Sunday, June 29, 2008

Home Stretch!

Miss Kittie, Miss Kittie......had a perfect weekend at the Erie trial!! She's now at 19 double Qs, I can't even believe it. I'm running her very conseratively lately, just trying to be clean and keep all those bars up, but she still earned 83 points, woohoo!

Then there's baby dog Abby, a little of this, a little of that, but no Qs. There will probably be a whole post dedicated to my little stinker in the near future. I *need* to figure out what's going on in her little head!

No videos, the weather was crazy. Hot and sunny one minute, freezing and downpouring rain the next, didn't want to risk ruining my camera. There definitely will be video for our next trial....got to get that MACH run on film!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free Pug

Really, would anyone like a 9 year old pug? Basically healthy, other than some allergies, pk, potential knee surgery...oh, she's also prone to total freak out, temper tantrum style fits.

I'm *mostly* kidding. Yesterday afternoon, about 5 minutes before I had to drive out to the barn for practice Rudy attacked Kittie. She used to be much, much worse, but she's gotten better. Not perfect, but better. I honestly have no clue why she goes after Kittie. Rudy has had issues with other dogs, and she's tried to pick fights with Abby, but Abby just ignores her and it goes nowhere....Kittie gets afraid and Rudy seems to feed off of it. Abby jumps in when Rudy attacks her sister, so I end up with a big, messy pile of fighting pugs. Part of me wants to just walk away, let them "work this out", but how on earth can you walk away, if something happened to one of them I could *never* forgive myself. I managed to grab Rudy, Kittie and Abby were shaking, completely freaked out, covered in drool and spit, but not a mark on them.

I tossed Rudy in their room without saying a word, let Willy just have the run of the house and left for class. Abby did fine, not really mentally there, but did well considering. Kittie was a mess, ran around the first jump, *never* completed a set of weave poles, totally not like her at all. We probably should have just stayed home, but usually within a few minutes everyone is back to normal.

Rudy's the first dog I've ever even gave a thought to rehoming, but I'll never do it considering her age and potential for expensive health issues. Even though actual fights are rare, I know Kittie is walking on egg shells around her...and it's just not fair to her.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What, no trial?

No trials for us last weekend. The only trial was a little over 3 hours away, and we've been going non-stop all Spring, so we took the weekend off. I try to schedule some off time, thinking they need it, but I'm not so sure. I know I always kick myself for not entering a trial, and I think Kittie would kick me as well!

Kittie was not pleased at all! Saturday morning, she was whining, pacing and barking at me. She got over it while we were out hiking, but as soon as we got home the little terror started back. We haven't done any agility since last Wednesday and she's been moping around ever since the weekend. Abby's more go with the flow, as long as we're doing something, she's happy.

They get in such a pattern, just like us. Kittie will be happy to know we're going to practice tonight and Wednesday and we have a two day outdoor trial this weekend....she won't be so pleased when she finds out we're taking the first two weeks of July off! August & September are jam packed though.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birthday Girls

Rudy, the birthday Girl!!
Rudy and I both had birthdays this week, mine was yesterday and Rudy's was on Tuesday. Miss Rudy turned 9, and I'm now 33......we're both getting officially getting old!! I'm kidding, sort of, I can remember when anything over 30, heck anything over 25 sounded ancient. Rudy's barely slowed down at all and neither have I.

We celebrated yesterday by sleeping in, (we *never* sleep in) eating a big breakfast and spending the day in Sewickley Park.



Abby working on her handstand, Kittie and Willy are there to spot her, just in case.


The whole crew; Abby, Kittie, Rudy & Willy

More pictures Here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/westoverpugs/sets/72157605577249424/

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Three Rivers sheltie club of greater Pittsburgh trial

video

We did pretty well this weekend, Kittie Q in 3 out of 4 runs, bringing the total to 17 double Qs!!!! Just 3 more to go!!!

