Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Utility Dog Excellent

Rugby finished his Utility Dog Excellent title today at the National Specialty with a 196 in Utility and a 198 in Open. He was High In Trial and High Combined with first places in both classes. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Packing for Rugby

In preparation for our trip to the American Maltese Association's National Specialty in San Diego this week, Rugby is packing everything he needs to live away from home for a week. It has gotten much easier to remember everything with all the practice he gets going to dog shows. Notice how much space his stuff takes up in the suitcase, though. The real challenge now is packing my things into the same bag! 

Here is our list of essentials, starting with what you see in the picture.

A) Dog Food
This one is tricky since Rugby gets fed raw food. This time, we are trying something new and bringing Stella and Chewy's Dehydrated Raw Dog Food (beef and duck) and a roll of Red Barn Dog Food (lamb). My only complaint is that both foods have fruits and veggies in them. Unnecessary. 
B) Dog Grooming Supplies
So Rugby can always look his best. 
C) Fleece Crate Pad
Hotels generally like if you protect the floor from your crate with something and this is it for us.
D) SturdiBag Pet Carrier
This is Rugby's ride for the trip and helps keep him comfy before, during and after the flight. We wrote our detailed thoughts about the bag on our first trip with it, here. It is growing on me. 
E) Towel
This serves two purposes. The first, as a crate cover to give Rugby more privacy. The second purpose is simply as a towel. We try not to use hotel towels on dogs. 
F) Extra Leashes
O.K. So this one isn't essential. They don't take up much room, and it is nice having a leash for every occasion. 2 shoestring leashes and a braided parachute cord one. The selection could change with the trip. 
G) Suitcase Crate
I can not even begin to tell you how much I absolutely adore my Precision Pet Suitcase Crate (we have two of them). It folds flat to fit in the suitcase and is strong enough to keep small white fluffy dogs contained. Lucky you if your dog won't bust out of a soft crate, since the wire crate does make the suitcase much heavier. 
H) Article Bag
Rugby needs to bring his Obedience equipment with him in order to show. His are packed in his gorgeous Wyndsong Custom Article Bag
I) Potty Bags
Self explanatory. I try to keep these with the dog at all times, so they go in the SturdiBag.
J) Collapsible Water Bowl
Another item for the SturdiBag. Even dogs get thirsty on long flights.
K) Paperwork
Different states require different paperwork for incoming dogs. California only requires a rabies certificate. I have copies of Rugby's certificate in every bag (for a total of 5 copies), so it is always handy. Perhaps a little overboard, but better safe than sorry. 
L) Video Camera
Last but not least, a flip camera to bring back videos of Rugby's adventures.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Holly's Turn

Holly earned her third and final leg today at the Oriole Dog Training Club's Obedience Trial for her Companion Dog title. Not only did she qualify with a score of 193, but she also earned 4th place!

I have noticed a definite change in her since the last set of shows around the yard. She is starting to BEG for training, and thoroughly enjoys being the prized "working dog" in the yard. She has even started to give up her beloved Jolly Balls if she thinks she will be worked. Even better for her if the other dogs are competing for the same attention. It must make her feel special.

She lost 3.5 points on Heeling, none for the Stand for Exam, 2.5 on Off-Lead Heeling and 1 point for the recall. I am happy with her! I think Holly has caught the dog show bug, so you might see her in Open before too much longer! Here is a video from this afternoon...

Friday, May 25, 2012

All Natural Jumps

We showed up for last weekends hike with Team Applewoods a little late. Rugby still had plenty of energy when the big dogs started to slow down from all their playing, swimming and training. We extended our walk and added a formal training session.


There were lots of fallen trees on this trail, which made perfect Rugby-sized jumps. I was able to practice sending Rugby away from me, calling him back, directing him over different "jumps" and "places," calling him to heel position, random sits and downs and even brief out of sight stays. We had a blast!

When I wasn't looking, Rugby found a pile of leaves to roll around in. A white dog can't have nearly as much fun in the woods if he isn't camouflage.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fetch Your Leash

In the same way that new shoes make kids run really fast, Rugby goes into hyper-speed after swim. To help him dry off a little, we will take a walk or find a field for him to zoom around. This time I made him work during his zoomies session and sent him for his leash that I placed about 50ft away.  He didn't waste any time bringing it back to me.

He flew out,

found the leash,

and asked if I would hide it again for him to find.

Look at him go!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday Boy

We have a whole day of activities planned that range from "moderately exciting" to "I can't wait to get started" on the fun scale. It's not every day that your dog celebrates his fourth birthday. A birthday photo was first on that list of activities. I had perfectly envisioned Rugby sitting with his head tilted, next to his very own cake with the all the candles lit for a picture to share with you all.

After transforming the closet into a studio with a few blankets, running a comb through Rugby and taking a couple of practice photos to make sure I wouldn't set his ears on fire, we were set. Since Rugby works with food distractions all the time, I didn't think there would be a problem with Rugby and the cake. As I expected, as soon as he considered taking a bite, he was successfully intercepted with a "leave it" command.


It was too successful. In an effort to follow my instruction, Rugby promptly turned his head up at the cake and refused to look at or towards it, avoiding any temptation to dig in. Every once in a while he would glance back at the cake (without moving his head) and lick his lips so that I would know just how hard he was working at his "leave it."

While that is exactly what I asked him to do, it makes it almost impossible to get the picture I had envisioned. No amount of squeaky toys or treats could get him to do any better than this picture. It is close enough, but next year we are sticking with party hats. That should be easier.


Happy Birthday, Rugby!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Checking In - Blog Hop


DSC_0377Rugby and I have spent more time working on a reliable recall than any other command (although it is soon to be surpassed by his go-out command). I want to know that when I say Come, Rugby will stop what he is doing and come directly to me. That means even if he is in the middle of playing, or chasing the rabbit that lives on the side of our house, or passing up the french fries that were left on the side walk. Come means come. It also means that in order for him to be successful, 10% of his attention must remain on me when he is busy doing all of those other things.

Combine that fact with all of the other skills he has learned through his Obedience training and Rugby is a great hiking companion. He had his first chance in a while to practice his hiking with some of his friends from Applewoods and I was thoroughly impressed with him. Not only could I relax knowing that Rugby would recall with a single command, but he also started to check in. Without any prompting from me, when Rugby ran an unspecified distance ahead on the trail, he would stop and wait for me to catch up. Smart dog!

I love that Rugby can use his vocabulary to learn how to self-regulate and take responsibility for his actions. We are already looking forward to the next hiking trip.

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