Sunday, June 28, 2009

Targeting experiment!

Remember I talked about how we finally (and I mean finally!) got Gracie to drive through the weaves independently to a target?

Mum was so excited, now she doesn't have to babysit Gracie, or even cheer lead her through the weaves. She doesn't have to bend over to keep Gracie driving through without looking up. How nice! Now, she can save her breath for the rest of the course, BOL!!

So we got to thinking. We thought that Gracie looked faster in the weaves with the target out about five feet from the last pole, but we weren't certain. So we decided to do a video and time comparison. Yep, she's faster! Another great benefit :)

We decided to compared her weaves from last week with the nice weaving she was doing last November, since they were her best before her targeting. (You'll remember those weaves from our obstacle time comparison post last December, where her avg. weave time was around 3.328). Mum felt like she needed industrial handles to cheer and motivate Gracie.

Gracie has shaved off nearly a quarter of a second on her weaves on average, and consistently over the past few weeks. One of her weaves we got on video was timed at 2.96 seconds, a big change from her fairly consistent 3.25-3.32 seconds before targeting. Good going Gracie!

We've been using open food targets for a long time (well, as long as the 3 (or is it 4) years we've been doing agility :). Mum, Gracie and I like them. And they work well for us. We've learned that we have to do the obstacles before we get the target, and learning that wasn't too difficult. Gracie and I may have had just a couple of run arounds to the target when we were learning the weave targeting, but we moved on and have never done it since.

The thing we like the most about open food targeting for us is the independence it creates - independent weaves, working from a distance, independent contacts and more. And it creates drive, something Gracie needs to work through because of her lack of confidence, and something I needed after my iliopsoas pull to regain my confidence, and my speed.

There's a nice interview with Stuart Mah in Clean Run's June 2009 issue about targeting. He's a big subscriber to targeting, even though it has fallen out of favor by many.

Here's the vid of Gracie's weave comparisons, before targeting and after targeting. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hey! I'm working here!

I'm a lucky pup, I get to go to work with my Mum everyday. I hope some of you get to share in the fun today too!

Later, I gotta get back to work. Mum's working my paws to the bone, BOL!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For Michael...

Great birthday, so far!

It's been a perfect birthday so far, and we still have hours to go! BTW - if anyone wants to know I'm 5 years old today :)

The day started with some nice duck necks included with my kibble, nummo!

Mum worked a little, and then we went for a nice walk before it got super hot (it's 93 degrees now, yikes!).

After we got back, Mum worked some more, and then before dinner, she gave me a few goodies! I got some Honest Kitchen Nuzzles, a stuffed dinosaur, and a Bobo! Won't be long till that BoBo is destuffed, fur sure!

The best part is that Mum says my big present isn't coming for a few days, but she told me what it is! I've been wanting one of these for a couple of years, since the time we saw some of our buds in Europe had one.

It's a Nina Ottosson dog toy!!! OMD!!! Mum says she ordered me the Dog Turbo. Mum picked the Turbo because she thought it fit most with my personality.

I can't wait till it gets here! Pretty soon I'll be ready for a playstation 3, BOL!!!

Near dark, after it cools off, Mum says we're gonna go work on my dogwalk again, I love that!!! And she's got a new set up. She tore up part of the the patio she built before I was born, and is using the bricks to prop up a level board for me before the end board (which is our teeter board). Can't wait to test it out!

Gotta go, Mum's getting out the Homemade Frosty Paws now! Can the day get any better?

Today is my birthday!!!

Today is my birthday, so I'm super busy having loads of fun. Stay tuned for all the good stuff!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Around the Agility dog-o-sphere!

It's been a while since we did our 'around the agility dog-o-sphere' post. So let's get right to it, lots to cover!

Our friends Katie and Eric at Agility Vision have some new stuff going on. The first exciting thing is that Katie now has a blog, and she's been showing some cool training she's doing with her Sheltie, Miley; particularly the proofing of five weeks of running dogwalk training (ala Silvia Trkman). So check it out. And click on the pics of the post for the videos.

