Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals!

“Only as high as I reach can I grow,

only as far as I seek can I go,

only as deep as I look can I see,

only as much as I dream can I be.”

(Karen Ravn)

It's that time of year!
Time to reflect on what you achieved in 2009,
and what you'd like to accomplish in 2010.

I'm an achiever by nature.
I'm a list maker!
Nothing is more gratifying for me than to reach
a goal, or cross something off my list.
It just makes me feel good.

For me, personally, goals shouldn’t
necessarily be easy to achieve.
Nor, should they be so, challenging that you
have no chance of accomplishing them.

So, as I look forward to
Exciting New Year -
I make my -

2010 Agility GOAL LIST

2010 will see Seeker jumping 26” at AKC Events.
Our goal is to qualify for the 2011 World Team Try Outs.

Our ‘STRETCH’ goal will be qualify for the 2010 Try Outs.
Stretch meaning, it’s going to be very difficult to earn the
required Q’s and DQs in the time frame remaining.
This one is going to be tough,
so that’s why I call it a ‘Stretch’.

Our last goal for Seeker will be to
Qualify for the USDAA Nationals.
Rumor is that they will be held out East this year,
which will be much closer than AZ.

Bill and Kruz look to finish his MACH3,
than move into the Preferred Classes.

Mad will move back to the Regular AKC Classes.
Looking for more consistent performance
in those weave poles!

Having fun along the way goes without saying.

If you’re not having fun,
you’re not doing this for the right reasons!

As this year comes to a close,
look at all you’ve accomplished!

Maybe it was a new title,
an invitation to a special event,
or maybe you and your teammate
really came together as a team!

Accomplishments will different
between individuals,
and your goals will as well.

This is as it should be!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends
(two and four legged) that I have.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Suede's Puppy

The world's largest puppy is now 4 pounds at 3 weeks!
His eye's are all the way open and his teeth are coming in.

He seems to be at the 'bar' an awful lot!
Apparently stocking up before the milk expires!

I think his name should be "Craig",
after Jenny Craig.
Meme wants his registered name to be:
Lytnstrke's Counting Calories

Dena said he bites and growls at the toys
that she puts in with him.
He probably thinks they are after his food!

Here's a little video she sent!
He looks HUGE until she puts her hand in there.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kay Lowe Passed away 12/25/09

I just heard that Kay passed away last night.
She had been ill for some time.
What a HUGE loss for the Dog Community.

Kay had been training a variety of
breeds of dogs for years before I met her.
She probably had the biggest impact
for me as an obedience trainer.
She's the first person I took a class with
that used food in training!
That was back in 1993, after our
one year old Bichon, Molly,
finished her CD.
WOW! What a change!

Kay was highly sought after
as an obedience instructor.
She was truly kind to both
human and canine students.
I don't think I ever saw her
lose her temper.

One of my fondest memories of Kay
was when 4 of us, Kay, Melinda, Marsha and myself,
piled into a SUV in order to attend a
Judy Howard Obedience Seminar in MN.
Marsha had Robin, her whippet.
I'm not sure if any other dogs attended?

That night at the hotel, we shared
a room! Yes, all 4 of us!
We paired up in beds, Me and Melinda,
Kay with Marsha.
All of a sudden we hear some
patting noise, along with Kay saying,
"It's alright Robin."
Then you hear Marsha's voice,
"That's NOT Robin!"
We all burst out laughing!
It was truly hysterical.

Kay had some great one liners.
Another night in the hotel resulted
in some 'banging' in the room
next door.
Luckily, I slept through it.
Not Kay!
That morning when someone
commented on it,
Kay spoke up and said,
"I sure hope he got a wart on it!"
What a card!

Kay showed mostly in obedience,
but she did try her hand at some
UKC agility as well.

She showed, Goldens, Eskimos,
Shelties, a Lab, Poms, an Aussie,
as well as Border Collies.
All of which at some time had been
call "Fluffy". It was her 'catch all' name.

Kay really touched so many people,
and so many dogs!
Kay, you will be missed!

Friday, December 25, 2009



Chores are done,
rain turned to snow.

Dogs are all sleeping,
time to read a good book!

Hope you all have a fun
AND SAFE Christmas!

Kruz, Mad Dog and Seeker

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you have someone Tape your runs?

Maybe the question should be:

Do you actually watch them?

I will admit, there are times I haven’t.


Some Excuses….

I don’t have time
(hum…if you’re reading this, that’s not true. VBG)

We didn’t Q, (It Weren’t PURDY), so I don’t want to.

We didn’t Q and I know why.

We Q’ed so there’s no need to watch it.

I don’t feel like it.


