Saturday, May 29, 2010

Follow the Rules

Since someone was coming to look at our house today, Rugby, my sister and I packed up and went to the elementary school parking lot down the street from our house for a training session. My sister never comes to watch him work and she was impressed and wanted to try the stuff herself with Rugby, particularly the directed jumping.

I told her she wasn't allowed but once we finished I changed my mind. The new rules were that 1) She had to use the appropriate 'jump' and 'bar' command, 2) she had to leave him off leash 3) she had run him over them like when you first introduce the jumps and you go with the dog. I said if she could convine him to follow her and follow those rules, she could participate.

As evil as I may be sometimes, I did not call Rugby away from her or discourage his cooperation with her at all.

She called him, and he came and sat in front of her. Then she proceeded to say "OK Rugby, lets go" and she headed towards the jump. It was about this time that I found Rugby at my feet staring at me as if to say, "what in the world is she doing and why is she talking to me about it?"   I ignored him to give my sister the best shot at success but....
I couldn't help but chuckle as she tried harder and harder to convince Rugby to follow her and he tried harder and harder to avoid her.

Finally I told her to pick him up, put him at 8 feet from the jump and immediately give the appropriate command and move towards the jump. This should have worked except as soon as my sister put him down he turned away from her and came straight back to my feet, looking up wondering why I hadn't saved him from her yet.

Rugby told her very clearly today that he knew she didn't know what she was doing and that he did not respect her at all! He also told her that until she learned how to do things correctly that she was very likely to get the same results as she did today. I was very entertained by the whole thing!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Plan of Action

Since things go much smoother when we have a plan, Rugby's Utility work has changed slightly.

Since re-defining go outs for Rugby, things have been much better for him. Our biggest problem is that his target/retrieve sticks are so little, sometimes *I* can't even remember where I put him in time enough to give him a sit command, and or to help him find it. We are working on that steadily.
I have taken the line off, just because 40ft of parachute cord to drag in the grass is a heavy load for Rugby. While it is definetely possible, and not uncomfortable he goes a little better without it for now and he is reliable enough that I can stop him quickly with a sit command before he makes any mistakes.

He is working the directed jumping *almost* at full distance and he is doing it well. Once he gets it at full distance like in the ring we will go back and re-teach them with JUST voice commands. Then go back and reteach them with JUST signals. This way the next time Rugby will be working with both (like he is now) they will be SUPER easy.

Our signals are at a much poorer state than I had originally though. I just got a head of him a bit on this a need to slow down and really take our time to make sure it is right - they are within reach! However, the return to heel command for the moving stand is MUCH MUCH better, and has surpassed the quality of his signals.

Gloves are coming along since we have a plan now. He is working the clock exercise with them in a circle around him. His circle has a radius of 15ft for now, with three different colored gloves. Working the green ones in the grass is our downfall. If he goes for a different glove then the one I sent him for, I am just reeling him back to me (BEFORE he gets to the wrong glove), walking closer to the desired glove and trying again. The first time we did this exercise it was wretched with me having to move him closer for almost every since glove. Now after just three days he is only getting re-directed (like described above) once in each session. Hopefully this trend continues.

Articles are wonderful. While he is still only working three right now, his confidence is building very quickly and he is getting better with every session. Today we added the turn in. For now we are sending without the sit, but if he REALLY dislikes it we can add it back in. He doesn't seem to have a problem with it so far.

More later. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beach Dog

It was a good day to go to the dog beach Sunday since it was still a little cold and kind of rainy so we didn't have to share the beach with anyone else. Rugby didn't mind that it wasn't quite summer weather yet, and I even have proof!

There are a couple more photos too, here that are mixed in with the Wednesday morning class photos.

I had to reclarify exactly what the go outs were to Rugby today. He was unconvinced that I knew what I was doing and he couldn't figure it out himself with the big archs he was making to get to the other side of the jumps. After much protesting on Rugby's part, I had to back up and put our go out targets at 3ft and at 6ft, then we kept going at this rate untill Rugby was running straight out, lots farther than 40ft. Once he got the idea that if he kept running straight he would keep finding targets, we started working backwards again untill we got halfway and then we stopped. We have to do them lots more this weekend. 

Opinions Please

I would like to introduce you all to the Wednesday morning class. Rugby has missed this class all semester since I have had school, but he is glad to be back! Wednesday morning is for competitive obedience and is filled with dogs of all levels from novice to utility. All of these dogs work only for a combination of their intrinsic desire to work and for praise.

