Thursday, February 28, 2008

Agility Class 2/28

First off Lael and I need to make a decision on which class Makin will do next. We will either be doing Continuing On or a 6 week weave pole course. I think we are leaning toward the weave poles though. With spring around the corner it may be nice to buy the poles and get working on this very challenging piece of equipment. As we are currently in an apartment, we will have to set the poles up in my folks yard and practice after work every day.

Yes the girls are extremeley spoiled, they go to the park ever morning with me and then I am able to drop them off with my parents for the day. We save a ton of money on walkers and I get to spend an hour in the woods running, mountain biking, snow shoeing, or just enjoying a nice walk. I digress.

Makin did great tonight. I was very happy with her wait on the contact board. We are now trying to distance orselves from the board. As we moved away we did notice Makin's butt slid of the board a bit. Not sure how to handle that. I will need to remember to ask next week. We also worked on a small sequence which consisted of tunnel, jump, and table with a down. Makin did great and even though it is a slow down on the box, it was still a down. She seems to enjoy the tunnel. We also worked briefly on the teeter. Makin has no fear which is nice. The teeter is definetely something that would cause Tessa to have a melt-down right now. I am glad we are waiting on agility with her. Hopefully we can start her this summer!

As always the biggest challenge is the silly human stuff. Inconsistent body language can so easily cause confusion for the dog.

Oh yeah, Shaya and Tom impressed me again today. Shaya has taught Tom to pick things up and hand them to her. Very cool! Sounds like Tom has a lot of cool tricks!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What a Day! : Lael, Kelly and Neil do some x-Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing with the Girls

When it is sunny and a warm 33F degrees out with little to no wind you go and take advantage of it. We went out to Adams Farm for a little exercise. There was approximately six inches of snow on the ground so conditions were perfect for both skiing and shoeing. The girls had a grand time as well. The snow had not frozen over so Makin was more than happy to run in it. For Tessa the woods could be filled with thumb tacks and she would still want to run through it. Silly dog!



It had been a while since any of us had been on x-country skis and we should have checked our gear before heading out but unfortunately Kelly's skis had gotten a little rusty making it impossible to clip boots to bindings. As a result Kelly used my skis for the first half the trip while I snow shooed. We then switched half way through.

Lael and Kelly

Friday, February 22, 2008

Makin is a Celebrity: She's on You Tube!

Go Over

Contact Board

As you can see we have a long way to go!

ABC's 2/22/08

Class last night was a blast. We worked on multiple jumps going to the touch plate, a curved tunnel, downs on the box, and intro to the board and contacts on the board.

Makin did well on the jumps. I think that Lael and I need to get a little more excited so that she is excited and will be a little quicker. I did notice that Makin picks up speed once she is beyond us and realizes she is supposed to go to the plate. As always the first lesson is to teach the human to communicate so the dog doesn't have to guess at what is going on/where to go. We also don't have to keep up with Makin as long as we are clear on what she is to do with what we say verbally and with our body language. I also noticed that I need to relax. If I am tense then I am not going to have as much fun and odds are I am going to act like a goof!

We then went to the curved tunnel. The funniest part of the night! Katrin was holding Makin and Lael was to call her through the tunnel and back up to get Makin to shoot out with some speed. I must say here that Lael had a bad shoe choice for the evening. Well, Makin hit the tunnel and Lael started backing up caught her heel and actually caught some air on the way to the ground. I knew she was going to be fine which is why I threw out a hearty laugh. I also laughed because it is common knowledge that Lael has zero "ups" and she actually caught some nice air! The nice thing is the first wipe out has occurred and nobody else has to worry about being "that guy"! (Sorry Lael, it was hilarious) We definitely need some work in this department.

We also did some work on box downs. Last week there was no way Makin was going down on the box. We worked a lot on downs this week as a result. Makin was not quick at hitting the deck last night but she was doing it for us. I was very pleased.

Finally we worked on the board and contacts, getting Makin to run down the board with a wait on the end. Unclear messages from the people at the beginning made things a little more difficult. Towards the end we started to get it, as did Makey. We will need some work here on keeping the rear end on the board. I am not sure if her but goes off the board because she is trying to face us when we say wait. I think it may be the case so we will need to figure out a way to tell her to keep those back feet on the board.

It was a fun class. Can't wait to work on this stuff this week. Can you say addictive?

