Monday, March 31, 2008

Great Practice

I was feeling bad all day today. I kept thinking about the problems I'm having with Miley and how they are my fault. Some how Ive encourage these behaviors even if I didn't mean to. The circling thing really has me worried. I came home today and change the course in my yard. I had 3 different types of treats: salmon, natural balance roll (beef) and hotdogs. I don't know if it was the treats or the variation of food. But she did great. Only one break in the start line stay. Only circled me three times and that was three times straight in a row. If you only knew how much a problem this had been, that is fantastic for her. She also came to me when I had her leash and walked to the door. Yea!!! Another thing I noticed that I needed to work on was her focus at the start line. She is focus totally on me waiting for me to send her. So I just did a few of those "one Jump exercises" . You have the dog sit in front of the jump and throw the toy over the jump. When the dog stops looking at you and looks at the toy, you release them. It is suppose to help them find their line. I only did this 3 times and it took her a while to look. But she didn't break the stay. The other thing I have been working on a long time is having Miley lie down when giving my dog Mickey his phenobarb. After he gets it all the dogs get a dab of peanut butter. Miley has been trying to stay in a down but usually breaks before her turn. But today she made it. Yea!!!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New Collar

Here is Miley's new collar. I finally had to buy a new one. The first one she had couldn't slide any larger. I had bought this tag for her old collar and I really like it. I wasn't sure it was going to fit the new collar because it was a larger width. But if fit. This is a great tag. If never moves and has never fallen off. It doesn't make noise and cant get caught on anything. I bought it from The only thing I'm not sure of, is if it can be worn in AKC agility trials.

Things to work on

Here are two of my biggest problems right now. Or maybe there are three.
1. Not coming when called on the agility field after a run. ( she circles me)

2. She hates the car. So if she thinks I'm getting ready to go to the car and I get the leash, she again wont come to me.

3. No wait when on the agility field. She will wait in her crate and at the door, but has a hard time on the agility field. Its like when you see those boarder collies and they are bent down and ready to go, inching forward. She will just break. Its hard to see in the picture above but her butt is raised.

So for the next 2 weeks that is what I'm going to focus on. So far there is no treat that is good enough to stop the circling. Today I bought salmon. That was very effective today. I'm only going to use it for circling behavior and the car/leash thing. Today while I was practicing a wait on the field , the dog next door started barking at the fence line. She ran off to bark. I was able to call her back and then I released her to go back to barking. I was able to do this twice. We stopped practice after that success. I'm also teaching a hand touch to bring her close.
I'm going to try not to take her anywhere in the car for a while. I may have to take her to the agility trial on Saturday that our club is hosting. They are having a photographer (Diane Lewis) there that is only taking portraits. I really like her work and would like a picture of Miley. I will have to see about that. If I do take her and she shows any negative behavior toward the car, then I will abort the photo shoot. I'm going to use the salmon treats if she comes when going to the garage and getting the leash. I will also treat next to the car. When I do get back into the car, I'm going to use the other car for a while. I might let here sit in the front with a harness on. If you click the seat belt without the right weight the air bag turns off.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


We were on vacation this past week. My husband said it was ok to post his picture on my blog. ( We have been married 19 years this month) My kids didnt want there pictures on the blog.
We went to my mom's house for Easter in Savannah. Then we drove to Fort Walton Beach, Florida to meet my sisters family for a beach vacation. The weather was sunny and the temperatures ranged from 50-70's. The only problem was the wind coming off the gulf. If was hard to sit on the beach because you were freezing. So mostly we sat by the pool. I guess the building blocked the wind, at least some what. It was a long 10 hour drive home but we survived. I picked the dogs up from the kennel. Everything seemed ok, except Roxy's legs were red. I figured she must have eaten some of Mickeys food. She has food allergies. So when I asked for Roxy's food bag, they said she ate it all and they fed her Mickey's food. Ugh! I cant believe she ate all that food. Not a 3.5 lb. chihuahua. But even if she did, they could have called my cell and I would have told them to give her Mileys food, she can tolerate it. ( although its puppy food) . But I guess if that's the worse that happened than that's no bad.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do you know what breed dog this is?

