October 2008


I should write in this blog more often. There are so many things that I have worked on since last time I wrote here.

I havn’t done a lot of obedience training with Pi since our trial in May, but now I have decided to get ready for the next obedience level with her and I hope that we’ll be ready for a trial in four weeks, but that is really optimistic… I need to teach her send to square (10 meters straight ahead and then stop in the square), recall with stand, sit/down/sit/down at a distance, jump away from me and some other things. But she is a fast learner and maybe we’ll be ready to do a trial in November.

Shadow Handling
Both Missy and Shejpa has been working on a lot of shadow handling in the past week. For Shejpa, I have cut out all treats and I only use tug as a reward. That creates new challenges in our shadow handling, but that’s where I need to start if I want her to turn tight and respond quickly on equipment. Rewardning her with only tugging is a challenge, but I’ve been at this point using treats too and I know we’ll get better. She is already making good progress. With Missy, I realised the importance of shadow handling when I incorporated it into our training on turning tight over one jump. We’ve been working on it a lot, but progress has been really slow with both dogs. But when I put the circle work into that with Missy, she finally found a reason to dig in and turn tight over the jump. It was so cool. For her, using more high value treats (chicken necks!) and not just tugging, also has a good effect.

Running dogwalks
Shejpas dogwalk was really bad on Thursday (under new and challenging circumstances) and I realised that much of the value that she found in the dogwalk has gone away. She used to get really happy getting on the dowalk, but now it was just like any other obstacle. I think running it a lot in sequences, training turns but not going straight and mostly, just not training a lot, made that happend. I don’t think I should obsess so much about the turning. Both dogs turn pretty good if i decel smoothly. It annoys me that they don’t really get the concept of turning, but maybe it’s a thing they will grow into. It only took a few repetitions of running straight and throwing the toy to get Shejpa to love her dogwalk and hit the contact reliably.

Puppies are four weeks old this weekend. Here are some pictures from last weekend

Puppy picture

I got a picture from the breederon Saturday. The puppies are two weeks old. This is female one and two and number two is really looking like she’ll be very red in the face. I really like that, even though the white on her head isn’t symmetrical.

Puppies, 2 weeks old

Home, Sweet Home

I’m finally back to som kind of normal life at home. I spent 39 days away from home (and most of the time, also away from my dogs) during August and September. It’s a lot of fun to travel and do exciting things, but it feels so good to be at home again. World Championships were great. It was definatly more exciting this year than Hamar last year. There are lots of videos from worlds in my YouTube channel. It’s also very inspiring to see agility at the highest level and I have to control myself and not train my dogs too much now. When I got home from worlds on Sunday, I decided to not give Shejpa any more treats in training. No treats until she is tugging like crazy and can work for just toys. I thought it would be a frustrating and slow process, but it worked right away! She was of course very keen on training when I got back, she hadn’t done any agility for three weeks. What’s even better is that she seems to get more and more intense and crazy about tugging for every session we do. And what’s even more surprising, is that she is much better at bringing the toy back to me now. I would have thought that that would be one of the hardest things to accomplish without food rewards. This is really cool and I just hope that she will keep this crazy, fast and focused attitude.

Missy is just crazy. We havn’t done a lot of training lately and you can really tell. She won’t drop the toy when I tell her and she tries to bite my pants when we do circle work… I really need to work her a lot more. Both dogs did a distance grid this week and Missy has made enormous progress with her jumping. I could get her really high and then run my fastest right beside her, and she was still perfect! Here nose touches are coming along and I hope to get her on the seesaw pretty soon. We also need to to a lot of work on getting that check stride for turning tight (with both dogs…) and more double box.

I havn’t been working Pi that much lately, but she was with me when we did a seminar in Sweden two weeks ago and she got to show a lot of things and learned a lt of new stuff. I started teaching her the movements for distant control in obedience. I want her to down and stand without moving any feet. We’ve hade some sessions at home, and this is what our training looked like yesterday: