I know it’s been forever since I wrote here. Everything is great in our new home, except that we still haven’t got an internet connection. I was really looking forward to finally getting broadband (we couldn’t get it where we lived before), but it’s taking forever. It took them almost three months to connect a stationary phone and now that that’s done, I hope that we’ll get internet connection soon. Right now, I’m on a mobile connection that is really slow (and that I can’t use with my Macbook). Wich is the reason why I haven’t been able to post any videos lately. I hope this will change soon, then I’ll be a better blogger and publish new videos.
I’ve done a few trials this fall and we’ve done really well. Missy became Obedience Trial Champion in the beginning of October and Shejpa became Agility Trial Champion the same weekend! I’m trying to qualify both dogs for Swedish nationals next year. Shejpa and I just came back from a trial on Gotland, an island on the east coast of Sweden. We weren’t as successful as we’ve been before, if you only look at the results. But I have been working on speed with her and it has really helped! Her speed was really good and I know I can make it even better. We did only have one clean run out of four, where she finished second, after another working cocker, world team memeber Max. Her running contacts are perfect in trials and I don’t worry about them at all. It’s a great feeling, knowing that they are consistent and fast. I was more worried about the other dog that I brought to the trial. My student and friend Anna let me run her border collie Fonzie in his debut in standard. Unfortunatly, he knocked a bar in two of his runs and had weave pole problems in the two others. But his running contacts were great and that was what I wanted most of all.
Squid has turned one year and is doing good. We’re training agility, obedience, herding and search and rescue. She is very immature and I have decided not to do any trials with her this year. I have so little time and I might as well spend my weekends trialing with the dogs that need to in order to qualify for nationals. Thomas’ cocker Pogue is one month younger, but he did his first trial in obedience this weekend. He did really well and is now qualified for the next level! Now, Thomas has promised to do focus on Pogues agility training – we’re bringing the young dogs to Greg Derrett’s double box seminar in about five weeks. Shejpa is running in the advanced group. We’re really looking forward to the seminar!
We’ve been renting a house 50 kilometers south of Oslo for a couple of years, but the contract got cancelled and we have to move out in August. We weren’t quite prepared to buy a house right now, but we didn’t have much choice. Fortunatly, a house that we looked at in November and really liked, was still for sale. This house is in Sweden, near Örebro. It’s about two hours west of Stockholm. The house has a nice interior and 20 000 square meters of land. We’re moving there in two and a half months!
I’ve been living in Norway for four years and now I’m finally moving back to Sweden. I really like Norway, but I still feel like most things are a bit better in Sweden. I hope that Thomas, who is Norwegian, will agree.
Most of the snow has melted and we had a nice walk today with Missy, Pi and Pogue. Laxmi (our vet with a degree on rehab from University of Tennessee) took a look at Shejpa’s back today and it was fine! I can’t wait to start training agility with her again! She has been very bored with no training and walking on leash for a month.
Here are some pictures from todays walk
Some snow left on the field makes Pogue very happy
No snow in the woods makes me very happy 😀
Two spotted dogs
He loves everything wet or muddy, unlike Shejpa who’d rather keep her paws dry
We’re having really nice, sunny (but quite cold) days here. Thomas has left for Bergen again and I am alone with my three girls. Setting goals for this year has been inspiring and we have been training quite a lot. Missy has gotten at least one session of obedience every day and Shejpa has been working on her nose touches on the stairs (working a lot on the seesaw made them weaker) and some weaves. My main focus with Shejpa right now is about speed. She knows lots of things and there are really not many techical things that we need to work on. The coming months will be all about focus and drive. I hope that she, in the future, will be running as fast as she can every time I set her infront of agility equipment. That means less training, shorter sessions and always rewarding for speed.
With Squid, we’ve had some sessions outdoors today. In the first session, we worked on circle work for agility. She loves it, but sometimes she’ll get to excited and jump or bite my clothes. I’ve had to to shorter sessions, slow down a bit and reward her more with food. It has helped and if her attitude is right, she can run with me really fast and she loves it. We’ve also worked on some heeling. I love how walking backwards in our heeling sessions really helps her to differentiate heeling from loose leash walking or circle work. She is very good at the backwards heeling and I can turn around and let her walk pretty long distances before rewarding. I make sure to reward when she falls back, as I don’t want to encourage her to rush. I don’t think that a border collie puppy can walk too far behind you (not with great attitude anyway).
