Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's Bill

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

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!

-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.


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 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.