Obviously Rugby was there, but there are not any photos of him working since I couldn't handle him and take pictures of myself. :p This is him patiently waiting his turn and wondering why I have left him.

Next is Caruso the standard poodle.

And Cabot, the 14 month old Brussels Griffon.
He found a moth in the second picture and was showing me it.

Then there is Ellie, and you guys already know her.

Lastly is Sugar, he is a 6 month old lab.

The whole gang. The black lab is Pete who is in the class but can't work in it untill his shoulder feels better. He was not happy about having to just watch.

But there is something much more important that introducting you all to these cool dogs. We have a board and train dog that we are arguing over (all in good fun).
The question is - does he look more like a Mogwai, an Ewok, or a Tribble?
While he is cute either way, this is an important question! LOL

So what do you guys think??
Not to influence your decision at al but, come on! Doesn't he look kinda like this Mogwai?!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rain and Mud

It is supposed to rain all week. There was about three hours today that it didn't rain and since it wasn't too terribly cold Rugby waited outside with me while I worked dogs. Since it was wet outside from having been raining all day this ment that by the time I was finished working dogs Rugby was no longer white. He was brown up to his knees, and had a nice big brown spot that went from his right ear, down his neck to his right shoulder from rolling in who-knows-what. The hairs all along his back were also 'frosted' in brown mud I guess also from rolling. It didn't matter how intense my look of disgust was - he seemed quite pleased with himself and he couldn't understand why no one would let him on the couch!

Once it started raining again we were forced to move inside. We met some of our classmates at Fidos to do some run throughs. Since the pieces are slowly coming together, Rugby and I did a UTILITY run through!!!

Utility doesn't seem quite so distant now! We still have lots of work to do, but I am pleased with him!! He is off to a good start!


HOW Could I possible forget?? Rugby turns TWO today!!!
We will be celebrating later this week once he get a bath! :p

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This is where its at!

This is how Rugby came to aquire his loot that was featured in yesterday's picture.

He got a score of 195.5 which got him 1st place, High in Trial and ALL those trophies! He was wonderful!

There is some more good news - Rugby has officially combined metal and leather articles. We have dropped it back to 3 for the switch, and are working back up from here.

We have been super busy taking finals since we got back, but we have a couple of our other obedience videos up now, and the next week will prob be dedicated to comparing his progress, set backs, etc. Trying to figure out how to get his scores a little higher then how to keep them there!

It is going to be a nice long summer!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Atlanta Adventures

Not quite there yet - filling up in Boiling Springs, South Carolina at approx 2:00 am.

We got there around 6 am giving us a couple hours to sleep before the Claudia Orlandi seminar. It was a long time for Mister Rugby to behave. I had him "placed" on a crate pad under my chair for the seminar and by the very end Rugby just kept stretching and looking at me like, "are we done here?" Since we went by ourselves Rugby was glad to see that he got his very own bed in the hotel. Even so, I can't figure out why he spent all his time in MY bed. :p

We had several photo shoots since we couldn't think of anything better to do. Thats what happens when I spend too much time in a hotel with Rugby and a camera, I suppose.
This is Rugby letting me know that I over run my alloted homework time and that now it should be 'Rugby time.'
Then he got a little more persistent about it.
Umm, WHY are you in my face Rugby?
I KNOW you from somewhere!
That is Rugby's littermate, Charlie. This picture is of Charlie and Charlie's housemate, Lilly. Rugby thought Lilly was reallly cute!
Before we left Rugby and I killed some time by take pictures together. Not nearly as cute as when Rugby fills the frame himself, but...the time was killed. lol
That is all for now!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ready, Set...

Rugby and I are getting ready for our looong trip to Atlanta tonight for the Maltese Specialty. I am so nervous, and excited and anxious! I have all the clothes packed up, now just need to get Rugby's food together and get everything into the car. We are leaving right after class tonight and driving the full 10-12 hours to Georgia. My GPS says it will only take us 10 hours, but google says it will take us 11.5, either way hopefully we can get there early enough to sleep for a little bit before the seminar we want to attend starts.

Obedience isn't untill Saturday, so we have all Friday to relax and maybe shop a little.

Deep breaths.

Haven't given him the pep talk yet, gonna do that when we get there! Rugby's theme songs/playlist has grown quite a bit though since his debut in Open and he must be thoroughly convinced that he is amazing by now!