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Archive for September, 2013

I just realized I didn’t do a puppy update on Sunday. I’ll try to make up for it this Sunday, but I had a good reason! This past weekend I was competing with the Labrador. We entered our first Novice Obedience class, and got a second on Saturday, and first on Sunday earning two legs of our CD!

We also NQ’d in Rally Advanced, so we still only have two legs for that. And it’s never what you think is going to get you! Friday night we arrived early for the Rally Trial. The rain on the way down was horrible, and I was very thankful my husband was driving! Rally Excellent ran first, but I got our map and started looking over it. It looked very straight forward, but I was concerned about the fact the jump looked like it was going to be the broad jump, and that there was an offset figure 8. We’ve had the offset figure eight for both legs we’ve Q’d for, but they make me nervous! The broad jump was being used in the Excellent class, and was sitting in the exact same place where it would sit for the Advanced, so I figured the judge had built nested courses, and it would stay where it was. I have not trained the broad jump as much as I should have. The Labrador will still step on boards. I was fairly certain we were going to loose 10 points right off the bat due to that.

I watched the Excellent runs, surprised by how many people NQ’d, and not really understanding why. Turned out it was a judge’s error, which wasn’t pointed out or realized until after placements were given, and some people left. She was NQing for jump refusal, but the rules now state it’s just an IP. Meanwhile someone else commented that the broad jump hadn’t been set correctly either! They removed the broad jump when it came time for Advance, and put the Bar jump in! I was ecstatic, commenting that I’d just gotten 10 points back, since I knew the Labrador would do the bar!

I also watched the first three Advanced runs. This is not something I normally do, but there were enough dogs going that I felt I could watch a few before warming up the Labrador. The first three people NQ’d. They each blew by the same sign. They just missed it. You had a right turn and then straight ahead was an about U turn, but between the turn and the U turn there was another sign. It was easy to miss. Watching them to do helped me make sure I didn’t!

Our turn came and in we went. She was doing well, forging a bit, but siting when asked, downing and heeling in the general area. We were at the last two signs and I knew something was wrong. We finished our 360 to the left, and she stepped away and squatted! Oh no! I grabbed her collar and we raced from the ring! One sign to go, and she had to go! Up until that point we had a 95, and first place. Next show we’ll get it and we’ll make sure to have a nice potty break before going in the ring! Bad handler!!

Two interesting things about this Rally Trial — the signs weren’t on the ground as I was used to. They were on PVC posts about chest high. Didn’t phase the Labrador. The other interesting thing was the judge was in a wheel chair. This explained why their Show N Go two weeks earlier had judges in wheelchairs.

Disappointed that we didn’t earn our title, and annoyed with myself we went home so I could sleep and drive back early the next morning.

The judge for the Obedience Trial was extremely nice to us Novice A people. He had a good briefing, trying to put us at ease, and was more than willing to work with us. He had us recalling away from the crowd, and told us we could set our dogs up facing any direction for the stand for exam. I was last to go, and our heeling wasn’t anything like I would have liked. Honestly I thought we were already NQ’d after I finished because I thought it was so bad. I think the Labrador sat at maybe one halt, and there was a moment during the off leash where I really have no idea where she was . Everything else was fantastic, though we lost half a point for her crooked sit on the recall. As I finished, the judge came up to tell me he’d call us back in shortly for the sits and downs. I asked him something like, “I get to do those?” He laughed, and told me that you always do the sits and downs unless you ask to be excused. For some reason I thought if you hadn’t qualified at that point you didn’t come in for the sits and downs. Then he answered what I was really asking, and told me that yes we did have a qualifying score! I was shocked and grateful and we left the ring with a happy bounce. And then the Labrador did an awesome sit stay and down stay!

The 3 minute down stay I think is the longest three minutes of your life. You stand there across the ring, looking at your dog just waiting for the judge to tell you to return to your dog. Every sound from the crating room, which she was closet to, attracted her attention. And then there was a fly. I watched it buzz around, coming closer and closer to her, expecting her to snap at it any any moment and break, but she didn’t! I was so proud of her! Second place and our first Q for Novice A!

Sunday I was a little less nervous — but only a little. I keep telling myself that one day I won’t be nervous doing this. No, I don’t believe myself. Sunday we were on. Her heeling was much better. She didn’t miss a sit! The leash didn’t tighten on the figure eight. Her sit on the recall was so good everyone commented on how beautiful it was when I left the ring. Our score was 10 points higher, enough for us to earn first place!

It was a fantastic trial. Not only because of the Q’s, but the people. I really like this club and plan to keep going there and doing their Show N Gos. An hour and a half is not a bad drive. The President and VP of the club took time out of their day to talk with me, sit with me, and offer advice and make me laugh. I need to send a thank you card.

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21 weeks

We just got back home from the Show N Go. There were two this weekend and we did them both. The main reason to attend is they were held where the Labrador is competing next weekend, but it was also good for the puppy.

Yesterday the puppy did Beginner Novice. We did ok. Today we did much better. Today I remembered that we hadn’t trained most of this yet. Today I remembered that we were there to have fun. So we had fun. And we did better having fun, then when we tried to be all serious. Hopefully I can remember this next weekend! It’s supposed to be fun!