2 weeks old
6 weeks old

Mickey the Chihuahua at 5 months. All the pictures are of him. What a change , huh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just one more time

Why do you think when we are practicing with our dogs we always just have to do it one more time. We know we should stop. The dog has done well, so lets end on a good note. But no, lets just try one more thing. And bam, one to many. I worked Miley today. She did very well. I worked on the sit stays in front of the jumps. She only broke once. I have a feeling I must have given some body cue because that was the time I was going to release her over the jump. But she released herself before the verbal command. We worked on "tight" which I think she has down pretty well. We also worked on "easy". That is coming along but has a ways to go. I started back chaining the sequence which seemed to help. Usually I start at the beginning and work forward. But someone talked about using back chaining even with experienced dogs. I do think it helped. We worked on the "out" command to the tunnel. That has a long way to go. And of course did teeter work and dog walk runs. I was going to just stop but then I thought, I'll just do one more thing. (Also she didn't do any circling around me and came to me every time I called her. Usually if I call her when we are practicing agility, she wont come all the way to me and will circle.) So, just one more try. I set her up in front of the jump on a sit stay. She broke it almost immediately and started circling. So I stopped, called her to me and rewarded. Then we played ball. Not a disaster, but I should have just stopped and I knew it. Ugh!! ( the picture above was of Miley at 13 weeks, she had just gotten over Parvo)

Guiness update

This is a picture of Guiness when I first got him from rescue.

Dr. Sherman called today to give me an update on Guiness. He is doing very well. Actually, he is ahead of schedule. Today he had Guiness do a lot of cone work with turns and serpentines. Normally that would aggravate Guiness limp. But Dr. Sherman said he did well and no signs of limping or tenderness of the muscle. Tomorrow he will fatigue him first in the underwater treadmill and then do the cone work to see how the muscle holds up. He expects to do the 2nd shock wave treatment next Monday or Wednesday and then go from there. If things continue on like this , he doesn't think Guiness will need a third treatment. Yea!!!!! Two weeks down, 2 to go.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not agility related

I'm reading this book that I am finding to be heart warming. Its not the type of book I usually read. I like medical thrillers. But that isn't this book. Its called , "Chosen by a Horse" by Susan Richards. On the cover it says, "How a broken horse fixed a broken heart". Ive only read the first 4 chapters but I really am enjoying it. So far, its about a lady who owns three horses. She is divorced from her husband and in the divorce she gets her horse , Georgia. She didn't know the horse was pregnant. She is quit sure her husband wouldn't have agreed to let her have the horse if he had known. ( two for one thing). She named the foal, "Sweet Revenge" . Funny huh? That's the type of humor in the book. Then she gets a call from the SPCA about fostering one of the 40 horses just rescued. She takes one in called "Lay me down" that has a foal with her already. "Lay me down" is sick and thin. The foal is fine and she feels doesn't like her. That's all Ive read.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I taped this video yesterday and was really proud of how she ran. She is focused forward instead of at me and running ahead of me. But then when I watched it today, I started to see things wrong. She missed the running contact. Yes she is running fast, but do I have control or is she just running the course? I should have rewarded the "easy" command. And how many times can I say "go"?

Today I went to an agility drop in class. There were all young dogs or first time agility people except me and another lady. I'm glad I went because its good to see how your dog reacts in new places. There were lots of sheep running next to the field. That didn't seem to be a problem. But the tunnel must have smelled interesting. She kept sniffing and standing inside of it. I had to walk off with my back to her, until she notice me and came running.

