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Everything posted by arf2184

  1. Bear took his first (and only) agility class at age 9 1/2. We had no intention of going beyond the foundation class since he has hip issues, but he learned and enjoyed it and it gave us something to do. He is not and never has been an quick learner. It took him a bit longer to catch on to things and he hadn't learned anything new in quite a while so it was a bit of an adjustment at first. He had a lot of fun though. Just going to class and seeing a new place, new people, and a couple new dogs was exciting for him, especially once it became a weekly routine. He also took a beginning Treibball class at age 10 1/2. He didn't really take to Treibball at all but he still had fun and was a bit of a class clown. Find a class, talk to the trainer and make sure they can help you work with his dog reactive-ness, and go have fun. Don't worry about him being focused only with treats/toys. As long as you've got his focus, your doing good. Once he's confident in what he's doing, you can change the criteria a bit so that he isn't always getting rewarded or he has to do more before he gets rewarded. Sometimes there's no reward, sometimes there's a jackpot. That'll help you gain his focus at other times and eventually it will just be second nature to do what you say (most of the time ). But when you're starting out, just focus on him learning, you being consistent, and making things fun. Add-on: Forgot to say, Bear used to bounce, bark, whine, and growl when he saw another dog from about age 4 to age 8-ish. It was mostly because we didn't know how to handle his freak-out every time he saw another dog. Once we learned, he learned and now he can pass by other dogs with no problem. Bear still can't meet most new dogs because he has terrible manners (he tends to make other dogs nervous by charging up to them, head and tail erect) but we can go for a walk now without him barking at every dog we pass and we can enter a room full of dogs and he's fine. Old dogs can change...you just have to know how to help them (which means you have to change too).
  2. You want her to be excited about agility and training, but not to the point where she's out of control. If her overly-excited craziness lasts through the whole class session, you might want to try tiring her out a bit right before class, help her focus by burning off some of that energy ahead of time. Get to class early and give her time to settle down before training starts. Give her time to look at the other dogs and sniff a bit before class starts. Its not fair to expect immediate complete focus from a young dog when her surroundings are new (for that day) and exciting. If there is a fenced area where you can let her off leash and play ball for 5-10 minutes before class, use it. Or go for a walk/jog down the road or around the block before class. Also keep in mind that she is only 7 months which is still very young. This is the time when you need to teach control, but also be aware that she will make mistakes and get over excited. Don't get too frustrated, be persistent, and let her be excited and happy...its a good thing! Just teach her that focusing on you while excited is better than being a maniac. It will take time. Also, you said she catches on quick, so what does she do while the rest of the class is still working on things? Say you do 3-5 repetitions (which is plenty...don't overdo it), your dog gets it and you're still waiting for the rest of the dogs in class to 'get it'. Does she get herself all worked up waiting while your focus is elsewhere (on trainer or classmates)? If your mind is elsewhere, hers may wander too. Meg used to get bored in classes if I didn't engage her so we did tricks or worked on a sit/down stay while the 'slower' dogs finished up. I don't expect Meg to focus on me 100% of the time, but if she gets distracted by her nose, I have to work harder to get her focus back, so I gave her something to do...usually something she thinks is fun (wave, spin, shake, stand-tall)...something that isn't too distracting to other dogs/people in class but is enough to keep her focus on me and keep her wondering what we're going to do next.
  3. I think if anything it will help improve his focus. Just make sure he knows when its time to 'track' and when its time to 'work'. Meg has the bad habit of stopping to sniff the ground and/or the equipment during agility. We did some nosework games at home and that actually helped decrease her on-course sniff time. I think it probably just gave her a more appropriate time and place to do what she likes so she didn't feel the need to on the agility course.
