Saturday, December 26, 2009

naughty or nice?

Marley made out this Christmas. She received a Nina Ottosson dog puzzle, duck stuffy and a bully stick. Santa brought her weave poles.

Marley indulged me with a game of fetch.

She also gave me a heart wrenching panic attack.

There is nothing Marley loves as much as food. On Christmas morning she refused breakfast.

We went to the park to meet some friends and Marley refused to leave my side. I pointed out some squirrels and she curled up in my lap. She refused to participate in a game of chase. She looked so sad and depressed. I started to mentally review everything Marley had eaten during the week. OMG did she have the flu, heartworm, what if her vaccines were not effective and she picked up something like distemper. I started to have visions of having to spend Christmas at the emergency vets. Finally a friend said, "Why don't you take off her sweater, she may be warm."

Once her sweater was off Marley jumped off my lap, shook and took off running around the park. Turns out she does not approve of lavender sweaters. She spent the entire day sulking and scared me to death in the process.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Marley loves agility. Her eyes light up and she prances when we get to class. She loves running into the tunnel and riding the teeter down. She gets a kick out of the A-frame and she is starting to master the weave poles.

Marley loves Agility!

I don't like it at all, I feel like a bad ballerina. You know the dancer that is turning left when everybody else is turning right. I feel dorky and clumsy in class. So far I've managed to trip over my own feet every class session. I can't seem to master when to front cross as opposed to a rear cross.

We have not been able to master the serpentine because I can't seem to master where my hands are supposed be going. We need to master the serpentine and consecutive jumps before our instructor will move us to an intermediate class.

Even though I don't like it we will continue taking classes because I love the way Marley just lights up when we are in class. Her excitement and joy are contagious.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Santa Paws 2009

We are getting into the holiday spirit. Doesn't Marley look ecstatic?

This is a yearly fundraiser for the Mercer Veterinary Clinic, which is run by UC Davis Vet students and provides vet care to pets belonging to the homeless.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I hope everybody had a great thanksgiving. I am thankful Mahone, Bob and Marley are in good health.
Mahone is thankful for a warm afgan and a warm, cuddly friend.

Marley is thankful cats make great pillows.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Freezing cold

I noticed it was 47 degrees the other day and thought Marley needed additional protection against the weather.

Marley is just not impressed with my idea.

"Really, do I have to?"
Isn't it adorable? Marley does not agree.
"Oh no, she's making me go outside wearing this!"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dog Park Adventures

I'm working on a dog park project and I thought it would be great to visit as many dog parks as possible in our county. The day was beautiful and our adventure started off great, I am still upset over how it ended.

We went to three dog parks and took a break at the pet store, where I picked up a snack for Marley. I plan on posting pictures of each park in separate posts throughout the week. We ended our day at our favorite park where I noticed two teenagers bringing their dog to the park.

While I was checking the water situation I noticed the teenagers leaving...without their dog! I called after them asking them about their dog. THEY JUST KEPT WALKING AWAY. They left their dog in the park. That poor dog was scared and skittish. She wouldn't let me approach and she kept crying. I am so appalled somebody would just dump their dog.

After conferring with other people at the park and trying to catch the dog I ended up calling animal control. I am so impressed by their professionalism. He was calm and basically sweet talked the dog until she let him put the leash around her neck.

There are so many options available for people who can't keep their pets, I don't know why they would choose to just dump their dog. If you can't keep a pet please try to find them a new home. If that doesn't work, how about driving yourself to the shelter and dropping them off. As traumatic as that might be for you it is probably safer for your pet.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A couple of weeks ago Marley was invited to a party. We had a lovely time, the people were fun and the dogs were well behaved.

Bella our gracious hostess

My favorite puppy

Gizmo, Brusier and Marley ready to party!

We tied in longest sit contest (we didn't use any treats).

Marley took a dip in the pool.

She was less than pleased with the whole swimming aspect of the party.

It was a great party and we had a fabulous time. I'm so impressed with the behavior of all the dogs, especially because treats were flowing like crazy. We ate too much yummy food and made new friends.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My dream dog

As child who desperately wanted a dog I had dreams of how my life would be different. I saw myself taking long meandering walks along the moors (for some reason I like the idea of wandering around the Scottish countryside). My dog would love playing endless games of fetch. We would become excellent trackers. Every evening my dog would curl next to the fireplace while I knitted a sweaters.

