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Everything posted by arf2184

  1. I've been tempted to buy one too. Meg loves to ride in the car and didn't mind being pulled in a wagon so I think she'd like riding in a trailer and watching the scenery. I know I'd like to bring her with me on bike rides. She can run alongside a bike where it safe for her to be off leash, but on leash she seems to lose part of her brain function and doesn't keep her distance from the tires/pedals.
  2. l don't think it hurts to watch other peoples runs and figure out what you think they could have done better. Some mistakes are obvious. Some things may look like mistakes, but may have been the best thing for that particular team. You can't really say if doing things another way would have truly been better because you don't know each dog and handlers strengths and weaknesses. They may have had a good reason for doing what they did, even if it slowed them down a bit. I think watching your own runs helps much more than watching other people though. Some mistakes you know what you did wrong immediately after you did it. Others are more subtle and are more easily spotted on video where you can see both dog and handler (hopefully) clearly. I've spotted a lot of my own mistakes in our videos. They also allow me to more closely see where Meg's focus was. Watching one of our runs, I noticed in the video that she looked over at another dog several times during her run before finally leaving the ring to go say hi. I hadn't seen that at all while running. She was clearly thinking about going to see that dog from early on and then finally decided that she'd rather go say hi than do weaves. Now I try to watch where she's looking a bit more closely (easier said than done while trying to run and focus on the course) so I can try to bring her focus back sooner (or at least keep her in the ring). She is improving a lot!
  3. Xena needs a pool! Love the video. Great pic of Neeko in the pool. I wish our pool was that clean. Hope you find that perfect Frisbee soon. Meg learned to fetch balls and other toys first, then we worked on Frisbee. It took a while to convince her that the Frisbee was a toy...we had to start with the floppy soft cloth discs and transition to the better-flying 'hard' discs. Now she loves Frisbee. We use it as a reward for agility and just for plain old fun.
  4. Meg likes to keep the same schedule...and she's definitely a morning dog. We are asleep by 10pm and up at 4:30-5am. I'm up for work at 4:30 4-5 days a week and she wakes me up at about the same time every day. On my days off I let her out to potty then go back to sleep for while. She typically finds something quiet to do until I get up again at 7 or 8am. She knows my work clothes mean she's staying home and she'll go lay in her spot until Dad gets up to play and put her out for the day. Usually I take her with me if I go anywhere on my days off, at least for part of the day. If I don't have my work clothes on when I'm heading out the door in the morning she can be very insistent on going. Once she gets in the car, she'll refuse to get out until either I force her out by picking her up, or I take her to get coffee and bring her back home.
  5. I thought you did a great job keeping up (for any age)! That was a very nice run. Congrats! Agility is great in so many ways. Its fun, you get a sense of accomplishment when you work through an issue, and you get to meet lots of great people with a similar interest. Meg and I have been doing agility for almost 3 years now. Meg was a rescue who used to lack in confidence. When we first started there were a lot of things that were hard for her...being around other dogs on leash, being around strange people, getting on the equipment (especially the teeter), and focusing when in a new environment with lots of strange people and dogs. Agility has allowed us the setting to work through just about everything. Our trainer and classmates tell me all the time how Meg is a whole different dog now. She is SO much more confident and most important of all....HAPPY! She doesn't have a worried, nervous expression on her face all the time and she has FUN! Just today we started a new session of classes and Meg left me during a practice run to go say hi to our new classmates that she'd never met before (people not the dog). She NEVER would have done that in the beginning. While it wasn't the time for visiting, I could help but smile at her butt wagging as she said hi and sniffed the new people.
  6. Thank you! This is our first OUTDOOR trial...we've done a few in a big barn/arena similar to the one where we take classes. She usually gets distracted easily and it takes a while to get her back. At our last trial in February, she left the ring three times to visit or check out a smell. Silly girl. Tunnelers is so much fun! Meg loves it! This was her third tunnelers event ever. I wish I had her first one on video...it wasn't until she went through nearly every tunnel on the course that she remembered I was out there too. She was having so much fun just speeding through whatever tunnel was in front of her...made everyone laugh, including me. It was well worth it. She wasn't real crazy about tunnels prior to that and would often circle around behind them or try to jump over them rather than go through so it was great to see her having so much fun with tunnels. She became a bit of a tunnel sucker after that first tunnelers course (though the A-frame is still her favorite). I was very proud of her Friday. She's improved her focus a lot which allows me focus on my handling more so we can be a better team. I've got a ways to go. Fortunately, she's also getting to be more forgiving of my mistakes. Now if only my knee would cooperate so I could move a bit faster...
