Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Football

Rugby is sending his support, and he won't be making an appearance at the game. Its too cold already, and dogs aren't really allowed (just like the rest of Elizabethtown, PA).

Its been a rough season so far. At least they have a good QB...

Good luck, Bears! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Competition

Rugby spends a good amount of time with my dad. When I leave for school in the morning, Rugby scratches at my dad's door and lays in bed with him until he has to get up for the day. When I am too busy with homework, Rugby is a lap warmer for my dad. He likes to get what my dad calls "free pets."

My brother, Max, comes down to visit almost every weekend. Rugby loves him. So much so that for his entire visit, Rugby chooses him over my dad. If  Max is here, my dad's door does not get scratched in the morning, and you can usually find Rugby laying with/on/next to Max and no one else.

My dad thought it must be a fluke the first time, but after several visits... he became jealous. Tonight my dad started his training routine with Rugby, which mostly includes bribing him with extra "pets." During this training session, Dad was boasting about the fact that he has the best pets and with all this extra "training" there is no way he could be picked last again. With some coaching from me, he made a few adjustments in his petting technique, then he laughed and said, "Ha! Now Max will never get you!"

The competition has begun. Personally, I don't think Max has anything to worry about. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unofficial Mascot

Remember when Rugby and I attended the Laurel Dog Show last year? He went again this year as the unofficial mascot of Applewoods Dog Training.

Little Dogs Weaving Big Dogs

Rugby sat at the table and handed out flyers, raffle tickets, tail wags and kisses (to a select few). He took a couple of breaks to cheer some of his friends on in the ring, and to do a demonstration with the rest of Team Applewoods. 

Group Stays at Laurel Dog Show

Rugby was a star and worked the entire demo with enthusiasm. I am particularly pleased because this morning after his bath, I forgot to put his collar back on him! He worked the whole day NAKED!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Walking in the Rain

After a full week of being thoroughly neglected, Rugby finally got some training time in today. The first half we worked on go-outs. We found a great spot with sand and mulch to practice in, so that my driveway markers (that I use to make go-out channels) would be easy to get into the ground. Twenty minutes later, he was sending to each channel from 30ft. If we can stay motivated enough to practice consistently, we should be at full distance in no time at all.

Next was our off-lead walk. We worked on fast transitions, staying close, drop/sit/stand on recalls and signals. It started raining before we made it home. We ran the last 1/4 mile, but still came home soaked. Rugby raced around the living room approximately 674 times to dry off. I don't think it helped much.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back in the game

Rugby went to a match this weekend. He was a maniac! Even though I could hard contain him during his first Open run, he was surprisingly precise. He gave me straight fronts, straight finishes, and tight heeling for both runs.

Things to work on from Open:
FAST - Rugby has the fastest fast ever when he is 'up' and I had to sprint to keep up with him!
Figure 8 - the second run was better, but I want someone to video us. I can't tell if he is lagging or not on the outside turn
Broad Jump - Its not a problem yet, but he is getting closer and closer to cutting the corner of the jump.

Rugby also did two Utility runs in the other building. It was hot over there. Rugby wasn't too happy about it. Scent articles were SUPER easy for him. He was quick and confident in picking the correct article every time. Those stairwell workouts helped!

Things to work on from Utility:
Turns - The heeling deteriorated slightly in Utility. I'm not sure if it was because if was the 3rd and 4th runs of the day, or because it was hot. I am going to address it as an endurance problem and go from there.
SIT Signal - I have to hold that signal a *smidgen* longer than the others. We must be neglecting that one in practice.
Finishes - Again, not sure if this is endurance, or a lack of confidence on Rugby part but he only did it in Utility. When he finished in Utility, he came further around so he could get a good look at my face.
Go-outs - We haven't been practicing. It showed. I put a target out for both runs to help him remember what to do. He needed them.

Overall, I am happy. The things we have to work on are easy (except maybe go-outs haha). If I can get ahead enough in my school work, then we might just enter a trial or two and get Rugby back in the game. It means we have to add a little more training time to our daily routine though.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Laundry Dog

I will admit that I couldn't get all the laundry to the laundry room in one trip today. 
Maybe I put it off for a little too long. :-p

Rugby was there though, and he is plenty capable of helping. So I put him to work. He did such a good job helping me to the laundry room that I sent him back by himself to get the rest. 

I'm not sure what he was doing in there for so long at the beginning of the video. I guess he couldn't decide which one to bring back first. He was very proud of himself, and celebrated by dancing down the hallway when he finished.