Speaking of Silvia, we found this post and video of a seminar she recently held. I picked up a few little tips, you may too!

Secondly, AgilityVision now has a new forum where you can ask Katie about some of her super secret training techniques. Katie was kind enough to share on the forum the tips she gave us for helping Gracie get deeper into the yellow on her running dog walk. Check it out.

AgilityVision is also doing some super cool VOD and DVD seminars - one of which is the upcoming foundation skills DVD by Russian Champion Svetlana Tomanova, "Secrets of Russia: Foundation by Svetlana Tumanova." Why look into rv camping when you can get great training info right in the comfort of your own home :)

Mum and I will be getting an advanced copy of the DVD which goes on sale July 1st, so stay tuned for our review. Did I tell ya, I am a lucky dog!

Last from AgilityVision - they are going to EO coming up July 25th and 26th, so stay tuned. We'll let you know what they'll be filming and how you can see the action.

Speaking of EO...The British Agility Team for EO has been announced. Their team will include Dave Munnings, Greg Derrett, Bernadette Bay and others. Should be some great competition! You can also see the teams from Holland, Belgium, France.

Here is the complete list of entries for EO, as well as the country list. US competitors include:

Aiko & Susan Cochran
Skylar & Ann Zarr
Bree Sea, Nika & Elicia Calhoun
Dan & David Skvorak
Slick & Lisa Marie Bowers
Yankee & Olga Chaiko
Sweep & Roger Anderson
Roo, Binkie & Jannneke Case
Smitten & Melanie Miller
Reebok & Lisa Jarvis
Export & Tracy Sklenar
Harry & Anna Ericsson
Rock-It & Barb Davis
Sully & Mary Jo Johnson
Jazzmine & Della Sliker
Jeep & Katie Trachte
Breeze & Anne Stocum
Jib & Suzi Cope
Jente & Sue Megenity
April & Lori Borrowman
Chase & Deborah McBride
Siryn & Sarah Dow

(I hope I got everyone's name right, reading the EO site was kinda challenging :) Good luck to everyone!

If you're looking for some agility courses to get ideas on training, check out this new site, brought to you by Team Fernandezlopez. Don't worry, they say they get full permission from the judges before posting the course maps. Oh, and if you can, be sure and give 'em a tip for all the hard work it takes to put something like this together for the good of the agility community. We know how much work goes into something like this is.

Remember Mum and I had been working for a long time to learn how I can jump into her arms after an agility run? Here's the method (with some variation) we used, from Gone to the Dogs. (The reason it took us so long is the transition from lap to Mum leaning on the wall, so we moved back to Mum sitting on pillows before leaning. It really helps my confidence when Mum has a leg out for me, her leg furthest away from me. And, Mum has a treat in her hand nearest my nose after jumping, really helped too, BOL!) Enjoy!

Be sure and keep an eye out for Dog Sports Magazine's September issue. Looks like we're gonna be in it, OMD!!

Life and Times of Team Whisner attended a nose work seminar. Seems there's a new dog sport a paw (or is it a foot). Anyway, check out their post on the seminar they attended and then head on over to the website for the new titling and governing body for the sport, the National Canine Scent Work Association. Hmmm...may be some interesting trick work in my future :)

In case you missed Rockin' Rory and Tony, from New Castle, Indiana (hey, that's where my Mum was born!) on America's Got Talent last night, check this out! We sure and wish them luck, and hope they make it to the finals!

I love this video on teaching a puppy front and rear cross. Enjoy!

If you'd like to see some great clicker and trick videos to get some new ideas for training, check out this YouTube channel from Emily Larlham at Kikopup!

DogChannel has an interesting article with info from Debbie Gross-Saunders about stretching your dog, worth a quick read.

This blog post from Justine Davenport is a great reminder to give it all you've got all the time you are training with your dog. It includes a video training session by Greg Derrett. In it you can see that there is no down time, no time to be confused, just action and reward, action and reward, giving 110%. Love it!