I've discovered the reality of owning a dog is much different and I've spent the last year and a half adjusting to my new reality. First of all we will not be wandering around the Scottish countryside any time in the near future. We do not have a fireplace and I'm a horrible knitter. I've discovered in order to become great at tracking, I need to get up at "OMG its REALLY EARLY" to train, this is just not happening any time soon. Finally, I have to accept that my dog is just not interested in playing fetch.

I find this the most difficult, how could I have a dog that will not play fetch? She likes chasing the ball, sometimes she'll bring it back. Mostly she chases it and then sits next to it and looks at me like I'm crazy. I've tried a variety of balls and she is just not interested. I love reading about these great border collies and Australian Shepherds that live for fetch and I'm a bit jealous.

I'm slowly adjusting to the fact that my dog loves agility and if I really want a fabulous relationship with my dog I have to set aside my dreams of playing fetch and I have to embrace agility. I've started this transition by giving away our chuck-it and buying some agility dvds.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Agility 4.6

Marley has been doing very well in class and I'm very proud of her. We have been working on switch. Where she'll go through a hoop, I'll call her through a different hoop and then have her switch direction going away from me and jump. (This sounds complicated and should probably use pictures)

After class our trainer stopped me and said, "I want to be able to advance Marley to the next level, however she needs to go over all the jumps*." She also told me Marley had great drive and was very excited during class.

She suggested I make some jumps and practice at home.

After she spoke with me, I decided to try Marley again on jumps. We did jump, jump, tire, jump and she did them fine. We did a total of three sets going in different directions and she didn't have any problems.

I'm not sure what to do about my silly dog.

* This is a sequence of 3-4 jumps in a row.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New play behavior

I'm always watching Marley when she plays with other dogs. She likes to wrestle and I'm always concerned about it getting out of hand and developing into a fight. I look for "balanced play" where both dogs take turns being on the bottom. This is especially important because her favorite playmates are part Chihuahua, which means they are usually smaller than her and she can easily dominate the play.

Marley is very good about holding back her strength (or self handicaping) in order to play with her little friends, however sometimes she needs a quick reminder that she needs to hold back. One of the commands we have worked on is "lettem up" (why are all my commands all one quick slurry word?). When ever I notice Marley is keeping a dog down longer than I or the other dog owner feels comfortable I say the command and Marley jumps off and waits for her playmate to get up and they then continue playing. This didn't take very long to teach because she quickly realized if she didn't respond to the command play would stop immediately.

Marley has recently started exhibiting new odd behavior that I'm not sure how to interpret. About two months ago we met Cleo, who is about 19lbs. They ignored each other, except for dominant marking in the park.
Last week Marley finally noticed Cleo and she went up to her and exhibited puppy-like behavior, such as lip licking, nipping around the lips, lots of play bows and little sharp excited yips. If Cleo reacted, Marley would swing around slightly and body slam Cleo. This continued until Cleo started to chase Marley.

Cleo playing with her favorite toy.

When done playing chase and drank water together. Then they started wrestling, which was interesting because while they look similar in size Cleo outweighs Marley by 10 lbs.
Marley wrestling with her new BFF, Cleo.

I found this interesting because I have not encountered that type of play solicitation that merges puppy like behavior with body slams. At this time while I closely supervise and I will step in if the play vibe changes, I'm interested in finding out if I should be more concerned about this behavior.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Agility 4.4

or My Dog has a weird sense of humor

We arrived early and all the dogs had some free play time. I was a bit concerned because Marley chose not to participate, she found a spot in the shade and sat quietly until class started. This is not typical behavior and I was a bit concerned she might over heat. Little did I realize she had plans...

We started with 4 jumps followed by the A frame, the same sequence she did great during our last class. This time she decided she only had to jump 2 of the jumps. She kept running around the other two and finishing the A frame. When she realized she was not going to be rewarded for the A frame she turned around half way down and came back up and down the other side (her ability to do this astounds me). She proceeded to run full speed towards me and as soon as she was close she veered to the side and into the tunnel. She was grinning the entire time.

4 Hoops - Teeter - This was a similar sequence, where we add a hoop each turn and she didn't have a problem with this at all.

Tire - hoop - dog walk - 2 hoops - tunnel - We started with the tire, hoop, rear cross (me) and the dog walk followed by the 2 hoops. Our third turn I had to do a front cross after the dog walk and we added the tunnel at the end. Marley did this fine, on the other hand I had some trouble remembering which cross I had to complete. Yep, owner errors.

At this point I'm a bit perplexed about why she is not doing all the jumps.

