fun stuff for the next level (directed jumping, dumbbell retrieves, scent work, etc.)