Sunday, February 28, 2010

Food Distractions 2

Usually I am pretty confident of my logic, but maybe I shouldn't be!
I based my idea that applying food distractions to the retrieve over the high jump should be an easy transition based on these facts -
1) Margot does not pass any dog in any of her retrieve classes unless they will retrieve their dumbbell through a tunnel of food.
2) We JUST practed expanding that concept by having a food tunnel for the recall and place command.
3)The retrieve over the high jump is just a combination of those two things.

I started by just putting two piles on each side of the dumbell (placed). Once he got that we created a tunnel that looked like this...
The idea in my head when we started this was to have the treats scattered about everywhere and be able to throw the dumbbell, but we never got that far.

For some reason that I am unsure of, this was an extrodinarily difficult concept for Rugby. He saw these treats, which were the same exact ones from the other day, way too tempting to trust himself around. He tried lots of ways to avoid the treats. From refusing to jump at all, to trying to jump onto the couch and get around the treats to come from the back side.... jumping, staring at the dumbell, looking back at me, then just coming back without it. This was just really hard. We did stop each of these problems as they arose, but it just caused him to become more creative. He needed my help a lot before we had an entirely successful attempt. I put his string on him to keep him from making those large loops on the couch and then off the couch to get to the dumbbell. Then he got it - and he KNEW he got it.

That is by far my favorite part of working with Rugby. That moment when it all just clicks, and he wishes he could do it over and over and over agin. When he holds his head high and his tail won't stop wagging. For those moments - it is all worth it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food Distractions

I was thinking about the short month we have left before Rugby goes into the open ring for the first time, and how much this snow (and general crappy weather) is making preparation for it difficult. We have been trying to get practice in in lots of different places, when we can get out but I am a little scared that we aren't doing a good enough job.

It is highly unlikely that I will have strange dogs and people in my house to act as distractions, but I do have plenty of food. I took a handful of our most smelly treats and we got to work doodling with the treats out. We even got some of it on video...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Let it Melt

It is a wonderful, sunny 45*F outside today. To take advantage of the warm weather Rugby and I set our jumps up outside and did a little bit of work. He did pretty well in class last night so I was surprised to see the crooked fronts I got from him today. It was okay though because we spent a couple minutes on them and he started giving me straight ones again.

We also noticed that with the 45* weather, the snow melts. Before it is all gone (that may never happen) Rugby and I took some pictures/video of him in the tunnels that my brother dug for him. :p

I also drove over to the famers market today in search of more variety to add to Rugby's bone meals. I got him pork neck bones, ox tail (I don't know why they even had that there but it looks little enough for Rugby to eat) and chicken backs. This is his first try with all these things so we will see how it goes!

Monday, February 15, 2010


My friend was recently approved to be foster home for a local rescue, and got her first one yesterday. Rugby and I went to her house between classes today and had a photo-shoot so she can be put on Petfinder. She came in with a litter but they got placed somewhere else, they would be 8 weeks old today. She is verrry sweet but could use a few pounds (and a little more confidence wouldn't hurt either). She looooved Rugby. Also, it is very hard to get pictures of a dog that doesn't really know how to stay and constantly wants to be leaning on you for itches!

We started off inside, where she was being incredibly boring. The bichon in the background is Lacey, she belongs to my friend, but isn't as in love with Doobie as Rugby is.
 So we moved outside where Rugby let Doobie know who is boss
He proceded to try teaching her how to be a good dog and heel when she is out for walks.
It started off really well....
However, it turns out Rugby isn't strong enough for a dog like Doobie and she has a short attention span.
So he gave up on her and got some zoomies out.
Rugby felt bad that Doobie had to be on a leash so we moved to the backyard. After a couple days of melting snow, Rugby figured out that he can now walk across the snow without falling in.
Finally, Doobie decided Rugby was worth playing with.
So....they played and played.

The rest of the photos are here, including the ones of just Doobie.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I love You!

Rugby had a date with (one of) his girlfriends yesterday. It was very nice to get out of the house after a whole week stuck inside. They took some pictures together for Valentines Day.

