Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's Bill

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/dailyphotogallery/?d=2009-12-30

Scroll through if you don't see Bill on his bike.....who needs hands while riding through city traffic?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Indy A frame training

video



Just a quick video of Indy's A-frame progress. Almost at full height now. Interesting that the best ones I'm a bit ahead of her, which is great because that's where I want to be anyway!

Just to be clear I did not use Silvia's method for the A frame (I did for the dogwalk) Indy's A frame was just a very gradual process, moving it up to full height inch by inch since the summer. I use a manners minder to deliver a treat, and a clicker and treats or play directly from me. She naturally vaults over the top. In this video 100% are in, but 1 was a bit high. Overall I'm thrilled!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

More notes

Better late than never right!

Puppies:
-tug is good, but don't forget running
-put running on cue
-Whenever your puppy is playing with other dogs, try to put yourself in the picture, run around with them.

Restrained recalls, do them two different ways
-Go, take off running and throw toy ahead of you as puppy catches up
- Also keep puppy close to you and reward at your side when they catch up. Also work on front crosses and reward at your side.

spend the most time on whichever one is the weakest.

If the puppy gets distracted first try running away from them, if needed have *someone else* go and get the puppy, you shouldn't ever be the bad guy.

Running contacts

#1 Make your dog run fast on the ground to something, whatever the dog loves. Food, toy even an obstacle like a tunnel. You can start by throwing the toy, but progress to the dog really running to a stationary toy/food.

#2 Take a picture of dog really running- that is how the dog should look on the dogwalk; head in a neutral position, legs split.....think of the way your dog looks chasing a squirrel!

#3 Run over a plank (should be wide and flat on the ground, so the dog doesn't have to worry about falling off) click when your dog looks like that picture of them really running.

In the beginning, don't be too picky about coming all the way down, the dog running is the most important thing, jack pot the low hits.

Gradually raise the plank up, just inches at a time

Don't reward jumping or trotting across the plank, in the beginning it is okay to reward the dog striding over the contact when running, but not okay to reward jumping and making the contact.

You very gradually start to reward specific low hits and/or foot placement.

a dog that has done a lot of clicker work, for tricks using front feet is more likely to understand they are being clicked for the way their front feet are hitting the plank.

Tricks

Silvia teaches a ton of tricks, mainly free shaped using a clicker. She teaches a "puppy class" that all dogs, regardless of age must take before starting agility and doing many of these tricks is a requirement to take agility.

Sit up/sit pretty. this progresses to the dog moving their front paws while sitting up, as well as moving their back feet while sitting up (like a penguin)

2 on 2 off Free shape the dog to put their back feet on an object, this progresses to moving backwards to step up on the object. Gradually move to higher and higher objects until the dog is doing a handstand

Circle an object with front feet, this is how Silvia teaches heeling

Jump in lap

Jump over leg

hold front/rear foot in the air...hold right/left side legs up.....hold left/right diagonal legs up

sit up to a stand and back to sit up position

backwards figure 8 around your legs

walk with a limp (front and rear foot)

put all 4 feet in a bowl, move to a smaller and smaller bowl

All of these tricks teach body awareness, how to think, offer behaviors. After all this agility should seem easy!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Notes from Advanced Handling

This is my take on the seminar, I'm sure others came away with different ideas, or at least a different emphasis.

Like I said yesterday, the courses were very tight and twisty, but manageable. Everyone had plenty of working time. There were a lot of auditors (this was true for all sessions).

-Don't stop for mistakes, especially when the dog is running fast

-Do stop to fix mistakes on weaves poles and contacts, this is an obstacle performance/training issue.

-Silvia heavily proofs contacts and weaves from the very beginning, in the first sessions of weave training (using channels, with either food or a toy placed at end) , she works on standing still, running ahead, moving laterally. Same with contacts.

-Work to develop something that really motivates the dog, it doesn't matter what (toys, food, even using an obstacle like a tunnel), but the dog needs to be crazy for it.

- You can't have a focus problem if the dog is motivated by something, more likely the dog just doesn't know where he's going/what's expected, or the dog isn't motivated enough by what you are using.

- don't watch your dog. really run, look the direction you are going, even a turn of your head to look back can send the dog to an off course.

- Silvia teaches very tight turns, with a cone and a verbal cue, then a jump standard or wing, she uses trees while out walking too. The direction is supported by motion (some just teach one verbal for a tight turn for either direction, silvia uses two different cues; cik, cap). Her cue means her dogs should run straight ahead to find a jump and wrap tightly around it, obviously there needs to be some collection to do this, but she leaves how much up to the dog, this is independent of her motion.....she could be racing up to the jump, using a verbal cik, cik, cik and the dog is trained to collect as much as needed to wrap the jump. This one skill was probably the most conflicted with how I currently handle/ train my dogs (using Linda's system). I don't think it's as necessary for a typical course run in the US, but it do see how it could be very useful. My friend also pointed out that it may be easier for a person new to agility to teach. Linda's method of teaching jumping and collection can be hard to really understand at times, and I think it's helpful to be able to picture the final result when teaching for it to really make sense. One could teach Silvia's method without really understanding the final picture.

- Like Linda's method, Silvia said several times, "run in the right direction", sounds obvious, but really put this in practice, even on very tight courses.

I'll write more later on tricks, puppies and contacts

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Silvia Trkman Seminar

We're back from three days at Silvia's seminar held at the Queen city dog training club.

It was a great experience, we learned a lot and we were really challenged!

I've heard over and over how hard the courses are at her seminars, they're international style courses, which do not resemble AKC courses at all. They're very tight....no room to even move tight, with turns, turns and more turns. I wasn't too worried about running the courses correctly, typically my dogs can get through most courses (bars and contacts are the only issues), notice I said "get through", Silvia's focus is all about running the absolute tightest line possible, even dogs that I felt while watching did run tight, were wide by Silvia's standards. I mainly ran Abby......Abby runs wide by anyone's standards, so it was not easy for us. I'll admit I was feeling pretty frustrated. I wasn't sure if I was asking for more than Abby could give me. She can get frustrated and confused and I mentally lose the connection with her and I felt like this was happening. Boy was I surprised, her last run of day one, was actually quite good and both runs on the second day were an improvement on the first. She ended really well, and this left me wondering what Abby's really capable of?? I've fallen into a pattern and I've really become complacent in many areas, thinking the pugs just can't do certain things. I don't know that Abby could, jumping 12", but at 8" I think it's a very different game for her.

Indy had a working spot in the contacts seminar, and she did very well. Her first time over the dogwalk took me by surprise, she's inexperienced and wasn't too sure about their dogwalk and was really slow and careful, but after that she did very well. Getting faster with each run. She made every contact, even when I pulled sharply to the right to get the far side of the tunnel, and Silvia thought she shouldn't have any problems and really understands the behavior. what a relief, it's a great feeling when you spend 7 months running on a plank that you accomplished what you were looking for! Indy's worked a little bit on a low A frame, Silvia wants me to over about 3 sessions move it up to full height.