Of course , Miley did her usual circling stuff. She circles me between runs, when I am getting my shoes on for a walk, when I'm getting her food ready and when playing ball at the Field. I haven't been able to stop it. I wasn't even sure why she was doing it. The instructor felt that she is doing it to try to control the game. She doesn't want to wait and wants to keep playing. Or it could be that I added motion to soon. I need to get her to stop doing it. That's the hard part. She wont come to me when she starts the circling behavior. So, she told me to play a game on the agility field with light colored treats. Have her sit in front of the jump, throw the treat on the other side of the jump and send her. When she goes to the jump, you go out to one side of the jump or the other and call her back to you. ( not back over the jump). I may need to keep a line on her. Also play this game on the agility field, but without any jumps.

Miley wont stay at a jump and let me do any amount of a lead out. (Also a control thing) Every time I tried to take a step, she took off and went over 3 jumps in a row. So the instructor told me to stand next to her , put her in a sit-stay, then take on step back (with just one foot) and then bring your leg back to where it was. If she stays, she gets a treat. This worked very well. I don't know why I didn't think of that. Then slowly go sideways and forward in small increments. Another sit -stay exercise is to sit your dog in front of the jump, you step over the jump and turn around an reward the dog for staying. Then turn back around and call the dog over the jump. This also worked well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Human/dog water bottle

Here is the water bottle that I mentioned earlier. It works great. You use the straw or you bend the straw down and squeeze the bottle and fill the cup for your dog. The only thing is wish it that the strap was a little longer. I got it from J and J dog supply.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guiness update

Guiness is doing well at rehab. The vet feels even more positive that Guiness will make a full recovery. His goal is to have Guiness return to agility, but Ill be happy for him not to limp. He has been doing the underwater treadmill followed by a heated whirlpool. He didn't show any signs of tenderness in the muscle when the vet examine him yesterday. No limping while walking in the treadmill. He has good stride length and is not abducting the leg when walking. Today they will lower the water level in the treadmill and see how he does. One week down, 3 to go until he gets to come home.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Elephant trick

Ive been working on teaching Miley to step up onto a phone book and move around by moving her back feet. Some people call it the elephant trick. Here is a site with dogs doing the trick. One is a very young sheltie puppy!

Johann the dog has started a list of dog tricks on her blog. Ive tried 3 times to copy and paste and cant get it right. Maybe my daughter can help me.

To The Park

We went and walked at the state park. It was much harder than walking in the neighborhood. There were lots of sloping hill and lots of roots to step over which gave your legs a good workout. I'm sure its good for the dog too. I think I'm going to try and walk there 3 times a week because I feel we both will benefit from the workout. This weekend I'm going to try the path marked "spider women" . Its label difficult. I would like to see what difficult means. I also got this cool water bottle from J and J dog supplies. It has a straw for the human and a cup attached to the top for the dog. I'll try to post a picture of it later.

What is wrong?

I ran this course with Miley, or should I say I tried to run this course. I did a post turn from 1 to 2 but she couldn't make the tunnel entry. I move jump 2 to an angle facing the tunnel but it didn't help. I tried 3 times and she ran around the outside of the tunnel every time. I'm not sure why. Anyone with suggestions. Is it to far apart or to close together. Maybe she is not collecting?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

bicycle springer attachment

This is a harness that I bought for Guiness. I bought it off the Internet. You give them the neck size and chest size. I really like it. Its made of nylon with sheep skin fur around the chest, bottom and around neck. It fits Miley pretty well. A little loose in the ribs but I think that is OK. Its the right fit around the neck and chest. Ive only started the bicycle riding this week. We only do it for about 15 minutes at a trot. She does better then Guiness because Guiness likes to chase bicycles. I really have to run him so he stops trying to get the bicycle. Miley I can just trot which is what I want. The only problem is she wants to chase cars. So a car goes by and they slow down to stare at us which only makes Miley worse. She just gets excited and pulls to the side. But that is ok because the spring on the bicycle attachment adjust for that. It still make me nervous.
Ive been working on clicker training with Miley. I'm teaching her to get on the phone book and then move her back legs around the book. It took 3 days for her to learn to get her front feet on the book and keep them there.( my sessions are once or twice a day for 1-2 minutes) I did 2 days of just reinforcing front feet on the book. Yesterday , I started to click for any back feet movement. I find is very interesting how the dog figures out what you want or what makes you click. They will do different things to see if that makes you click but still maintain the first part of the trick. Who knew? Not me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hey, what were you doing?

