Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rugby, my Sidekick.

Rugby has been spending too much time with Sanity, I am certain.

Today I was sitting on the couch with Rugby curled up beside me - nothing special. I was doing a little bit of studying and decided I was done with the pen I had in my hand. I tossed it onto the table infront of the couch but...I missed. I didn't think anything about it just figured I would get it when I got up. I didn't say one word to Rugby and he got up, picked the pen up and hopped back onto the couch to hand it to me...wagging his tail.

How could I do anything but smile, say "thank you" and give him a few itches.

Once I had the pen in hand again, I tried to toss it once more and actually made it this time. Once he saw that I had made it he curled right back up beside me.

We got 4-5 inches of snow yesterday...a little more manageable for Rugby to play in. I am sick of pictures of Rugby in the snow so there probably won't be any. :p

Friday, January 29, 2010

Please, I beg you

Between school starting again and me being particularly lazy, Rugby has been kind of ‘up.’ We were saved yesterday since we went to dog class and worked for the first time since last Thursday.

He didn’t pick up where we left off as easily as Pete did, but he wasn’t too bad. A couple differences I noticed in him – he worked a little wider than usual and was more distracted than usual. By the end of class he was working more or less normally, just took a little bit to get there.

Today I had more than enough time to work Rugby but – its cold outside. I was much happier lounging than working. Rugby humored me and laid next to me for a while but by 7 o’clock he could no longer contain himself.

He took to walking on me, standing on my chest and licking my face until I acknowledged him. I tried to satisfy him by throwing a toy a few times for him. It didn’t cut it though.  20 minutes later he was in my face again. He was BEGGING to be worked. Fine.

So we began to doodle. I called him to me in a formal come. Turned a little in-place to my left and called him again. He swung his butt over accordingly. I repeated and then went the other direction. He knows he has to move his back end, but he isn’t precise about how much he moves, or has to move. Then we moved onto left and right finishes. Did some back and forth heeling in the hallway practicing about turns, left about turns and u-turns.

Amazingly, we found space enough inside to practice signals, and I was able to see first hand just how in-tune Rugby is to my feet when I screwed the first stand signal up and ended on my left foot instead of the right. He sat – even with the signal. Once I apologized for messing up and got my head together he did the other ones correctly.

Then we did the number 2 glove, since that is all we have room for in our house. He did well and afterwards we did some more ‘spinning’ doodling so we in theory practiced the turns for the other gloves too. Rugby is doing sooo sooo much better on the swing finish.

Last was articles. We kept it easy and short since he hadn’t done it for a while. He got them all right, but I had to redirect him twice. He still has no idea what it is all about. :/

Must have been what he wanted because I don’t think he stopped wagging his tail or took his eyes off me the entire time, and now that we are finished he is passed out beside me. <3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tourist Dogs

 

I spent the better part of last week in Costa Rica with my family, excluding Rugby unfortunately. It is about time that I can go pick him up but not quite, so this is me trying to waste time until I can see him again. :p

Of course I would pay attention to the dogs while I was down there, that is to be expected I suppose.

I am not sue exactly how I feel about the Costa Rican Dogs, but maybe I will have formed an opinion after sharing them all and sorting them out in my head.

First, there is the most blatant, obvious difference between the local dogs and tourists who brought their dogs with them. 

The first day we went to breakfast I could see a handful of local dogs playing on the beach, enjoying the sand and the sun and the open space in the best way….without human interference. I sighed since I could just imagine how much fun Rugby would have doing the same, and had I brought my camera along with me to breakfast I could have caught that moment and brought the idea back with me. Every morning after that I walked the beach looking to capture something similar.

Imagine how my hopes were crushed when I went out the next day and the only dogs that occupied the beach were the ‘tourist’ dogs.

This golden-doodle (or maybe a labra-doodle, who knows)…This doodle was just introducing himself to this mixed breed when I arrived. He had left his game of fetch to come over, and somewhere in the process the little one stole his ball.

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It started out as seemingly good play, with the little one playing keep away from the doodle.

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The doodle was lacking in some manners though, so it quickly went south, with the little one spitting out the ball for a quick second to share some nasty words with the doodle.

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The problem at this point was that the owner of the doodle was very much annoyed that their ball had been taken, but was unable to call her dog away from this ‘play.’ She was ignorant to the fact that her dog was being rude, and deserved to be yelled at by his new acquaintance. The owner of the little dog, even if she could stop the play, didn’t want to.  She must have missed her dogs increasing discomfort, or ignored it?? 

They tired enough to take a small break at which point the doodle’s owner drug him away by his collar, and demanded her ball be given back. The other owner obliged, grudgingly and took the ball from her dog.

I moved on, and soon enough ran into another tourist dog. This dog walked onto the beach more or less ‘heeling’ if you can call it that on a leash. As soon she was unhooked she took of to say hello to me. I was kneeling, to take a picture of her and when she got to me I gave her a quick itch on her chest and that’s it - in hopes that she would not keep wanting itches and would instead continue running so I could take her picture. She kept running alright….