The tricks seminar was fantastic, Indy did great. She consistently worked for a long, long time with a lot of distractions. We got some great tips for improving and building on what we have, and some ideas for new things to work on.

I'll write some more specifics later from my notes on the seminar.

I would definitely recommend going to her seminars if given the chance, just be ready for a challenge.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tiny bubbles


It's been way too long since I've posted anything at all. Lots going on to keep me busy.

Here's the readers digest version:

Kittie can drop almost as many 4" jumps as 8"....amazing huh? What do you do with the dog that loves agility more than anything, but just can't do it?? She's in semi-retirement mode at this point. We'll see, she runs better on turf and we have two weekends coming up running on turf. She has fun!

Abby's been good, not too many trials but showing some maturity lately....she even stayed on the table, what a girl!

Indy's 1 yr. old now, I can't even believe it. She's doing great with agility, is a great weaver, dogwalk is at full height, I ended up teaching her both a running and a stopped contact. We're focusing mostly on running, but the stop is a good back up plan, just in case or to use on certain courses. Her A frame is almost there, at this point she looks like she's in a big air competition flying up over the apex.

Rudy's healthy and as wild as ever, and Willy's doing great too.


Here's a quick video of Indy taken back in the summer.
video

Friday, September 11, 2009

AKC Advisory recommendations

Earlier this week the AKC announced their list of recommended changes, that will be voted on in the near future. Some are good, some I really couldn't care less about and others are just silly (in my opinion).

I like the idea of the "position less" table, all the dog needs to do is get on, as soon as all 4 feet hit the table the count begins. I've lost a lot of time while Kittie slowly slinks into a down, then takes another second to get her elbows all the way down, and the judge takes yet another couple of seconds to decide, yes she really is down. 24" weave poles I'm all for.....although this may mean I'll be buying yet another set of weave poles (anyone need a set of 22" poles?). I love the idea of a true preferred agility Ch, not just a PAX. A PAX doesn't require any speed points, the PACh will have the same requirements of a MACh, 20 QQ and 750 points. It's nice to be able to have a goal to work towards.

The lower A frame for 8" dogs.......I won't be very popular with a lot of small dog people, but I'm just not for it. I've seen some dogs have trouble with the A frame, but I really believe any sound dog, that has been properly trained and conditioned can safely do a 5' 6" A frame. The little dogs have enough trouble being taken seriously in the sport as it is, we don't need yet another reason to be viewed as silly little lap dogs who can't really run. For those who have trouble with a 5'6" frame there are other venues that offer a 5' A frame, like NADAC. Maybe as a compromise lower it for preferred dogs of all heights????

There is a venue for almost any dog/handler, some are very challenging and competitive others are strictly for fun, it's great to have all those options, but we don't need to make things easy in every venue.

No multipliers for points, I don't much care. It's fun to get extra points with a placement, but it won't make a difference. It will make qualifying for nationals a lot tougher, but that's okay too. Every dog doesn't need to qualify for nationals. If you trial a lot and are reasonably consistent, you will qualify for nationals as things are right now, without the multipliers Kittie may not have qualified some years, and that's okay. It should really mean something to be able to compete at an event like nationals.

Things I would have liked to see: A break-away tire, if you have ever had or watched a dog get hung up on the tire you know this is a serious safety issue. There also needs to be something done with the teeter, it should be consistent and fair to all dogs running.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hip Dysplasia

There has been a lot of interesting information about hip dysplasia coming out recently. This blog has a nice summary, and I love the fact that she stresses the importance of keeping dogs in proper condition.

CHF notes on hip dysplasia – “Current Concepts Regarding Canine Hip Dysplasia” by Peter Vogel

I would love to see more information on luxating patellas, like HD it is also a polygenic trait, but it almost always seems to cause pain and effects the dog's quality of life.

Way to Go Gus

Indy's littermate got his first major!!! We think he's pretty cute!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back in novice

Kittie & Abby were entered in a 3 day trial over the weekend. I decided to move Kittie to preferred, so she can keep doing agility since she loves to run so much, but not have to worry about the jumps. I moved Abby too, just to see if there's any difference between jumping her at 12" vs 8" since she's so close to the height cut off.

Kittie loves jumping 4", it still seems kind of silly to me, I mean there's virtually nothing to jump! It is pretty fun though, Kittie's running full out, in complete extension the whole time. She's been different to handle, so I feel like I'm learning through the process.

Abby left me pretty confused and upset this weekend. The first run, was as I expected it to be, clean and fairly fast. She was just a second slower than Kittie. Second run, she took a couple of tries to get the poles, by the 3rd run of the weekend (2nd day) she was pretty much falling apart. We're not sure if it's stress related, or some type of mild injury. It's just so confusing, almost her entire agility career, has been like this. She's either running amazingly well, or falling apart, there's no inbetween (in class and trials), so it's hard to know what to do. she's entered 2 days next weekend, and I'm not sure if she'll be running. I'll have the chiropractor look at her, otherwise I just don't know what to do.....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our first dogs

For anyone who has trained several dogs, and looked back at how you began, it's inevitable to stop and wonder , "How did (fill in the blank, first dog's name) do it?"

Willy was the first dog I trained for agility, Rudy and Kittie quickly followed before I was even competing with Willy, so they all pretty much started together. We didn't have jumps for the longest time, just 6 stick in the ground weave poles, no contact equipment of any kind, not even a training plank. We had no contact criteria of any kind, just run down the contact, screech to a halt at the target that no one ever really trained them to touch and get a cookie. My poor dogs had never even seen a wing jump, panel or broad jump until their novice debut, yet they did OK. Kittie managed to walk away after her first trial (3 days at the IX center in Cleveland) with her NAJ and 1 0r 2 legs toward her NA, thinking back, she must have been pretty slow, how else could we have managed?

Kittie's the only one of my original dogs still running, and she certainly has limitations due to her start and lack of foundation training, but she's come a long way and tried to make up for her limitations with enthusiasm!

When Abby started I had more experience, but still no where near enough. I really let Abby's wild enthusiasm push things along way too fast, and didn't proof each step enough. She's a really fun dog to run and certainly keeps me on my toes.

And now there's little Indy. The focus with her has been foundation, lots and lots of work on her foundation, and I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised lately. Thanks to months of foundation work, she's understanding things practically before I teach them to her, if that makes any sense.

We're taking our time with contacts. Her dogwalk is coming along nicely but for the first time ever, I'm actually nervous about training a running contact. I love Indy's teeter, she's been on different teeters, on different surfaces and she's handling it all really well.