Abby was such a cutie this weekend, if you're going to NQ you may as well do it with some pizzazz! She had a really funny off course into the wrong end of the tunnel, she jumped *really* wide, I said tunnel, she took the first end of the tunnel she saw....good dog, I should have said "come, tunnel", she knocked the double in the same run and then was a little worried about it in JWW and standard on Sunday (that wasn't so cute), but she got it in her last run of the day. She was just flying in JWW today, 15 seconds under time!! It would have been a Q too, but I was so proud of her for taking that double, I wanted to tell her, I said "good girl" she looked up at me and ran right past the next jump, grinning from ear to ear at what a *good girl* she was and she is....we'll get it together one of these days, we're certainly have a good time trying!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Swimming

It's still hot and sticky here, so we've been spending a lot of time around the water. This is part of Frick park, which we're lucky enough to live walking distance from.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rudy & Willy: Hunter gatherer pugs

Rudy and Willy have been berry hunting for days now. From the moment they get up in the morning, it's all about berries.
Even if I'm getting their breakfast ready, it's all about berries. Yes, that's Willy trying to stick his head *under* the fence.....for more berries.
Next thing they'll be climbing up the tree for yet, more berries.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"stubborn" Breeds

Is this the picture of "stubborn"
Stubborn, difficult, spiteful, I've heard it all in regards to pugs and many other breeds and I just don't buy it. I'll start by saying pugs are the breed I know best, they're the only breed I've lived with as an adult and fully trained from puppyhood on. I work with all sorts of other breeds and various mixes, and I've done training with lots of breeds as well, but none to the degree I have with the pugs, so maybe others have different experiences to compare to working with pugs.


When I see a dog not perform as you would hope they would, I feel it's due to one of a couple of different reasons:

-1 the dog hasn't been given enough motivation to *want* to do what you're asking, the behavior has to either be so reinforcing on it's own that the dog naturally wants to do it, or we have to make it so fun they can't wait to offer it, that's our job, not the dog's job, not always an easy one, but it's our responsibility.

2- The dog doesn't fully understand his job. Often times when we train a behavior we are not 100% clear on what we want. Take the seesaw/teeter for example, what do we want the dog to actually do? Run to the pivot point, wait and run to the end? Do they really understand that, especially when the pivot point is totally different from one teeter to the next. We can't call a dog stubborn, because they run to what they believe to be the pivot point and wait, and wait, and wait.....in contrast if a dog is taught to run to the end of the teeter, ride it down and wait until they're released, that should be crystal clear, so long as you proof the behavior on a variety of equipment.

3-The dog hasn't been properly proofed. I still have issues with this one! Take the weird weave poles from last weekend, that both my dogs had trouble with and the barrels used as jump wings at the Parkersburg trial back in April. They were things that didn't even occur to me to be proofing for. When the picture is changed for the dog in any way the dog may not fully understand what to do, Kittie didn't refuse to weave last Saturday because she's a stubborn pug, she had trouble because they looked different, it was probably confusing and distracting for her. That's not their fault this is something you can train for though.

4- We are almost always different at trials than at class or at home. Even if you don't get nervous, you *are* different. I know when I'm class, I'm sitting around, chatting with friends, casually watching, when it's my turn I grab my dog out of her crate and after a real quick play session (for Kittie) we run, as opposed to at trials where you wait around for hours, then rush around to get the ring early enough that the gate steward doesn't have a fit, you're surrounded by people who are keyed up, we often get more disappointed by mistakes than we would in class where you can just try it again. The picture is different for the dogs in competition, so it's no wonder that many dogs don't perform the same, especially "green" dogs.


Even if you truly believe your dog is acting stubborn or doing something out of spite, how is that helping the situation? Instead of throwing my hands up, claiming "what do you want, it's a *pug*", I'd rather find a way to better train or motivate my dog..........Maybe I'm just more stubborn than the average pug!



Monday, June 9, 2008

Burning Up!

It's officially summer...not according to the calendar, but it's been HOT. 94 and humid!

We ran at the youngstown/gordon setter club trial this weekend. I rarely crate inside, Kittie freaks out from the moment she's in the building, so outside is best for her (and everyone else). This weekend was no exception, I leave the car totally open, with silver mesh shade cloths covering every inch. They have fans blowing on them all the time and spent the day soaking wet from frequent dips in the baby pool. Inside the building wasn't air condidtioned anyway, just huge ceiling fans that help somewhat.