Now if only I could teach him to fold it too...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maltese Wilderness Survival Guide Part II

Rugby does not have a lot of hair to keep him warm, thanks to his frequent haircuts. He is also too little to generate enough body heat to keep him warm through the winter. Usually, that means he gets to wear a sweater or jacket during the coldest months. 

Not any more. 

Now all Rugby needs is a blanket to stay comfortable. He can even cover himself up. 

Some essential skills for this wilderness survival technique - 
  •  Roll Over - Rugby knows how to roll over in both directions. To the right is called "egg" and to the left is called "roll." That way when he does them one after the other, it is an "egg roll." We only used "egg" for this survival technique
  • Fetch - Rugby has a strong working retrieve. This is different than a play retrieve. Fetching different objects is all part of a normal day for Rugby. Rolling over while holding something was not. We started by using something small and easy first (socks) so that the retrieve didn't increase the difficulty of the "egg" by so much. He was used to it by the time we got to the towel, so when the towel made it hard for him to roll over, we could work on just that. 
  • Place - This is a 'go-to-your-spot' command. That is what I used to get him on the blanket once he had a good understanding of the fetch-and-roll-over-at-the-same-time part. 
  • Drop on Recall - This may not actually be needed, but we did use it. When I started asking him to find the corner by himself, I wanted him to come from a certain angle so it would be more obvious. I sat him on the opposite side of the towel to me, called him and dropped him next to the corner I wanted him to use. 
  • Stay - I had to add the 'stay' at the very end of the sequence when we first started, since he was popping up right after he finished rolling over. 
Number of training session it took for Rugby to learn this new sequence - two ten-minute sessions. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where to go from here?

So Many Stairs

How many e-mails should someone send before giving up? I tried ordering dog food about two weeks ago, to be included in a group order. They got every else's order except mine. I didn't find out until delivery day. None of our things were included. 

I wrote them again yesterday. Still nothing. 

I wonder if there is a secret code word I have to use. Maybe I should make an alias and try again, with a cooler e-mail address. I could use the 'stationary' feature in my e-mail to add some color to the order, or type with a foreign accent. I could hire a middle-man to e-mail them for me, or upload our order to YouTube in the form of a catchy jingle. 

I have not ordered directly from them before, but have bought their dog food before (and I was happy with it). While Rugby still has food, we have very little variety left, which is not a well balanced and nutritious diet. Its fine for a couple days, but not for very much longer. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Something is Missing

It was almost a year ago that we went to Tick Neck Park with Caruso. It was late October and the orange, yellow and red leaves were a perfect backdrop for a few Fall photos.

The Duo

That is the same park Diesel and Rugby went for their trail training yesterday. 
Except there was something missing.

No More Trees at the Park

Rugby may have thought the field was just as much fun yesterday as last year...
...but I miss the trees.

No More Trees at the Park

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trail Training

Stump Sitting

Not much time today to fit training in around homework, so Rugby and I picked Diesel up and headed to the park for a quick walk around the bike path. Both dogs were excited to get out and about, but neither of them lasted for any amount of time. The thick, heavy air slowed us down.

The bike path Rugby, Diesel and I walked is a short one. It might be the shortest bike path every created. Even so, there is a path through the trees, so someone can shorten the shortest-bike-path-ever by another 50 ft. We usually pass by the shortcut and an extra 50ft of exercise in, but this time I noticed a fallen tree.

Diesel got to check the tree out first. That dog loves to jump. I'm not sure why he constantly feels the need to be higher than he stands (at 27.5" tall), but he is always jumping. To celebrate a job well done, he jumps. When he plays, he jumps. When he does a finish to the left, he jumps. Now that he has to jump when he retrieves, he can hardly contain himself. The tree was a perfect opportunity for him to do just that - to jump.

Retrieve Over Log

There was no way Rugby was getting over the tree, so I propped him up on top of it instead. It must have fallen some time ago, because the top side of it is worn down from people climbing over it, I assume. The smooth surface made it a little difficult for him to sit there, but being in a down wasn't so bad. He did not like that he was just sitting there watching Diesel have fun, but he got to have his own fun later.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Wet, But Not Raining

There was a pause in the rain this afternoon, so Rugby and I didn't waste any time getting outside.

We put out a BIG circle of gloves out in the parking lot to practice turns and taking direction. The shoe box fronts paid off, because you could tell he was thinking about it every time he came in. He came in straight over and over.