I admit I ended up calling her a bad dog, does it count when I'm laughing as I say it? Yep, I think I'm accidentally encouraging this behavior by laughing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Agility 4.3

or Guess who decided to jump

Yep this session she decided running around the jump was boring. However, she did decide "wait" meant go.

4 Jumps - A frame - hoop - We started with 1 jump and each turn we added a jump. Every time we added another jump, I felt worried Marley would decide to blow off the jump. She did decide, I didn't know what I was talking about when I asked her to wait while I walked ahead.

It was quite funny actually, I was walking and She just took off and jumped ALL four jumps and flew (yep our trainer said "Marley caught air") over the A frame. When she finally realized her oopps, she stopped midway down the A frame turned around and ran up the A frame and went over all four jumps until she was back at my side in the heel position grinning up at me. I couldn't resist, I laughed until my sides hurt.

Watching her when she realizes its her turn is also hilarious, it reminds me of elementary school when little kids are ready to start a race and they have little false starts. She tenses up until her little body trembles with tension and is just impatient for me to give her direction. Hmm...maybe she thinks I'm slow and therefore has to run off and complete the exercise without me?

I think she is having a blast in class.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I still have puppy-itis! Priceless and Ladybug are both about 5 months old and they play non-stop. Marley is closely supervising puppy play and every once in a while she'll play with Priceless.

Priceless (pomeranian), Marley and Ladybug (corgi)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dogged Pursuit

I just finished reading "Dogged Pursuit: My Year of Competing Dusty, the World's Least Likely Agility Dog" by Robert Rodi.

Rodi basically chronicals his attempt to make his scared sheltie into a champion. Overall the book was funny.

I really liked the way Rodi becomes involved with agility and how out of place he feels amongst the other participants. I'm sure anybody who has tried a new activity has felt the same way. I like the way he is always surprised when he feels included within his agility group.

I totally loved they way Rodi continuously reminds himself that Dusty reacts to his emotions and insecurities. When Rodi is out of sorts, Dusty acts lost and out of sorts in the field. Every time Rodi questions himself, Dusty seems to forget how to do agility. I totally loved this aspect of the book.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Agility is working in the real world

Who knew I would be able to use our agility training in the "real world?"

I usually have to be careful on our walks because Marley wants to go around trees and get us all tangled up. I have been using "ThisWay" and she will stop and walk towards me and around the tree. This is great and prevents us from running around trees all morning.

However this doesn't seem to work around poles especially if Marley's already around the pole. She gets confused if she can see me and the leash is pulling away from me. Usually, I have to stop her and walk around the pole.

Today I had the brilliant idea (ok, in reality I was tired and didn't want to walk around the pole), I sighed and said "Marley Go" while I pushed my palm out and pulled slightly on the leash. She looked slightly confused but walked away from me around the pole. I was so surprised it worked, I started to praise her lavishly and she grinned.

Who new this stuff would come in handy? I sense a whole new world is opening up for us on our walks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Agility 3.6

Marley was in total BRAT mode during class. She totally tricked me by impersonating a good dog at the beginning of class.

We started class with the Chute, which was simple and Marley did really well.

Teeter - Tire - The teeter being Marley's favorite also went well. She didn't even have any problems with the tire.

Dog Walk - Hoop - Weave poles (guide) - Crossover (me) - Tire - We started with the Dog walk and hoop and added the other parts each turn. Marley did very well, I was impressed with her tolerance of my crossover. I was so proud of her.

Jump - Jump - Jump - Tunnel - Marley had a blast, I did not.

We started at jump 3 and I sent her to the tunnel, Marley did fine.

Jump 2 and 3 followed by the tunnel went fine.

Marley did Jump 1 ran around Jump 2 and 3 and into the tunnel. I called her back and she jumped over 2 and 3 to get back. I tried again, Marley ran even faster over jump 1 and around jumps 2 and 3 into the tunnel where she turned around and sat at the entrance grinning at me.

I called her back and this time I used the leash to guide her over all three jumps. She was grinning the entire time.

Our trainer suggested I set up some jumps at home and practice, practice and practice.

Our final exercise was Tire - Weave poles, Marley did fine the first time and she totally became confused the second. At this point I figured she was tired from all the running around the jumps and we ended class.

I'm glad she had fun, however I hope she listens better during our next class.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who was bad?

Marley met me at the door when I came home from work. "Marley, were you bad?"
"No, I slept ALL day long"

As I wandered inside I noticed somebody had TP'd my living room. "Marley who came inside and vandalized our home with tissue?"

