Tag - Performing Dogs - Dog Handling

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Sunday, March 24 2013

Fae the Fat Fairy learns Agility Episode 17

Well you know I am still plodding along learning Agility but I had a whole four days without the Boss. Me and Julie and Midge got left at home while the Boss took Boo and Chan to Hawera for the Taranaki Masters Games. They came home with a gold and a silver. Chris and Boston and Bootz went too and Bootz won Bronze. One day I gotta do this stuff so I don't get left behind any more.

Don't get me wrong I love my pal Julie and she loves me and we lie on the bed and watch TV and work along together looking after the ducks and chooks. There is no rush with Julie and I like that. I never run away when I am left with Julie as I have to keep an eye on her in case she needs me.

Anyway when the Boss got home she was straight back into training dogs again, me included. She tells me my weaves are improving. They are in a straight line now but bent out and on Saturday at the Club I did them the same width I do them at home and the Boss was really pleased with that. I am pleased she throws my ball and I can dash off through the sticks and pick it up and run back flat out and play with my tug toy which is my squeaky football from Uncle Bruce the Bassett Hound man. It's my favourite.

Today we did NALA and now that I am 16 months I was allowed to do the Veterens course which was done by my sister Midge in under 29 seconds. I don't know what my time was but I did all the stuff and there were 13 bits of it and it was fun. At the end I got to play with my ball and tug toy again so that was great. I got to run the Flygility course as well. It had the A frame with hoops in it this week and I learnt that at last week's Flygility class so that was easy. The Boss ran it with me to make sure I did all the things. I missed one hurdle, deliberately as I was going toooo fast to do it. I think so anyway. He he he. The Boss laughed as well. She said I made a good effort and we played ball and tug at the end again. I was pretty exhausted having two days of Agility stuff in a row. Chan, Boo and Midge were tired as well so that's okay.

Right now I have to stop this blog because I can hear a Rat in the Kiwifruit. I need to go out and bark at it and make it frightened so that it falls out of the Kiwifruit and I can kill it. I got one last week this way. Look out Rat here I come. yapayap yap a yap wowowowo yap yap

A whole week has gone by now and we did Agility things nearly every day. Monday is my favourite. On Monday I go to a class run by the Boss called Play to Learn - nothing serious. There are now fourteen dogs in that class and last Monday we did contacts, so that meant we had all the contacts out of the shed. The A Frame, the dog walk, the cross over and the seesaw. We did them all on really low so that nobody could fall off and hurt themselves. We all learnt all the contacts in groups of four and then we had a competition at the end to see who was the best. Both the Cocker Spaniels were the best. I probably was the best best, but I am not allowed to compete with the other dogs because the Boss sayes I have an unfair adsomething. The German Shepherds are amazing as they are so big and the planks of the contact equipment are so narrow. I love Shepherds, I was born where there were beautiful Belgian 'Malenois' Shepherds . My best friend is Miska, she is a German Shepherd. They are different but sort of the same. I love their BIG.

Next week we are doing stick games at Monday night class. This is preparation for weaves and is real fun. I am looking forward to it. We always start Monday night with 'Control' so all the dogs get to know each other and settle down and work without running off and doing other doggy things. We do heel work and stays and recall in that class as well. It takes about an hour and a half to get through the workload with 14 dogs. The winning dog gets a green ribbon. GREEN IS GOOD. The boss told me to put that in. Tuesday night I do beginners Obedience. I really like Obedience, I don't have to run around so much and there is lots of staying and downs and things and I like that, I can just sort of doze through it. Also my friend Coco comes to that class and she is a real dag. Coco pretends she doesn't like the other dogs in the class, she barks and hackles up at them all, but it is just her way of having fun really. She is a German Spitz and she is very precise about where other dogs should be. 'Don't you come too close to me, you get back get back go on go away' she yaps and then she gets tired of it and when she does her heel work she doesn't yap at all. Her heel work is just so beautiful. She trit trots along. She is very pretty and thin, a kind of micro model dog really. She does make me feel fat, but she likes me, I don't think she feels threatened in any way by me and it does remind me I should resist eating all that chicken food that is out in the paddock so I too can be thin like Coco. I can but try. All the dogs in Monday night are new dogs to the Club and some are even younger than me. Tuesday night Obedience is dogs who have been coming for quite a while. When we get the lights up and going we will do more Obedience later in the evening which will give people time to go home from work and get to class. Then we will have more new people coming in.

The Boss is working on an Agility Ribbon Show for new entrant dogs. Sort of like Kennel Club Ribbon but with a course for people who have never done any training before to come and give it a go. The winners will still get ribbons. There will be two Elementary Courses and two Starters Courses and one Novice Course. It will be in October/November and should be great fun. Maybe by then I will be able to do a whole course as well. I haven't even looked for a bunny on the course for the last three weeks, I get so busy trying to do the hurdles and tunnels and things, I actually forget the Bunnies. Here it is Easter as well. Oh well Happy Easter Bunny everyone and remember that Jesus was no Bunny and it is his special holiday too.

Saturday, January 26 2013

Fae the Fat Fairy learns more Agility Episode 11

It is a whole week since my last Saturday Agility lesson. Nala and Bree didn't come today because they are in Fielding with the Young Kennel Club doing Junior Dog Handling Camp. I hope they are having a good time. Big Dennis was there though and Tyson and Bella the Greyhound came today as well.

Today we learnt fast tunnels and fast hurdles and fast weaving and s l o w crossover. It was great and I forgot about the Bu....ies all the way through the whole hour. My person was rapt with me, I really concentrated and I did lovely walk down the plank contacts and jumped my full micro height hurdles. I actually had a good time. I was able to play monkey on rope tug for ages and I got really into it and it was a laugh.