I am now getting into the habit of watching
and analyzing ALL my runs?
This requires me to watch them several times each.


There are times that what “I think happened”,
isn’t necessarily what truly happened.


What a wonderful way to discover your strengths and weaknesses!

I call this “Home Work”!

The skills the dog, or handler, or both, need to improve on.
If you don’t watch and study your videos,
you’re likely to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Seems to me there’s a quote about that somewhere!
Here it is!

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.
(Albert Einstein/Benjamin Franklin)

While you might think (and maybe it’s true)
that it’s more fun to watch runs in which you qualify.
That’s not always the case.
There are some pretty spectacular things
that occur in those non-qualifying runs.
That is why it’s important to watch both.
You'll not only want to find things you need to work on,
but also give yourself some kudos for what you do well!
You’ll also want to practice those things,
so you don’t lose those skills.


Here are some of things I look for:

Are our turns as tight as they could be?

Am I seeing collection at the appropriate times?
If not, why?

Am I giving the dog clear information?

Does the dog know what obstacle is coming
after the one they are completing?

Am I supporting the obstacle appropriately?

Am I standing up, or do you need
a board in the back of my pants? G

When things go amuck, how do I react?



By watching your videos and answering these questions,
you too can come away with a LOT of HOME WORK!

You now might be saying to yourself,
“Why do these things matter.”

Besides the obvious, you’ll be faster.

More importantly, the better you are at the above skills,
the better the outlook for your dog’s physical health.
Nothing pains me more than to see a dog face plant,
grunt on the landing side of a jump, or struggle up an A-frame.
Just think about the wear and tear that’s causing your teammate.
Would you want to suffer that approach or landing?

As Susan Salo would say,
"If your dog was a horse, would you want to be on his back?"

Seeker has a major face plant in a JWW run in
Wentzville over Thanksgiving weekend.

He qualified, but at a price that "could" have caused him serious injury.
I knew at the time that the turn after the jump out of the tunnel,
was going to be difficult at speed.
I also knew that I needed to pre-cue for that turn.
It couldn’t be too early or I’d risk dropping the bar.
I was too late and Seeker paid the price for my poor handling.

Had I taken the time to get up into that pocket,
and provided him with more information,
this would not have happened.
Next time PUP, …..I promise!
No Q is worth doing this to your teammate.

Of course there are thing I really loved.
I loved the ability to trust him to follow me,
taking the obstacles in his path,
this allows me to work ahead with my front crosses.
I loved his collection to the poles,
his stride through them that left them rattling.
I also loved the closing, turn and
run as fast as I can out.
Trusting him to follow over the
jumps and of course keep them up.

If you’re taking someone’s time to video your runs,
then please respect their time by WATCHING THEM!!

I personally would rather watch a run through my own eyes,
without the pressure of keeping both dog and handler in the viewer.
I do, however, understand the importance of taping
and will gladly do it for others.

Next thought…..Do you Tape your practices?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Job in California Addie and Carrie!!

Addie, Carrie and Mike have safely returned from
the AKC Agility Invitational!


We are so proud of them!
Not only for running extremely well,
under less than ideal circumstances!

Not only was it stressful getting out of Iowa.
We were having a snow storm
with Blizzard Conditions!
They faced another type
of precipitation once they arrived!

Carrie sent some pictures along with video!


The Show Site!


Addie was REALLY thinking when she suggested that Carrie and Mike
get a room in a hotel right across the street of the facility!

Let's face it!
At these events.....
It's all about THE FREE STUFF!

Addie displays the "Rescue Tags" that
were issued by Aunt Rilda!
Carrie is a tad bit FORGETFUL!

Let's face it!

Apparently Addie and Carrie
Couldn't get ENOUGH of the water


Is there really a DOG in THERE!

Follow the 'yellow brick road'??

Makes me wonder if this was a Portuguese Water Dog trial vs. Agility?

Anyone have a Paper Towel
I could borrow?

And Finally......
What to do if you have TOO much
WATER and TIME on your HANDS!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Today Bill helped me put together a
Christmas Video!!

The dogs were THRILLED as there
were COOKIES involved!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Four Feet In a Box

(Seeker and his "Red Neck" Swimming Pool)

I've had a few questions regarding the
'box work game'
that we played during puppy class.

I put together a little flip video.

I took this video by myself..sorry!
One hand on the flip, one hand using the
clicker and tossing the treats
that were piled on the floor.
(Yes, easily accessible to Seeker,
if he felt the need to dive for them.)
(He doesn't and didn't)

My placement of reward wasn't always
where it should have been.
I needed a 3rd or 4th hand!