  7. There was a time when Bear would swallow anything that fit in his mouth. Probably the strangest thing he swallowed and passed was a whole bottle of nail polish (with lid on...came out the same condition it went in) and little mouse shaped cat toys.
  8. I like HyperFlite discs: http://hyperflite.com/ Meg prefers the softer SofFlite discs. She's not very hard on Frisbees though.
  9. This pilot study is two years old, but I hadn't seen it so I thought I'd share. Finally! Someone is testing to see if car safety harnesses actually work. Unfortunately, the results are a bit disturbing. Not only did the ones tested not protect the pet, but they do not protect the people in the car either. So basically, at this point, they only prevent the dog from bouncing around the vehicle while driving and are not helpful in the event of an accident. I hope this is just the first of many test studies and inspires someone to make a better product. I'd also like to see a study of whether or not crates are actually helpful in the event of a crash and if one type of crate is safer than another. http://centerforpetsafety.org/research/
  10. Trial and error, just like with any supplement. You try it for a while and if you see a change for the better, you keep giving it. Sometimes change is gradual and you don't see it until you stop the supplement and things go back to worse. With multiple supplements you just add one at a time until you find the right mix, with 6-8 weeks minimum in between additions to give each one time to work (or not work). If Bear goes without his glucosamin for a week, everyone in the house can tell. If I don't give him his fish oil, it takes a bit longer to see a change but its there. I usually only give him MSM in the winter when I know he's going to be a bit stiffer and sore, though with his old age, I'm considering adding it to his daily cocktail year round because the old guy is slowing down a bit more this year.
  11. You could also try skiijoring (or scootering)...only need one or two dogs and you don't need a sled so start up cost is a bit less. I hope to give it a try next year with Meg. The local dog sledding club sometimes offers a beginning skiijoring course so I'm hoping to start there and see how we do...but first I need to learn to cross country skii...lol.
  12. Fish oil and glucosamine chondroitin helped the most for Bear (12 1/2 yrs old now). Also MSM. I try to keep him off pain meds as much as possible but in his old age, sometimes they're necessary. You'll have to try and see what works best for your individual. Regular exercise (no jumping) has helped more than anything for Bear. Keep the weight down and the muscles fit. Be mindful of how she's carrying her weight. With Bear, I know when he's hurting when he starts shifting his weight forward to his front legs. He always shifts his weight to the right rear leg when standing (left femoral head is misshapen), but he usually walks and runs fairly normal. When in pain (usually in the winter time when its cold, icy, and he's less active) he'll use his back legs primarily for balance and shift all his weight to the front legs. The past couple years he has had a couple shoulder (muscle) injuries because of this. Just something to watch for as your pup gets older. Bear is pretty deep chested and front heavy as it is. It may not be as much of an issue for a border collie.
  13. Don't allow dog and child near each other without very close supervision and get outside help. Talk to a behaviorist. Should this problem escalate, it will not end well for anyone. Just last week a coworker's 3-year-old niece was attacked by her grandpa's German shepherd. It only lasted seconds, but the dog lost his life in the end and the little girl had to have surgery to reattach her ear as well as a lot of stitches on her face, neck, and arms. She will have quite a bit of scarring. Small children are right at eye level and can easily set off a dog who doesn't understand that the child doesn't know their rules of behavior. It only takes seconds for a dog to do quite a bit of damage to a small child. You're on the right track considering your options, but separation and much closer supervision is needed immediately. The dog should never even have the opportunity to leave a mark on your child. Its not enough to be in the same room or just in the other room. You have to be RIGHT THERE able to monitor and prevent things from escalating, keeping both the child and the dog at a respectful distance and calm energy level when they're in the same room. Neither of my dogs are kid-proof. Meg either gets nervous or hyped up. Bear feels that he needs to 'correct' the kids with a nip or a growl. So when kids come over, the dogs go out (either to my room or the dog pen outside). At most, interaction is limited to the kids telling the dogs to do tricks and tossing them treats. Meg will play ball outside with kids as long as I'm standing right next to them. That's it though. If I'm not RIGHT there actively controlling the situation with BOTH the dogs and the kids, they don't have access to each other. Its harder when they live in the same house and you may decide that its not something you can do or want to do. Before sending him to a rescue, I would see if any responsible friends or family members (without small children) could give your dog a good home so that if it does come to that, at least you can visit and get updates on him.