"Umm...maybe the cat?"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spoiled dog? A teenager's opinion

I recently went to the movies with a 14 year old friend. She was speachless while she watched me move Marley's things from the front seat to the trunk. This included Marley's mat (keeps my seats clean), towel, dog park bag (which includes some balls, poop bags and a leash), a ball, bowl and water bottle.

She said, "Marley is soo SPOILED!"

I gasped in horror, "No She Isn't" I had to take a deep breath and calm myself, "Marley just gets anything she wants"

Huge eye roll from a teenager, "She gets anything she wants...and she's not spoiled"

I'm slightly defensive at this point, "Well, she is such a good girl...most of the time"

Because I wanted to avoid another eye roll I quickly changed the topic. It made me think, at which point is a dog considered spoiled?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Agility 3.5

otherwise known as Human Agility class!

Yep, Marley is doing great. Actually she is doing fabulous in spite of my goofy guidance. We have upgraded from using the leash to using a tab, which she loves.

This class consisted of sequences where we kept adding equipment to each sequence. We did 4 different sequences.

Weave poles (with guides) - dogwalk - crossover - hoop - hoop - Pause table- This was fine, except I kept tripping over my own feet while trying to do a crossover.

Teeter - tire - hoop - we did well, except Marley thought we should add a jump.

A-frame - hoop - hoop - Tunnel - This would have been fine if I had remembered the name of the A-Frame and our word for contact. We started and I was thinking climb it but my mouth was saying Tunnel. I think Marley might have ESP because she did fine.

Tunnel - Weave poles (cage) - hoop - hoop - hoop - pause table - Marley was fine transitioning from each piece of equipment. I had to work on guiding her away from me towards the weave poles. I think this might be more coordination than I'm capable of doing.

Good Grief this is so much harder than it looks like on TV.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Agility 3.4

Marley loves agility. I'm working at setting her up to succeed instead of confusing her in class. I'm having trouble remembering our word for contact. Most people in class use touch, except we use that word for something else. I've been using target, except I keep forgetting. I seem to be a work in progress.

This week we did the following:

A-frame - This was the first time we tried this and Marley had no qualms about climbing the A-frame.

Hoop - Teeter - Tire - Tunnel - Marley didn't want to go through the tire. I think this may be because we have not done this in a while. I ended up having the assistant trainer hold a treat on the other side in order to encourage her to jump through the tire. She is getting better at the tunnel, as long as I'm there when she reaches the end. If I'm not there she'll turn around and run around the tunnel to meet me.

Weave poles - Dog Walk - Marley meanders through the weave poles. She does them correctly however she does not feel the need to hurry. A classmate asked us if we practiced at home, I thought this was a nice complement because we don't.

While waiting for our turn we did some jumps and tried the tire a few times. We also took a break on the pause table.

The funniest thing is I think Marley expects a command prior to entering the doggy pool. While in class, we'll go to the doggy pool and she'll wait and look at me. Crazy dog.

I think Marley has decided to practice contacts at home. When ever she's on my lap, she'll have her butt will be on my lap but her paws will be on another surface. Usually the couch or the floor. Crazy dog.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mini Marley

I was so confused on our last trip to the park. I turned around and it seemed like Marley was everywhere. It turns out there was a mini-Marley at the park.



Oh no, is it mini-Marley?



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Agility 3.2

After agility class Marley treated me to a frosty mocha. I may finally figured out what I need to do for team Marley. I have spent a lot of time focusing on where my shoulders are pointing. Our trainer keeps saying my shoulders are like Marley's steering wheel. I worked really hard and I think its working.

First we started by doing 2 jumps and the pause table. My shoulders were pointed forward and Marley went over both jumps. No confusion, missed jumps or any shenanigans.

Dog walk, hoop and that worked fine on one side. I then had to do a crossover (where I turn my body and redirect Marley). Marley did fine until I took my eyes off of her and she switched sides and started heeling.

Dog walk, hoop, hoop, tire this was a bit more complicated and Marley did great until I had to crossover and I blew it.

Teeter, hoop, tunnel this was much better especially because it was easy to focus on where I was going. Marley loves the teeter and she is still trying to steal extra turns. When I focus on my shoulders Marley doesn't have any trouble with the tunnel.

It was incredibly hot and we spent a lot of break time in the doggy pool.