You'll also notice at one point
Seeker picks up the box.
That means he wasn't sure
what I wanted, (he offered other behaviors)
and my rewards weren't frequent enough
for the behavior I did want.
Simply put it back or hold it for a bit.

I began with a rather large box.
I couldn't find the one I started with,
so I used this large tote lid instead.

I also sit on the floor while playing this game.

As your dog approaches the lid, click and
drop your treat "on the lid".
You're placement should be where
you want the dog.
Click = treat and end of game!

So, you progress to one foot,
click and treat.
Maybe two feet, c&t.
Your results will vary and is
dependent upon how clicker
savvy your dog is, and how good
you are about clear criteria.

The 3rd and 4th (especially) can be
difficult. You'll want to watch for
any lift of the 3rd or 4th foot and click that.
If they dog passes through the box
and the 3rd or 4th foot go in, CLICK!
You might think it was just an
accident, but they GET IT!

Now you're asking yourself...
"Why don't I just pick up the dog
and put him in the box."

That's not the point of this exercise.
The point is to get your dog to
interact with you and think!
Here's the problem puppy, you solve it!

Now, there are other positives that
come out of this game.
You're dog learns more about
his body and how to manipulate it.
He's also learning to keep trying!
You're also building a great
working relationship!

Once your dog understand the
"big" box, you can down size.

Seeker doesn't have a command for this box
behavior yet. I don't necessarily
"Love" the performance all the time.
I'll name it when I LOVE IT!
He's still a little frantic at
times and does a lot of foot shuffling.
Part of that is due to the cookies
(yes, I use Mini Marshmallows!)
that are flying all over the place.

Once I have a reliable '4 in the box',
I'll put a name to it.
If anyone has a great name,
Please let me know!

What I need to do is go back up a
couple sizes and get him to
hold all four feet in.
(Saying 'stay' or 'wait' is CHEATING!!!)
It MUST be His idea!

After he's solid there, then
I'll down size once more.

It's a great game to play when you're stuck inside
and your both suffering from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Seeker says, "IT'S NOT MINE!!"

(Suede and Puppy)

I heard from Dena, (Seeker's Breeder) today that she had
'puppies' last night.
Well, she didn't....Suede did!
It wasn't a planned breeding, well,
not this year anyway.
These things 'can' happen.
Suede is a fantastic agility and flyball dog.
Scorch is Seeker's litter brother.

There were only two puppies, both boys.
Unfortunately, only one survived.

Below is a picture of Seeker at 2 days of age.

Below is the new puppy.
Rather uncanny huh!

Luckily Seeker turned out cute enough.
I'm sure this puppy will too.
I do wonder if his ears will be up or down?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Luck in California Carrie and Addie!!!!

Carrie and Addie will be competing in the 4th Annual
AKC Agility Invitational December 12th and 13th
in Long Beach, CA!

The top 5 dogs of each breed are invited to participate in this Event.
This is based on the Top MACH Dog formula (Double Q's x 10)
+ MACH (Master Agility Championship) points
that dog earned during the qualifying period.

Carrie and Addie will be running in the 12" class
and I'm hopeful she'll keep us updated on her status.

The forecast in Long Beach for this weekend is in mid 60's and rain.
Sure beats the teens and SNOW here!!

Have FUN!!!
Don't forget anything!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

ICDOC Trials

Home trials are always nice!!
You get to STAY HOME!!!

Not only that, we always seem to do well when we stay at home.
I'm not sure if it's because we all get to sleep in our
own beds or if it's that you're staying busy at the
trials, so you don't really have time to worry about
your runs.

The down side is that you miss watching
everyone else run as you're busy working!

I always enjoy watching those that I
don't get to see run very often.
It gives me an idea of where they are
in their training and what things we need
to work on for next spring.

Speaking of it here yet?
We missed the snow this year!!
Just by a few hours however.

Congratulations to all those Qs!!!
I know there were a LOT of them!

Here's a little video that
Carrie and Meme helped me
shoot over the weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puppy Class - The Final Chapter! TRICKS

Here's our puppy class picture!!
(I know, it looks like a boxer specialty!)
We took it the last night of class, just so all
of the puppies would be well trained!!
Isn't it AMAZING!!!

(Yes, that's Carol hiding behind her puppy!)

I truly believe one of the most important things
that make a great companion as well as
performance dog is your RELATIONSHIP!
If you remember nothing else, remember that!

The tricks you taught are a great way to
build that relationship and give your
puppy an opportunity to learn fun things!
It also helps them teach them "how to learn".

I feel you've all come such a long
way on building a strong relationship
with your puppies!
Keep it up!

One thing that I thought was
so impressive is the amount of
attention your puppies were giving you.
Even in a room with 7 other puppies!

You were SMASHING!!

