Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lisa Maze seminar - part 1

Training dogs in the South is such a rough life! :-)

Kane and I practicing attention.
Kane and I were fortunate enough to be able to participate in a Lisa Maze seminar a few weekends ago. Lisa is owner of Muttamorphosis Dog Training and she is a very accomplished dog trainer and breeder from California. She works closely with Michael Ellis of the Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers and the Loups de Soleil kennel for working Belgian Malinois. If you know a little about Schutzhund, then are probably familiar with Leerburg, both the kennels and the dvd/dog training gear company. Leerburg has produced several excellent videos with Michael on the topic of marker training. Here's a PDF on Leerburg's explanation of marker training.

Adding some movement into my food reward, after marking, makes Kane really excited and ups the engagement.
The wonderful Charleston Working Dog Club put on this event at the home of our wonderful hostess Jenny. We were able to train and stay at her beautiful plantation home located on 95 acres. It was such a wonderful weekend - we had fantastic weather, a lot of fun, great advice from Lisa on training, fantastic helpers for protection and great food as well.

Since Kane's "attackdog" incident, we have been working on attention and engagement. After talking with a few friends, and watching a video of us doing an obedience practice session, it became pretty apparent that Kane was not very attentive on the field, my rewards were not in the least bit engaging or fun and something needed to be drastically changed if we were going to break out of attackdog label and bring ourselves to the next level. I jokingly remarked that if I was being rewarded the way I rewarded Kane, I wouldn't sit either. So there! :-) My wonderful friend Julie brought up the concept of engagement training, Michael's videos and showed me how to get started. She even let me play with her malinois Brando so that I could feel the difference in handling a dog that has engagement. My feeling is that if Kane is more engaged with me, then his attention will be less likely to leave me to look for other "fun" things to do.

The first thing we worked with Lisa on was food rewards for attention, and how to be more fun. Here is an edited video showing how that was done with Kane:

I have three more posts to come on this seminar - so stay tuned! If you are interested in marker training, please watch some of the Michael Ellis videos or try attending a Lisa Maze seminar!
See - I had a GREAT time at this seminar!

Thank you Lisa! Thank you Charleston Working Dog Club! (and Thank you Thomas Lever for the fabulous photos of me and Kane!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes things don't go as planned

We were near Myrtle Beach, SC this past weekend. Excited to be entered in another trial for an OB1 which is just the obedience part of a Schutzhund 1 routine. It was meant to give us some more practice and hopefully ease our my nervousness and we could put on a better showing than we did back in December.

Unfortunately, things don't always go as you plan. We had just walked onto the field and I was about to shake hands with the judge for checking in, and Kane locked eyes with the other handler's dog and attacked. It seemed like minutes, but I'm sure it was just seconds before I was able to grab him and pull away. Noone was hurt, luckily. And the other handler and dog team were able to finish and achieve their SchH1 title after a break. Kane and I were dismissed, as is routine for fighting.

It was completely embarrassing and humiliating. In hindsight, I shouldn't have walked on to the field first, but I should have waited for the other team so that I could then determine the distance. Instead the other handler chose to walk up and check in VERY close to us. That's not an excuse, but after that the judge made all teams sit well away from each other.

I thought for a while about quitting Schutzhund. But I think the best place for us is to continue. Continue training with people I trust, who are used to working with dogs like this. People with experience who can help me become a better handler and help me control Kane better so that this will NEVER EVER happen again, in ANY situation. Either ON the field or OFF the field. So, I'm moving on. Away from that lovely line now forever imprinted in our USA scorebook that reads "Dismissed - Dog Attacked during check-in."

I want to celebrate some of my friends that did a fantastic job at this trial -

Maggie with Roland for SchH2! 84-78-95

Chris with Lil' D for SchH2! 96-73-90

Travis with the amazing Remington and their SchH3! 93-88-95

By the way, did you know that you can no longer wear a training vest to a club trial? The judge was going to dock me 5 points for that.

We finished the weekend in a great way - watched the sunrise over the Atlantic with my best husband and "attackdog." What a great start to a new day, a new road for me and Kane to travel and a new beginning.
Deep breath in....and off we go!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kane's SchH1 Protection Video

Here is our video of the protection segment of our Schutzhund 1. 82 and pronounced. :-) Now we are busy getting ready to do an OB1 at the end of January in Myrtle Beach. Our Obedience is better than what we did in December, so it's time to trial more and get over the nerves - both for me and Kane!