I just started her jump training, and I have a new problem.....she has yet to hit a bar, not a bad thing by any means, but typically in their early training you can use the occasional knocked or ticked bar to teach them that it's important to keep bars up, just by withholding a treat. Still, I think I'll take no knocked bars over lots of them any day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Night at the ballet

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre holds an outdoor performance at Hartwood acres every August, we missed it the past few years, but it was held on Thurs. this year, so we rushed out after work.

The really fun thing about this is dogs can come too, so We brought Rudy and Indy. The differences between a 10 yr old and an almost 10 month old are huge. Rudy just wanted to be left alone pretty much, and honestly wasn't acting like herself, she told off just about every dog there, but she's not very loud, so if you're not watching her shake her head every which way, you could easily miss it. Rudy typically doesn't bother with other dogs much, unles they something with her, then look out!! Indy was her flirty, silly self. Making doe eyes at a big dog sitting near us, playing with kids, even if she did try to steal their frisbee! She actually watched the perfomance for a few minutes and neither dog made a peep.

Unfortunately it got rained out, so it was a short night, but really good socialization for Indy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

River Dogs

This weekend we took the younger dogs (Kittie, Abby & Indy) to Roaring Run watershed, for a *long* hike along the river. I hate not taking everyone, but we knew this would be a long day and it's not good for Rudy to be out walking that far. She's fine on hikes an hour & a half or less, but more than that and she starts to get sore. It's a good thing, I didn't check the time while we were out, but realized that we were out for a little over five hours.


Abby loves to swim and she gets better at it every year.


The littel daredevil makes me nervous though, she gets in the water and just goes!!!


She does the same thing they do on the trails if Bill and I get any space between us, she swims back and forth, keeping an eye on both of us.

Indy just loves Abby, she's never far from her big sister.....whether Abby likes it or not.






Time for more swimming!

Indy's a natural in the water, but still isn't too sure about all that wet stuff.





She's happier on the dry land.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

All things electronic and mechanical are out to get me

Let's see, in the past week

My work car
computer
printer
camcorder

Have all brushed very close to death, the car was ultimately saved, the computer will be going into retirement mode, printer will be replaced and I'm hoping once the computer is replaced the camcorders issues will be sorted out. (Video is loading choppy, and freezing up!).

Now to decide, PC or MAC? I don't know anyone with a MAC that doesn't love it, but PCs are so cheap in comparision. Decisions, decisions

I have some cute video clips of Indy I wanted to share, of her backwards circles around my legs (cute!), her future David Lettermand stupid pet trick, blowing bubbles with her nose into a bowl of water, and her almost fully closed weave poles, not bad for 9 months old!! The videos play on the camera, but won't upload correctly.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Running Contacts

This site is especially good, if you're looking to avoid getting anything else done with your day. Lots of great posts and videos for training true running contacts.

http://www.running-contacts.com/rcblog/

Monday, August 3, 2009

Broken, chipped & Fractured teeth!!!

Abby's sad just thinking about it.

My gang generally have pretty clean teeth, for pugs (who are not known for their great teeth), but several have had teeth just break off at the gumline, and now Abby has what appears to be a fractured tooth. She's going in to the vet to have it checked out tomorrow.

What I'm wondering is WHY are their teeth just crumbling? They do spend a lot of time chewing, mostly on raw marrow bones. I like them because their is no chance of choking, but cracked teeth aren't a good trade off.

Friday, July 31, 2009

So my dogs make funny noises


Get over it all ready.


Every agility class I've been to has a somewhat different vibe. Some are all business, some very cliquish, some will chat it up the whole hour if given the chance.


Kittie, Abby and I decided to switch nights, same location & instructor, but a different group and totally different vibe. This ended up being the 99% traditional agility dog group. Dogs that bark, and don't scream, proper agility dogs apparently should not scream, or take treats like starved wolves.


I know all of these people, have for years...just have never been in class with them as a group. It felt like the entire topic of conversation revolved around how "troll-like" my dogs are........ They weren't even particularly noisy. Abby gets scared if big dogs get too close to her crate, and Kittie goes berserk right before she runs, they sound kind of funny. I expect people who have never heard them to comment, but really after five or so years, can't people just get over it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Must....make...myself

I'm sitting here this morning, just staring at entry forms, with "preferred" on them. It is so hard to wrap my head around jumping Kittie at 4"

What if she doesn't even see the jumps, and just runs full speed ahead into them....seriously, if you know Kittie, you know that could happen!

I may put Abby in Nov. P as well, and just work her back up to excellent too. I'm curious how she'll do at 8", unlike Kittie, she's just past the height cut-off, so it's a big jump for a stocky little pug.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This and That

I just have no time to post lately, I'll put the blame on Indy. She keeps me busy!

Here's a quick run down of what we've been up to:

Kittie will be moving to preferred, it's just the best move for her.....and my mental health. There is nothing worse than running course after course beautifully, with one or two knocked bars. She has more than enough points for her MACH 2, but the DQs just aren't coming, we need to have fun again.

She was invited to the invitational again, ranked #1.....with a completely embarassing points total for the year. Between taking off most of the Winter, only doing a few trials over the summer and knocking dozens of bars she ended up with less than 500 points for the year. As fun as the invitational is, we'll be skipping it and waiting to watch it from home. We'll save the money to put it towards Indy's education fund!

Abby couldn't run at the last trial, she was off all week, and by the end of the week before the trial she wouldn't even come up the stairs. I think she hurt her back. She saw a chiropractor, and rested up, she seems back to herself now.

Indy went to her first agility lesson last week. Instead of group classes, I'm mainly working with her myself and taking periodic private lessons. We're starting weave poles (2X2), her dogwalk contacts are looking great (Silvia's method), I'm loving her teeter, she charges straight to the end, crouches down and stays until released. We're working on foundation work for front and rear crosses, and forward and lateral sends. I'm pleased as can be with how she's doing!

Rudy's healthy, just waking up earlier and earlier for some reason lately. And Willy's....well, Willy. He's the laid back guy who prefers to hang out at home, living in a house of crazy girls.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Gang in black & White

OK, so most of these are bit out of focus and I really need to really learn to use my camera, but how funny are the expressions on Abby and Kittie's faces?!



Kittie's always happy when she's on the move

Abby just has the dreamiest expressions



Is it possible for dogs to be camera shy? Indy just does not like the camera at all, maybe because she associates it with sitting still?? The only good shots I get of Indy are with the 12X zoom.

We all had a nice hike in North Park, then a relaxing night of grilling some food.....and the fireworks began, it seemed like it went on forever. It was a beautiful night, but the windows were all shut, in an attempt to block out the noise. Abby was really stressing out, luckily the others only seem slightly annoyed with the commotion.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Website

I finally (almost) finished my business website. www.adogslifepgh.com and yes there are some pug pics on it too!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mature......Abby?????