As promised, here's the
spectacular puppy trick video!!

If we had 4 more weeks we would
have been doing THIS!!!
Who wants to join the circus with me!!
There is nothing more fun!
Always train, like it's a TRICK!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wentzville, MO - Thanksgiving Results & Superstitions

Dear Santa,
I've been VERY good this year.

Carrie, Bill and I took Thanksgiving weekend to head to Wentzville, MO. The weather was AMAZING! They could have held the trial outside!

It was obvious to most of MO that the ‘orange’ people had ‘downsized’ for the Holiday. I’m not talking a weight loss program here! I was asked several times where the ‘others’ were, so know you were MISSED!!

We also brought along our own Turkey dinner which we dined on each evening.

Turkey, Martha's cheesy potatoes, yams, corn casserole and pumpkin pie!

Yes, we were CARB LOADING!

Carrie and Addie had an ALMOST perfect weekend with 3 DQs - 6 first places and she was a TOTAL MACH POINTS PIG! Her head ‘barely’ fit in the van on the way home. Thankfully she bought DQ!!! They would have been perfect, but she entered FAST on Friday. Oh well, lesson learned!

What the heck is she doing here???

She's just calling home!


Kruz and Seeker had the run of “one thing” going on!! It seemed almost every course caused us just a minor problem. Of course it was in the EASY part! GO FIGURE!! Seeker did come away with his first ‘official’ DQ on Sunday. The courses each day couldn’t have been nicer!

There was also a horse sale going on over in the ‘big barn’. If you like Saddlebreds or Hackney Ponies, this was the place to be! They all looked very polished and sold CHEAP!! The arena was decorated with Pine Trees and Poinsettias, which we took advantage from Saturday evening. I’m still not sure I like my new ‘point and shoot’, what looks good in the screen is not always what you get on the monitor. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to live with it.

Seeker tried to wear Addie out in the hotel room each evening. I think he was getting sick of being shown up by a corgi! It didn’t work!

Saturday and Sunday’s discussion involved ‘superstitions’. Anything from a ‘lucky shirt’, ‘lucky numbers, to ‘lucky socks’. We finally came to the conclusion that there was a ‘lucky stall’ in the women’s bathroom. I waited longer in line for that stall on Sunday and it paid off!! Do you have a superstition?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Congrats to Sceam and Ann Braue!

Ann and Scream have been selected to represent the
USA at Crufts in Birmingham, England March 2010!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puppy Class - Week Three......

The puppies seem to be getting use to the idea of ‘class night’ and although they do exhibit some interest in playing with the other puppies, they seem to have a bit more self control. Of course there is an occasional unintentional ‘puppy encounter’.

Some handlers admitted to lacking patience and wanting to help their puppies too much. That's understandable, but in fact your puppy will be a happier and more willing participate if he figures it out on his own. I am not by nature a patient person. I LOVE instant gratification, however, shaping behaviors pay off in the long run and I don't believe I'll need to go back and re-train them in the end. Hum, patience, that reminds me of a comedian I really like. Have you ever felt this way?

The evening began with a math problem! Yes, MATH!! All that was required was to add a couple 9 digit numbers together. Oh, you had to do it in your head. One other thing, I was reading a complicated story problem with multiple numbers rather loudly. Coach was helping with some background noise of his own.

The point of this exercise was not to impress the others with their math skills, but to show how distracting and frustrating it was to try to concentrate on something and have someone chattering about after you.

How does this relate to dog training? When you’re working on shaping a behavior, please be quite and let your dog think. When you’re running an agility course, do so quietly and let your dog concentrate on what he needs to be doing.

This reminds me of an old John Wayne Movie, Rooster Cogburn. Rooster and Eula are sitting out in the woods finishing up some stew. The verse goes something like this, Eula speaking to Rooster. “A wise old owl sat on an oak, the more he heard the less he spoke. The less he spoke.the more he heard. Now wasn’t that a wise old bird.” I know there’s a lesson in there for me anyway.

We worked on some recalls with a clicker, treats and a puppy. Being sure at this time just to use the puppy’s name to call him, click when he looks and give the treat on the handler’s thigh or lower leg. Occasionally taking a hold of the puppy’s collar and giving them another treat. As the puppies became more attentive to their handlers, the pairs began to get closer to other puppies and handlers. They did very well!

Next came the time to show off those TRICKS!! Luckily for the class, I’d forgotten my FLIP at home, so no pressure until NEXT WEEK! Then I promise some BRILLIANT puppy tricks.

No matter what the trick, remember to get the behavior ‘before’ you name it. Seeker is getting pretty good at his skate boarding, but I still haven’t named it! I don’t LOVE it yet.

