...ready for action !

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Zen and her mother

Zen is coming up 5  months on Thursday, so I made Mike take some more pics. She seems to have slowed down the growth a little which has also meant her appetite has decreased (and it was small in the first place, very much like her mother). She is extremely picky with her food.. won't eat her veggies in the morning and thinks I am trying to poison her when I try to give her fish oils (covered in peanut butter). In contrast Red now eats all her breakfast! Having babies has made her a) hungrier and b) more affectionate.
Zen is a girl who is ALL about motion. She gets bored pretty quickly doing static behaviours, especially as I am rewarding with kibble to decrease the amount of rubbish she gets while growing. I can only do a few reps before breaking her off to play or to chase thrown kibble. She differs from her mother there, Red is all over ANY training and gets OTT excited (complete with dilated pupils). When I bring motion in (particularly chasing me), Zen thinks it is the best fun ever. She is very fast when she drives to catch me, not as fast when she is working away.
Currently we are working on: body awareness.. she has quite a lot of angulation in her backend and her hocks are considerably further out than Reds'. I have noticed this makes it harder for her to control them and place her back feet accurately. We are working on walking the ladder backwards and sideways, as well as other bits and pieces. Her cone wrapping is going pretty well, and we have JUST started flatwork in H360. She enjoys her cone wrapping. She does grids approx once/week (and set point when I remember) and quite likes them. Her jumping seems reasonable, not as drivey or extended as her mother, but she also seems to be able to collect, which is novel. She has also started foottargetting (not a fan), nose touches (coming along OK but see earlier note re static behaviours) and her 'back' and 'turn' (L and R wrap). She impressed me, actually, as I always teach this with luring and it normally takes FOREVER for the dog to get it. She has already got the 'back' direction and I think 'turn' isn't far off. Smart-ish, maybe.. (hopefully not too smart as I am against smart BCs in agility).

Red has been back in the ring for about a month and she is so much fun. We had 2 or 3 trials in a row with little stuff going wrong, mainly bars and flying off the new height see-saw. Saturday night we both got it together and managed to win BOTH masters agility and jumping beating some fast dogs so that was exciting. We will continue to work on her turning ability..esp running into front crosses. She will always prefer to jump straight then turn. She is not happy on the new height See Saw so we have more work to do there. I have decreased the amount of weaving she does as it is the obstacle hardest on their backs, so I was pleased she got the hard soft sided entry on Sat night. I was having a play with her running dog walk, but have decided to leave the stop as it is for everything apart from straight exits. The nationals are coming up very quickly now, hope we are ready in time. Most importantly, with all the work I am doing with her she is staying sound (touch wood!) and hasn't needed much body work.
Vids below:







EDITED to say Mike managed to delete the pics of Zen off his camera :( So he will have to try again!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Miss legs

Zen has been growing up.. she is now only about 10cm shorter than her Mother. I am really enjoying training her, she is similar to Red in many ways, not quite as drivey yet but she has a very long stride and is heaps of fun. Below are some vids of stuff we have been working on.











This one seems to come naturally!



Red dog is back in the ring which feels great! I was really pleased with how she ran last weekend, only 1 run out of 6 with bars, and apart from a see-saw fly off (1st go at new height in the ring) all the mistakes were mine! Capped off by a win in MJ on Sunday. We have the Western Classic tonight and tomorrow night, hopefully I can manage to be a better handler for her.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sports Medicine Course- Chris Zink

I have just returned from Sydney where I spent 3 days with Chris Zinc learning all about canine sports medicine.. with a focus on agility as that is the most popular dog sport. I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the course. We covered all sorts of topics, from doing 'sports ready' exams with dogs BEFORE they start major training/competing, conditioning plans, lameness exams for those subtle to see soft tissue injuries, the type of injuries sports dogs tend to get, and recommended treatment including retraining programs. I particularly enjoyed the information on the importance of lead legs and what it can mean if a dog is on the 'wrong lead' as it is not something I have thought much about before, despite having a riding background as well. I am hoping to complete the rest of the Canine Rehabilitation Institute's rehab course, with the next section being offered in October. In the meantime I am changing the way I condition the dogs, to a slightly more targeted/ scientific method. And also including the dogs that don't do agility (it is now a sea of dogs in the conditioning room in the mornings! All except Zen!) And the supplements have had an overhaul as well. Chris also kindly looked at the Red Dog for me, and was happy with all her muscles apart from the paraspinals and ventral obliques which we need to improve.
I think Zen grew about a foot when I was away.. photos to come soon.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

12.5 weeks

And growing fast.. we have long legs now! She is such a sweetie, and really fun to play with/train. She is still not a big fan of food, but she is able to train for kibble for her morning session when she is hungry. As long as I keep it fairly active.. she is a big fan of the movement. She is doing reasonably well in her body awareness but doesn't have really anything on cue properly yet, so I get a lot of offering whatever we last worked on. She can stand on all 4 paw pods, back up, back up onto something and we started teaching R/L paw 2 days ago which she picked up in one session. We are also working on having nice position in sit and down, sit is coming along nicely but down is still a work/flop in progress.