Could it be that my little eternal puppy Abby is actually beginning to mature a bit? She's been doing better and better at trials lately, she seems to be paying attention much better, has a great understanding of my cues. She even (gasp) stayed on the table 3 out of the last 4 standard runs!

At the other end of the spectrum, I have Kittie.....I'm so close to moving her to preferred and jumping her at 4". I'm just having a hard to with it, it doesn't feel like "real" agility, it feels like so many of the goals in competing will be gone. She loves agility, she seems to love it more and more every day, and she gets better and better, but her bar knocking just gets worse and worse. I can keep her in reg. and NQ most of the time from a knocked bar, but the Qs we get will be working towards her MACH 2, qualifying for nationals and the invitational......or I can more her to preferred and most likely qualify A LOT, work towards a PAX and just have fun.

I will be so mortified if I move her down and she knocks just as many bars.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Abby & Indy "get packed"

I try to free-shape different behaviors and simple little tricks on a regular basis. This is their latest trick. It took Abby about 3 minutes to figure out, and Indy about 5, only because she was complicating the whole thing by offering everything we've been working on lately. She tried to back up into the suitcase, side step into it, get in and play bow, very cute and very hard to not reward!

video

video

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When To Spay?

Indy's almost 8 months old now, and I still haven't made the appointment to spay her. It's just so confusing about when is the right time. Personally, I'd prefer to just have it done ASAP and be done with it, no going through a heat cycle, no having to keep her home when she'd much rather be going on adventures in the park and coming along to agility trials, but I certainly don't want to cause her any harm, or damage her structure in any way. It's much easier with males, just wait until their growth plates are closed, but it's trickier and more complicated with females.

www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html A good read on the subject

Rudy was spayed at about 7 1/2 months, the others were being shown, so they were all over a year old by the time they were spayed/neutered. I really can't say if it made a difference one way or the other, since they're from such drastically different lines.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Linn Run State Forest

We drove *2 hours* yesterday to go hiking somewhere new, Bill had been mountain biking at Linn Run before, he thought it was about 45 minutes....he was a just a little off! Oh well, it was a pretty drive at least.

Indy, the little white blur/forest creature. She looks so out of place, yet perfectly at home on the trails.

Some pretty Waterfalls


The one and only Kittie
Looking more and more grey these days, but not slowing down one bit!



Indy & Rudy



Willy, Indy, Abby & Kittie


Abby girl

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Confession Time

I can't pick up Indy................

Every once in a while, I can, or if she figures out I'm playing a game where I pick her up, give her a cookie and put her back down, she'll play along (most of the time). It's not that she won't come, her recall is great, just don't pick her up when she'd rather be doing something else, or she'll get all miffed. Part of the issue is she really, really wants me to play with chase with her, I have never chased her, ever! But, she so desparately wants to play this game she takes most attempts to pick her up as a good time to try to start a nice game of catch the pap......She's done this for a while, but I always figured it would pass on it's own, like most puppy phases, but this has really stuck around, so we'll probably be spending many of her meals with me picking her up, feeding her a few bites, putting her down, picking her up, feeding her etc. I'll be keeping my pockets stuffed with treats to randomly pick her up and feed her too.
She keeps me on my toes!

Pugs at the three rivers sheltie Club trial

Well, I'm not even sure how to feel about this weekend.

Kittie's running better and better all the time, faster, nice turns, just really connected......but there was at least one dropped bar in every single run. So she did good, and bad at the same time. She's just so much fun to run, even with the bars crashing around her.

Abby's run were a mix, mostly good though! with dropped bars....oh well, that's runing with my girls!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seminar

Just a cute pic of Abby girl


This past weekend Abby and I attended a seminar put on by Maria Duthie (http://www.annisage.com/) I've been nervous to go to her seminars, but figured why not...and I really wanted her opinion on what jump height is best for Abby. She just measures out of the 8" class, and being a pug, she's not ideally built for jumping.

In these seminars you learn a variety of massage techniques, (which I'm awful at doing), proper warm up and cool down techniques and Maria watches your dog pefrom the A frame, teeter, weave poles and jumps.

Her A frame isn't bad, could be improved with the use of hoops on both sides and possibly a foot target coming of the frame. She powers up quite nicely, rather than pulling herself up with her front, but does come off and land a bit hard on her front. the hoops and foot target would help her run straight through the contact.

Her teeter, isn't too bad either. Just as I already knew she's not shifting her weight back enough as it hits and she's jumping as hits the ground, probably to avoid the shock/vibrations coming through the board.

Weave poles, Maria said she would not change a thing, Abby has perfect form going through the poles and great speed, she thinks the only reason she pops out sometimes is she's in such a rush to just move on to the next thing. Maria generally likes channels for teaching weave poles, but will probably use 2 X 2s for her new puppy, she said all the dogs she's seen taught with 2 X 2s have nice footwork, speed and very good entries.

Jumping, Abby has great jumping form at 8" but really doesn't know how to properly jump at 12" Maria thinks Abby will be just fine jumping 12" after a bit of re-training.

Now to make sense of some of these things. She recomends doing jump grids
3 jumps set 4' apart at 8" for now and then a 12" jump a bit farther away, you keep changing that last jump. I'm trying to see what I can do to use this technique, but not confuse the cues for collection/extension. Maria feels it doesn't matter, because this isn't about "handling" it's about teaching jumping.......

Friday, June 5, 2009

Still Alive

We're still around, just very, very busy. Been spending every free minute, playing, hiking, training and helping out my mom, who just moved to Pittsburgh.

Indy's 7 months now, and so much fun!! she's getting big too, almost as tall as Kittie. Rudy's nice and healthy, along with the rest of the pack.

Here's some recent pics from a hike:

Typical Indy, running full speed towards me, she can just change direction, mid stride! Boing!!!

Do you see the tennis ball?

Monday, April 20, 2009

POTC Agility Trial

Bill, the whole pack and I headed to Zanesville, OH for the weekend.

I can say I was very consistent this weekend....consistently screwing up!

Here's the run down;
Abby- I still truly don't know what to make of her. She ran 4 times, two were very nice runs, with just one little thing preventing us from Qing (the table and a knocked bar on the triple), but she was happy, focused and had nice speed through the whole run. The other runs were total train wrecks, I took her off course while I was still smiling and laughing at her in one, and the other I tried to muddle though, as she ran around half the jumps and generally just wasn't connected at all. I just can't seem to reach a point where I understand running her.

Kittie- She managed to either NQ from something silly, like running around the far side of the tire???? or she dropped bars. she was pretty slow too.....there were several hold ups before her last run of the weekend, and you just can't do that to Kittie, she just wilts away the longer she has to wait, she comes out of her crate roaring to go, but give her a minute and she'll fall apart. She's such a bizarre, stressy little dog. Our next trial is in May, 3 days outside, she should be happier.

