Archive for September, 2010

Amelia does it again

September 29, 2010

Showed Amelia in Rally this past weekend. She qualified in Excellent and Advanced, both days, for her 8th and 9th RAE legs. She needs 10 legs for the title. Then, I guess, it’s on to RAE2. She seems to enjoy going to shows, and she certainly enjoys going as a singleton, with no puppy hanging off her.

Saturday she seemed really tired. We didn’t show til after 12, so it wasn’t that we had to get up at the crack of dawn, but still she seemed very subdued and not really “on”. She went down on the honor sit, so that’s 10 points off, but she did get the Q, which is all I really went for. She also got a toy, which was promptly seized and fought over by Joey and Professor. She was a little better in Advanced. Slept like the dead all the way home, and slept soundly Saturday night.

Sunday she seemed much more rested, and was very content to nap in her crate at the trial. We were at the end of both Excellent and Advanced, so she had plenty of time to chill. She did much better, both scores were over 90 (out of 100). I was very pleased with her. It was quite a bit cooler than Saturday, which may have made a difference, too, alhtough the building has ac and was comfortable.

I helped set the courses, since the club didn’t have too many experienced rally people. The judge had already pulled all the signs, so it wasn’t too hard, although the shift from Advanced to Novice was a bit complicated. We did it, though. And then the show chair came up while I was putting the advanced signs into order, and handed me a gift card for PetCo! She said they were giving them to all the stewards. I pointed out that I wasn’t a steward, just a competitor who stayed to help a bit. But she gave me the card anyway. I passed it on to my friend Carol. who had helped set the Excellent and Advanced courses but had to leave. She does rescue, and I figured the basenjis are sufficiently spoiled, judging by the number of dog toys that are strewn about the apartment.  

Usually, Professor and Amelia are crated together in the dog room, while Joey is loose in the living room. That’s gated off so he can’t get into the dog room. In the past, I’ve put Joey in Amelia’s crate when I’ve needed to take her away, but Professor is getting confident enough that I tried leaving him alone, with Joey in the living room but not right next to him. And he was fine with it. A bit of whining when we left, which is kind of standard, but he wasn’t really upset, just mad that he wasn’t going. He gets next weekend, Friday-Sunday, at the conformation shows.

Professor had a really good night at agility class Monday. He’s able to back through the ladder, but not to back into it. Amy had challenged us to try to teach this. I’ve been working on backing him up between two broad jump boards. When he was backing nice and straight, I put some thick dowels down, and backed him over them. With the ladder, as long as I walked him into it, he could back out of it. But he totally doesn’t get backing into the ladder. Think I’ll try shaping that this week. He’s still really interested in the other dogs. Especially the girls. And he and the intact male sheltie were posturing at each other at one point. He’s such an adolescent boy!

Basenji Musings

September 14, 2010

We’ve had a couple of weekends free lately, which is good. We’re resting up. Between Amelia in Rally and Professor in Breed, we’ll be showing every weekend from the end of September to the end of October. Including one three-day show where both will be entered. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH what was I thinking?

Things at home are settling down, though. Professor and Joey were starting to get snarky with one another. Joey thinks Professor is a twerp and a waste of carbon; Professor thinks he’s a big boy now and hot stuff.

Most of the snarking happened when food was in the offing, like when I’m cutting up training treats or eating and the two of them would start jostling one another for position. Shirley suggested making them Amelia’s problem, by giving all three dogs a time out when snarking occurred. I never had a chance to test the theory; Amelia apparently took it upon herself to put a stop to stupid boy stuff before it began to impinge on her comfort. Last time I cut up dog treats, all three dogs stayed in the living room, instead of coming into the kitchen and jostling. All three, of course, got treats.

Then I treated myself to a steak for dinner. My deal with the dogs is, y’all stay away while I eat, and when I’m done everybody gets a little taste. This mostly works pretty well, but Joey and Professor were starting to come over by my chair, and then they’d jostle each other, then they’d snark. Apparently, Amelia covered this also in her instructions. I ate in peace, all three dogs laid patiently on the couch, and everybody got a steak bit as a reward.