Nothing, just cleaning the grill for you. The black stuff on my face helps my complexion.

Silvia Trkman courses

Here are some of the courses that Silvia set up for us on the advance group. I hope she doesn't mind me posting these. I'm not sure the distance is exactly right so if you set them up you may have to adjust it. Also she only used half the field so I figure that was about right.
1. In the first course I couldn't figure out how to manage 6,7,8,9. But after Silvia said it was a straight line ( its suppose to be a straight line), it made more sense. So as long as you were to the right of your dog coming out of the tunnel you just did a slight push and pull and the dog ran fine. Guiness got it with no problem ( after everyone had left I ran him 3 times) Many teams had problems with 3,4,5 to the tunnel. Most tried to call there dogs to them after jump 4. And they went off course to the first tunnel entrance. What worked best was a front cross after 4.
2. The only real problem with the second course was the weave entry and coming off the dog walk to jump8. You needed to be on the left side for your dog to make the weave entry. Surprisingly dogs that had a running contact were able to get to jump 8 without difficulty. The dogs that had a 20/20 had to have there handler in just the right spot to front cross and get them over the jump. That held true for course 3 also.
3. The third course I thought that the blind tunnel entrance would be a problem but it wasn't. Most dogs, including Guiness, got it without having to go all the way to the tunnel and then you ran behind the tunnel and the dog knew where you were and took jump 4 without a problem.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog and sending me emails. Its been fun and exciting getting to meet people all over the world.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

To windy to do agility

These are my neighbors cars. It very windy. We have also had a lot of rain this week. I think 3-4 inches in 2 days, so that's probably why the tree fell.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This is a cool crate car The Wednesday March 5th 2008 post.

walking through the park with new eyes

While in North Carolina I went to this park. It was great. I was nervous because there wasn't anyone else there but still nice. It made me think of Silvia Trkman walking her dogs. Logs for jumping and balancing on. One spot you could practice an out. Trees in the middle of the path that she could practice her tight commands. Stumps and logs to have her dogs put their back feet on for 2o/20. Etc...... Also if you want to read another bloggers view of the Silvia Trkman seminar go to

not rewarding at the right time

I have been trying to teach Miley a "go on" command for months. She just isn't getting the hang of it. So last night I was throwing the ball down the hall and saying "go on". Well, guess when I was rewarding. After she got the ball and was bringing it back to me. So she probably thinks "go on" means bring me the ball back. So after I noticed that I started rewarding when she started running toward the ball. Today's agility practice went much better. Hopefully I was rewarding in the right place. The other day my friend noticed that I usually reward after she does the obstacle. I need to reward her going toward the obstacle and the beginning of the obstacle. ( like the tunnel entrance)That way she knows she doing it right.

Guiness had his first Shock wave treatment to his thigh muscle. He is doing well. I think they said they ice it for the next 48 hours and do tissue recovery. After that they will start low impact underwater treadmill.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Siliva Trkman Seminar

  1. I went to a Silvia Trkman seminar this past weekend in Raleigh-Durham, NC. If you want to read some other bloggers post on her seminar, go to "blogs I read" on the side of this blog. "Johann the Dog" and "Its a Spring Thing" wrote very nice post on Silvia's seminar in February. Silvia must be traveling the county.