Ingerid Margrete of The Wins & Losses of a Clicker Trained Agility Dog found this fun video. And be sure and stop by to see some of her posts, training with Fanny Gott and training her running contacts.

A few other vids...check out Jenny Damm teaching Ogin some tunnel discriminations; Scandel learning proprioception, and Chris Parker proofing weave entrances.

Nancy Gyes has a new blog. Looking forward to some great posts and info. Thanks Ellen for the head up :)

That's it for now! Enjoy!

Running dogwalk - it's coming along, nicely!

Gracie and I have continued working on our running dogwalk training over the past weeks. And we think it's coming along very nicely, although a little slower than we expected, mostly because of time we have to work on it.

You may remember in previous posts (Progressions #1, #2, #3, #4), we had a bit of challenge in getting Gracie to run deeper into the yellow. Well, it's fixed for now!

We got some great tips from a great agility trainer (aka, one time world team member who I'm sure would love to remain anonymous :). Thank you to her for helping us get Gracie running through. It was a super easy fix, and an idea that we would never have thought of. I'll be sure and ask her if it's ok to share her tip and get back with ya.

Now that Gracie's running through, and I'm doing pretty well in striding through the yellow, we raised the board another 6 or so inches. And guess what? We've been at 100% for the past three sessions at the height in the vid below. So it's time to raise it again tonight! Yeah!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fun Games - Are you shy?

You would never know it when you meet us, but Gracie and I are kinda shy, NOT!!!!

We may be shy about getting an auto insurance quote, but we certainly aren't shy for clicks and treats, BOL!!!

This trick, for some reason, was a little more difficult for me, not so much for Gracie. Gracie figured out she had a snout right away. Me? Not so fast. First Mum had to teach me that I had a nose. It took a little time, but once I got that, doing the trick was a breeze.

Because I get kinda manic when I learn new tricks, I don't like to hold behaviors. I like to do 'em and go on with life! So until Mum can teach me to 'hold' it, this is our latest installment of Fun Games - Are You Shy?

Double Time!

Midwest Dog Agility Championships on tap for October!

The 2009 Midwest Dog Agility Championships have been announced.

Here's info from the website:

The event will take place this year at Libertyville Sports Complex in Libertyville, Illinois on October 23-25. Rain or shine they'll be running on sport turf, dry & comfortable, at the indoor facility, so you won't need any outdoor chaise lounges, unless you want to use one indoors :)

Here's the premium. Ilze Rukis will be the judge. Rukis started in agility in 1996, and has judged events for ASCA, AKC, NADAC and TDAA, and the regional “Incredible Dog Challenge”.

You can join their Yahoo Group for updates, and/or complete a form on their site for email updates.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Karen Pryor's got a new book: Reaching the Animal Mind!

So excited! One of my favorite pup trainers, Karen Pryor, has a new book out today!

It's called "Reaching The Animal Mind - Clicker Training and What it Taches us about all Animals."

Here's what Dogwise says about the book:
From the pioneer in the field of clicker training comes an illuminating and revealing look into the minds of all animals.

Karen Pryor has improved the lives of millions of animals. A celebrated pioneer in the field of no punishment animal training, she introduced an innovative training system in her groundbreaking bestseller "Don't Shoot the Dog!" Now, after thirty years of training creatures both tame and wild, Pryor presents the sum total of what she knows about teaching animals and what they in turn have taught her.

Pryor's all-positive clicker-training system is a safe, effective way to modify and shape behavior. Karen can teach anyone to train animals with a cheap, plastic, hand held clicker, rewarding wanted behaviors -- click! -- and ignoring the unwanted. No leash-jerking. No pushing. No smacking.

Animals quickly learn that one behavior gets them a reinforcing click and a bit of food, and undesirable behaviors get them, well, nothing at all. Given the choice, animals quickly focus on what works and abandon what doesn't.