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Just not in a ‘zoomie’ way, but in a “I’m free and I am going somewhere…FAST” way.

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Her owner was in hot pursuit. Maybe her fun could have been had in a safer manner if the prong collar she was wearing fit her better, or if her owner had brought along the remote to the e-collar she also had strapped on her. Either way her owner didn’t have time to chat as she followed her dog down the beach. The only thing she had time enough to get out was a smile in my direction and “She sure does love the beach.”

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I was much more lucky our last day when I went to the beach and saw lots of local dogs and took pictures. Those are the pictures worth seeing, but seems I have wasted enough time and I am going to go get Mister Rugby now. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tunnel of Legs


Rugby went to the groomers for the first time since I got him yesterday. He went to the same place that Pete goes, and he looks good!! It for sure looks better than when I do him. I went ahead and made a nother appointment for him in 8 weeks. I might move it though since it will end up being a week before his Open debut..and maybe having a little more hair will help him save a few points? Only problem now is that I think Rugby is a little cold, so he has been wearing his sweater.
Besides that we have moved a little bit ahead in our articles. Now we can put it anywhere between 6-12 on the clock (the left half). He isn't using his nose yet, but I am sure he will get it eventually!
I have stopped using the verbal stand when we practice our signals, and he was just introduced to the down signal today.
We picked "Sevens" as our go out command. This way in the ring, I will be saying "Rugby, Sevens".....which is his registered name. :p We are using the retrieve to teach the go out, and our 'targets' are wooden sticks the same length of his dumbell that he goes out to retrieve. I put a few out at a time so that I can send him multiple times and not have to walk back and forth. Rugby was so eager to retrieve his go out targets that he would come back with 2! Now that he is going out and retrieving on the Sevens command, we are adding the sit randomly too.
We are trying to get the most out of this winter break, and are trying to stay busy to make up for the boring school days that are steadily approaching. It was really warm today (50*) and we started the day off at the barn. Once we left there Rugby went with me on a couple of errands, and we ended up at the park that is about 7 min. from our house.

It was wonderful being able to work outside with the 'spring' weather. We set up our open jumps and went through all of our open exercises. We did a couple of them twice/three times, etc. They we stopped and did go outs, gloves and signals. Once I decided we had killed those for the day we went back and did all of our open exercises again.
Apparently we had an audience that I was unaware of, becuase by the time we had gone through our second set of open exercises, and guy stepped out of his car and applauded Rugby! Didn't help with Rugby's big ego though.
We finished with a lap around the soccer field, then headed back home for a quick break before going to class.

We did a lot of good heeling when we were at the park (taking advantage of the space and weather), but when we got to class during our run through, Cabot was able to be distraction enough to get Rugby to lag/go wide when we walked past him. I gave Rugby the evil eye, and he didn't do it again...but...once was too much for me.

This was the fun part. Just before we left to go to class, Jasmine came in the room and quickly made it to the other side by sliding under Caruso. Inspired, I proposed that we create a tunnel of sorts for Rugby to do a recall through. It took us a couple tried, but they all did it eventually! Now we just need to find some more big dogs and make a longer tunnel!! There is video evidence too, so hopefully it will make its way online.

Rugby was soooooooooo tired after today. He was in his carseat, with his eyes close and his head falling slowly on the way home. He stayed awake just long enough to eat his dinner, and has been sleeping ever since!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Serious Work

Our dumbbells came in the mail on Tuesday, as expected. Sanity graciously volunteered to hold them both for a photo.



Thats them - the wood and the plastic one. We have put both of them to good use already.

We go early to class with Caruso, Ellie, Sanity, Jasmine and Brandy to do run-throughs before everyone else shows up. I decided to bring my camera along today for some reason and Elice offered to take pictures of Rugby for me.

He is SUCH a ham, on the retrieve on the flat he heard the camera 'focus' and looked over just as she snapped a picture of him. It was like a drive-by photo - proof that he is subject to too many photos!!


Rugby got some extra stay practice being the figure-8 post for Jasmine and Caruso.
Rugby has started scent articles. We spent a good bit of time in the fall getting him to use his nose and retrieve on the 'find' command by hiding one dumbbell outside. This week we started with a second dumbbell. This is where we are so far - we are only allowed to put it in positions '6-9' on the clock, with the other article being the center of the clock. We are also only allowed to do a max of 5 repetitions at a time...this is our last set of the day.

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Why do I love Rugby?

...because even after I have spent the better part of an hour thoroughly torturing him with a bath, nail clipping, brushing, blow drying, etc. He still comes and lays at my feet. <3

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Rugby and I tried to recreate these pictures that I took of our friend Joyful.







However, we were completely unsuccessful. This is as close as we got - I am ashamed.
I had to make it black and white to hide the sucky-ness of the picture. :/
He was just NOT interested in posing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Meat-cicles

When I first started feeding Rugby raw, I set up a system of daily, Rugby-sized portions of food. Some of the bags had raw meaty bones, some of them just ground meat, and some a mixture of the two. It worked for a while untill Rugby threw his all too common not eating fits. Then in my attempt to make him eat, I had to rearrange the bags of food, and had left overs, and then had to search for bags with appropriate portions of food....
Basically it didn't work out as nicely as I planned.

