Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jump...what jump?

Marley has been doing great with jumps. At every class session she takes the jumps with out any problems, send aways are fine, multiple jumps are fine and recalls over jumps are fine. Distractions around jumps have not been a problem and broad jumps have been easy.

Until this week!

We get to class and our instructor gave us a pop quiz on pinwheels. (Yes, we have exams in agility class...doesn't everybody?) I'm not concerned because Marley has been doing so well on jumps. When it is our turn she looks around and sits instead of going towards the jump. I walk her towards the jump and she runs around the jump. I restart the exercise and she jumps over one jump and runs around the next.

Our instructor totally gave me the "you haven't been doing your homework" look and nicely suggested we increase homework time on jumps.

The only good thing about class is I may have finally mastered the rear cross.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lure Coursing

I think I owe Marley a huge apology, in the past I've called her unruly and out of control. This weekend I realized I had never really seen Marley out of control. We tried lure coursing and the minute she saw the lure she lost all sense of control.

Yep, she started yipping, barking, pulling on the leash and trembling with excitement. I ended up finding a spot behind a huge truck, which managed to block her view of the course, which seemed to help a bit.

We took 5 turns on the course and she loved every moment. Well, until her turn ended and then I had to be fast and leash her quickly. I ended up having to pick her up to remove her from the course, she squirmed a lot and I almost dropped her a few times.

Check out her stride, she is amazing.

She looks so intense and happy.

I am so grateful this was mentioned at Just Another Dog Blog, Marley had such a great time. I have to keep my eyes open for more opportunities to do this more often.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a difference

I feel like a real agility trainer!

I finally broke down and rented a training yard for an hour of training. This allows us to practice on equipment I do not own and this small change has really helped me focus on agility. I also think Marley is having fun.

I still have a few concerns and we will probably wing it a bit until I've found a good course of action. We only have the space for an hour and I'm worried about pushing Marley too far before she is ready. I'm also worried about making the activity boring by doing too many drills in too short of a time.

So far I've done the following:
  • I've planned out our activities. For this session we were working on the teeter and the tunnel.
  • I alternated between both activities. For example we worked on driving to the tunnel about 5 times and then we went to the teeter and worked on that for about 5 times. We repeated each set about three times.
  • We took a break and I threw her favorite toy for a few times. I tried her special agility tuggy, except she wasn't interested.
  • I made sure we took water breaks, while the temperature was mild the sun was pretty hot.
  • We also worked on a self control exercise. We walked around the equipment and we worked on keeping her from taking off and running to the equipment.
I'm pleased with our first session in the training yard. I'm not sure if I'm working enough or if I should increase the number of drills on the equipment. I'm hope it falls together now that I feel like a real agility trainer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The most difficult part of owning a dog

When I was a child Frosted Flakes were considered a healthy part of a good breakfast and dogs were fed dog chow. As a teen I learned about Science Diet and I was totally sold on it being the healthiest food around for pets. My cats have always received the healthiest food I could find at the pet store.

While I was looking for Marley I discovered a friend's dog was allergic to corn and they were experimenting with premium food. Also, the "Massive Pet Food Recall" occurred and I realized I had to be more cautious about the food I purchased.

Currently, I feed Marley a variation on the rotation diet. I'm rotating between dry, canned and raw. I try to rotate brands and protein source. I also add a variety of toppers to dry and canned food, such as yogurt, fruit and veggies.

I would like to feel confident feeding raw; however I'm not sure I totally understand dog nutrition. I am currently learning as much as possible by reading a few books, Whole Dog Journal and asking as many questions as possible. A great friend is sharing her dog nutrition knowledge in her new blog, Around the Dog Bowl.

I appreciate any advise or suggestions for reading material.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wanted...New Agility Mom

Marley is doing great in Agility and until today we were great partners. Today, I totally embarrassed my dog. I strongly suspect she wanted to leave with some of the real trainers in our class.

It seems the following behavior is embarrassing for Marley:
  • It seems to embarrass my dog that I can't figure out a rear cross. I keep tripping over my feet and falling or tripping over my dog. After a couple of months I should have figured this out, unfortunately I had to ask for a refresher.
  • Marley enjoys being sent away to do something and she thinks I'm really slow. She totally showed attitude while waiting for me on the pause table.
  • While doing send aways she was totally squirmy, probably because I was slow and I picked her up to restart the exercise. Picking her up seems to calm her down, probably because she doesn't like it very much. This part not only embarrassed Marley but our trainer chastised me, I need to allow Marley the dignity of walking.
  • Instead of treats I brought our agility tuggy to a few activities. Marley doesn't believe in toys during agility and she was totally unhappy by my insistence on playing with toys when she could have treats instead.
Hopefully our class will be better next week and Marley will not stow away with a different trainer.