When we started agility, I thought this would be something fun for us to do together. I never expected to have to spend so much time and energy focusing on my body position. I also never realized how much klutziness I need to overcome.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Oh no, I've got puppy-itis. That horrible puppy lust virus has attacked and I've got a serious case of puppy lust. This is Percy and he is the cutest puppy ever!

Marley unfortunately was not affected by puppy lust and she spent a lot of time examining this puppy.
Marley decided he may be harmless and she hung out with him. However, she does not believe puppies are play worthy. Yep, she refused to play with the puppy and she wouldn't let me bring him home.

I think I may be cured if I do not spend too much unsupervised time with any puppy. How in the world do people resist puppies?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Questions for trainers

Being a first time dog owner, I've spent a lot of time looking for a dog trainer. So far I've had good and bad experiences with dog trainers. Our first classes were at our local SPCA, they focused on positive training and building relationships. Marley and I completed all of the classes they offered and I want to try some advanced obedience.

Finding an advanced obedience class that continues using positive techniques is difficult. So far I've encountered trainers that don't listen to me and trainers who have a very different view on positive training.

I suspect Marley was abused in the past and there are many techniques I do not feel comfortable using. For example when I first got her she would cower and cry whenever I touched her collar. Due to this I will not use any technique that involves any pressure to her neck.

I've used the Association of Pet Dog Trainers for information and I've used the Humane Society of the US for guidance.

I've compiled a few questions I currently ask potential dog trainers:
  • What does positive training mean to you? Usually at this point they mention their favorite celebrity trainer, Cesar Millan or Victoria Stillwell. I'm sure if you watch TV you may have seen both shows and may have an opinion on their techniques.
  • What do you recommend I do if my dog is not listening to me? At this point if they say "pop the leash" I know I need to leave. I will not use this technique on my dog based upon suspected abuse.
  • Do I need any special equipment or can I use my harness? This lets me know if they are aware of any small dog needs. It also lets me know if they are part of the "popping" the leash crowd.
  • If I have any concerns with any techniques or if something doesn't work for my dog, can you adapt your training techniques? Basically, I want to know they will listen to my questions and concerns, no matter how silly they may appear.

I also think its kind of handy to take an example of a common problem and see what kind of solution they provide. If the method is compatible with a method you feel comfortable with then this may be the trainer for you.

I'm still looking for an advanced obedience trainer, basically if Marley was AKC registered I would want to work on our CDX. If you know of any trainers who may be able to help, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kitty Lover

The other day Marley and I needed to leave our home during some construction. We decided to visit a friend who has the biggest cat ever. Pumpkin weighs in at about 25 lbs. I was a bit concerned because Marley weighs about 11 lbs and she tends to be a bit feisty.

Pumpkin did not look pleased when a feisty little black dog took his spot on the couch.

Marley was just tickled she was allowed on the couch. After sniffing Pumpkin from nose to tail, Marley felt the need to spoon pumpkin. Yep, my feisty little dog spooned with a big gigantic orange CAT.

All my concern was for nothing, who knew Marley was into interspecies relationships?

Monday, June 29, 2009


Every time I mention I have a dog and two cats everybody wants to know how they get along. To be totally honest, the question focuses on how do the cats tolerate Marley. I'm not sure they believe me when I tell them Marley loves Mahone. Marley is always very gentle around Mahone and grooms him all the time. Mahone tolerates it, I think he pretends Marley is a weird looking/acting kitten.

For the last 17 years Mahone has had 2 jobs; entertainment and foot warmer. I think he has taken Marley under his paw and is doing some on the job training.

"First you curl up around the foot, once you are comfy you can take a nap"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Woof Walk

Marley and I really enjoy charity walks, especially those that assist dogs. This weekend we attended the 5th Annual Woof Walk. They are currently raising funds to add a small dog section to an existing dog park (something we totally support).

The park was really lovely and had some features I wish our favorite park contained, such as fabulous workout stations. The booths had a lot of interesting things and of course cookies for Marley. (FYI: if you are peddling dog food at an event please be prepared to answer questions about the ingredients.)

Marley met her first alpaca

Long after the alpaca had moved on to other things,
Marley kept waiting for it to do something interesting
It was warm and Marley needed a rest after that walk.
This is Marley's favorite dog breed...
I don't get it but she always wants to play with them when she sees them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Agility 2.4

At today's class it became evident I'm letting team Marley down. The trainer actually gave me a few "good job." This was the first class where we conducted most of our sequences off leash. Marley was sneaking extra turns and she kept her focus on the sheep instead of the agility course.