Ellie was very flattered that Rugby came to see her. I think she agreed to be his valentine, too.

Happy Valentines Day!!!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doodle Bug

So last night we actually did go get our jumps out of the car and SURPRISE...they fit in our basement!! Just barely, but they fit (one at a time). Here is a video of us doodling a bit yesterday. We did all our open exercises except the figure 8. We even did some heeling, minus pace changes. Maybe we won't go completely insane after all.

A couple things I noticed looking at the video:

About half the time I think he is forged in heel position. It isn't that bad, and I am not even sure if I am going to address it. He is so small I think if I put any effort at stopping the forging, I will end up with him lagging and that is a little harder to fix. I am going to ignore it for now.

Then on the drop on recall, the second one in this video...he started coming when I said his name, and not when I said come. I didn't notice it untill I watched it on the computer. Something else to keep an eye out for.

Besides those things we just have to work on the regular stuff. More fronts and finishes, more jump repetitions and utility exercises. And of course...heeling too if the snow ever melts.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yup, Thats US!

I had this great idea to take Rugby to the pet store this morning since I feared we would be stuck in the house for a few more days after this second snow storm came tonight. Well....everyone had that same idea. It took us a realllllly long time just to get half-way to we decided to turn around. At least he got to go for a car ride, I guess.

We have been bored ever since and now it is snowing again. :/ We had a little photoshoot (My sister, Rugby and I), just using the camera from my computer and these are the best ones. Rugby wasn't aware we were having a photo shoot in most of those pictures. We didn't tell him till about half-way through.

Oh how I wish we were less bored. Maybe I will go get our jumps and see if they will fit in our basement. Hmmm....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Run while you can!

I'm not sure that I would really consider out streets plowed, but they are packed down enough that Rugby has somewhere to run around a bit. Not getting much work done out there because I think it would be unreasonable for me to ask him to sit or even stand still out there for too long, but we have been doing some informal recalls. School was closed today so here are some pictures of Rugby out in the streets this morning.
He was wearing his monkey sweater from Paw Pet Boutique to stay warm.
At least with all this snow there is plenty of snow balls for Rugby to play with. :)
Rugby waited patiently while the few cars that were out went past.
"WHAT?!?! We are getting 10-20 inches of snow tomorrow???"
Yup, sorry Rugby!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I know that I always am whining that we don't get enough snow, but this year has been a little bit over kill. Maybe there is such a thing as too much. I am not sure exactly how much is out there but there are spots that when I walk through them come up to the middle of my thighs! :O
I dug Rugby a path that is only big enough for him to get to the grass and potty. He is miserable. :(

Luckily we were warned of this 'blizzard' and Rugby and I went outside and worked before the snow started to accumulate yesterday. It was cold, but it was worth it since now we are stuck inside for at least a couple of days! :(

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Broken Nose

Rugby has been thinking hard about his nose and how to fix it so he can start doing articles.


Yesterday while working articles, Rugby had a bit of an attitude at first since they are so confusing for him.

I sent him the first time and he got the right one and came back to me. I told him he was very smart, and Rugby rolled his eyes at me and returned to heel position. And again, but this time when I congratulated him he just tilted his head a bit and went to heel position. Third time, he looked at me and his tail wagged but only once. On the fourth time he did not hold back on his tail wagging and wagged away all the way ‘till he had reached heel position again. For the last one, Rugby was wagging his tail well before he got to me, and when I praised him he stood up and threw his head back in a fit of pride.

He got them all correct, but could he possible have just ‘gotten it’ out of the blue??

Today started off without any of that sulking before hand which made me hopeful. Then he went for the wrong article twice. Once he got it right again though, he was quick to resort to his tail wagging once more. We were able to work for longer today without his loosing focus, getting bored, or frying his brain. So, why all of a sudden is he getting happy about articles if he still doesn’t get it?!

Maybe he just started wagging his tail to mock me. Yeah…that’s probably it. :p