Overall, Amelia is doing a fabulous job of raising and civilizing this puppy. She’s ‘splained to him how to play, how to act like a civilized being, and, oops, how to counter surf. The two of them playing together sound like world war three, but both seem to be having a good time. Every once in a while, Professor gets a bit too wound up, and I hear a “squeak!” and know Amelia just cracked down on silliness. But the play continues, so I don’t think she’s traumatizing him.

Professor is now 8 months old, and I’m hoping he’s starting to grow up. He’s doing well in our pre-agility class. Some of the exercises, like perch work, he’s been doing since he was a bitty baby, so that’s no problem. Last night we met the Buja board for the first time. He’s been on tippy boards before, but not the big board. Interesting. He was very worried by the noise it made when another dog tipped it, so when the first group was working on it I stood back and c/t every time it banged. When he got on it, he was fine with it moving under him, and fine with it making noise when *he* tipped it. Still not crazy about the noise when somebody else did it. I knew he’d be ok with the movement, since we play with the balance ball at least twice a week, but was a little surprised by his reaction to the noise.

I’m finding he can pay attention to me quite well, as long as we’re at least 10 feet away from the nearest dog. Closer than that, and his brains fall out his ears and he just wants to play. He did do both recalls very well, which was nice. Mostly he does, but I’m keeping his leash on him just in case. Last week he veered off on his second recall to see his buddy Holly, who taught our puppy class and was teaching in the other ring. She’d come into our ring to get something, and Professor just had to say “Hey!”

Joey continues to be Joey. He’s had a bit of a rash on his ears this past week, so I’ve been putting Animax on them. As long as the treats keep coming Joey doesn’t care what bizarre things I do to him.

Basenji adventures

September 6, 2010

Last weekend, Amelia went to a rally trial. AKC. She qualified in both Advanced and Excellent, giving her a 7th leg (out of 10) toward her RAE. She didn’t place, but she got enough points to Q, which is all we’re interested in. The judge commented on her being a nice working basenji. She also said Amelia looks as if she’s keeping track of exactly how many cookies she’s going to be owed for her performance. The girl is nothing if not pragmatic. She’s truly a “what’s in it for ME?” kinda dog.

This weekend was Professor’s turn. He went to his first lure coursing event, and got to run a short practice run. It was a gorgeous day for coursing, sunny but not too hot. We had him run out about 100 yards, then a friend caught him, they reversed the lure, and he ran 100 yards back in toward me (and the lure machine).

I was thrilled with his practice; first, that he ran away from me after the lure; second, that my friend was able to catch him easily out in the middle of the field; third, that he came running back in; fourth, that I was able to fairly easily catch him at the end. Even with all the dogs and people in the background. He did sheer off to investigate a pulley, but that’s ok for his first time out. He was totally unfazed by the lure machine and the odd noises the lures make as they go around. And he seemed to really enjoy chasing the lure.

The catching him, though, is the big deal. We’ve been doing Susan Garrett’s online recall course, and it’s paying off. We can’t do all the games and exercises because we’re still working on fundamentals on a lot of things, but he has gotten the idea that being caught is a good thing. She does a collar grab game; for Professor, I’ve modified it into a “snatch the puppy” game where I grab him around the chest and lift his front feet off the ground and treat. I do this since the dogs don’t wear collars when they course. And he was totally cool with a relative stranger catching him, and with me catching him. Amelia used to lose points for “delay of course” when she was running, because she was so hard to catch. In her case, it was because she liked to run so much, and she’d figured out that the lure always runs again, so she’d just hang out about 10 feet away, waiting for the next course to start. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed to decide on their own when they’ll run.

Tomorrow, we start our puppy pre-agility class. Professor is going to be a busy little boy!