  14. Personally, I would look into a 'failed' service dog. Not all puppies/dogs that enter service dog training programs make the cut for a number of reasons and those that don't have to go somewhere. They can probably give you a really good evaluation of the dogs personality. Maybe your mom has some contacts through Guide Dogs for the Blind? As for malamutes...the ones I've met have been a mixed bag as far as temperament goes. As with any breed, not all will be cut out for the job of therapy dog. Some malamutes get huge and that might be intimidating for some kids (though could build confidence if they can overcome their fear).
  15. Seems strange to me too. We've always lived 'in town' so to speak, but I remember seeing all sorts of animals growing up. Granted, my family does quite a bit of driving. Even now I often see sheep, cows, goats, llamas, horses, chickens, occasionally pigs, bison, and even emus (though not as often as I used to) and this is all just going to/from work (I like to mix up my route home every so often). Thinking back though, I recall driving back roads specifically looking for livestock, animals, and 'hidden treasures' (old buildings, parks, etc) as a kid. We didn't have a lot of money growing up and gas was fairly cheap at that time so it was affordable entertainment. We even came across a couple zebras once just in a small field by an old farmhouse. Then there is always the county fair...never been on the rides and spend very little time at the commercial exhibits. The animal and agriculture buildings is what its all about for us. I couldn't believe it when my friend in high school said she'd never been to the fair. I guess I just took it for granted growing up that everyone went to fairs and farmers markets with their dad like I did/do.
  16. Less is more, especially when perfecting a behavior she already knows (like sit and down). If she gives you one fast sit or down or whatever, stop! Reward and don't ask for that behavior again during that session. Make it fun by keeping sessions short and by being upbeat and enthusiastic yourself, but don't ask for too much repetition. Its boring and can be counterproductive and may even cause her to start questioning herself and/or you. Practice makes perfect, but practicing doing something the 'wrong' way can do more harm than good. (She sits like you asked, but if she sits slowly 3-6 times, that slow sit is what she's just practiced and that's what you'll likely get next time too.) Give her time to think things over and then when you go back to it during the next session, she's more likely to do better. Or if her mind works like my Meg's, if you ask for the same behavior more than twice 2-3 times she thinks she must not have done it right (why else would she have to do it again?) or there must be more to it and she'll start ad-libbing trying to figure out exactly what it is she has to do to get it perfect. (This is great when there really is more to 'it', but when she had 'it' to start with she can lose 'it' if we don't stop before this point.) Have fun!
  17. I agree, fast dogs are easier. Meg was a slow dog (and a distracted dog) and I had a very difficult time learning handling skills. I felt most of the time like I was dragging her around the course and it was very difficult. But something clicked for her and now she's a bit faster (though not super fast) and its easier for both of us. I have to run to keep up (instead of encouraging her to keep up) and I can focus more on me being in the right position and less on her falling behind and getting distracted. We're both having more fun now. My trainer wanted to give me a different experience than I had with Meg and let me run a dog that will help improve my handling. She's letting me train one of her young Papillons. She's a high drive pup and LOVES agility. It's been a lot of learning for me because I've never worked with a small dog or a dog that sees agility as the greatest thing on earth. We're having a lot of fun and she's helping me become a better handler (and I get a discount for Meg's classes) . I think you learn to be a much better handler when you work with more than one dog. Each dog is different and what works for one dog may not work for another. Working multiple dogs forces you to think about your movement, cues, and placement a bit more. I struggle with front crosses. Meg doesn't like them and I thinks its my fault because I struggle with the foot work and she ends up briefly confused as to where to go next. We have a good rear cross though which we both like better.
  18. 5 months is a bit too young for Frisbee. They tend to want to jump for it once they figure it out, which can be dangerous at that young of an age before they've finished growing. I'd wait until they are closer to a year, then start with rollers on the ground. It can take a while to convince some dogs that the Frisbee is in fact a toy. Just keep trying in short happy sessions and they'll catch on eventually. Again though, I would not introduce the Frisbee for a few more months yet. Perhaps try teaching fetch with other, less high flying toys to start. Raising two puppies together can be a challenge. As to them being more interested in each other, this is ok sometimes. Its good for them to play and learn to get along with each other. You should separate them for while training and sometimes play with them individually though. If you can, I'd send one off to stay with a friend or relative for a few days or a week so they can develop individually as well. I did not do this with two lab puppies I raised and one turned out fine, confident and playful. The other grew up to be very worried and concerned about where his sister was at all time. When she died he was devastated for weeks. Some of that is just his personality, but I think it would have done him some good to be apart from her early on to help him gain more confidence on his own.