This was Indy's first time really traveling and staying in a hotel and she did great, slept the whole night in her crate without making a peep.

I discovered something this weekend, people who have never spoken to me in the 5 or so years that I've been trialing, all of a sudden talk to me.....ever since the addition of Indy! I thought maybe it was because she's a puppy, and puppies are irresistible, but no, Abby was at trials as a puppy. I don't know if this is a matter of certain people treating you different when you run a non traditional breed, but it sure feels like it.

I'm not complaining, it's great for Indy. She's met so many people and has been introduced to so many nice dogs, and because of this, trials are like a trip to Disney for her....but it would have been nice for Abby when she was a little thing too.

I've recieved a lot of nice compliments about Indy, she's so high energy and spunky. She's such a ham, it's hard to not notice her!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poor Indy

Indy was attacked by an off leash dog today. I'm just so upset......We live near a very nice park, I walked the girls over there today, and as soon as I got to the bottom of the steps that lead to the park I saw this big black dog, that I just didn't like the looks of, it was off leash, just too wild and out of control and the owner was yelling at it, so we all hung way back, waiting for them to pass.

This dog came charging at us and threw itself on top of Indy. She started screaming immediately, then I started screaming and kicking the dog, and grabbed it by the back of it's neck. Rudy, Kittie and Abby were standing behind me at this point (thank god) I scooped Indy up, and then started freaking out at the owner who had the dog by collar at that point.....this idiot was trying to claim that her dog was "trying to play", I lost it, there's just no excuse for that! She never even asked if Indy was okay!! As she started walking off she let the dog go and it came back and tried to go for Abby....Abby told the dog off and it left.

I didn't see any cuts on Indy anywhere, and wanted to just get away and play with her, feed her some treats etc....just distract her from what had just happened.....she wouldn't/couldn't even walk, wouldn't take food, was soaked in pee and poop and her gums were pure white. We ran home, and I got her to the vet, luckily she's just very sore, has some inflammation in her neck and chest. The vet said she went in shock from fear....poor thing thought that she was done for.

She's still not herself, she's shaking in her sleep and whimpering when you pick her up, the vet said she could be a little more sore tomorrow. I've put so much work into socializing her, getting her around lots of nice dogs of all sizes...she's been such a confident, fearless, friendly little thing, she's only 5 pounds! I just hope she bounces back from this....Why are people so stupid. This is a very crowded park, I don't let my own dogs off leash in this section of the park and they're so well trained to be off lead it's ridiculous.

It's so hard trying to socialize tiny dogs, you don't get them out and about and the end up yappy little things, you bring them out into the world and idiots like this can destroy them...literally, she could have been killed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

non-existent table criteria?

Could it really be possible that Abby really does not know or is unable to stay on the table when she's approaching it with some speed?

I finally have a real agility table in the backyard, reg. 8" height. I did some playing around yestersday with Abby, I wanted to build up a bit of speed, so I would send her to a tunnel, a jump or whatever and race her to the table, with just slight deceleration, and an opposite arm to cue her to collect. If she slid off, I did nothing, no praise, no correction, just nothing, if she stayed on (in any postion) I'd give her a huge jackpot, treat after treat after treat and just gush over her like she did the best thing ever. After several attempts at this, I'm coming to the conclusion that she really has no idea how to do this. Sure she had some good ones, but I didn't see any improvement.....there's always work to be done!

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Easter Story

A local shelter was having pet photos with the Easter Bunny yesterday. This isn't your ordinary shelter, it's one of those new shelters that's nicer than most people's homes, with a pet boutique, classes to teach you how to massage your cat, there's walkking trails and fenced in play areas too. I took Indy figuring it would be good for socialization. I walked in to see dogs everywhere!! It was crazy, little dogs, big dogs even a cat or two! We were # 76, they were on # 52, I thought it would go pretty quick, but an hour came and went. I wouldn't have stayed that long just for Indy's moment with the bunny himself, but she was having a ball, the little social butterfly that she is! She loves all dogs! Not much scares her.

It finally was our time, we went in to see the bunny....and Indy was terrified of him!! I don't think it helped when he took the bunny head off! The whole day was like a scene from A Christmas Story, except Easter.

So, I learned Indy's doing really well with her socialization....but I really need to get her around more giant man sized rabbits, : )

The photos will be sent to us, I don't have high hopes for them.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jay Sisler Home Movies Part 1

Need some ideas for new behaviors to train? These videos are loaded with all sorts of stuff....apparently Jay sisler used pancakes to reward his dogs, you got to love that!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

That's the girl I know


Took the pups to see Maria, for their monthly massage appointment yesterday........First Rudy announced her arrival by screaming in the car, then I had to fight with Rudy to let Maria touch her, it took her probably half her 30 minute appt. to finally give in and just relax, then she started with Jamie's dogs, then she wanted to wrestle with Indy while Kittie was trying to just relax.......yep, that's my girl. Her motto "tooth and nail, fight all the way".
She's such a loveable jerk!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Big Plan

I want to put together a list of tricks, skills, cues etc for Indy. Things she already knows, things I'm in the process of teaching, plans for the future. It's basically for myself, just to help keep me on track and focused, but I thought I would share it....this way anyone who feels like it can call me on anything I'm not living up to!

At 5 months
* = skills already understood * = skills partially taught * = skills we haven't started


Basic behaviors & Tricks


  1. sit *

  2. down *

  3. come when her name is called *

  4. wait to be released from all open doors & her crate *

  5. 1,2,3,4 lift each paw on cue *

  6. perch work *

  7. step backwards onto any (appropriate height) object (this leads to teaching handstands) *

  8. cover face with paw *

  9. put all feet in small bowl *

  10. ride a skate board *

  11. walk backwards *

  12. weave through legs *

  13. weave backwards through legs *

  14. run and pounce front feet on target *

  15. left & right directional cues *

  16. walk in heads up heel position *

  17. handstand *

  18. sit up/beg *

  19. cover face with both paws *


Agility specific things - the only agility specific things we've started are the teeter with me holding the end, she's doing really well and loves it! The table, again I'm really pleased with her, we've started recall to heel exercises.



  1. Have full understanding of postional cues

  2. teach jumping using Linda's foundation work

  3. teeter- run to the end, crouch down and wait until board hits the ground and move

  4. Contacts-Silvia's method. (With full ability to turn using direction cues, and fully independent of my position)

  5. Table- get on, stay on, get in postion fast and leave on cue, quickly

  6. Come in close when cued, not after taking an obstacle, immediately come to whatever location is cued (AKC courses are getting tighter and tighter and I find I'm needing this skill more all the time).
  7. Full understanding of verbal obstacle cues....I tend to run silent and depend 100% on motion cues, it does work well, 99% of the time, but I need to break this habit.
  8. Full understanding of forward & lateral sends.
  9. Weave poles- find the entry no matter where I am, stay in no matter where I am, with speed. will probably use 2 X 2 but may try channels

I'll probably be adding to this list over time.

