Friday, December 13, 2013

Drop on recall

I haven't really done any serious training since August which is simply inexcusable. My attempts to start consistent training in September ended when I lost my job. Someone might think that being unemployed should give me a plenty of time to do the stuff I want, but somehow I felt that I was even busier than when I had a job. I think, finally, things are settling down and I am trying very hard to get some sort of schedule worked out that allows me to do things I don't have time for. My new office is only 1.7 miles away from my house, so I am planning on coming home a few times a week during lunch break in order to get some daytime training done, but of course weather had to interfere and dump some snow on us, right after I had made a decision to come home for lunch. Don't take me wrong, I am not really afraid of snow, but the problem is that the snow only last here for maybe a day, after that it turns into ice and jumping dogs on ice doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
There are many exercises that are not where I want them to be and need a lot of work. One of those exercises is Drop on Recall. We've been picking at it occasionally for a pretty long time and I yet again I had decided that it has to be finished. Unfortunately, lately that means that I will remember to work on it for maybe two days and then completely forget about it for months, which explains our lack of success with the exercise. But yet again I am trying. Every time I decide to work on this consistently we make a tiny bit of progress though. Mozart had been dropping on the spot from the stand with me 40 ft away for a while now, but I was unsuccessful with achieving it in motion. First, I restarted the work on random drops. Every time I take him out for a run, I try to remember to do a few random drops as he is running about his business usually away from me. Wish I had a video of few of those drops when he was running away from me that flipped on the spot and downed on command really fast.
After he seemed to mastered that, I had decided to pair it with the recall again. The result - after maybe one successful drop Mozart was creeping forward again. To make my point very clear I went and took the light line. One end of the line was attached to the tree and the other end was attached to Mozart's collar. I measured the distance at which the line will stop Mozart's movement and put the mark there. My goal was to give Mozart the down command just in time that if he drops he will not get a correction, but if he decides to creep forward the tug on his collar will remind him that it's not appropriate. At first it was great, a couple of corrections and Mozart was much more mindful of the command. Unfortunately after just a few times he started to expect the drop, because he was attached to the tree I would have to go back and detach him and do a few straight recalls before going back to drops. This was quite annoying so to solve the matter I went and got an even longer line. this line was going from me, behind the tree and attached to Mozart. The goal of this setup was the following - when I give the "down" command, I will step on the line, if Mozart is not down, he will get a collar correction to stop his forward movement. If he drops, I would go in and praise him profusely. If he anticipates I will not drop him and will remind him that he should be coming unless there is another command given. That seems to work very well. I was truly surprised that just after two sessions he was doing full distance DOR yesterday in class with so many distractions and at a pretty good speed.
There is a progress at last!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Merry Christmas

Finally! we went last night and got our tree and the wreath. Can't wait to decorate it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lets see it in slow motion!

I made myself a "got a new job" present and upgraded my phone to 5s.  I dont know if it's a phone or new OS feature, but now my phone can take videos in slow motion. Since the moment I had found out this, I had been dying to see Moz jumping in slow mo.
Finally at the local match where I was helping with run thrus, I had the opportunity to test it. How awesome is this?!:-)

Friday, November 1, 2013


The things had been completely crazy in last few weeks, but I start a new job on Oct 28th.
You'd think that I would have been able to train my dogs more while I was unemployed while in fact the training stopped completely - things just got too stressful and busy.
Now that things are getting back to normal we can go back to training and what could be a better training opportunity than the Halloween night.
Considering the problem that  I was trying to solve with Mozart - barking at strange people, Halloween night seemed like the best chance to meet lots of strange people.
Little one got invited to go trick-or-treating with her friend so I asked if I can bring Mozart. I wish I was better prepared and had a costume for him and a good basket to carry around, but I had to live with what I had. AS a result Mozart had no costume and was carrying a Easter bucket around, so I was telling people that he is an Easter bunny.
Mozart was a hit of the night. People simply couldn't believe that the dog can carry a bucket around in his mouth.  Mozart's job was to carry the bucket, sit politely while people were putting candies in it and if we got really lucky - sit politely for petting.
I think the night was absolute success as I managed to expose him to lots of running and screaming children in funny clothes not to mention the number of "sits for exam" we accomplished.
I wish Halloween was a once a month thing, we would have done so much training!:-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When it rains it pours. Is that how it is?

