Archive for August, 2010

Freestyle Seminar

August 22, 2010

Amelia and Professor and I went to a freestyle seminar with Susan Brogan yesterday. It worked out really well; Professor participated in the morning session, where we worked on teaching various moves, and Amelia came in the afternoon to get some help with choreography.

Professor has reverted to having the attention span of a gnat; hormones are raging, and I get in maybe 5-6 c/t before he loses his focus. So we’d do a short training session, play a little tug, then do another short training session, tug, train, go outside, train, sit down and relax him, and so on. But I got some new moves to work on, and we’ll continue with the short sessions at home while we wait for the maturity fairy to come and scatter brain dust over him.

I’ve been wanting to teach Amelia to do side passes at a distance from me. She’s great right next to me, but I’ve never been able to get the side pass on a totally verbal cue, she’s too dependent on my position. Susan came up with the idea of putting her on the other side of a gate. Then when she’s comfy with that, I can start gradually moving back from the gate. Works like a charm! Whoo hooo. And I got some ideas for choreographing a piece of music I really want to use in a routine.

Now we just need the weather to cool off so we can re-start our Sunday afternoon freestyle training sessions.

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Professor at the Dog Show

August 16, 2010

Professor and I went to a dog show yesterday. It was a regional basenji specialty, as part of an all-breed show, so we got to show in puppy sweepstakes and the regular 6-9 month puppy class.

I overslept (3:30 am is a time that should only be approached from the night before) and we were late in arriving. The judge was still examining puppies on the table, though, and he let us show. I tossed Professor’s lead on, put on a number, stuffed some bait in my pocket, and dashed into the ring. We went around, then got into line.

I’d wondered about entering this sweepstakes, because the judge is the owner of Professor’s sire. But I was told that because he’s not the breeder of the litter, and he didn’t sell me the puppy, I could show Professor to him.

And he likes Professor! We won the class, then he went BOS to a very nice bitch. We’re still wrestling with P’s desire to turn around and look at the other dogs, and our table needs a little more work, and someday I hope I can manage a show lead like some of the pros do. But it helps to have a nice-looking puppy.

In the large (8 puppies) 6-9 month class, we were third. I was very pleased with how he did. Our next show’s at the beginning of October. In fact, the Sunday show of the cluster is on Professor’s 9-month birthday, so I’ll have to move him to 9-12 month puppies for that. And it will be our first outdoor show, which should be interesting.

Outside the ring, Professor is a total twit. He has (at 7 months) discovered the fact that girls exist. He’s not quite sure what that’s all about, but he’s very interested in finding out. He’s not breedist at all, he was looking at the pugs and the greyhounds and the great danes…. And flipping all over at the end of his leash, and trying to shoplift bully sticks, and generally being a total twit. He’s lucky he’s cute.

Amelia goes to All Stars

August 12, 2010
  • Amelia and I went to All Stars August 6-8, a tournament competition with obedience, rally, and agility competitions. We were in Super Rally, so we had three rounds, each round consisting of an Advanced and an Excellent Rally Course. To participate in All Stars, you have to qualify, either by score or by title. You can get your qualifying scores in other venues, but All Stars itself is AKC rules.

We stayed at the host hotel, a Holiday Inn. The competition was at the York Expo Center, a couple of miles away. It was very convenient. We arrived Friday, for the Ultimate Rally Challenge, a course consisting of all 52 AKC rally signs. It was a bear, but a lot of fun. It was a game, not a competition. They ran it on the agility turf, so our sniffing problem was even worse than usual, and after about 30 signs or so, my eyes glazed over.

Friday night was the banquet and silent auction, which was great. Good food, and the desserts were amazing. There were some great items in the auction, and the evening was relaxing and fun. Professor is an old pro at road trips by now, and my friend Kate came with me which really helped with the dogs. We got in some good recall practice with Professor. Joey wasn’t thrilled to be on the second floor, but he negotiated the stairs pretty well, and by Sunday was going up and down like a pro. But the weekend was really all about Amelia.

Saturday afternoon was our first round of competition. The organizers provided goodie bags for all of us, with a certificate of participation, and doggie and people goodies and toys. There were some good vendors, too, so I spent way too much money, but that’s what vacations are for, right?

Steve Surfman was there taking photos, so we’ve got some good ones. The lighting was a bit uneven, and of course you don’t want a flash going off while you’re negotiating a course.

Amelia heels, sort of

Sloooowly she sits

And then ....

she downs

She spots a temptation

She heads for the temptation

She checks out the temptation

Then she decides to rejoin me

And we head off to the jump

The (nerve-wracking) honor

The honor steward and spectator are watching the working dog, but I’ve got my eyes riveted to Amelia. Who held all three honors, didn’t go down on the sit, didn’t sit on the down, didn’t get up and try to leave…. Bless her working little heart.

We finished up 13 out of 16 competitors–not last, but we could see it from where we stood. But that’s ok, she proved she was an All Star, she qualified every time she ran, and it certainly wasn’t her fault that I had her finish right instead of left and had to repeat the sign! Although she could have resisted the temptation–she doesn’t even LIKE toys particularly.

Swim, puppy, swim!

August 1, 2010

Went over to Ruth’s again today. Professor has grown almost entirely into the “big dog” floater, if we tighten all the straps up as far as they’ll go, and he had three shortish swimming sessions. None of them was his idea, but we managed. Swimming is hard work for a pupster! But he very quickly recovered when out of the pool. So I’d walk him around the edge of the pool, then in we’d go again. I held the loop on the top of his floater, and held the back end of the floater to keep him level in the water.

Amelia also got a turn to swim. She isn’t really interested in swimming, what with all that water and all, but she’s VERY interested in the canned cheese that gets squirted into swimming dogs. What a dilemma!

Joey just sat under the table and wondered where everyone was. But we spent a lot of time giving treats to the dogs, and he got his share. It was very cute, when I pulled in and was getting dogs out of the car, Joey’s tail was wagging like mad! He knew where we were, and he was happy to be there. He’s not much of a tail wagger, so this was big for him.

We also did some recalls with Professor, using his new favorite treat, raw hamburger. He did quite a few recalls between Ruth and me, with collar grabs and treats each time. Then he decided that it was more fun to run around the person calling him. So we did a few recalls with Amelia, and she got the hamburger. That brought Professor back into line, and we quit on a good note. The Susan Garrett recall course started today, and we’re working on it. But right now, everyone’s sound asleep. It was a busy, and hard exercising, day for basenjis.