Any thoughts on things you would teach if starting a young dog


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nationals video coverage

There's going to be live streaming video of the challengers and final round (and hopefully more)this year.
http://www.agilityvision.com/akcnationals09/live-video-streams

and if you're wondering, no we're not going. I kept going back and forth, should we, shouldn't we and in the end I just couldn't justify the trip at this time. Kittie's bar knocking just gets worse and worse all the time. It's getting to the point where I may need to re-evaluate some goals this coming Fall, and consider partial retirement, or possibly moving her to preferred. Jumping her at 4" just isn't real exciting to me though, and I'm struggling with the point of it. She has the points for her MACh 2 but only 1 double Q....and I'm just not sure she's going to be able to rack up the doubles anytime soon. We're still pretty out of sync right now, so I need to give the both us some time to come back together before making any major decisions. Abby on the other hand seems to coming into her own lately. It's funny, she's 1/4 of an inch taller than Kittie, but jumps 4" higher and knocks significantly less bars.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beginner agility classes

We all have to start somewhere, and when you're new you don't even know where you should be starting. I know I made a lot of mistakes with my dogs when I first started, and the way we trained things makes me cringe....pushing too fast, luring too much, not building real value or understanding for each and every element of agility.

Just look around on a site like youtube and you'll see it, dogs are running sequences before they have any real understanding of what's expected or any real drive to do what's asked.

The way I train has changed slightly with every dog. Kittie, Rudy & Willy all started within months of each other, we were all clueless together. Even though Kittie has had some success, she really has very little criteria.....

agility according to Kittie
* weave poles- stay in as long as mom is right with me, if she pulls away or runs too fast, do what you can to weave faster, but if you can't keep up just come out of the poles

* A frame & Dogwalk- Just run like heck, mom usually turns in to me, which makes me collect just enough that I usually hit the contact

* Teeter- Run to the pivot (like she was taught way back when) put all your weight in your front and get ready to launch as soon as it hits the ground, Usually hitting the yellow and safely getting on the ground, but once in a while getting called for a fly off, or even worse being hit by the board as it starts to come back up while I'm flying in the air over it

*Jumps- just fling yourself over them, if you hit a bar, oh well

*Table- Boring, do what you're told, but as slowly as possible...Kind of scary too, when it's a down with all those dogs and people around everywhere.

I trained Abby very differently, my focus was all about speed and independence. Which I did get, At least initially. Abby has always loved agility. I did a lot of baby sequences with very low jumps with her, she would just fly and was really flashy and fun to watch. Give her an open, flowy course and still today that's where she shines. I taught her to get out in front me and not need me to be by her side, so she has independent weaves and contacts.......I did not however teach her that it was okay for *me* to get out ahead of her, she worries about where I'm going and just looks for the fastest way to get by my side, I did not teach her collection either, so tight courses typical of AKC excellent are very hard for her and that hurt her confidence quite a bit and for a while I lost a lot of that speed I worked so hard to get.

I'm taking things really slow with Indy. The only actual agility she's done is the teeter ( I hold the end and she runs out and I gradually drop it) and the table. We're also doing some flat work, just recall to heal at this point and lots of trick training and skills for developing body awareness. We're doing some work at training directionals, mainly to use at the end of the contacts (something I didn't do with Abby). We will spend a lot of time on jumping and foundation skills. Haven't decided what method I'll use for weaves, either 2 X 2 or maybe I'll try channels this time, but it'll be a while. I may start working on some entries in the near future, but no real weaving. We'll probably use Silvia's method for running contacts.

My main point in this long rambling post, is it's important to have an educated plan, even if you're just doing agility for fun. Dogs will have more fun and stay safer if they know what their criteria truly is. Many beginner agility classes try to be all things for all people and end up doing a huge disservice to all involved. Educate yourself and stick to your guns about what's right for you and our dog.

Do I have all the answers at this point? Probably not, our ideas change all the time, the sport changes all the time, our goals change and the unique personality of each dog you work with changes things.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Look who's in the lead

Yes, that's Rudy's little apple head leading the pack!!
Indy, ears pinned back for maximum speed

Getting closer to that group photo.....they're all here, just not exactly looking at the camera. Counter-clockwise Indy up front, then Rudy, Willy, Kittie (looking particularly gray and grandma like these days) & Abby.
Rudy's doing well, yeah, I know it's mostly the pred. that's doing this, but honestly, right now.....I don't care. She's happy, she's getting out doing what she loves, she's playing with the puppy and causing all kinds of trouble around here, she's acting like the Rudy I know!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The little tri-colored Blur

It' shameful how few pictures I have of Indy. It's not for lack of desire or effort. She's just always on the move, doesn't see the point in sitting still to have her picture taken and if she gets sight of the camera strap, she's hurling her little 5 pound body at me, playing tug with it!

Here's my best efforts over the last few weeks.



Posing with Kittie's MACH bar in the background, "I'll earn a few of these one day".
I'll be putting a video together of all her tricks and general cuteness soon, I just need Bill's help to get everything taped.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rudy & I

I've been thinking....Rudy and I really are very similar. We both can be a tad difficult, we're opinionated and not afraid to let those opinions be known, we resist most all forms of control, we both hold grudges, can be highly suspicious, we're very passionate about the things and people we love, we both have ants in our pants and like to be on the move.

And that's probably why Rudy and I have clashed over the years, we're too similar, I'm not sure who's more pig headed than the other.

A bit of an update on my crazy girl, Generally I'm pretty opposed to drugs like predinsone, lots of BAD side effects, but when you're watching your dog just wilt away before our eyes, you throw those feelings aside. I have to say, it's been a huge help. After just one dose, she was 100% the Rudy I know. The bad part, she can't stay on it forever and there's a very good chance all her symptom will return.

We went to the holistic vet today, and lets just say Rudy and I both aren't so much into new age, pan flute type music.....normal Rudy doesn't much see the point of lying still, unless she's napping, especially when somone is poking little needles in her feet. Only about half the acupuncture needles managed to stay in place. We're going to keep trying, and go to weekly appointments for a while, wish us and the holistic vet some luck!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kicked Out

Of Puppy kindergarten!! Yes, that's right Indy and I got the boot from puppy class.

I did make the decision to try a puppy class with Indy, I figured, what's it going to hurt and the more socialization the better, right? I looked around at schedules of classes offered everywhere I could think of, I only had certain nights available, the class had to advertise itself as using only positive reinforcement and it had to be fairly close.....I'll drive insane distances for good agility lessons, but we're talking about puppy class, how bad could it be?!

I reluctantly signed up for a class at the same place Rudy went to when she was a puppy. There were some things in that class that I wasn't crazy about, but overall we had fun.