We worked on some ‘agility’ equipment. Remember to find yourself a plank to work that ‘pouncing’ into position. An elephant board works WONDERS for rear end awareness. Use a large box as a tunnel. Speaking of boxes, is your puppy putting all 4 feet in his yet? If so, maybe it’s time to down size and get a smaller box?

Don’t forget your ‘jump circle’. It not only builds value for the jumps, it helps your dog start to get some obstacle focus. You’ll want that down the road when we start working on zig zag jumping! Okay, so that will be NEXT SUMMER! Remember Michele, no matter HOW HARD you SQUEEZE the CHEESE, it will NOT CLICK!! LOL

Again, these behaviors should not be named until you LOVE what they are doing. For example, having them offer going back and forth through the tunnel is GREAT!! You can name it as soon as you have 100% certainty they are going to do it every time. If not, what’s the harm in waiting a little longer?

One more thought before I close this post. Something we haven’t talked about yet, but I don’t want to forget to tell you. Please do not let your puppies run down an open ‘chute’ of weave poles. Think about what information you are giving your puppy. “I see a row of poles and I should run by them as fast as I can!” Is this the behavior you really want to see from your puppy? Now, think about if you “name it”, you’ve just told your puppy, when you see a row of poles I want you to run past them just as fast as you can. No wonder we have so many weave issues!

My hope is you will continue with your shaping and ‘naming when you love it’ training. Then, when your puppy is 12-15 months (or older), we can talk about 2 by 2 weaves. By then your puppy will know “how to learn”. You’ll have a FANTASTIC relationship and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly (literally in days) they learn to weave.

In the mean time, have fun loving, squeezing, training and ENJOYING your puppy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grand Prix N Steeple Chase - USDAA

We traveled south to Lawrence, KS over the weekend to attend a USDAA trial.
Seeker is in Starters, which is the entry level. This was his second trial and it continues to be a lot of fun.

The biggest difference between AKC and USDAA is the jump heights.

AKC jump heights = 8/12/16/20/24.
USDAA jump heights = 12/16/22/26.

The 22” jump height cut off is 21” and under, thus those that fit into the 20” class (22” and under) in AKC, may find themselves jumping 26” in USDAA.

For those that enjoy running multiple times a day, USDAA might be a good choice for you. The “Titling” Classes include; ‘Standard’ and it does have a table. The table position is ALWAYS a down (sorry Michele and Packer!). They also have games; Jumpers (no weaves), Gamblers (the gamble is at the end of the run), Snooker (you learn what red jumps are!), and Pairs (you run with another handler/dog and have to hand off a baton).

Just when you think that’s enough, they have the
Tournament Classes!
These are the classes that qualify you for the
USDAA National Tournament.

Grand Prix which involves all the standard agility equipment,
minus the TABLE!!

They also have the Steeple Chase, which has jumps, tunnels, broad jump, the A Frame and Weaves. One day you do the weaves twice, the next day you complete the A Frame twice. I guess I should tell you that the only way you get to run the second day is if you Q the first day. (It’s complicated!! Well, not really….just at the moment I’m finding it challenging to explain.)

This is the PAY OUT CLASS!!

Yes, you win MONEY!!

So, let me tell you about Seeker and Dervishes Tournament Class results.
Both classes were on Saturday. I think that’s the norm?
Being so experienced with this venue and all, let’s say they are.

Dervish runs the Grand Prix in FINE fashion with a clean run and a Q!
Seeker also runs clean and gets a Q!
We are all very happy and getting a little full of ourselves.
It was a LOT of fun.
You must be clean and under time in Grand Prix to Qualify.

So, off to Steeple Chase! We have the A Frame twice today.
Most USDAA handlers run through contacts,
but since our boys are younger we hold ours for a second.
Dervish runs, does a great job, but drops a bar. BUMMER!!!!
Seeker also runs well and RATS, was that a bar down too!!
So, we’re very happy with their runs, but disappointed with the bars.
Well, next time!!

So, I’m up at the scorers table and come to find out that
you don’t have to be ‘clean’ in Steeple Chase!
Dervish and Seeker each had a 5 Point fault
(5 added seconds to your time)
for a dropped bar, but if you’re ‘fast enough’
you can still qualify!


A certain percent of the class moves into the finals
and as long as you weren’t eliminated
(AKA – have an off course),
you can get in! YIPPEE!!!
We’re both in the finals the next day!

Of course when I tell Wendie she thinks I’m making it up.
Geez, why do people think that! I would NEVER kid about a Q!!!
So, we’re on cloud 9 again.
We’re making plans on how we’re going to spend
all our cash after we win it the following day.