I had some ideas on what I wanted to write about last week, but something stopped me in my tracks.
Thursday last week I had found out that the company I had been working for is going out of business and as of last Friday I am unemployed.

To make matters worse this also meant that we were loosing our health insurance. Because company was going out of business the COBRA coverage will not be available.

To add to that, the government shut down put my husbands work at risk. Although he is working this week we are not sure whether or not he will be getting paid next Friday.

As of Tuesday I am locked  in my house with Belle in heat and Mozart loosing his marbles and me trying to figure out what I am suppose to be doing in all this mess.  Mozart is in love with everyone but both Belle and Brandy showing him their teeth, poor boy is very confused.

To add to the confusion I have an offer from my former boss to join his new company, but they are not ready to hire me yet, but because they have tight deadlines I am helping them out with some development work, while still sending resumes out.

My kids are confused why I am saying that I do not have a job but at the same time I am saying that I have work to do. To be honest I am quite confused myself.:-)

I had been much less productive in last two days sitting at home then when I used to go to the office on the daily basis. The whining Moz is not helping me to wrap my head around new stuff I have to learn for work.

If all that wasn't enough, some idiot merged into my husbands car yesterday morning. Although it doesn't seem to be my husbands fault, but the insurance companies now have to fight it over. I am just hoping that our rate will not go up and they will not ask for our deductibles to fix the car. When my husband called the police, they refused to come, said " just get the insurance information". How lovely!

I just want everything go back to normal and our crazy government to open again!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Match

On Sunday we actually did go to the match. I managed to crawl out of bed somewhere around 6:30. The announcement on info dog said that match registration is 8-8:30 and  an email I had sent to somebody at the club confirmed it. The AKC regulations said that entries for "A" match cannot be accepted after the stated time, so I really had to hassle to get there on time.

I had checked directions to the location from my phone the night before and the google maps told me it was 1 hour and 4 min away. When I got to the car, a bit later than I planned : first, I had realized that the directions were taking me over the tall road that EZpass only, that meant that my commute is now longer. My GPS told me that I will arrive there at precisely 8:30 and that's assuming I will not get lost somewhere trying to find that park.

Secondly, I had a bit less than a quarter of gas in the tank. Damn it! I am not really sure that I will be able to make there on that much gas and I don't really have time to go get some. My plan became - go until I can no longer go and then find a gas station,  there got to be a one on the way somewhere.

Of course nothing went as planned. The "low gas" light came up just as I was getting off the high way and if there was a gas station on the way I would have stopped and gotten some gas. The problem was - no gas station on the way. With just 10 min to spare I had decided that I will go to the match considering that I was only 3 min away when the light came up. I know, I know, I had been told before that when the light comes up you should have plenty of gas in your tank to find a gas station. The thing is, my car is kind of funny that way. When the light came up, I was informed that I have 9 miles to go till empty. I hadn't make a mile when it changed to 3 miles and by the time I pulled over at the park, the indicator was letting me know that I had 0 miles till empty.

I got out of the car and went to register for the match, where I was given the match flier that stated that the registration is till 9:45! Cursing under my breath that I could have stayed in bed longer not to mention would have plenty of time to get gas and wouldn't have to be scratching my head now trying to figure out how to proceed, I asked where the nearest gas station was. It wasn't very far. I had driven on empty before. I should be able to make it ok. Smart person would have probably waited till the end of the match to go get gas, but with over an hour to spare, I really wanted to stop worrying about the gas business.