  4. Maybe this will help in finding a trainer: http://www.freedoglistings.com/dog-training/michigan/ Stormy sounds fun! Just make sure you are not encouraging behaviors that will be annoying rather than cute when she's an adult. I would not allow her to play with food bowls or collars. From my dogs, in addition to them knowing 'drop it' I expect to be able to take food or items out of their mouth without resistance from them. I teach/practice this from the time I bring the dog home. I make a game out of it. I take something and then we either play with it, or they get something better (or at least something more appropriate). Its not something I 'train' during meal time just for the sake of doing it though (meal time is for eating after all and they have the right to eat in peace). Being able to take food from my dog comes in handy, especially with Bear. He sometimes takes both his and Meg's food and I have to retrieve Meg's from him (they eat a raw diet, not kibble so we're talking hunk of raw meaty bones). Or he'll occasionally grab a large something off the counter and I'll have to take it away so he doesn't make himself sick scarfing it down. Just because I can take food or high value items from him though, doesn't mean anyone can. You will likely get to the point where you can take things from Stormy, but don't expect her to allow a toddler or stranger to do the same. Stormy won't view the toddler the same as she views you so its best to keep food and toys out of the picture when baby is around. Oh, and don't worry about perfecting things at this point. She's a baby and she will make mistakes and she has a short attention span. Keep training short and fun. Right now she's just learning your language and what you want. Be consistent in your cues and reliability on her part will come with time and practice.
  5. Our first foundation agility class was all flat-work. It was great...my then 10-year-old mutt who has hip problems also got to take the class even though I have no intention of ever doing agility with him. He had fun, got out of the house and learned some new things. If the first agility class with this trainer is not all (or mostly) flat-work, I'd look for a different agility trainer in your area. Any good agility trainer would not encourage you enter a pup that young in a class involving a lot of jumps and climbing. JMHO
  6. Don't know if this will help you, but here's what worked for my dogs: We struggled for a long time to get Bear to stop barking. He barked when outside when he wanted our attention. We tried many thing, but for him, the only thing that worked is time-outs. He is now 12 years old and still occasionally needs a time out, but for the most part he's quiet. For Bear 'time out' meant he had to lay quietly by the back door and stay until we said he could get up (2-15 minutes). The big thing for him was during this time he got no toys to put in his mouth (he's very 'mouthy'), no food or attention. We completely ignored him except to remind him to stay if he tried to get up (or put him back if he did get up). This accomplished three things: (1) it showed him coming 'inside' wasn't always fun and games and people and (2) it gave him time to settle and calm down before interacting with us and (3) it showed him if he was quiet then he got to come play with the people. The location of the time out was key for Bear. We had tried putting him in another room, but he couldn't see us and would just bark and scratch at the door non-stop to the point of destroying the door. The living room was too close to the people and I think he still found it rewarding. The rug by the back door where he could still see us, but was far enough away to where he was clearly not 'included' in the activity turned out to be the perfect spot. Initially he had to be put back several times and sometimes he would whine, but eventually he caught on that he wasn't getting up until he was calm and quiet. Of course, your dog must know 'down' and 'stay' pretty well for this to be of use. And be sure the dog has a rug or something comfortable to lay on so he is more likely to stay until released. HOWEVER, the 'time-out' method did not work for Meg (who for a while was in the habit of barking at the neighbor dogs when outside). She wasn't barking for our attention and coming inside was not her goal. She saw 'time out' as more of a challenge or game than a consequence to her barking. For her, simply giving her something else to do (sit, down, stay, etc) to redirect her focus and rewarding her for that behavior while outside was all it took for her. It had to be something that took her focus off the other dog and was not in itself overly rewarding (not play; being told what to do or being given a job is still rewarding in itself for Meg, but requires calm focus). DON'T PLAY. Play is a reward so if you play after he barks, you're rewarding the barking and also increasing his excitement and energy level. If you have him do something else (sit, down, etc) and then reward that, you are rewarding the second (quiet) behavior. Gradually increase the duration of the quiet behavior before giving the reward. Another option is clicker training. This requires that the dog and you both have an understanding of the clicker and you have good timing. Click and reward the silence between the barks and gradually ask for greater duration. I've not tried it, but one of my dog trainers said this method was used to teach police dogs to not bark in the car. I hope this helps. Barking can be such a difficult habit to break, but keep up with it. You'll get there. You just have to find what works for your boy.