NOT SO FAST!!! You have to Qualify in the finals first!!

Luckily, Finals is just for fun and cash.
You don’t have to Q the second day in order
to earn your Q for Nationals.

Sunday we had weaves twice, A Frame once.
The course looked challenging,
but I was pretty confident we could do it.
Wendie was too, and she showed me how
she was going to do the ending.

She’s so smart!!
I decided to it that way too.

We walked and walked and finally we’re ready to go!!

Wendie and Dervish are off running!
Over the frame, into the weaves, tunnel, jump,
jump, chute, broad, jump,
weaves (rear cross)…Dervish pulled out of the weaves.
Not a HUGE deal, it’s only a Major Fault (5 pts),
they head into the end 180 and circle,
the last wrap and Dervish blind crosses
Wendie and takes the off course “DEATH” jump. UGH!!!!

Seeker’s up.
Looking great until the second approach to the weaves.
I just HAVE to front cross and end up driving him to an off course
The rest of the course was nice and Wendie’s closing idea worked nicely.

Bottom line, both boys LOST their LUNCH MONEY!!
Seeker lucked out as I found a DQ gift card in Bill’s billfold! G

It was a lot of fun and we look forward to playing again some time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

USDAA - Lawrence, KS

We just got back from the Casa De Canine of Greater Kansas City -
USDAA Trial in Lawrence, KS.

We had a BLAST and both Seeker and Dervish did extremely well!

I'll post more tomorrow 'if' I find the time.

Seeker took his Skate Board with him to KS.
We got a few practices in at the trail and hotel.

Here's a short clip of him 'testing' it out in the
parking lot at the hotel.

I think he's actually GETTING IT!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Puppy Class - Week TWO!

Guess who got a SKATE BOARD!!!


Our Floors and Base Boards will NEVER be the same! G

Night Two of Puppy Class was action packed!

First off, a review of the first 3 Phases of Crate Games.
It sounds like several of you need to spend a little more time on
Phase I – Building Value for the Crate.

Seeker did a Demo of Phase 3 – Yer Out Yer In and the ‘Collar Grab Game’.
You should all start playing this as soon as you have graduated through Phases 1 & 2.
Remember not to play too many back to back games of ‘Yer Out Yer In’.


We moved on to our “Clicker” Training/Shaping behaviors.

Key things to remember –

DO not try to help the dog! What I mean by this is mindless chatter while the dog is 'thinking'. He should be working out what you want by trial and error. He'll know he's right when he hears the click and gets the treat. Think of it as if you were trying to figure out a math problem in your head, and someone is continuously chatting at you and asking your opinion. It would be hard to focus, right? The same is true for your dog. Let him think!

Shaping creates a better problem solver.
It also creates a confident and happy worker.

Split the behaviors into their smallest components. (vs. lumping it all together)

• Body awareness (yours and your dogs)

How will this help Agility?

It will help your dog learn -
• How to get on an obstacle.
• How to get across and obstacle.
• Control body at contact. AKA – rear end awareness.
If something goes wrong you can split out the key pieces.

The Down side of clicker is that you can accidentally teach a behavior you didn't want.
Only the dog knows for sure what he thinks you are clicking.

Criteria – the more specific you can be, the easier the behavior is to define.

You can ask for 'more' from your dog, if you are getting an 80% success over 2 consecutive training periods. If less than 80%, give it more sessions and possibly ease up on the criteria. Sessions should be very short.

Too much work time without a cookie = a puppy that quit trying.

If your puppy is struggling, then you are probably asking for too much too soon.
You'll want to break your components down further.
You'll also want to get a behavior you can "PAY them for" to get them back into the game.


Our first exercise involved getting our puppies to put their feet in a container.

We had some pretty great success with this.
As your puppies become more successful, your box can get smaller!

Why do this exercise?
You get to interact with your puppy.
It’s a great relationship builder!
It’s a great shaping behavior!
Body awareness for your dog.
It’s fun!
The most obvious reason for me...
I've got 5 cookies, 30 seconds and a clicker...and...
….Because YOU CAN!

Seeker can actually get into a smaller container!
He likes this game.
He's funny like that.


Next we played our Dumbbells.
No, not the weight lifting kind!

We began shaping the behavior of a dumbbell retrieve!
These puppies did BRILLIANTLY!!
It was so EASY!

Why pick up things you drop on the floor when you have a perfectly
willing 4 legged friend that’s able to do it for you!
Not to mention they are closer to the ground than you are!


We also played another Susan Garrett Game.
It’s Yer Choice.

What a wonderful way to teach Impulse Control.
It fits in so well with Crate Games and the whole ‘getting your dog to think’ process.


Finally we ended the evening with some chase games.