Today I learned I have to teach Marley to follow my hand. I also have to watch where my shoulders and feet are pointing. Marley looks at my body in order to determine where to go next and I'm confusing her by not pointing/angling them correctly.

Overall, Marley did great but I did horrible. I have a lot of homework.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Once upon a time when I was kid there was a horrible earthquake in Mexico City. I remember watching the dog rescue teams working frantically to rescue any survivors. At that time I decided my first dog would be a German Sheppard and we would learn tracking and search and rescue.

As you can see Marley is not a German Sheppard and I thought my tracking dreams were never to be fulfilled. Fortunately for me I found a tracking clinic and of course I made Marley attend.

Marley was confused when we arrived and we walked right by the agility course. She was happy when she discovered the field where demonstrations were held was covered in sheep poop. I have to say Marley really loves poop.

Marley discovered she liked tracking when we started working on the exercises. (In reality the minute she saw the package of hotdogs she was ready to go.)

Exercise 1: There were 3 gloves with hotdogs spaced about 3 feet apart. I started by asking Marley to find. She had no problem finding the hotdogs. Once she sat next to the glove she received more hotdogs. I had a happy dog.

Exercise 2: The trainer held Marley while I walked away shaking the glove. I then tossed it on the ground and asked Marley to find. She loved running to the hotdog filled glove.

Exercise 3: At this point the trainer laid a small trail in a straight line. There were hotdogs tossed along the trail and the glove at the end held more hotdogs. Marley was thrilled, she go to do her favorite things. Smell stuff and eat stuff off the ground. (She loves to find trail treats and I'm constantly making her drop it or removing stuff out of her mouth).

The trainer was excited and kept saying Marley had "drive," I'm not quite sure what the trainer ment. I may consider finding some tracking classes for us soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Treat Ball

We got Marley a new toy, a treat ball. She absolutely loves it. It has an insert where I can record my voice, which kind of weighs the ball a bit. I have not recorded anything, because I think it would drive me nuts.

This toy will keep her occupied for about an hour. Unfortunately, she'll end up hiding it and I have to spend an hour searching for it.

I've also discovered she loves bubbles. Yep, the same bubbles we used to play with as kids. She goes absolutely crazy and starts barking at me as soon as she notices the bubble bottle. As soon as I blow the bubbles she starts jumping and trying to catch them before the dissipate. As soon as I can I'll take some pictures.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Agility 2.3

We worked on sequences. Marley is still trying to avoid going into the tunnel. We did work off leash most of this class. At which point will I feel comfortable and confident trusting my dog to behave off leash?

Weave poles, hoops, tunnel - Marley was great on everything except for the tunnel. She kept running out and running after me instead of running through the tunnel and meeting me on the other end. Once we reversed the sequence to tunnel, hoops, weave poles it was a bit easier. She did try to run off while we were moving towards the weave poles, however once she realized I wanted her to do the weave poles she ran back and finished.

Dog walk - This was not sequenced, we had some new dogs in class that wanted a refresher.

Pin Wheel jumps - the jumps were in a circular pattern and we had gates between me and Marley. I thought this was fun, Marley was not so sure about being so far way. We also reversed this and went a different way.

Hoop, Teeter - The teeter was raised to the third level. Marley didn't even notice.

Tire jump, tunnel - We haven't done the tire in a while and Marley was a bit confused. After a brief refresher she did fine. She was not pleased with the tunnel.

She is still having a great time in class and she is just so excited about doing everything. I also think she is focusing more on me rather than running off, which is cool.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Doggy Dash

Marley and I had a great time at the doggy Dash. Marley enjoyed visiting with her obedience dog trainer and with our agility trainer. Marley took all of her obedience classes at the SPCA. They have a great program that promotes positive training, which was a great way to bond with my new dog.

We saw some cool dogs doing agility and Marley didn't understand why she couldn't play. We met some great people from the Delta Society, who thought Marley was fabulous. I tried to explain that Marley was a bit of a hooligan and probably not a therapy dog. They didn't believe me, Marley behaved perfectly while we were there.

We did encounter a golden retriever who over did the running and become overheated. I was so pleased to see everybody respond quickly to cool him down. Please use caution when running with a dog on a warm day.

Marley didn't have that problem, I bought her a frozen doggy treat. Overall a great day and a lot of fun.

I would like to remind you of all the great work the SPCA does on behalf of pets. They offer low cost training, which will not hurt your dog. They provide low cost pets for seniors. They also offer low cost veterinary care. They also run a thrift store and book sales to raise funds for their great programs.