Two people I know lost dogs this week. One managed to get out from their fence and was hit by a car. The other was only a 12 week old puppy, who ate a mushroom that turned out to be poisonous. Between that and the new illness that is killing dogs that they are trying to identify in Ohio, sometimes I want to wrap mine up in bubble wrap and just keep them safe. But what kind of life would that be for them, or me? So we continued to train this week, visiting no new locations, but coming at them from different perspectives. This week we were back at the grocery store, only at a different entrance, working on sit to greet, and attention. We were on campus working on walking past a lot of distractions, including the marching band! We did a lot of loose leashing practice, and will continue to do a lot more. We played retrieve on campus, and went to Agility practice meeting more dogs and more people!

We’re working a lot of the basics. Sit, down, stand, stay, wait, crate and loose leash. We are still doing shaping exercises, which I really enjoy. It’s always fun to see what he’ll come up with next!

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The Labrador and I are back in Agility class. She loves it! One thing everyone comments on in class is her enthusiasm! Often this is a nice way of saying insanity as she races around the course taking which ever obstacle is in her path regardless of the course, or what I’m telling her. One of the other students, who has been in class with me before asked me if she’d calmed down at all. I paused a moment before answering, because I don’t think she was asking exactly what she said. I actually considered my answer, which was no, but she’s gained focus. Just before she’d asked me about the Labrador calming down we’d done a jump sequence where I put her at the start line and did a lead out almost to the second jump. Lead outs weren’t something we could manage last year. She only hit one obstacle out of order in class, actually paying attention to directions and guidance from mom.

So, has she calmed down? No. She still loves it and runs with everything in her, tail wagging, racing through the course. But now we are doing the course (mostly). We have finally gotten a 2 on 2 off contact (she didn’t miss one last class!). She isn’t jumping on the instructor, but turned on a dime when i gave her the “leash” command and shoved her head through the slip lead.

I hope she never calms down. I hope she always gives it her best, running with her heart, loving every minute of it. I just hope she learns to focus more.

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This week we’ve worked on leg weaves, which he now easily executes. Time to move on to walking as he weaves (and hoping he doesn’t trip me!). We’ve been working more on “over” for roll over, and loose leash walking. I keep reminding myself it’s a process. I want heeling which is a specific position, and then I want “with me” which means you can move as far as you want as long as the leash doesn’t get tight. Heeling is going well. With me, well we’re still working on it!

In fact, heeling is going so well we impressed the crowd at the Show N Go this weekend. I had only planned on taking the Golden along for the experience of being in a show-like environment, but decided at the end of the week to enter him in Rally Novice for two runs. It was the first time he was in a ring, and the first time he’s seen Rally signs. And he was amazing! For the figure eight the pylons were food bowls — didn’t phase him! The judge was in a wheelchair, which she moved around — he glanced, but focused right back! The left about turn that we’ve never practiced – he did with a look at me like, “What? That wasn’t hard. Why are you looking at me amazed?” He even managed the down, walk around dog without breaking his stay! He was excellent in his crate when I left him there. Did fantastic in the warm up area, and I walked him through the crowds a few times, and he was nicely focused on mom. I’m very proud of my boy!

So new places and things this week were plenty! The Show N Go being the highlight of course, but we also spent some time outside our local grocery store checking out shopping carts and learning that if I look at mom when people walk by I get treats! Was a rather nice way to spend a few moments. He got on a bus this week as well. No hesitation, and got pets for that. And we had our first restaurant, outside meal where he lay at my chair patiently as we ordered, ate and relaxed. He was so good he earned Red Robin french fry!

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I think he liked it. With this success, we also went to Panera, where he did just as well laying patiently as people came by, we got our food, and as we ate. We even upped the distractions on that one by bringing the Labrador as well. He still did fantastic.

This week he also got to go to Agility Practice. While he’s too young to be doing any jumping and such, it was a great socialization experience. He got to meet other people and dogs, and I was pleased to see him being polite about it.

He never ceases to amaze and impress me.

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Fangless!

I’ve always known that dogs have puppy teeth, loose them and their adult teeth come in. I’ve just never really paid attention to the process. This time though, I’ve been watching. The Golden has learned the command “Show Teeth.” But even so, the first time the Labrador came around the corner with blood all over her neck I freaked!

Then I realized what happened. The Golden had lost a tooth and smeared blood over all her while they wrestled. I’ve watched the holes appear. I watched as a molar came in, covered in gum then finally break through with a little white point at the start. That has to hurt.

Today the Labrador came to me with blood smeared on her again. The Golden’s top and bottom left canines, which were there yesterday are now gone. I’ve never found a tooth, only evidence of it’s loss. The Golden is now partially fangless!

My baby boy is growing up. Getting his adult teeth. At least they won’t be as needle sharp!

EDIT:  Correction — all four canines are gone now.  He is truly Fangless!  And for the first time I actually found a tooth!  Is it weird to want to save your dog’s baby teeth?

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