Friday, September 25, 2009

Growing Up

Mister Rugby is getting to be a big boy now. The other day I was working with Rosie, a lab mix, and using Rugby and Cabott as distractions to work on her recall. I was letting her get 'involved' with them playing, sniffing etc when it happened. Rosie is about 10 months old and cabott is somewhere around 6 months. At 17 months, Rugby is the oldest of them and most trained of them all.

Rosie is in front of Rugby doing the whole 'puppy' thing close to the ground, wiggling like crazy, trying to entice the all-mighty Rugby to play with her. Cabott was more than interested in playing with her and was bouncing in a play bow around her and Rugby, although he went unnoticed by both of them. While all of this is going on, Rugby stands there like a rock looking over Rosie like she is some sort of nuisance.

What was so amazing about it is that Rosie treated him like a dog instead of another puppy. That is the first time it has happened as far as I know. Rugby is growing up!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tiny Fetches Rugby

This is what Rugby did on Saturday. We thought this up a while ago and it has taken us this long to get all the right dogs and equiptment there at the same time to see how far we could get with it.

Rugby barely fits in this bag, and sort of hates we are going to have to work on staying in it, especially while it is being moved around by another dog. LOL

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rugby and Tiny

Rugby and Tiny, the english mastiff, had a photo shoot yesterday. We spent time getting Rugby to place into this bag he has (that he barely fits in) and then some time getting Tiny to retrieve the bag. At the end, we had Rugby get in the bag, and Tiny walk a little ways holding the bag with Rugby in it. There is proof too, you just have to wait for it. It was reallly cute!

Rugby got tired of it at the end and found out that he could make an escape and just hop out of the bag after a few steps. Before the next time we are going to spend some time with Rugby in the bag so he can get used to staying in it while it is moving.

Rugby is getting neglected today since I have wayy too much homework to do, no fun for us. :(

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Early Morning Pest

Thursday night Rugby went early to class with Pete to do an open run through. MUCH better than last time. He is just really sloppy now and needs some cleaning up. He thought about pulling another high jump stunt, but have instructions to run away from him when he gets over there to bring him back quicker. I wasn't sure it would work since most times when I run away from him he just stares at me, but was working Thursday so hopefully it will continue.

He has been practicing his scent articles too and is getting better and better. Yesterday we got the exective decision that he is in fact using his nose, and to keep practicing for another week.

We have a guest again today. Thats right - Zena. Rugby hasn't had an opportunity to say hello yet since she got here late last night. But he DESPERATELY wants to. He has been bugging me all morning since they let her out an hour ago and he can hear her running around upstairs. It is kind of driving me crazy. I took him outside at midnight last night so I know he doesn't have to use the bathroom. He might have given up (cross fingers) since he has been sitting still for a whole 3 minutes not whining, sniffing at the door, walking on me, licking me face, laying on my chest, digging at my covers, putting his toy in my fcae, walking in circles around my bed, etc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Earth to Rugby

Rugby was exploring all the different ways he could go over the high jump today. He did the first one just fine. The second time, he went out got the dumbell, looked at me then came back. The third time he went out got the dumbell and stood and stared at me on the other side.

I ignored him and let him stand there while I walked over to our training bag and out came the micro-prong collar and the 15ft lunge line. Put them on Rugby, who had continued to stand there like he was frozen in time and gave him a stay command. He didn't hold the stay so was put back twice before he decided to participate. Then out to the end of the 15ft and 'Rugby come'. Once we were back on the other side of the jump I sent him again, and he made no mistake this time to run as fast as he could out and back. And again he did well. Third time I sent him and he didn't move from my side. So he was corrected for that too and brought back over the jump.

Rugby was trying very hard to get a grip on what exactly the high jump should be. He made great strides today though and ended with a couple great trips over the jump without the lunge line on.

He did everything else very well. The broad jump he didn't refuse at all, went over everysingly time and quite enthusiastically too. We worked especially on getting a straight front. I watched him closely to see hoe he was going over the jump, and see what it is about the way he does it that doesn't put him where he needs to be. I used the larger broad jump boards that we don't use and put them out strategically to influence the loop that he makes after the jump and that did the trick. Straight fronts repeatedly. After a couple successes I moved the boards back a little and he still did well. Tomorrow we will take them away completely and see how he does.

I think I figured out our heeling problem too. My steps are too big. When we were first working on it I was being extra careful to take small steps so I didn't leave Rugby behind, but I have sort of stopped paying attention to how I was walking and I am quite positive that my steps were significantly larger. This would explain how he was acting almost in frantically, because while he could keep up with me he couldn't react to my quick enough. I have been taking smaller steps though and he has improved dramatically. :/ Sorry Rugby!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So the past couple days have been pretty busy as far as school, etc goes so Rugby has been hanging out a little bit. The work that we have done however has been very good for us. The other day we found a couple holes on the retrieve over the high jump and the broad jump.

The problem with the high jump is Rugby's commitment to the retrieve. When he isn't on his A game, he takes the shortest/quickest/most direct route to the dumbell, even it it means running past the high jump (if the dumbell was thrown off to the side). We spent a couple days addressing this problem with a lungeline on, and having him accept that I can interrupt his retrieve. He was realllly unconvinced at first I though he would never get it. I did this by having him sit or down before he got to the dumbell. Having been corrected for not going quick enough before or not going at all...Rugby thought I had lost my mind. He was sure that I didn't really want him to stop. At one million times later, Rugby was okay waiting in the middle before he got his dumbell.