  7. Poor pup. Meg (4 yrs old, 40 lbs) also started peeing in her sleep earlier this year. She has been taking Proin since late June. She started out taking 25mg once per day (1/2 of a 50mg tablet). It was about 7-10 days after she started taking it that she had her last leakage. She hasn't had a problem since. The vet told me to play with the dosage until I found the lowest dose with no issues. Over the past few weeks we've cut back to 25mg every other day and (fingers crossed) she still hasn't had any 'accidents'. If you feel your girl is improving on the low dose, I would give her a few more days or even a week to see if she regains complete control. If she seems to plateau and still 'leak', give the vet a call and see about increasing the dosage.
  8. Meg got her very first Q tonight! We went to another NADAC FUNraiser...there were only 10-12 handlers and 20 or so dogs so it was very laid back (and FUN!). Only two Touch N Go runs were listed on the premium and that's what I went there expecting to do, but they had added in Chances as well and talked me into giving it a try. So our very first run was Novice Chances and we Q'd! On our second Chances run, Meg was distracted by smells. On both Touch N Go runs, we had trouble with a dog walk-tunnel discrimination. First, Meg was headed for the dog walk (correct!) but then paused and decided the tunnel looked better (still not crazy about the rubber matted dog walk). She did this twice, but on the third attempt, took the dog walk (with some tiptoeing) and finished the rest of the course beautifully. On our second run, I messed up and pushed her into the tunnel by leaning forward when I should have angled away. In both runs she hit all her contacts and was having a good time (not worried or nervous)! We even did two rear crosses and she took them in stride on both runs. AAfterward we were able to practice and with some pointers for me from a few Elite handlers we did the same TnG course perfectly! She did the dog walk a few more times just to get used to it so hopefully next time she won't hesitate to take it.
  9. Most people around here are fairly dog savvy and will listen when I say no, they can not pet my dog. A few times though, I would not have blamed my dogs for biting someone. At a park once, a little girl, age 6-7, came up and started petting Matty without asking. Matty liked kids, so this was ok, but I tried to tell the girl anyhow that she needed to ask first. As I'm doing so she starts to climb on her back 'to ride her'...Her stupid dad just stands there and watches!?! I pull the confused Matty forward closer to me and girl falls down because Matty moved while she was trying to get on her. She starts crying and of course I'm the bad guy. Well, I probably saved her from a well deserved bite (though Matty would probably not have). Another time Bear and I were out somewhere and while I had my head turned (shame on me) an old man came up (probably in his 70s or 80s) and started petting him. He did ask if he could pet him but not until AFTER he had already started. Bear seemed alright with it and was interested in how the guy smelled, so I allowed it but warned the guy that Bear was a bit nervous of stranger. Then suddenly the old guy leans over the top of Bear, lifts his nose, and plants a kiss right on his lips...umm...NO!! I just about had a heart attack. Twice prior to this Bear had snapped at people (friends/family) for getting in his face...wasn't trying to hurt them, just wanted them to go away...and he had to be muzzled at the vet when they looked in his ears. At that time, he did not like people in his face and he'd do what he had to to get them to go away. Fortunately, Bear was just as stunned as I was and didn't do anything though he was clearly uncomfortable. I stepped back and called Bear away from the old guy and said we had to go. Gave lots of praise to Bear as we walked away. To be fair, I think the old man was hard of hearing and may not have heard my warning AND Bear was not acting shy, but still...you just don't do that with a strange dog. Meg doesn't like to be pet usually...not even by me sometimes. Bear has gotten much more relaxed and open to strangers in his old age, but its just not worth the risk. Now I don't allow people to pet my dogs at all. I try to carry treats and let people give them a treat if they feel they must interact with them (encouraging them to throw it to the dog...both my dogs like to catch), but no petting. Its enough for most people (adults and kids).
  10. Make sure you generalize that 'drop it' command by also asking her to drop other items (can also 'trade' other items for a Frisbee until she learns it well). It can come in really handy when they pick up smelly things that you don't want brought in the house or when you don't want them to carry a toy outside or when they're teething on your favorite shoes. Its better that they drop the item because then they can't turn it in to a game of tug with the object.