  19. Meg can get weird like that in the house too. She hates it when furniture is moved. She doesn't like it when I put chinchillas in different cages (not that she ever interacts with them directly, but she can see and smell them and she knows where each one 'belongs'). Sometimes she jumps up and runs across the room when someone shifts or moves a foot, yet at other times she wants you to rub her belly with her foot. I think with the tape measure, he probably just needs introduced to it slowly. Its a new object that makes unfamiliar sounds. Bring it out, let him sniff it, reward him for sniffing it. Pull the tape out a little and repeat until he's comfortable with it.
  20. I am the one that needs conditioning for agility...lol. Meg runs off leash in the fields and gets very muscular in the warmer months. In the winter time with the snow and ice, its harder for both of us to stay in shape. She stretches quite a bit on her own before an agility run with no guidance from me. We also play ball and Frisbee, mostly for fun, but its a good workout for her too. We also swim in the lake, though up to this point Meg hasn't been as enthusiastic about it as me. Swimming is great for Bear, who has bad hips and now a bad back. Meg comes too, but she hasn't been all that excited about getting in the water. Last summer was the first year she actually chose to swim (rather than just get her feet wet) and also played fetch in the water. This year she's getting a life jacket to help her keep her head up better.
  21. I still consider myself a newbie. I sometimes have this problem with Meg (who was timid about agility). Breaking it down into smaller segments as suggested helps. And have patience. Time and practice leads to improvement. Just keep working on it, striving for fun success and you'll get there. For quite a while, I could get focus or speed from Meg, but not both. If she was focused, she was slow and I felt like I was 'dragging' her around the course. If she was excited and fast, she was not focused and did her own thing (which still makes me smile because she's clearly loving it). We are getting better. With her, for some time I was letting her make mistakes and go a little crazy because she'd shut down if she felt she wasn't doing things right. Once her confidence was up, I started sometimes making her go back and redo things so we got them right. In class, if we run a course and do something wrong (usually miss an obstacle or take the wrong one), we finish the course then go back and just work on the 3-4 obstacles where we didn't get it right. This way we keep moving and having fun, but still correct the spot where I lost her so that we both learn how to do it better next time. Now in class, I often have trouble keeping up with her (which is a great problem to have). We're having to work more on distance and she's relying a bit more on verbal cues so she doesn't have to always see me to know where to go next. At trials, we still have focus issues, but we improve all the time and she's loving it and that's really all that matters.
  22. I've never been to either (planning on Soldier Hollow this year though ) but Utah has a lot to offer. My sister lives in Ogden, just north of Salt Lake City. The Timpanogos Cave is only an hour from Soldier Hollow. Not sure how much driving you want to do, but the Bonneville Salt Flats are a couple hours from Soldier Hollow, or you could head 4-5 hours south and visit one of Utahs beautiful national parks (Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands...take your pick). Or just check out Salt Lake City. My favorite places to visit are Hogle Zoo, Clark Planetarium (free), the city library (ride the glass elevators, check out the view from the roof and explore the many rooms, and art covered walls), and the Museum of Fine Arts. I have yet to visit the Museum of Natural History, but I'm hoping to on one of my visits this year. Public transportation within the city is pretty good. We usually ride the TRAX lite rail. Traffic is not too terrible (usually much better than Seattle and San Francisco), but driving around downtown can be a bit confusing if you aren't familiar with the area. Downtown is a free fare zone so why not use public trans? There are also a lot of scenic drives in the area: http://www.utah.com/byways/
  23. Baby steps and lots of treats. I've not used one of these, but here's what I would do. It may take several sessions before you actually get moving...depends on the dog. Reward for standing under the bar. Reward for standing under bar in harness. Then when he's comfortable with that, reward for standing under the bar with the harness hooked up. Once he's ok with that, reward for taking a few steps forward with the scooter (lure with the treat if needed). Don't push or pull him...let him be the one to make a move. From there, once he figures out its not scary, he'll probably start to like it. I would do most of the 'work' yourself at first. When he's comfortable, he'll start powering things. Just be careful to never let the scooter or the bar fall on him, especially while he's still getting used to it. I'm think I'm going to buy one of these this summer. Meg will probably take a while to get used to it, but once we get it figured out, I'm sure we'll both have fun.
  24. Thank you! It was pretty cold. I think the high was around 38F, low was around 15F. Both mornings it was freezing! Couldn't feel my toes. Saturday the sun was shining so it warmed up later in the day, but Sunday was overcast and cold all day. Meg has done some pretty acrobatic things go around me and get on the A-frame so we've been working a lot on that. I was very happy when she got it right last weekend. Lol...fortunately Meg is picky about her tennis balls. She likes them squeaky and squishy and flying through the air.
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