"Reaching the Animal Mind" uses clear, accessible language that will allow anyone to master Pryor's training system. Pryor also entertains by introducing some of her more interesting pupils. Ponies are taught to surf, gloomy birds learn how to play, a rhinoceros routinely leans against a fence for a pedicure, and dogs learn everything with pointed ears and shining eyes that seem to say "You want what? I can do that; watch me!"

Throughout the book, Pryor provides Web addresses where the reader can access video of the actual training sessions that she describes.

Practical and engrossing, Pryor explains the science behind her system, how it works and why it works, its applications for teaching humans, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to clicker-train your cat to give you a high five or your dog to find your car keys. What could be better than that?
Read an excerpt. Dogwise has the book for 25% off at $18.75 and Amazon for $16.50!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot, but fun weekend!

It was a pretty hot weekend. Not so much in temperature but with humidity. Yikes, Mum's shirt was soaked all weekend, and Gracie and I needed some cooling off!

So Mum went and got out our kiddie pool. Dog did that feel good! Gracie of course had to attack the hose when Mum was filling it up. But the minute that was over, I was in there baby! Cooling my heels (wait do dog's have heels?) Anyways, it sure was nice to have our kiddie pool back, you really know it's summer then!

Mum wanted to update everyone on what's blooming in our yard. Here's our lavender, it's gonna be a bit smaller than last year, but will be smellin' heavenly in no time. Maybe I can get Mum to make me a lavender wand for my crate?

Here are the Anthony Waterer Spirea in the front of our house. They need a trim, badly! But Mum didn't have the heart until after their first bloom. We love the color!

Here's our Hydrangea, it's just starting to bloom. Mum and I think it's neat how the blooms start green , turn to light green, then cream color, then light brown and dried. Mum leaves the blooms on the plant until late fall, then she cuts them and adds them to the wreath on our front door, that's filled with dried flowers. Lots of people have asked her how she makes them. She doesn't buy a thing from Total Merchant Services to make them, she just gathers up weeds and spent blooms and puts it all together. Makes every one unique, fun stuff!

Mum trimmed more shrubs and, of course, we helped gather up the sticks. Love that! And then each day we got in a little dogwalk and other agility practice. No vids, yet. But Mum did snap a pic of me going up the dog walk to get in a good ear scritch!

Hope you all had a super cool, super fun weekend!

We are happy flappy!

The nice folks at Flappy Dog Toys sent us a couple of samples of their uber cool new Flappy Toys. There are actually five kinds of Flappys for just about every type of pup:

Tuffy Flappy for the tuff pup
Fluffy Flappy for those liking a softer, crinkle touch
Fleecie Flappy for the cozy set
Flossy Flappy to keep those toofers clean and have fun at the same time
Floatie Flappy for the water lovers

We received the Tuffy Flappy for Gracie, and the Fleecie for me, since I love my fleece! Both Gracie and I went completely nuts for them.

Mum decided to show you all my tugging skills out in our backyard between a little agility practice. Then, she was working on getting me revved up for my running dogwalk practice so she used it to entice some speed outta me, and it worked!

Check it out! Oh, and guess where you can get 'em, yep,!

Friday, June 12, 2009

USDAA Northeast Regionals livestream!

Cool! Looks like the folks at USDAA are testing some new software for the live stream event at Cynosport this fall.

The best part is it looks like they're going to be testing it out during this weekend's Northeast Regionals. Details here. Check during the weekend and hopefully you'll get a chance to watch some of the action!

Guess what we'll be doing this weekend between our agility practicing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A little backyard agility fun!

We got to do some agility a week or so ago. We've been doing some since in the backyard (including our DW retraining), but no video. Just this vid from last week.

We had a big breakthrough just a few days before this vid. Gracie can now drive to a target after the weaves and doesn't need any 'babysitting.' Wow, this is huge for her!!!! It's taken a long time for her to be confident enough to get to this point and we are super proud of her. To get her to drive Mum was having to really stick with her in the weaves and cheer her on with good girls. But now, she's driving on her own. Mum is so happy!!!

