Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

MACH Happy Go Lucky Ryelee CD 3/2/99-4/10/13

(Rilda and Ryelee at the AKC Nationals in Ohio, 2007)

A Message from Liz, who was kind enough to welcome him into her home after Rilda was diagnosed with lung cancer in July.  Thank you Liz for giving him a great 6 months, and giving Rilda peace of mind knowing that Ryelee would have a 'forever' home. 

Dear Friends,
I just want to let you know that I said good bye to Ryelee yesterday. Ryelee was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 weeks ago.  Although the prednisone therapy helped in some aspects of his life, the treatment did not achieve the hoped for results.  After discussion with Dr. Mulch, we decided it would be best for Ryelee to be with Rilda.
I had the privilege of taking care of Ryelee for about 6 months.  While he was with me, he enjoyed walks at the farm, around Clarence and the conservation park.  The rabbits in my yard were just lucky that Ryelee was an old dog because he knew they were there.  He also enjoyed tormenting Scamp at the back door.
My favorite Ryelee story was when Rilda was working on his CD.  The stand for exam is tough when you have a dog that does not particularly like humans.  I told Rilda the way to help this was to teach Ryelee to give kisses.  Much to Rilda’s horror, I taught Ryelee to give me a kiss.  I don’t know if this actually helped get the CD but Ryelee could still give me a kiss when prompted to the very end.  The most fun part of this was watching Rilda’s face when he would give me a kiss!
Thank you to all of you who have helped me take care of Ryelee the past 6 months.  
Liz (thanks for the kisses!)
Scamp (Couldn’t really hear him barking at me anyway!)
Tilly (Could not get him to play with me but I really tried.  I even grabbed his leash and took him for a walk!)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Your Dog's Favorite Rewards

What’s your dog’s favorite reward?  Have you ever tried to figure it out by letting the dog choose?  It’s rather fun, and I highly recommend it!  It was raining, windy and too cold kind of a day a few weeks ago......It's a I don’t want to clean the house

kind of game!  

Here’s what I did, your results may vary!! 

 I started with toys, and I did the same set up with both Seeker and Nettle, working them individually of course.  I asked the dog to sit, I showed them each toy and put presented them in a pile about 10’ ahead of them.  I just gave them a release word, and let them do whatever they wanted.  I knew they’d both go to the pile of toys, so that wasn’t a concern.  I was just curious to see which one they would choose.

The toy pile consisted of: a bumper, a jolly ball on a rope, a rabbit skin, a soft plush squeaky toy, another soft with crinkle fabric inside. 

Then I put them out in a line in front of the dog, and released. 

Did they get the same toy?  Or choose a different one?  I gave each dog two attempts at each pile. 

Food was a bit more challenging as I wasn’t sure how to approach it.  I didn’t want to put it in a pile, as I wouldn’t be able to tell what they ate first.  So, I put them about 3’ apart on a lid, in a row and about 5’ in front of the dog.  I also did this ‘test’ right after they ate their evening meal, hoping it would result in them being a bit more thoughtful, and not such pigs.    


I then mixed up the order of the food placement, to see if they would go to the same plate, or actually choose a different one. 

I did each of these twice, and yes….I let them eat all the food each time.  Life’s short!  (‘;

I used a few pieces of cooked beef, a small pile of ‘candy’ (dog kibble), a spoon full of raw ground turkey, and a few chucks of cheese. 

Seeker’s Results –

Toys in a circle –
Rabbit skin
Crinkle Toy
Soft Toy
Jolly ball - #1 - He LOVES the Jolly ball stuff!

Food - Couldn't tell, he started in the same place, at plate #2 each time and went left, then back to the other 3.  He didn't take the time to look for anything 'special'. 

Nettle’s Results –

Toys in a circle –

Rabbit skin - #1 - No doubt!!
Crinkle Toy
Soft Toy
Jolly ball

Food - the same as Seeker, she didn't have a clear preference based on this set up.  She did get a 3rd try however, as she ate her treats and ran back to set up on her own.  It was too cute not to reward.  G

Have fun!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy 15th Birthday Kruz!

You still got it!

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dog's Can Read Facial Expressions???

Have you ever has someone tell you that the dog 'knows' they've done something wrong before they 'said' anything?  Hum....this just might be why?????

Some very interesting stuff, that everyone that owns a dog should be aware of. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Endings In Agility

Have you ever noticed how we seem to put a lot of time into our 'Start Lines', or 'Set up'?  We also put a great deal of time into our overall obstacle performance. Why is it that we never seem to put any thought or time into how we'll finish our run?

Over the last two weekends running USDAA, I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in the ring, not only as a competitor, but also as a worker.  I do enjoy working at trials, there's rarely a better seat in the house.  My focus while working over the last couple weekends was on 'start lines', contact performance and how teams ended a run.  This post is on the endings.

First off, why are the endings important?  Most people might think they are important so you can praise and reward your dog for a job well done, okay, I can agree with that.  Endings are also an important time to be sure you are still connected and in control of your dog.  The majority of dogs I saw these past two weekends were in a high state of arousal, or drive, at the end of there runs, a time where bad things can, and occasionally do happen.  This could involve an altercation with another dog, or more commonly, an arousal aggression, 'biting, nipping' their handler, or even resource guarding their leash. 

Several years ago, AKC implemented a rule that required dogs be on a leash and 'under control' when exiting the ring.  I will admit, I thought it was a stupid rule.  The more I watch the ends of the agility runs, the more I agree with it.  Handlers are just too disconnected at the end of the agility run, whether they are just happy they survived, thinking about what went wrong, or just trying to breathe.  They assume the dog will be with them, that's when bad things happen.

I started thinking about 'endings' when I was about to enter Seeker in his first trial a few years ago.  He does get highly aroused when watching other dogs work, and I knew I didn't want to have any issues with other dogs in the ring.  I decided for him, running the leash and having a quick sit was the answer.  This allowed me to put slip his leash over his head and release to a game of tug.  It was quick, and got us out of the ring under control.

For a couple of our other dogs, jumping into my arms was a good option.  Again, I knew where my dog was at all times, and was able to slip a leash on and get out quickly.

Other options that work well are having the dog come to you and you take their collar, then go to your leash.  This isn't an option in USDAA, as you aren't allowed to wear collars.

I personally don't like sending a dog to a leash at the end for a reward.  I've seen a couple handlers scream at leash runners (not the last two weekends BTW) to drop the leash as the dog will grab it out of their hands.  Potential for a dog bite just isn't worth it.  Also, dogs that 'resource guard' might not like someone else handling their leash.

If you have a dog that jumps up and nips you, seriously consider a sit or down at the end of your run.  The more often they get to rehearse that behavior, the more serious it could become.  I've seen some pretty nasty bruises and bites from agility endings.  OUCH!! 

With the 2013 Agility Season just under way, I challenge you to add 'happy endings' into your training.  You and your dog will both be happier for it!

Happy Training!!