There may be some video of last night’s class that I can look at later which will help me see what I could improve on. Also, I will try to remember the camera next week for some action shots.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Manner 2/18/08: Last Class

Tessa had her last class yesterday. She did very well and is getting much better paying attention when there are distractions. The humans were dorks again though. Lael and I both go to class and we were confusing Tessa when we would switch who was working with her. This was pointed out to us and we will work on having structured ends or a command that will allow Tessa to know that it is ok to go and work with the other person. These are the types of things I find very valuable in the classes. Tare a lot of things that we can do as people that can be very confusing to the dog. These things get pointed out in class and reccomendations are given. Body language is so important and for a dog it can mean different things than what we as people think it means. Figuring this out is the rewarding/challenging part.

Tessa is still being very sensitive. She spooks easily. We pulled out jump poles in the house and that totally freaked her out. I didn't ask her to do anything with them or even walk over them. I just put them on the floor when she was not in the room, got her and walked to the couch over them to sit down. She ran to the entrance of the living room, looked at them, tucked her ears back, squished into a ball, and went to her bed in the kitchen. Silly dog. I then went outside and spread these things out where the girls go to the bathroom. When we went outside for a break she thought the poles were great, smelled good, and could care less about walking over and around them. Jeesh! In talking with Katrin and Julie at class they think it may be possible that there is something in the house that we are unaware of that is spooking her. Another example of this weird behavior was when we brough the bike up and put it on the stationary rider. Complete shut down! She wouldn't even go in the same rooom. We then started to feed her near it and she started to get over it, but if you touch the bike, meltdown! We were out yesterday and saw a couple of kids on bikes. No problem at all! Very confusing. I am happy though because that means that we can still go mountain biking with them.

Now it is time to decide what is next. I need to sign us up for a clicker class in March. A three week class which I think we will bring both girls to. We will then, possibly, start Tessa in Agility ABC's during the summer. Hopefully she chills out a little. I do have concerns though. Lael and I had met someone at a Vizsla Fun Day that had been working on agility and was doing well. They went to a trial at an indoor facility where there was a loud air conditioning unit. The dog had a meltdown and would not even go near equipment for a long time. I don't want to run into that problem, but it may be unavoidable and just something we will always have to work at.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Favorite Pictures



At the park. Yes, jackets. Again the people putting their feelings on the dogs and thinking they will be cold!

The beach. Someone got tired from romping in the water. Someone else is still looking for birds!

The ride home at 8 weeks!

Please let us in, and while your at it get rid of this little guy!

Snoozing with mom!

Chillin on the deck!

Looking for birds at the beach!

I hate baths!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Agility ABC's 2/14/08

Great class last night! For the last bunch of weeks we had been working on things where it wasn't as easy for me to be a stupid human. Well last night we finally got to the point where I could be a total dork. First, as Katrin said and I agree with, I run like a mushroom when I am bringing Makin through obstacles. Second, I need to remember to use all of my command. If I "wait" Makin I have to always remember to use the proper release word instead of just encouraging her to go. This way I can increase the effectiveness of the command and make it more reliable. Third, I have been so focused on behavior when we go to the park and in the house and have not been working on "down" enough (I think I just made and excuse for myself, this blog thing may keep me honest). Makin knows down but that does not mean she is good at it. She is deliberate and slow, not just in the cold, but even at home on a rug. We will have to work hard on this because the box will be a killer without a quick reliable down. Fourth, flailing my arms and hands is not going to get Makin to do something. Looking like a mushroom and flailing is even worse, never mind the fact that I look stupid.

Now, you may ask why I would I do this is if I am going to be hard on myself. Well, the answer is that I have a blast doing it. When I was writing the above section I was actually smiling at my silliness. I like the agility class because not only does Makin have to learn but I do as well and if I don't do things well I only make it harder on her. It’s a challenge and it is fun when we do something new.

Last night Makin did great on the touch plate. She went over a bar, over a six inch jump, touched the plate and came back. The way out was a little slow but she picked it up on the way back because she had cheese on the brain. Six weeks ago I did not think we would be able to do that. Again, not giving the goofball enough credit. She also did well on the outs. We were able to consistently go around the cone and the two gates. Now I just need to be able to stay away from the cone (entry) and still get her to do the out (remembering not to be a flailing mushroom).