Tyson was good today too, although he does like to go around the hurdles some times. Tyson has got quite a lot of Aussie Terrier in him and he kind of pre-jumps the hurdles which risks him landing on top of the bars if he takes off ways too soon. So sometimes when he isn't sure he runs around the hurdles, and it was really hot again today. But Tyson did lovely contacts on the crossover and his weaves are really good, he is starting to do proper white weaves now, but the rest of us can't do that yet.

Big Dennis has now had seven lessons and is able to do just what the rest of us do pretty much which is really amazing, but he gets a bit excited when new dogs come into the training ground and can't concentrate on his work, its a bit like me with the bunnies some times. He is learning the focus work as well and he will get it right when he understands.

It was lovely to see Bella the Greyhound at class today, because Bella pretty much specialises in doing Flyball on Thursday nights. Last Thursday she beat everyone at Flyball and had 41 points. I only got 34 and was second to last, but Bella has mega long legs and a very racing body. So coming to Agility is not something she usually does. I think her person hopes it will help Bella to be able to do better curves on Flyball courses. Bella is best when everything is straight. She worked really hard today, zooooomed off a couple of times but came straight back to her person. Her contacts are a bit shakey as she really doesn't like going slowly, but her fast tunnel and fast hurdles and fast weaves were just great.

This is long weekend time and on Monday me and Chan and Tyson and Boston and Bootz are having a morning training session to do little special bits to make us all better at our Agility Courses. I love working with Boston and Bootz. My brother Chan is a bit of a show-off though so I get a bit embarrassed and try not to watch him running, he skites but he is good I guess. Anyway I will write some more after Monday. Love from Fae ;@)

Tuesday, November 20 2012

Entertaining at Old Folks Home with Dogs

IMG_0504.jpgYesterday five people with six mini dogs went to Glenbrae Residential Care to put on a show for the residents there. It was quite a lot of work to get ready and rehearse the show for a couple of weeks so that we wouldn't look completely unprepared.

Some of our dogs in this group called 'Mini Magic' are quite old and have had a lot of experience in shows and others of us are just starting to train our pups to work at shows and tournaments.

I always talk a lot about 'new places' when we train. Whatever the dog does at home, or at it's usual training club, it may decide not to do when it is in a new place. There is a degree of emotional overload that happens and the dog gets stage fright, if you like. It forgets what it should know and bumbles around.

When you want your dog to perform at a new place, you need to get there well before time and let the dog have a good sniff of the place and maybe mark it with a piddle or something even worse. However it is better that it does this before the attempt at performance than during the performance. I also preach a thing called 'control' which is a set of exercises that allow the dog to know that the next thing that happens will be perhaps 'the Agility game'. In other words it is a preceeding piece of action that motivates the dog to continue into the next act comfortably.

So I got there early with Fae, let her sniff, tied her up did some control, probably not enough as I needed to set up the gear. Some dogs get crazy when they are overloaded, but Fae gets very slow and very quiet when she is unsure. So I learnt more about her. She actually did some hurdles and things in the agility, didn't want to do her ballet, wore her costume without complaint, did the flygility portion of the performance to her best ability and loved the race game. I wasn't unhappy with her performance as a 12 month old pup going into a funny new place. Her work with the elderly was exemplary, she put a gentle foot on many knees and reached up so that people could pat her. One old lady, said 'oh you dear little thing'. So I think she made her mark. However she did discover that all the flower pots had slug bait in them and tried desperately to get to it to eat the little blue lollies, so that was a bit disturbing. However, she is still alive and kicking so the little she did get obviously did no harm.

Our oldest dog at the performance was Bridie at nearly 11 years. She suffered from 'new place' quite a lot. She was good with her personal visits to each resident, didn't want to do her agility, did most of the flygility and loved the Racegame. Bridie didn't look as happy as she could have but she tried really hard. Bailey the foxterrier dressed as a clown also did her best. She thought there was probably food to be had somewhere so she checked that out, but she did all the exercises fairly well. Again it was the Agility portion of the show that she didn't like much and really didn't achieve.

Bootz the Shitzu-Poodle is a socially experienced 6 year old. I thought that Bootz was the most assured of the group, he worked as though he meant it. He wasn't distracted and he seriously put his best paw forward. Bootz won the Racegame portion of the entertainment and that was because of his relaxed non stressed demeanour. He was inspirational. The two German Spitz Coco and Zulu are just babies. Coco could have barked more than she did so I thought she handled it quite well. Coco was in the final of the Racegame but wanted to take Bootz out in the other lane, so Bootz, who kept on going was the winner. But Coco was very funny and very entertaining. Zulu is only 5 months old and he is just darling. He had a yap or two when his sister Coco yapped but he was just there to be cuddled by the residents and to show that he was beautiful and he did. I thought that Zulu was the dog that next best handled the pressure.

Anyway as a first gig it was great, it was colourful and it was entertaining. It only took half an hour but we figure that that was almost enough for most of the residents. We could do with two more dogs in the troupe that would fill it out to 45 minutes with the racegame draw. All the dogs did racegame best so we need to grow that, All the dogs enjoyed the Flygility section so we need to work on that a bit more. The trouble is the limited space which makes it hard to get the five meters from flybox to first fly hurdle which somewhat confused the dogs and their return runs were a bit messy, so we need to do some short work to get them going on this, and they all found the small tunnel unfamiliar and difficult so we have to work on that as well. The tricks portion of the entertainment was lacking, so we need to build up our tricks a lot.

We have not set out to be 'the perfect performing dogs' we set out to be colourful, fun, entertaining and use dogs that can be handled and touched by the residents. I think we are close to achieving this and we will have a look at our video and see if we can use it to market our Mini Magic a bit. We made a $20 koha for the club, better than nothing I guess, lets hope some of our other gigs are a little more generous...

:-)

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