Considering it is 2010 it is time for a new plan. The new plan consists of individually freezing everything so that in the morning I can pick and choose what I want Rugby to eat, then put it in the fridge to defrost for dinner. Turkey necks got cut into 4 pieces and frozen individually. Duck necks got cut into halves. Rabbit chunks were frozen in groups of 3. Pinkie rabbits and chicken necks were also frozen individually. I bought liver the other day too, and froze those individually. After all of that, our only problem was figuring out how do deal with the ground meat.



These are Rugby's brand new meat-cicles. Just took four ice cube trays to do it. We are going to do this for the ground Beef/bones/organs/tripe and the ground Goat/bones/organs/tripe and then also for the green tripe that we have. I am pleased with how it turned out so far. I am hopeing that they will also defrost quicker in the nugget form as well.


We also have a plan for getting our New Years Resolution of the CDX and UD for this year.

March 18, 19th and 20th we are going to a show in PA for our first attempt at the CDX, and we figured since we will be there we are going to show in Rally Novice too. Then we won't feel like compete failures if the CDX falls through.

May 8th is the Maltese Specialty in Georgia. We are going to show in Open there too. Best part of the show is that Rugby's littermate lives in the same city!! Hopefully Rugby will get to have a play date with his brother and his brothers housemate maltese.

So we don't get bored of all this open, considering he is done learning the open exercises and all that we have to work on untill then is polishing it up and working drills...
We are starting to spend some time on Utility exericises. Rugby is getting excited!! :p

Madden 2010

No, Rugby doesn't play video games, but he does help to fix them!

When my brother went to start a game of Madden against my dad, and the disk couldn't be read they did a quick google search to find out how to take the console apart to clean it. My dad was holding the screwdrivers while my brother fooled around with the box when Rugby wandered over.

I watched as my dad looked down at Rugby and said hello. He proceeded to "drop" one of the screwdrivers on the ground and told Rugby to fetch. Rugby willingly obliged and brought it back. My dad seemed pleased and patted him on the back with a "good boy, Rugby." Rugby seemed pleased too, wagging his tail and throwing his head up in a miniature fit of pride.

Is it possible that my dad is starting to speak Rugby's language??

Monday, January 4, 2010

Friday Review

So we went to a match last Friday.

We got up late, so we rushed up there (turns out for no reason) and registered and sat for a few hours till it was our turn in the ring. He was sitting in my lap the whole time we were waiting, and some of the time in the chair beside me. I could tell he was upset with me, because he would occasionally get up and climb up my chest, stick his nose in my face and just stare at me like, "Lets do SOMETHING.....PLEASE."  And I would laugh and push him back down and take him for a quick potty break outside, but it was nasty and muddy outside so I wasn't trying to spend too much time out there so he could get yucky and come back and lay in my lap again. :/

FINALLY, it was our turn and Rugby trotted along beside me to the gate, and we took our leash off right before we went in. Maybe I should say - I unleashed the beast.

First was the heel free, and I had no big complaints. We need to clean up our transitions a bit. I am not sure if this was just becuase Rugby was so wound up he could hardly contain himself, or if we just haven't practiced enough, being stuck inside and all.

Drop on Recall and retrieve on the flat were good. We need to pound out our fronts and finishes. The finish actually is better than the front, but they both need work. Rugby ran full speed out AND back for the retrieve. He also ran on the recall, althought that is to be expected from him since we were someplace new.

Retrieve over the high jump was decent. I threw it wayyyy far, and to the right. I was starting to think he was going to miss the jump on the way back since he was coming back from the wayy right side. I was ready to give the dreaded sit command to stop him, but he pulled through and veered over to pop back over the jump. SUCH a good boy!

Broad jump was good as well. Again with the fronts and finishes.

We haven't been practicing stays at all just because they are so boring, so I was pleasantly surprised when he stayed sitting for the sit stay. This is also the only place besides the thursday night class that he has really done an out of sight stay too.

I really wish I had the match on video since he was sooo happy, and hyper the entire time. In between exercises his continuous tail wagging, bouncing, running and general uncontrollable release of energy on his part was the cutest thing.

It made my day to hear people outside the ring comment on how happy he was to be working. Little did they know they were looking at the terribly abused Rugby who had the misfortune of living with a barbarian... and training with an owner that uses praise instead of treats and doesn't think that adversives are the devil. Poor poor Rugby, put on quite a show!

The weekend is finally over, maybe now we can do something interesting and fun.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Match

Rugby is heading off to go to a match today but we wanted to welcome everyone into the new year!!

Cheating, since this is from last year but Happy New Year!!

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A year ago Rugby was just learning to retrieve and to stand. It is so nice to see how far we have come! Here he is last January doing a stand stay and holding his dumbbell, which means he hadn’t even started picking the dumbbell off the ground yet!!

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I hope that we can get both our CDX and UD this year.  Maybe that is greedy of me, but I think we can do it!