I found that nice lady, who seemed to be in charge, and asked her if in case I get stuck on the road if there is anybody here who will be willing to come over and rescue me. She gave me her daughters phone number. As I was driving to the gas station I was thinking that it probably would be smarter to ask her daughter to drive me to gas station to pick up a couple of gallons of gas instead of taking chances of getting stuck.

I did make to the gas station ok and finally was able to take a deep breath and relax a bit, picked up an ice tea for me and a bottle of water for Moz.

A friend of mine who lives near by came over to hang out with us, it was really nice. My handling in breed ring was horrendous, the only reason we got BOB is because we were the only dog in the ring, but we did get what we came after - the exam. The judge was a man and he did what any breed judge seem to do, jumped into examining his teeth before I had any chances to compose myself, that's the whole reason why I need to go to as many conformations matches as I can, so I can finally figure out how to be ready at all times. Mozart took it like a champ, although his stand wasn't solid and he tried to wiggle while being examined.

Before we had to go back into the group, Marina beat me up and told me to take longer steps, and hold the lead properly and bunch of other things.   Those damn rings are so small that if I take large steps and move fast I ran into the gave on the step 3! Non the less, we did much better. I thought I was taking pretty large steps, but I got yelled when I came out of the ring anyway:-) We managed to get a Group II. We lost to a very nice dobe, but we also did beat a few dogs, the most importantly we did make progress, yey!

From the breed ring we ran straight into obedience ring, just having enough time to take off the show lead and put the chain collar back on, came right in time to do a bit of warm up and get into the ring.  Moz as distracted, as usual. I think he only gave me a single straight sit, I had been working and working on it, and apparently we still have to do more work, he lagged a bit on the fast. He bumped me a lot on the inside of the figure 8, not sure if judge had noticed it. His stand for exam was pretty solid - the judge was a tall, old gentleman and Mozart didn't even blink. His front was almost perfect, but not quite. His recall was very lovely and fast. Overall just what I was expecting, no real surprises.

When the time came for stays, he barely made it through.  He was hot, although it wasn't really a hot day, but he was sitting in the sun, he was stressed. On the sit, he rolled back onto his hip, kind of like a puppy sit, I thought he will go down so I start sending him reaffirming thoughts.

On the down, he just lost it. He was rolling from one hip onto another and started whining.  In meantime, 3 dogs out of 5 in line had broke and ran for their owners. the owners went and put their dogs back in line, that commotion added to more of Mozart's stress. He became antsy and the whining picked up to the full volume. dang it! I am not quite sure how I am going to deal with his whining on stays, I am hoping that more practice will help it.

If it wasn't an "A" match, I would have probably went in and corrected him, but I couldn't do it at the "A" match, plus, I am pretty sure if I even had touched him, he would pop right up and I would have made the situation worse. Knowing that the other 3 dogs in the line up are pretty shaky, I've decided to let it go.

With all the rolling and whining, he did held his stay though.Even with lots of points lost for whining, we had managed to win the open B and even get the "High in Match" ribbon. Yey!

I had also entered him in BN class, which we also won. His figure 8 was better, his front was worse. He danced a bit on the stay as I was walking behind him and he started to loose his marbles as we were walking out. You'd think by now he'll be more tired and there-though lazy, but it seems he is just like a toddler that becomes more crazy as the tiredness progresses, until it turns into a full blown tantrum.  Luckily we were done for the day. I took him to the corner of the park and let him run a little bit, to get the crazies out.

Later int he day I decided to take him to my grand parent's house. We were gathering together to celebrate my grandmother's birthday and I thought it will be good for him to go and work a bit more on stays.

He was very good, he let my niece check him out. He checked her out also. He did a long down at my feet while I was eating and did lots of down stays when I had to go do something. In fact he was so good that he start to loose it again, so I had to take him out and let him run out the crazies again on the front yard, then he could go back inside again and continue to be good.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Changing Gears

I had been quiet again for over the month. It was a busy month and a challenging one.
I finally came to a decision that I will not be showing Brandy past UD. I simply do not have the time and  amount of money that it takes.

