Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/17 - A Vacation does a (dog) body good

Run, Kane, Run! (this is the part he loves!)
Our trainer was on vacation for a week, so between the previous practice and this one, we both got to rest up for a little bit. Apparently it was just what he needed.

His heeling was excellent (still have a line on him though). But he is responding really well to remote collar corrections. Starting to forge a little, but I was told it's a sign of wanting to please, so we'll see....
Kane is finally (FINALLY!) starting to show improvement in the bitework. He had the best grips he’s ever had during this session. Full grips, as hard as always, and more towards the center of the sleeve.
Even Richard was impressed…..I was, of course, ecstatic. Go Kane!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

7/5 - Can we morph two dogs into one?

You can poke a stick through there!!!
So it’s been a few weeks since I blogged. I guess in some ways after Julie lost Buoy I just didn’t feel like writing anything….even though we’ve had some good practices. Richard (trainer) was on vacation as well, so we did not train for almost 2 weeks.
However, we’re back up and running now, so here’s my attempt at catching up, post-blogging for June 28 (which is kind of against the whole idea of blogging, isn’t it? Oh well…)

My friend Jackie and I were commenting that if we could morph her dog, Bronko, and Kane, we’d have one heck of a dog! Bronko has all the things Kane does not – a calm grip, beauty (haha – that one is for you Jackie!) and the list goes on and on. Kane, however, has the intensity and the drive that Bronko is taking a little longer to develop.

Bronko and his super grip

If Kane could also have some of Buoy fabulous obedience, especially the dumbbell part, then we’d be all set.

But what would be the fun in that, right? :-) I love my dog and love training him. For me, it’s not about the perfect dog but it’s about finding perfection in everything that we do together.

All joking aside, Kane is coming along very nicely in his bitework. He still growls as he gets closer to the blind, but he outs well and we’re working on the off-leash obedience during protection as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In Memory of Buoy

Today is a very sad day. Our friend Julie's dog, Buoy, passed away early this morning at NC State Vet Hospital from liver failure. Most likely brought on by a tick bite and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Julie is devastated and I can only imagine what she feels like.

Just last weekend at practice, we were watching Buoy work his usual magic. He earned his SchH II title just this spring, getting an amazing 98 points in protection. Buoy was a rescue dog. From looking at him, you would think he was mostly Belgian Malinois with a little German Shepherd thrown in for good measure. He was small, but mighty. His energy and intensity on and off the field was the stuff you can only dream of. He was a heeling machine. Julie and Buoy were the perfect pair, and they worked so well together. Here's to friends and loved ones, including animals, that become part of our heart and soul. Buoy, you will be missed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where we are at with...OBEDIENCE!

Good Attention!

Obedience is by far our “best” part right now, probably because it’s the easiest to practice on your own between club practices!!! I also take Kane to Charlotte Dog Training Club (CDTC) classes which are good for distraction and to learn little tips and tricks from experienced people. The wonderful teachers (yeay!) don’t mind that our heeling is a little different and that we do our about turns the other way....lol (I turn to the left, into Kane, and he makes a right turn around me). Kudos to CDTC for a great program!

HEELING: Kane’s heeling is excellent. Continuing to work on left and right 90 degree turns, more so on me giving the right signals (eye, foot) so that he knows what is coming.
SIT AND DOWN OUT OF MOTION: We had to step back a bit to make sure I use different feet for each when stepping off without him. He sits a little slow still – but it's coming along. Tried leash indications, stepping in front etc. and it works to a point. Still it’s faster than when we started… :-)
RETRIEVES: We’ve done no dumbbell retrieve work yet – still trying to figure all that out – what method to use etc., and I want to get our BH done first. I want to concentrate on what we have to do to get through the BH and not rush something that is so important, right? Kane responds real well to marker training, so I'm thinking that's what I want to do. Marker training with drive building.
GROUPS: Still working on heeling through a group. Without the leash he tends to loose attention...
LONG DOWN: Ok, this is a MAJOR ISSUE for Kane. He has shown some DA - mostly other intact males and in cases where other dogs were too close to "his" car. Combine that with a high prey drive (if it's moving it's mine!)and....well, a lot of work to be done on the long down. Laying down next to a field where another dog is working is such a temptation. If the other dog runs around a lot….he gets up, and in one case (when we tried without a long line) he even jumped the other dog. It was very traumatic for me, even though the other dog thankfully did not get hurt. I was so po'd and worried that the other dog would be scarred from the a experience.

For now we are using a long line, remote collar and working heavily on having other (reliable) dogs doing recalls right next to us. So far so good, but I’m not sure when we can start transitioning to no leash. I don’t want to risk anyone else’s dog getting hurt. Going to the CDTC class has also helped his obedience under distraction which I think will help here as well. This is basically the only reason we don’t have a BH yet. Can you imagine doing the BH and your dog is the one that gets up and starts a dogfight…..how awful would that be? Yuck. I’m waiting until I’m 110% sure he won’t go for it…maybe even 120% sure.Working on pack structure (I’m the boss!) and making sure things we do in our every-day life have a positive effect on this part of his training is also something I do to get a handle on it.

But mom, it's moving....Can I go get it?