Right off the bat, it was a bit awkward. I went into class with Indy already knowing how to do everything they were doing, but I use different hand signals. The owner agreed to let that go, although she seemed very put out by this. No big deal I figured.......now comes the parts that I really didn't like 1- "puppy management" I have no idea if this is a familiar term or not, but in this class it means that you step on the puppies lead a few inches from their collar, it puts pressure on the dog, and only way it will be relieved is if the puppy chooses to lie down. Fair enough. It's not how I generally do things, I tend to wait for responses I like and reward them, I like the dog to make good decisions, when they have other options. I wouldn't mind putting a puppy in this position for a few moments at a time, but literally every second the puppies weren't working they were in puppy management.....and this added up to a LOT of time. 2- "restraint exercises" I fully agree that dogs need to accept being handled in all sorts of ways, vets need to be able to exam and treat them, we need to be able to trim our dog's nails, and do any type of grooming. I work on these skills with my puppies very gradually, touch a paw = treats, brush you = treat, look in your ears = treat.....all very gradually, in all sorts of positions. It's a game for them. I'm convinced my way works because I've seen the results.....in this class puppies were held firmly on their sides and we were instructed to not let them up, no matter how hard they struggled. I saw we were going to be doing this when I read the email with our homework for the following week and got started on teaching Indy to lie on her side, my way (gradually teaching her that good things come to puppies who lie nicely on their sides). Indy was doing well, until the owner came over and felt that I was doing it incorrectly, and placed her hand over Indy's face, which put her in a panic.....I guess Indy's panic equaled proof that "this puppy really needs this" to the owner. I was absolutely seeing red at this point, I kept calm, most people who know me would expect me to storm out the door, causing a scene at this point, but I kept calm.

One of the helpers for the class, asked how I was doing and I made the comments that, I feel like the difficult student, I do things very differently and we're just here for socialization. Apparently that was too much. I woke up the next day to see an email saying that "someone made of point of telling her what I said about her puppy class and she would like to offer me a refund since I'm obviously not happy. Believe me, she just wanted us out of there. I guarantee if Indy was having trouble, or was a "bad" puppy I would never be getting my money back. It was the combination of Indy being....Indy (bouncy happy, operant & focused) and my issues with how things were done that was the problem.

I think the whole thing (kicked out of puppy school) give Indy some street cred! and I'm glad that I stood up for my dog!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rudy news

This is the Rudy I want back

Rudy's still having trouble. Wednesday Maria massaged her and really felt like this could just be a lot of inflammation and tightness, nothing more. She did seem a bit more comfortable for a day or so afterwards, not herself, but better.

This morning we went to the neurologist, and he's leaning towards disc disease. We haven't done an MRI at this point, and I'm still deciding if it's something I want to do. The other possibility is a tumor on her spine. Both could be dealt with surgically but the odds are not good, and we could make her worse. I've been talking to a lot of people about back surgery and I don't know one person that has been satisfied with the outcome. Please don't think I'm not willing to do whatever is necessary for her, but I want to help her and not put her through any more than necessary.

She has appt. with a holistic vet on the 16th, and we'll be looking into acupuncture, which the neurologist fully supports and said he's seen a lot of success with this.

So, please continue to keep Miss Rudy in your thoughts......aging stinks!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early take off syndrome

Here's an interesting blog entry discussing early take off syndrome, with videos.

http://fjoiris.livejournal.com/

Time Off

So, we've had a very long vacation from agility. No trials (just one in December), only two classes per month since about November, not much training in the backyard either, too muddy.

Two dogs, two very different effects: Kittie, my steady little gal, rarely making any mistakes other than knocked bars......total mess!!! She's off coursing all over the place, barking (yelling) at me non-stop, none of this is due to increased speed on her part, she's going about the same pace as always, we just don't have the same type of connection right now and she seems to be focusing more on the obstacles and less on me. I'm sure my timing is a bit off too, and she's quick to let me know about it!

Abby though ran like she always does, maybe a bit better! The only issue I had with her was if I drifted away from the dogwalk she bailed off the side, which truely doesn't shock me. Running contacts can require a lot of work to maintain them and she's only seen them maybe 6 times since October.

All this really makes me realize how different these two are, Kittie seems to be the type who really thrives on a lot of training, while Abby needs things to be less serious. Which makes sense if you know these two; Kittie is the uber nerd and Abby's the eternal silly puppy.

One thing is for sure, I have my work cut out for me to get Kittie back in shape for the Spring/summer season!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We had Fun

Ever since Rudy's been having trouble we've all just stopped doing the things we do, no daily hikes, no day long hiking adventures on the weekend to new places, just a lot of hanging out at home and shorter (and boring) neighborhood walks. I couldn't stand it, Kittie looks depressed, Abby's even wilder than usual and Indy's missing out on all sorts of stuff that she's still learning about. Willy....Willy doesn't care, he'll take the sofa over a muddy park any day, and he's the perfect buddy for Rudy right now. I feel a tiny bit less guilt, knowing she's not home alone.

I packed up the three young ladies (HA!) into the car for a hike in the mud! At first Kittie & Abby seemed a bit confused, but it didn't last long. They really had a great time. Abby & Indy play so well together, Indy thinks she's the coolest big sister ever!!

I now this sounds weird, but I encourage playing in the mud! We trial in some bad weather and watch dog after dog run slow, or refuse to down on the table becuase it's wet and muddy. I teach them to love the mud, to slam right down in the dirtiest mud puddles.....not positive if it has anything to do with their success running in the muck, or if I just end up with filthy little dogs?! But it seems to be working and they love it. I also found out Indy's coat really isn't hard to keep clean, how about that!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's not the trick

This is a fun trick to teach, great for body awareness. You can teach it using shaping, or targeting (maybe other ways too)!

It's impressive to most people, but you know what impresses me the most? The little dog, just hanging out in her carrier!! It's total chaos in my house when I work with just one dog, I pretty much have to go into a separate room or outside to get any real training done. I can work on things they already know as a group, but my dogs are a bunch of pushy hooligans when the clicker comes out. Me first, me first! diving on top of each other, no manners at all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vet update

I feel like all I talk about anymore is vet/medical related.

I wanted to update on Rudy though, she's up and down, and it's driving me nuts! I truly thought she was getting over this and we had nothing to worry about yesterday and now today she looks terrible again. The worst part is when she starts to feel better she wants to do everything! She's had zero exercise, so the minute she feels better she's looking for a fight, running all over the house, stealing toys from the puppy, biting Willy and no I cannot crate her. Rudy would hurt herself, she only tolerates a crate for eating, chewing and riding in the car. Any more than that and she just doesn't see the point and lets you know it!

Good news for Indy, her vaccine titer came back good! So no more puppy shots for her. It just goes to show just how any unnecessary shots our dogs get in their life time.