Then we moved back to the high jump. He hasn't shown me that same problem again but we are prepared now to fix it when he does now. Infact today he was back doing full distance ones with no lunge line one. I made it a point to throw one off to the right to make it so the path he followed back to me was easier if he missed the jump, but he prevailed and changed his course to go over it.

The broad jump, Rugby has a love hate relationship with. When he does it, he looooves it and is enthusiastic about it. Then there are times that he tells me no, he can't do it at all. I think this is just because he is still testing the waters as far as the broad jump is concerned. Once he gets more practice in and more successes he will be much better at it. Today the first set that we did he made no mistakes. Then we came back and did one and the second time he refused. ?? I don't get it but I just went back and had him go over the jump, did a couple break aways and then we were normal again.

Still need to work on our fronts after the broad jump. I think he wouldn't have a problem if I better defined the front position for him outside of the broad jump. Sooo, we are focusing on doing lots of recalls, retrieves on the flat and over the high jump to get extra practice getting straight in front of me.

It is strange because Rugby consistently chooses to be more towards the right side on the front after the broad jump and Pete consistently chooses to be more towards the left. Pete is much better about it though, so Rugby and I have some catching up to do.

I was a little dissapointed that he started to make these mistakes out of the blue, least he didn't wait till we were in the ring to do it. Gives us a better chance to make these things solid before he has to do it at a show.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Today bright and early Ruggers got a bath and a haircut. After we worked today I set him up to take a couple pictures.

As far as working went, he was great. The only thing we really need to push is the drop on recall. Today was the first day we took it off the lunge line and he was ok after just one bad one, where he went down way to slow (as in...he wasn't really going to go down and I had to remind him what he was doing. ). Then he got that out of his system and got it right again.
We do need to work on our fronts and finishes, they are a little bit sloppy. He isn't giving me straight fronts consistently enough for me to be satisfied.
Scent work is great too. Another week of sending him for it on a find command before we can move on.
Rugby is on a roll. Need to find some matches to go to with both Rugby and Pete. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The teacher and her student

I was thinking about the way that I train verses the way other people train and how it would apply to an everyday situation with a person. This is the best I came up with so far.

Multiplication. A rather simple task that all elementary school kids have to get through to continue their education. Much like the foundations of training.

From the very begining, the different training types are preparing the child to answer the '2x2=' question in different way.

First is the all positive teacher They wait for the answer to be offered by the student before giving feedback. The student spits out random numbers untill they land finally on 4. "YES" thats it. 6, no response. 7, no response. 4, "YES." The student is pleased with the response and increases the numbers given. Maybe more than one will elicit a "YES" and they continue the search. The teacher continues to to reinforce the correct answer and soon the student knows fairly well that the answer to the question asked is 4.

Then there is the other extreme. All negative. Again waits for the student to respond, except this time where the positive teacher offered no response for the wrong answers given, these people sharply correct the students with a "NOPE." In an effort to avoid wrong answers, the student spits out words quicker and quick and frantically hopping between numbers and then there it is...4, "YES." The yes was a much welcome change from the no, and they put their efforts in repeating it. And soon the student knows fairly well that the answer to the question asked is 4.

In between the two is a balanced teacher. Instead of waiting, the teacher draws on the students paper two sets of two. They count with the student the number represented and end up with 4. Too much for the student so they repeat and repeat and repeat. Soon enough, the knowledge is learned and as the teacher begins to draw the first set of two, the student finishes the drawing. The student finishes the teachers sentence as she begins explaining how the number represented equals 4. The student knows the answer is 4.

The positive teacher and her student take the multiplication test. If the student answers incorrectly, the teacher just passes the test back for him to start over. The test is passed back with a simple 'thats not right,' until the student answers 4.

The negative teacher and her student take the multipication test. If the student answers incorrectly, the "NOPE" is increased to a slap on the wrist. The test is passed back with the correction until the student answers 4.

The balanced teacher and her student take the multiplication test. If the student answers incorrectly, the teachers puts and 'F' on the students paper. The test is passed back with a written note explaining their mistake, untill the student answers 4.

With the balanced teacher, The building blocks are explained and not simply re-enforced. The student learns more than '2x2=4' in the above question, he also learns how to solve a multiplication problem.


Rugby is learning with a balanced teacher. Rugby is held accountable for his decisions, but only once he has been properly educated first. His education is steady, fair and honest. He is never held responsible for something he doesn't know formally. He takes pride in his work and finishes my sentences often.

Rugby is an 'A' student.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So Smart

We started back up really training yesterday, and he did wonderfully. He likes the broad jump a lot and his fronts are getting straighter and straighter. The high jump was okay, but we moved it to a different place in the yard and he had a little trouble generalizing, so I just snapped his line back on him to get him used to doing it again.

The retrieve on the flat got a little bit sloppy so we spent some time cleaning it up.

Drop on recall is fantastic. We are still at 15ft, and I think he needs some more practice at this distance before we spread it out more but I can't complain. He goes down when I tell him, and comes when I call him.

We sort of neglected the heeling, and we need to start again.

Today was the first day of school for me so Rugby didn't do much. After school I took him out with one of his articles and found some good places to hide it and he did well. A couple of times I had to repeat myself. It was pretty dark out though so I think he really did have to use his nose.