Lael had to work last night which is why there are so many "I's in this post. We will see if she looks like a flailing mushroom or if she has some other silly human thing she does. We missed her though. I was tired because I had no relief. I think that means I need to start running again. Pathetic.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Finally, we don't have people over for dinner tonight so I am able to add some pictures from Nicaragua. It was a great trip. Now, I guess its time to plan the next adventure. I think we are heading to Acadia with Caera and Adam during the summer and then I am looking into another mountain biking trip because last years trip to Moab UT was so much fun. I am having trouble deciding between Oregon, Colorado, or back to the desert. I added a link to the tour company. They have great trips and some cool videos as well. Makes me hate the winter a little bit.

Without further ado, Nicaragua...

Lael on a zip line. I believe this one was 400 meters long and about 50 feet off of the ground. Sorry about having two different systems of measurement. I am forced to use the facts I am given!

Petroglyph (approximately 1200 years old) on the island of Ometepe. What was interesting was that we saw them on someone's private property. They charge a fee for you to see them. Historical, yes, but I was not all that exited about the carved rocks.

A Howler Monkey. We saw five or so of them. One was a momma and had the baby on her back. The funny thing is that apparently we were lucky they were in a good mood because sometimes they throw stuff at people, sometimes feces, yuck!

The beach in the town of San Juan Del Sur. One day when we went there was a full soccer game under way. I have played soccer before but these kids would have made me look silly!

The pool. In the distance is the town of San Juan Del Sur.

The villa that our Aunt and Uncle were nice enough to let us use.

Does this look comfortable?

Let's just say Tessa has an odd, although exuberant way of showing her affection...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Last Day of Vacation

Today is my (Lael's) last day of vacation, so I decided to take the dogs for a good romp at the park. And I didn't take them out yesterday as it was ~17 degrees and they (I) would be too cold! But it became obvious that Tessa's pent up energy needed to be released. She is actually remarkably good in the house, but she the fact that she would sprint to and from her bathroom breaks made me realize that she had some running that needed to be done. Now of course Makey & Tessa are all tuckered out and snuggling in the sun on the couch- doesn't sound too bad.
Here are some pictures of the fun at the park.
We missed Neil- poor sucker had to work. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Vacation and The Post Vacation Reconciliation

Lael and I went on a glorious trip to Nicaragua. I must admit I was more than a little apprehensive. After having spent a week in the town of San Juan Del Sure I must say that I would go again, and hope to. The people were great, the food was delicious and there is more than enough to keep you occupied. We did our fair share of enjoying the pool but we also enjoyed the town, the beach, a trip to Ometepe Island, a canopy tour, and most importantly, a week enjoying each others company. Often times you get stuck in your day to day routines and it is little vacations like these that make you realize how great it is to just hang out together without the rat race taking hold of everything. There was no opportunity to “overbook” our time either which was nice.

As far as the girls are concerned, Makin stayed with Steve and Joanne and then with Caera and Adam. Tessa went to Katrin (our trainer) for the week. They both sound as though they did well. Tessa did shed a few pounds, how, I do not know. So we have been feeding a little extra. They were both excited to see us and have been a little needy. Yesterday, Sunday, they had a nice long run at the park and then they both had training in the afternoon.

Tessa’s training went well. She is coming along and we were able to maintain some control when the other dogs started to go crazy. We also had a bit of luck with distracted recall. I am not sure if she just wanted to listen or if her stay with Katrin came with a little training. Regardless she is doing well. We have one more manners class with her and then I think it will be time for an Agility ABC’s class. We practice Makin’s homework with her a bit so hopefully that will give us a head start.

Makin’s class yesterday was awesome. We worked on “outs”, which we will need to work on a lot because Makin will definitely want to stick to you like glue. Katrin tried to use Makin as a demo. Now I thought this was a wonderful idea because Makin kind of gets it, but Katrin asked her to get out and Makin sure did get out, out and back to Lael and I. Kind of bad, but makes me feel good that we are her people. We also worked on touch plates. Makin did pretty well with this as well. Basically there is a point on the ground, marked by a plate, and Makin has to go to it and touch it with her nose. Slow at first but she started to get it. For next week she needs to be able to go to the plate from a distance of about 15 feet and over a couple of poles on the ground. We are teaching her to not only go to the plate but to go over things whenever she sees them, Very fun!

Well we will be sure to post some pictures of Nicaragua soon. Maybe next week we will even bring a camera to training and post some pictures from there.