Her recalls are pretty good, unless my other dogs are out and she is in sheepdog mode. I don't call her when she is running with them, unless I am close enough to enforce it. She is a little rocket in her restrained recalls but I have stopped doing them for the moment as she doesn't have enough body awarness to decelerate/stop once she has the toy and tends to slip/do a somersault, even with me letting the toy go. Retrieves are still a work in progress.. we work on that everyday. She finds it fun to run off with the toy, of course, although by using a conveniently stashed papillon I am using a bit of jealousy to ensure a quick return when she does bunk off. I just introduced a tiny bit of 'jumping' in the last couple of days.   I don't do a lot with my puppies but figure a little bit won't hurt. The vids below show the total number of reps she has seen.





She had a tiny go at a small grid at 4ft apart and did pretty well, we have to train in the park as the garden has just had new lawn laid and she was a very good girl with her focus and sit stays



She is also a bit more confident out the front, although still doesn't like it when cars drive past. We will continue to work on that. The park is being utilised to the full to find nice dogs for her to run with...most of the time she has been enjoying this. We did have a run in with a golden retriever that attacked her Mother 2 days ago, luckily Rosi was OK but a little bit shaken (as was I, no idea WHY the dog was off lead as it was clear this is not the first time he had done that). Zen sensibly bolted inside, but was OK coming back out afterwards to play.

Rosi is well and truely back in work now, and I am loving having her back. Her enthusiasm and love of the game cannot be beaten, in my opinion. She has lost all her baby weight (that, uh hmm, may have taken awhile given how much weight I put on her..) and is jumping full height again. We were supposed to trial on Saturday night, but the trial was cancelled due to bad weather. I am focussing mainly on her jumping form and trying to get her to shift more onto her hindquarters rather than be so on her forehand all the time, and this is also a work in progress. We are currently doing Ann Croft's jumping course and while the exercises are nothing new, it is nice to get someone else's eyes on her. She continues to adore her daughter and plays with her all the time. Love my Red Dog!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Zen

My puppy is growing up, 11.5 weeks now. I have been loving having a puppy in the house again, especially at this stage where they are all loving and sweet. Enjoying it before adolescence starts! Zen is definitely sweeter than her Mother, she will often come up and give me kisses and cuddles and likes to chew a toy sitting on my lap. I am very much enjoying her, she likes to train but is definitely 'softer' than her Mother at this stage. I have to be careful I don't overface her (especially training with kibble), as she will wander off and quit if she doesn't think it is worth it. Her body awareness is coming on, yesterday she managed to get all 4 feet up on the paw pods, and her backing up is quite good (and is the current default behaviour if she is not sure what I want, time to name it I think!). Her RZ is also pretty good, and she is a very happy heeler. Her retrieves seem to have become a bit lost, so I have taken her back into the hall for sessions of rewarding bringing to hand. She is a very social girl and has had lots of meet and greets at the park (from which she *mostly* still comes back!) She is a bit sound sensitive to various things at the moment, including birds, which I am hoping is a phase she grows out of. All in all she is good fun, and I just adore her cute little face! Pics below, and a clip from one of her walks (my current favourite part of the day). 


















Saturday, January 2, 2016

And then there was one..

Everyone keeps asking me if the house is quiet.. well, I suppose it is quietER but not sure a house with 4-6 dogs will ever be quiet! Love my Zen girl, she really is a nice pup. Would say she is probably medium drive at this point, she is a bit so-so with her food, but LOVES her toys. She will tug anywhere which is great and her retrieve is coming along as long as I manage the environment.. (ie. have it so she has nowhere to go but past me!) She is sleeping a lot which I had forgotten about.. as it has been 5 years since we have had a pup in the house. She has great plays with Tex, he thinks she is marvellous as she is still (just) smaller than him. Give it another few days..
It is lovely to hear Caroline, Julia and Denise are really enjoying their pups as well, and everyone seems happy with their confident, go-getter attitudes to life.
I bullied Mike into taking Zen's 8 week pics, in the park outside our house.