Rudy has an appointment next week with Maria Duthie for a massage. Maria said she deals with this a lot and said she should be able to help her, so that's promising.

I'm also planning to switch my dogs to a holistic vet. Doug Kneuven is right outside the city, he's a traditionally trained and started out as a traditional vet, but has moved farther and farther towards a more holistic approach. In an interview he stated that he feels the biggest causes for preventable health problems in our pets today are 1- poor diet (he believes in a raw diet) and 2- over vaccination. As much as I love my vet, it will be nice to have a vet who is on the same page and can educate me on these things. My current vet is open to things I suggest, like titers on a 16 week old puppy (the vet tech got in argument with me over it) but it's not how he thinks about things generally.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Another One

Anyone who knows Kittie well, has likely witnessed her spinning, this isn't your standard dog chasing it's tail, this is wild, frantic spinning.....kind of like a pug in a blender, but there's no blender ( I'll have to capture it on video one day). It all started innocent enough though, much like Indy's spinning in the video below.

video

She started this recently, maybe becuase we've all been trapped in the house?? Notice the dizzy side stepping?

Rudy update

I gave in and gave Rudy some rimadyl yesterday. I hate that stuff, but the arnica just wasn't strong enough. On one hand pain is good in that she was staying fairly calm and not moving around too much, but it's terrible watching your dog in pain. I ordered some traumeel for her, it's a homeopathic blend of several things that hopefully will help her and some glycoflex III for the whole pack. I'm going to contact Maria from annisage to see if she has any experience with this and see if she can work on Rudy a bit.

She does seem better today, but keeping her off the stairs is quite the challenge, as is not doing anything with her! I'm going to try giving her and Willy marrow bones and sneaking the others out to the park for a while. Willy and Rudy just love each other and Willy really doesn't care about going to the park unless it's in the 70s and sunny!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rudy

Rudy, my first pug, the product of bad, bad breeding. I've known she's been pretty much a ticking time bomb....with bad knees, bad eyes and a ton of allergies. She does *not* have the typical pug temperament either.

She was moving really slow on Monday and starting on Tuesday she had these episodes where she is really hunched up, shaking and doesn't want to move.....but then she'll be fine some time later. There's no pattern, sometimes it happens in the morning, sometimes after she's been up and running around.

I took her in to the vets and he believes she may have a disc problem. I'm still trying to learn what I can about this, but it seems the prognosis is anywhere from, let her rest and heal and she'll be fine, to she could become paralyzed.

Rudy is such a wild little pug. The thought of Rudy not being able to run around and play is hard to grasp. Every bad trait she has becomes almost immediately exaggerated when she can't exercise.

Please cross your fingers that this turns out to be nothing!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tri To Leave Me Out of it

I was asking Bill for some help coming up with a registered name for Indy, I told him I'd like to incorporate "Tri" into the name, someone suggested "Tri to get me" which I like, but I still think I can do better, I'd also like to work moonlight/moon into her name.

Bill's response, "Tri to leave me out of it" he's honest if nothing else : )

So, any suggestions? The Kennel name is Pasun (pronounced pay sun) I'm open to just about anything, not just names with the above criteria, just want something I won't mind hearing for years and that her breeder will hopefully like as well.

Back at Boyce

We went to Boyce park again yesterday. Rather than go to the park that's walking distance from the house, I've been driving about 20 minutes away to walk the dogs at Boyce park. We don't see as many other dogs...and that's the main point. I just don't want Indy to have bad experiences at this age and she's just too tiny to be around big dogs unless I know and trust their owners.

Abby in the lead, as usual, Indy coming up from behind and Willy holding up the back. Kittie's most likely right behind my heals, that's her usual spot. Rudy was with Bill.
Indy! Yes, she has a coat but she keeps ketting stuck in it, so we had to ditch it within the first couple of minutes. She didn't seem to mind the cold.

Several poor attempts at a group photo:
Here's the girls; Kittie, Rudy, Abby & Indy


Indy, Willy & Abby

I had to settle for this! Kittie staring at the sky, just waiting to chase an airplane. Rudy, Willy & Abby looking down the trail wondering what Bill's up to....no idea what Indy's looking at!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Done with that

Indy says she's done with this fear period nonsense. Puppies are so funny the way they change for the better or worse each and every day, seemingly for little or no reason. What scares them one day, winds them up the next!

It was 65 degrees out yesterday and I think everyone who wasn't working was outside. Indy went on 4 short walks around the neighborhood, some just me and her, others I brought along one of the pugs. There were kids running around at the small playground near us, dogs barking in every other yard, none of it phased her. When I ran into a neighbor she was able to settle down and let us talk too, which was quite nice of Indy to be so patient!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The tiniest teacup, with the biggest ears

Indy & I went to the "Teacup Social Hour" held at animal friends, http://www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org/ and she was the tiniest one there, but made up for it with those ears of hers. All dogs were just 10 lbs or less. She had fun, but it seems she's going through some sort of fear period, which while not unusual, still always worries you a little. She was pretty scared at first, but then came out of shell and was playing like crazy, then she got a bit clingy. She was up ALL morning before, so she was probably a little tired too. She's nervous on neighborhood walks right now too, barking dogs really scare her. We weren't able to do any walks like this before because of the salt on the sidewalks.

Overall Miss Indy is doing well, the others dogs don't exactly love her, but they tolerate her quite well. Abby thinks it's pretty funny to play tug with her.....especially since Abby always gets to win! Training wise, it's a lot of the same thing; sit, down, stay, come all for toys as well as treats. We're playing lots of shaping games as well, she's not the frantic throw a million behaviors at you kind of dog Abby and Rudy both are, but she seems to really think through what might get that click-treat. We're working on backing up and she can already scoot around me backwards with a lure, too cute! The pugs have always had trouble with that, I think it's easier for her to bend around me. She seems to really understand housetraining too and hasn't had a single accident in over a week, although I still wouldn't trust her for even a minute alone without someone watching her!

She's due for her vaccine booster this coming Friday, the 13th....and I don't think we're doing it, espcially not on Friday the 13th!!! I'm going to have her titers checked instead of just blindly giving the vaccine and hope she's protected.

Another decision I need to make is whether to go to puppy classes or not. Rudy is the only one of my dogs that went to a true puppy class and I have no idea if it helped her in any way. When Willy & Kittie were both little I owned a small pet shop and we had a weekly puppy play group held in the store and they both had a ball there. Abby just came along to meet some of my clients and to Kittie's agility classes and trials. Kittie is by far my best socialized, easiest to live, compete, train etc with dog, I don't know if it was anything to do with what I did, or didn't do, but I would love to be able capture those traits in Indy. The only reason I would go to a puppy class would be for socialization, Indy already knows more behaviors than are taught in those classes.....although working with distractions would be good for her. Any opinions??