Saturday we went 0 for 4, neither Kittie or Abby completed a set of weave poles, these weave poles *are* odd, the bases are very irregular, and they're black, but trimmed in white. Sunday both girls figured out those funny weave poles. Kittie got DQ #16, with 2 first places WOOHOO!!! Nothing (again) for Abby, but as I keep saying she really did run very well. Her speed was really up there, when a lot of dogs were slowing down from the heat, she had too much speed going into the weave poles on both runs on Sunday and just could get the entry, lots of dogs had the same issue. Abby really looked pretty good, we even successfully threw in a couple of rear crosses. Abby wasn't even panting after running, with that completely flat face and tiny, tiny little nose

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ouch!

Doesn't look like all that much, but man does it hurt! Two dogs basically ran me over, luckily I stayed upright, but they went right over my heel/Achilles. At the time, it hurt just a bit, then I noticed blood, then after a whole day of walking on it, with my shoe rubbing on it, it's swollen and I'm hobbling around. The plan is to rest tonight, work as usual tomorrow and then run Kittie & Abby at the Youngstown trial on Sat. & Sun. I may try to wear flip flops tomorrow just to take the pressure off of it.



My pugs go to the park every day with a group of small dogs, JB a big, puppymill rescue affenpincher, Callie a shih-tzu princess, Jake a momma's boy bichon (seriously there is no one who can come close to his mom in his eyes, I don't stand a chance) and Luka a cockapoo, who is rumored to be Abby's boyfriend are the usuals in their group. Stangely every one of these dogs was cancelled for one reason or another, so it was just my pugs today......I should have took it as a couple of hours off in the afternoon, considering my bloody, nasty heel, but I never claimed to have much sense. I realized something, that I've been suspicious of, my dogs are much, much better behaved when not with the other little dogs. They listen in the group, but they're a *lot* of work to keep in check. The park was packed as it was warm and sunny, it would have been disasterous with the whole pack, JB gets a bit worried sometimes and hides when bikes come by, Luka barks to scare off all the big dogs, Jake's just a basket case who wants his momma! (Callie, actually is pretty close to perfect, she's been coming since she was 12 weeks old.) I get stressed out, and then my dogs get stressed out.

The pugs were on perfect behavior. Abby was the welcoming commitee and the others just minded their own business. They also really seemed to enjoy having some time together without the others around. Bill and I used to always take them to the park in the morning together, I still do a couple of days a week, but I mainly just throw a tennis ball for them in the field and then they go for a quick swim if it's warm. I'm going to have to get them out on more hikes together. Some mom and pug time : )

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rain, rain go away

It's miserable here....the rain has been coming down non-stop since yesterday afternoon. It's not a nice, refreshing light rain either! I should have already left for work......yuck.

Walking dogs in this kind of weather is just awful. Half of them act like they're being tortured and refuse to move, pee or much anything else, the other half are in muddy, stinky wet dog bliss. Either way it plain old sucks. They're calling for thunder storms too, and a couple of the dogs are deathly afraid of storms, think full blown panic attack!

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cat tents.....


Are the new, super duper cool pug tent. I spotted this cat tent/bed the other day, it was so cheap I couldn't pass it up. When I brought it home and put it together I realized just how tiny it is, no way big enough for the pugs......when as soon as it hit the ground Abby made herself at home! Then a minute later, guess who squeezed herself in there too....Kittie!Rudy wants no part of it. Willy's checked it out a couple of times, but Abby is totally obsessed with the thing.......just don't tell her it's a "cat tent".

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dealing with disapointment in agility

Let me start by saying I do not handle disapointment well at all. I can't even begin to understand *why* qualifying means so, so much to me. It could have been a great run, with one tiny mistake....it doesn't matter, I'm completely deflated. I wish I knew how to put things in perspective better.....I still reward my dogs, tell them what a good job they did, but it's not the same and they know it.

On to this weekend's trial. Kittie Qd in JWW both days with a 1st and 4th placement, but no standard Qs, she ran right past the teeter on Sat. and got nervous about the judge on Sunday and actually ducked behind me to avoid him, and ended up getting a refusal....see, it really wasn't that bad, but these were mistakes I can't understand. If we're going to screw up, I prefer it to be my fault, either in my handing or lack of training. It's always easier to fix those kinds of errors in the future.

Abby was hot and cold, some runs were really nice like today's standard run, (clean, with just a table fault) and others were just terrible!