Since everything was still wet, we picked something easy to do next. I stayed in the parking lot and had Rugby retrieving his dumbbell from the grassy area just on the other side of the lot. He ran as fast as he could out and as fast as he could coming in. And he gave me some more straight fronts, too!

We put our gloves and dumbbell away and got out our heeling stick. We heeled off-lead down the street to the park so that Rugby could run around like a maniac in the open space. He took a couple breaks (three to be exact) to cool off between his four spurts of zoomies. When he was all done, we heeled off-lead back to the house, with another pit stop for zoomies in a field closer to the house.

The rain had just started up again by the time we got back. Lets hope we get another break in the rain before Monday, when it's supposed to stop for good.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stair Trainer For Dogs

Its raining, and I have a lot of homework. Rugby had to make a compromise with me since we were not making any training field trips. Running up and down the stairs was sure to use that excess energy up, and fast. So, after his afternoon potty break, we did recalls in the stairwell of our building. He usually only uses the stairs that lead outside, so he was hesitant to venture further away in either direction (up or down), especially when he couldn't see me.

Once we had exhausted the recall exercise, we moved back inside and found another shoe box. Don't ask me why we have so many shoe boxes... I honestly don't know. I used the 'shoe' part and practiced having Rugby bring his toys over and drop them in the box. He made two mistakes pretty consistently. He would either 1) climb inside the box, as if I had asked him to 'place' or 2) drop the toy right beside the box and not inside of it. I changed how I was asking to help him better understand what it was that I wanted. Then, he put three toys in the box successfully, two times in a row.

Since Rugby had placed inside the 'shoe' part of the box voluntarily, I got another idea. I could use the top of the shoe box, upside down, as a place board to practice straight fronts with. It is a little too big, so Rugby can still sit crooked inside of it, but it was much easier to fix him in the smaller space than it is otherwise. He thought it was fun. It was also hard to get him out of the shoe-box-top once he was in there! When we tried a couple off-angle fronts, he tried sitting beside the top instead of in it, but he got it with a little help.

Last thing we did was scent work. But it was still raining. So we did those in the stair well, same as we did the recalls. I did the easier set up first, and put the pile at the bottom of 1/2 a flight of stairs, as pictured. He was pretty distracted when he could hear one of our neighbors coming home, but no other problems there.

Once he did that set up correctly, I moved them over so that they were slightly less visible, and the pile was not directly in front of him. That was harder because when he got the correct article, the reassurance of me smiling at him was not as readily available (he had to start coming back before he got any feedback).

I made the set up a little more difficult, and put the pile at the top of a 1/2 flight of stairs. This was not quite as hard as being around the corner, but by this time, we had discovered the major disadvantage to working in the stairwell - it's hot in there! We quit after a successful set, and called it a day. Now Rugby is taking a nap before dinner time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ready to Ship

Ready to ship!

My sister ordered new shoes, and they came in this week. She also left the box on the floor after she opened it. The long, narrow box looked like it *might* fit a Rugby-sized dog inside, so I gently lowered him in.

It fits him quite nicely.

After a few pictures and a cookie or two, I gave him the 'OK' to move. He wouldn't. I guess he liked sitting in the cozy little shoe box.

Next time Rugby acts like a pest, I can threaten to trade him in for a new pair or shoes. ha!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Puppy Overload

I'm not touching you...

Rugby, Cabot, Mozart (the Giant Schnauzer puppy) and Burly (the Rottweiler puppy) had an after-class play-session this morning.

The Duo

We brought out the squeaky toys in hopes that the new puppy would pose for some pictures. We at least got one puppy interested, but he had to fight Rugby for it. 

Rugby likes puppy toys more than Mozart

Mozart couldn't care less about the toy. He was more interested in sticks, and dragging Burly around by his puppy drag line. Oh well, more squeaky toy for Rugby. 

Burly and Rugby

Burly's puppy breath must be wearing off because Rugby played with him today, even when the squeaky toy was gone! Maybe Burly has just gotten so big that Rugby can't smell the puppy-ness from so far up. 
That must be it. 

Friday, September 2, 2011


Look what came in the mail yesterday! I applied to be a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator a few weeks ago. My application was approved, and I passed the online test. That means that Rugby can officially host his own CGC now, as long as he gets some of his friends to help.

It has been a little more than two years since Rugby got his CGC Certificate. The test was just before some of Rugby's first ever Obedience Trials.  Rugby was a champ and we were able to use the test to practice the skills he would need for his Novice title. I can't believe it has been two years already!