Hoping to get a vid comparison of her weaves before targeting and after targeting this week sometime, and time the difference. Should be interesting! She sure doesn't need any fat burner, skinny girl, but Mum could, BOL!!!

For me we worked a little on tight turns and both Gracie and I got some work on rear crosses. I didn't need them so much, but Gracie sure did. And she did great! We think she is really starting to read Mum. Oh, and you can see Gracie doing a little heeling, she likes it, I don't :)

So here's the vid, enjoy!

Doggedness pays off!

Purina Incredible Dog Challenge 2009 schedule announced!

Wow! This is super cool! The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge schedule has been announced for 2009. And guess what? The Eastern regionals are coming to my backyard!

Here's the schedule:

Western Regional
June 12th and 13th
San Diego County Fair - San Diego, CA

Eastern Regional
August 7th and 8th
Indiana State Fair – Indianapolis, IN

National Finals National Finals
October 2nd and 3rd
Purina Farms - Gray Summit, MO

The events include Incredible Freestyle Flying Disc, Incredible Agility, Incredible Diving Dog, Incredible Head-to-Head 60-Weave Pole racing and Incredible Jack Russell Hurdle Racing.

Good luck to all the competitors!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fun hiking weekend!

After we got the new Raise a Green Dog website live and worked out a few little glitches, we got to spend some fun and quality time together. This weekend, we went hiking, not once, but twice!

On Sunday we went down to our usual hiking place near the White River Park just down the road. But on Saturday we got to go to a new hiking place. Mum took Gracie and me with her to stock up on dog food from our great friends in Pendleton. When that was done Mum surprised us by taking us to Falls Park near there for a nice little hike!

Little did we know that there was a Lions Fair going on there, so it took us a while to find a parking spot, but we finally found one. Then it was off on our little hike.

On the way to the trail we saw this super cool stone design, take a look it says 1888! That's older than the hills (and Mum, BOL!)!

Then we made our way to the river. We had to cross it on a little footbridge to get to the other side where the trail starts. I saw some ducks I wanted to herd...

And Gracie was enthralled with the falls...

Then we finally made it to the trail, a very tidy one at that. We like a little more off-road, but we were having fun, nonetheless. We saw squirrels, lots of birds, bugs, and plants. We even saw some leaves that needed acne treatments, they were all spotty, probably a fungus or something. We thought it was cool, but Mum was ewey all over the place. Guess she thought she may catching somethin, or somethin, BOL!!

We stopped to check out the river, me at the bank...

And Gracie at the bridge...

Gracie was getting super overstimulated with the new environment. Mum wishes she would have brought Gracie's clicker to help her focus at times and work on impulse control. Mum couldn't even get Gracie's attention to sit and take a treat. Next time, fur sure!

Overall it was a super weekend. No agility, but hiking galore! We hope you had a great weekend too! And here's a little video of scenes from our hike. You can hear the fair (and the screaming little two leggers) in the background, BOL!!!

It's time for.....hammie agility!

We found this last week, too cool! This Hammie knows his agility stuff (or is he a she?), BOL!!!

Big news! Raise a Green Dog has grown!

I've been a bad, bad doggie blogger, it's been over a week since my last post. But I have a reason!

Mum and I are super proud to announce that our Raise a Green Dog blog has grown, just like all happy and healthy green pups should.

Our blog has turned into a full website with tips, tricks, information and an extensive online green dog product portal for the green, or aspiring green, dog! So now you can find all kinds of information about living a green dog life and lots of hard to find products that are safe, and healthy for us pups! It doesn't have garden urns, but it has just about everything else!

And the other cool thing is that I've started a Green Dog club! If you're green be sure and check out the opportunity to take the Green Dog Pledge, show your commitment to being green and join my club! And if you'd like to showoff your 'greenness' on your site there are super cool website banners you can add to your blog or website too!

I want to thank my Mum for all the hard work (under my direction, clicking and treating of course) in putting together the website. I think she did a pretty doggone good job for being a newbie website creator. Hey Mum, you get a nice raw marrow bone, thanks!

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