    I'm just going to talk about things I felt were interesting because the other two blogs I mentioned above will give you great information and are well written. One thing I noticed, since I was auditing, was that people didn't reward their dogs in the right spot. I'm not judging them because I'm not perfect either. I just think it is something we all need to think about. I would watch a dog do a part of the course that they struggled with. They would run the same sequence of 4-5 obstacle over and over. On the 4 time, the dog got it right and they just kept going. Sometimes they gave a small yes, but it wasn't enough for the dog to understand he did it right and that was what you wanted. The other thing I noticed was that most people do a 2 on/ 2 off but it didn't appear to be anymore successful then a running contact. (in my opinion) Many times they had to put the dog back on or run the contact again to have the dog do it right. Also some of the courses seemed really hard, like a tunnel that was curved and you came to the back of it and couldn't seen the entrance. The dog still made it into the entrance without a problem. So maybe the dogs can do more that we think. (or more than I think)
    Now about Silvia. (now remember this is what I heard and people don't always hear the same thing) She only runs her dog on the agility course for about 1-2 minutes 2-3 times a week. She feels that your dog can not run full speed for a 10 minute training session or 20 minute session. The dog learns that he is going to be running for a long time so he doesn't give it his all in order to conserve his energy. She only wants her dog running full speed. For most of us this probably is unthinkable. But she does run her dogs in the woods for 2 hours everyday. While in the woods she is practicing with them. But she doesn't call it practice. She has them jumping logs, doing turns around trees with crosses and other agility things but she is just not on the agility field. She is also making her dogs fit for agility. I don't know if it was the trick training or the running through the woods, but La's running contact on the A-frame was awesome. It looked like the dog was floating on air as she went up and over. It looked effortless.
    I went to the night lectures on puppy training and trick training. It felt like it was freezing while we sat outside. My feet were like ice. But when I got to my car, it said it was 50 degrees outside. I know I sound wimpy, but what can I say. This is the south and we are not tough. Anyway, she uses all her tricks to build up rear end awareness and strenght. She keeps the jumps low for a very long time. Her dogs and dogs she trains have never had jumping problems or problems dropping bars. She does no jump chutes either. It was funny to hear her talk about training methods she used with her dogs because someone told her to. And then how she feels that messed the dog up. Her older Pyrenees Shepherd was very scared of people . She she wanted to socialize him. She took him different places and had people feed him. She felt like this caused him more stress. ( I wonder if that's because she was rewarding the stressing behavior when she thought she was rewarding the positive interaction) So she stopped doing that. She decided that she just wanted him to be relaxed in different places. She felt like the dog started getting better when he felt it was ok to ignore the people. So her definition of socialization is to have to dog feel comfortable in as many places as possible. He doesn't need to socialize with people or other dogs. ( different from what we think socialization means) With La she did most of her trick training with luring. She feels this made La a fast runner on course but she can never think on course. Her border collie , she used all shaping techniques to do trick because luring at the time was "bad" . She feels this made the BC a thinker and he thinks to much on course to run fast. She also lets her puppies go on the agility course with her older dogs and run after them while the are running the course (as long as it is safe). Well people told her that she shouldn't let her border collie do this because it will make him herd the other dog and she wont be able to break that. So she didn't let run with the other dogs. She also feels this was a mistake and has made the border collie slow.
    That's all I can think of right now.

Skin of a cows face

I love these treats. I get them at a dog store near my house called "Wet Noses Oasis". They are about 4 inches by 4 inches and today I found out they are made from the skin of a cows face. Some of them have a hole in the middle of them. The hole is where the cows eye was. Anyway, I like them because they pull off in little pieces. They don't get soggy and soft like raw hides or pig ears and then get stuck in you dogs throat.

What do Chihuahuas like to do?

Where's the chihuahua?
Sleeping under the covers.
Sleeping on your favorite blanket even if your mom puts her book on it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sad Day- Bright furture

This weekend I was in Raleigh-Durham for the Silvia Trkman seminar. It was great and I will post more about that later. Today, since I was in town, I took Guiness to see Dr. Sherman at VetHab. He feels strongly that Guiness has a gluteal muscle injury that has now become chronic. So I left Guiness there for 2 shock wave therapies and rehab afterwards. So I probably wont see him for 4 weeks. I wasn't prepared for this and cried for about 1 1/2 hours on the way home. I really hope this is what is wrong with him and that he gets better. I felt bad that he couldn't run the courses this weekend. He was so happy to arrive at the seminar. Trotting along and waging his tail. He is not much of a tail wager normally. So lets all keep our fingers crossed that this works.