Remember to work on your tugging with your puppy.
Be careful not to over power them and be careful of the puppies that are teething.
We don’t want them to associate tugging with pain.

Remember you need to have a NEW trick ready to show us next week!

Seeker will be demoing his Skate Boarding Skills!

Seeker says,
"This would be easier if I could just chew these round things OFF!"

Have FUN with that PUPPY!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

AKC Muscatine - Sunday Results

It's all fun and games until....someone 'breaks a knee'!!!
You think I'm kidding?

Well, I'm probably incorrect about the knee, I 'heard' it was a dislocation, but it did NOT sound pleasant. It occurred in the first class of the day, 24" Exc JWW. NO, it was NOT an Orange person as I'm sure you are all thinking JEFF and BEA! It did involve a 'cougar', yellow lab however. Hum...First off, the gender was wrong, secondly, Bea is in the 20" class. She left the trial in a stretcher and seemed to be in good humor. Her husband had her dog and seemed to be leaving to follow them to the local hospital. There lies the difference between a nice loving husband, and one that will "catch ya later", as there was still Standard to run yet.......hum....would Bill go or stay?? Good Question!

We really hope she's okay and back to running her dog really soon!!!

Title results today!

Jet and Mary Beth finished a MACH 2!!

Wendy and Dervish - AX!

Melinda and Phoenix - AXJ


Let's not forget PAULY!!!

So many really nice runs this weekend.
The audience was really 'into' the runs!
It was a lot of fun to hear the cheering!

For Seeker, we came away with some homework.
We need to gain more confidence in our wraps and rear crossing the A-Frame.
I just need to keep my head in the game for the entire 25-45 seconds vs.
taking the occasional NANO-NAP!
We had fun, bottom line, that's what matters!
Out next event is USDAA in KS.

I'll continue to work on some videos this week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

AKC Muscatine, IA - Saturday Results

The Muscatine Agility Club held their first AKC Agility Trial today and did a WONDERFUL job! Maybe it was just the zillon cookies Laura made!! WHO CARES!! They were delicious and we had a lot of fun.

A couple new titles to report, which is always fun!!
Coz and Barb finished their AX today!! GOOD JOB YOU!!!
Seeker and I got out of the Exc A JWW class! YIPPEE US!!

There were many Q's today!
Terry and Rippy had a couple FABULOUS runs for a DQ!!

Everyone had some wonderfully positive things to take home.
We also have some 'take aways' that will help us get BETTER!

Here's a clip of some of Saturday's runs.
Okay, so no clips from file was too big!!

I'll work on it Sunday night!


First one....

Number Two!

Number Three....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Puppy Class - Week One

The first night of puppy class was an active one.

Following introductions we talked about what makes a great companion dog and a great performance dog. Interestingly enough, they are almost exactly the same things. When you think about it, you want a dog that is well behaved at home and in public. One that is quite in a crate, will walk politely on a leash, and probably most importantly, come when it's called!

We broke up into pairs to play the "Human Clicker Game". I find this very helpful for those that haven't worked a lot with Behavior Shaping or Clicker training. In this exercise, one person is the dog, the other the handler. The 'dog' gets to choose her 'rewards'. Last night our 'dogs' had a choice of peanut butter m&ms or skittles. Our handlers randomly selected a 'trick' to teach their 'dogs'. We learned the importance of timing and placement of reward. Some 'dogs' were much more 'clicker savvy' than others. Meaning they were much more willing to 'offer behaviors'. This would indicate a solid understanding of shaping. Try something until you get it right!

Here's Kathy showing that "She can be TAUGHT", sitting nicely on her mat!

Meme showing us how you should use "Placement of your Rewards"!
Becky being a "GOOD DOG" is following the cookie with her mouth!
Meme wants Becky to place the bar on her forehead.

This game is really a lot of fun.
Not only that, it really shows you are BRILLIANT our dogs are!

It was time to begin the first 3 phases of Susan Garrett's Crate Games!
One thing I did notice is the quality of treats being used.
You do not want to use the "same old" training treats for crate games.
You want something truly TASTY for your dog!
Not necessarily something 'new', but SPECIAL!
A treat your dog would walk on hot coals to get to.
(we will not be walking our puppies on hot coals)

Phase ONE - I Love my Crate

Your hand goes on the door, puppy will learn to sit.
Reward, high and to the back.

Here's Beth and Jeep.
Jeep is so smart!
Hand on the door, he is sitting.

Phase TWO - Be a Gambler

This stage involves challenging your puppy just a little.
You want him to be successful.
Open the door confidently and feed a cookie.
Work up to being able to put your leash on without
the puppy coming forward in the kennel.
Puppy moves forward, door gets shut.