Taking Brandy all the way to the UD required a lot of work and sacrifices. My kids were one of those sacrifices. While they are getting good grades in school it was apparent for quite some time that good grades in American school don't really mean that they know and understand stuff, it simply means that they are like monkeys were taught to do something that they will forget the day after the test.

With Anya heading into high school next year and a college not being too far away, I had decided that my consistent involvement with their home work is absolutely must, especially where math is concerned.
Charlotte is very bright but she is not on the above grade level in math, where her friends are and that's not because she can't, but because I didn't have time to teach her more advanced math unlike other parents did.
I was reading about countries school ranking and although Maryland schools are ranked #1 in the country, I am starting to think that the credit is due to the parents, not the schools. The testing for the magnet programs is in few months and unfortunately I don't thinks I can get girls ready for it in such a short time.:-( But this year the girls academic will be my top priority.

The decision to stop showing Brandy wasn't an easy one, I sure had lots of dreams for our obedience career and she is sure a dog that could go all the way.  Now I just need to come up with a plan to keep her mind busy and active.

With Brandy's retirement Mozart took the number one spot. After doing some assessment it was apparent that our sit/stay and stand for exam is not up to a CD standard.

Mozart has a tendency to bark at some people. It's usually people that are weird in some way or have a strange body language that makes him suspicious. Unfortunately I had seen some pretty weird judges which mean that I need to make sure that he will not pull a stunt like this in the ring and gets himself DQed. That would end his obedience career.

Fixing it is not an easy thing as I can't just go asking strange people to do the exam. Most people are scared of him and it will just make a matters worse.
After some thinking last night, I had decided that the problem with stand/stay stems from poor sit/stay. This means that I will have to go all the way back and reteach sit for exam.
In sit for exam, unlike stand, I can actually correct for breaking the sit stay because barking is in fact a break of the sit stay.

Tonight in class I asked several people  to do a sit for exam for us. Lucky, Mozart decided to bark at one new person and it gave me a chance to work through the problem. With the rest, the goal was to make sure that Moz allows people to do the e am without excessive wagging of the tail and kissing in the face. After a few people and a multiple corrections( thanks Mike for some pointers) He finally strews to grasp the idea of not moving his head too much.

When we came home I realized that tonight is one of those nights when I don't have dinner for the dogs. I went to the store yesterday but for some reason I had only bought one chicken. Instead of being upset I decided to take Mozart and work him at the entrance to the store in hope that there will be at least a couple of people that he will find "strange" and decides to bark at them, plus going at night puts us at advantage as he is more likely to bark in the dark at people than in the day light.

I wasn't disappointed . The first person that came out of the store decided that Moz was really cute and proceeded to make funny faces and gestures waiving to him. As expected Mozart decided to start barking. I quickly put him on the sit stay and gave him a collar pop correction every time he barked. The lady left. After that Mozart decided to bark at pretty much every person coming out of the store. After being corrected every single time, he finally figured it out. From that point on, whenever someone came out of the store and Mozart felt like barking he just turned away and looked at me, getting a very enthusiastic praise in return.

The barking stopped.  I put him back into the car and went to get the chicken, then took Moz out again for a second small session - no barking. We worked on heel position and various turns and called it a day.
When we came home I asked Husband to do the sit for exam. Moz didn't wiggle a single bit even that I know he was psyched to see him. Well, we had definitely made a progress. Now I need somehow to make it carry over on sit for exam when strangers do it.

I am planning to go to a match this sunday and putting Mozart into conformation, novice and BN( if they have it) that should take care of 3 exams. I am hoping I will be able to find volunteers who might be willing to help me with sit for exam outside the ring, although the match being an type "a" match it might not be allowed.