We’ve also worked some more on our sitstays. She has a tendency to lie down if I get to far away from her and that tendency got stronger after I started rewarding downs the other day. Working on it today helped a lot and she has a pretty good sitstay. I just have to remember working on her holding position in stand and down as well (especially the stand). Talking about staying in a down. Some people make it hard for themselves. I started rewarding her down on Thursday, and the day after, I started to shape a crawl. I sure hope I won’t get into trouble for that. The crawl is an advanced exercise in our working trials (and I plan to trial Squid in search and rescue, wich also has an obedience part in it). It’s not hard to shape a dog to crawl, but to get the technique perfect is a big challenge. I want the hind legs to work independently and with rythm, no hopping. It’s an interesting challenge. I have taught a really nice crawl with two of my dogs, but that is pretty much the only exercise where I have used some luring to get the footwork right. This time, we’re trying out shaping.
Squid got to do some jumping today for the second time in her life. Despite her fluffy, round looks, she is a very coordinated and athletic puppy. She has no problems with jumping over bumps with good rythm, I guess she’s seen worse while playing in the woods. She had no problems with the bars that made the exercise quite challenging visually, but on the other hand, she seems to love challenges. Here are some pictures:
Squid has started to be more offensive in shaping, wich I love. She started offering so many cool things when she got frustrated, that I decided to just have sessions where I capture and shape her puppy goofiness. I know it might make other things harder for me, because I have clicked for different things in one session (without me being in charge of switching behaviors), something I very rarely do. I want my dogs to keep working on the same thing until I decide to do something new. But on the other hand, I got some really cool behaviors and Squid is working much more activly. She likes to lie down, something that I have never reinforced before, but now decided to accept as she is offering so many cool things. She has offered and repeated:
Hind paw on face
Crossing front legs
Putting front paw over nose
Streching front legs
We have also been working on getting up with front paws on a small perch and holding a toy in her mouth when I tempt her with treats. She has been on a few walks with the older dogs out on the fields (no herding the older dogs yet, so she can join us for now) and we have been working on circle work on the agility field.
Squid with our german pointer Pax
Squid with Pi and Missy (can you believe they are both border collies?)
Pi, flying over the fields
On Monday, we brought her to some friends and family with small children. She med Kaja, 5 month old human puppy, and Benjamin, Thomas’ 8 months old nephew. She was really sweet with the babies and was really happy to see them. We also got to walk in the city at night.
Squid and Kaja
Squid wants to share toys with Kaja
We’re getting ready for an agility trial tomorrow. Shejpa hasn’t been in a trial since her debut in September and I really, really hope we’ll do well tomorrow. It’s indoors on carpet and that should suite her fine.
Squid turned 9 weeks yesterday and it has been a week filled with joy since I got her. She is a very confident and fearless puppy. She’s been to many different locations in the past week, for example shopping malls, vet, parks, city centre, stable, airport, woods and on a bus. Nothing seems to make her worried and she loves all people that she greets.
In her bag at the airport
She flew with us to Stavanger this weekend. I’m happy to be able to introduce her to flying while she still can ride in the cabin with us. She was absolutely perfect. We did some socializing and training at the airport and she didn’t mind any of the distractions there, she even tugged her way through the line for security. While flying, she slept all the time both ways in her bag under the seat in front of me. She didn’t say a thing. We were teaching in Stavanger and I had her close to me all the time. She slept in the bag at my chest while I was walking around and instructing. She got to show the first steps in crate games and perch work for the first time. She quickly caught on and she is now eagerly playing crate games.
Teaching with me in Stavanger
Shaping was initially a bit slow with her. She would lie down a lot and sometimes even fell asleep. That is nog big problem any more, she might lay down, but she will soon get up and start working again. Her backing up is starting to look really good. We also work on loose leash walking and stopping at my side when I stop. She seems to get it, because she would run to me and sit at my side instead of coming into front when I had my back to her at puppy class tonight. We do a lot of restrained recalls and work on not crossing behind my back. I will start doing more circle work now that she is doing her loose leash walking well without crossing behind.
She’s finally home and she’s an absolutely wonderful puppy! I picked her up this weekend. She is very cuddly and pretty calm. She tugs like crazy and loves food. I’ve never had a puppy that acts so much like a puppy, she is not as mature as the puppies that I have had in the past. I think that’s a good thing. I get time to bond with her before she starts to stalk other dogs, chase cars and act like a teenager. On the other hand, she is not the fastest learner when it comes to shaping, because of her immaturity. She tends to fall asleep in my lap instead of trying harder 😀 I’m sure she’ll be excellent before long.
We’ve done a lot of socialising since I got her. We’ve met a lot of people, quite a few dogs and a lot of children. We’ve been to the vet, to the mall, to the pet store, watched traffic, ridden an elevator, walked in the woods, watched herding, been in three homes… All in four days. I can’t wait to get some more training done with her! She is such a lovely puppy.