Phase Three - Yer Out, Yer In

We're finally ready to let the puppy out of the crate.
Clip on leash and reward puppy for staying sitting at back of kennel.
Release the puppy - you might have to encourage him out.
Standing on leash, wait for him to decide to go back in.
When he goes in, HUGE PARTY!!
Do not play back to back games of this.
Do more Phase Two in-between.

Here's Carol -
"I don't know what all the fuss is about? My puppy is PERFECT!"

Next week we'll move to phase FOUR and some other fun foundations games to play with your puppy. We'll also Name our Crate! We haven't called it ANYTHING up until this point. We're letting them make the decisions to go in on their own.

See you next week! Remember to bring a pop or water flat.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

AKC Height Card Policy Change!!

Effective January 1, 2010, AKC changed the Jump Height Card policy. Jump height cards (including copies) do not have to be submitted to the trial secretary nor are jump height cards required to be shown during check-in. If a measurement is necessary, it is the exhibitor’s responsibility to have their dog(s) measured prior to running. Please advise if your dog needs to be measured.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Puppies are MAGIC!

They are also TERRIFYING!!

How can that be?

You bring home your new puppy with visions of
what you'll 'accomplish' together.
Those dreams vary from person to person.

There's always one common thought however.
"I don't want to 'Screw it UP'"!


There's been so many changes in regards to
animal training and methodology.
Much of this training involves finding
what's reinforcing for your puppy.
I personally think these changes are GREAT!

Puppies are like a lump of fuzzy clay.
You can actually mold what they like.
Be creative!!

Seeker LOVES toys.
He'd take a toy over food any day!
So, in order to create more food drive
I turned to my handy dandy clicker.

I would play a short intense game of tug.
Then click/cookie about 5 times.
Then play more tug.
More Cookies, etc.
Maybe two - three sets a session.
The cookies/tug toy were in my hand the
whole time we played tug or click/treat.
This way I could switch back
and forth any time I wanted.

He'll now happily work for
both food and toys!

On Monday I'll be starting a new 4 week puppy class.
I'm really excited to see how it goes.
We'll be working on
Impulse control and shaping behaviors.

Hopefully I'll have a few posts
to share along the way.

During our first class we'll tackle the first
3 phases of Susan Garrett's Crate Games!
How Fun will that BE!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our Newest Orange Crew Member

Zachary 9/22/09

10 lbs 13.6 oz and was 22 1/2" long

The newest member of the Orange Crew!
Yes, he DID go home in this outfit!

He's now 5 weeks old and up to 13lbs!!
He's a strong little guy and we're
pretty sure he'll be running one of the
Shelties at the ICDOC trial in December!

BTW, that shirt is a 2T!
It's for a 6 month old.
Way to go Zachary!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ch. Shorelands How Kool is This AXJ AX RN

(09/03 - 10/09)

It's with great sadness that I announce the passing of Kool.
Carol Rowe's Border Collie passed away on 10/29 from a short battle with cancer.

Carol and Kool were just getting started in their
agility career and I know I'll miss running
against him in our 20" class.

Our thoughts are with you Carol.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lacrosse, WI - Results - Carrie and Michele

Carrie (Addie/Pauly) along with Michele (Packer) headed up to the AKC trial held in Lacrosse, WI last weekend.

Packer had a great weekend!!! She nailed her table both days, although her down was a bit slow according to Michele. Most importantly she DID IT!!!!! Good Girl Packer. Michele, however took a few nano naps at the most inappropriate times, so chalk that up to handler errors.

Addie picked up another DQ on Saturday to bring home a red and yellow ribbon! WELL DONE!! On Saturday she finished 2nd in JWW, had an off course in Standard.

Pauly was a good boy, he ran with his usual ENTHUSIASM!!! Kind of reminds you of a pint size Boogie, with a little more Velcro. GOOD BOY PAULY!!!

Sorry, no pictures or video provided.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Natalie and Peach - Samoyed National Specialty

I sure hope you're ready to have your socks KNOCKED OFF!!!

I know I have!

Natalie and Peach returned from Indianapolis, IN last week with
several ribbons and a NEW TITLE!!!!


It would be kudos for anyone returning from their
own breed specialty with ribbons and a title.

Add in the fact that Natalie is 6 years old (Kindergarten)
and Peach just turned 3, it's AMAZING!!
Just to add a little sugar to this....
Natalie had done ALL her own training!

Okay, so she has had some adult help along the way!
We know who will be running our dogs
when we're no longer able to do so!

Too bad she's in Seeker's height division!

Nice ORANGE T-Shirt NAT!!!!

For Natalie's debut last December 2008,
check out