  11. My dogs typically go out every 4-5 hours when they spend the day in the house. They will pee every time. They could hold it longer, but there's no need and Meg is incontinent (pees in her sleep...takes Prion to help prevent it) so the more often she pees the less likely I'll have a mess to clean up. I don't think its good for them to hold it for 12+ hours. I'd probably shove them out the door at 6-8 hours and not let them back in until they've emptied their bladders.
  12. On another note, I was EXTREMELY impressed with how well Meg handled being at a new place with a new vet and technician. She was uncomfortable, but she held very still for them, even while they shined lights in her eye, stuck test paper in her eye, put in drops of stain, and did all sorts of things that would make me squirm. Everyone in the office was thrilled with her and how well she behaved. While we were there, five bug-eyed little dogs also came through (different owners, three the same breed...all prone to the same eye problems) and none behaved as Meg who lay cross-pawed and fairly relaxed at my feet in the waiting room intently watching everything.
  13. A while back a dark spot appeared on Meg's left eye. Didn't appear to bother her, but we had the vet look at it. I had done some research before hand and was hoping they'd tell me it was just a uveal cyst (hollow, harmless, and might pop and go away on its own). Our usual vet wasn't sure because the spot is quite dark so sent us to the Animal Eye Clinic at the WSU Specialty Teaching Clinic. We had our appointment today. After careful examination, they determined it is not a cyst. Good news is its also not a melanoma and does not appear to have any significant depth to it (not altering the shape of the eye). They called it a freckle. I didn't know you could get get freckles on you eye, but apparently so. Because its somewhat large and very dark, the vet wants to keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't become a melanoma. So we go back in 3-4 months. The vet also suggested that sunlight could contribute to more freckles in the eye and possible an increased chance of developing a melanoma. She suggested Meg wear shaded UV protectant doggles while out for extended periods in bright sunlight. Hmmm...not sure how well that would work out. I HAD noticed that Meg seems to squint a lot in the sun...much more so than Bear. I looks like Doggles aren't terribly expensive, but I just don't know if she'll actually wear them. Has anyone ever tried them? Has anyone ever put Doggles on a dog and not had them immediately remove them? Are dogs able to run and see fairly normally out of them? Should I even bother?
  14. Lol! Meg is slow and sometimes distracted in agility so if she's moving in the general direction of the jump I will say 'over' when I'm trying to get her attention on the task at hand. I get tongue tied enough as it though so if I don't have to tell her to jump, I don't. I really don't think she listens to me much when we're on a course anyhow. If I say the right thing, but am pointed at the wrong thing, she'll do the wrong thing. She's more of a body reader, which I think is why she runs so slow...she's trying to stick close so she can see me. We've been working on verbal cues more at home...I try not to give her any body language and just say 'tire' or 'weave' and wait for her to do it. Its going well and we're improving our distance at home too...not in class yet though.
  15. Bear learns best with luring....he's all about the food. He needs a lot of repetition before he 'gets it' though. I tried using the clicker with him and while he understands that click means treat, I was not able to get him to understand that what he does leads to the click that gets him the treat. Also, he likes to run through every trick that he know 3-4 times before I can convince him we're going to learn something new and that's the only way he'll get his treat. Meg lives for free-shaping. She learns body/hand signals quickly. Verbal cues take longer. She also learns some by watching other dogs. People in our classes never believe me when I say she's never done something before. She watches the trainers dog do it or the demo dog learn it and she gets it. We just have to fine tune 'it'.
  16. I didn't make it out Friday for hoopers. We did do three runs today. Probably should have done the second Touch N Go, but that's ok. Next time! Video later, but here's how things went: Run #1 Touch N Go Meg started out great and made it through the first 7 obstacles, though I think she missed the contact on the A-frame. Then she ran around the outside of a tunnel...she does this in class too. We'll have to work on it more; I think I may be pushing her out somehow. Then came the Dog Walk... The judge was standing on one side of the dog walk and I think that made Meg a little uneasy, AND a dog kenneled off to the side barked and snarled as she got on the dog walk and that startled her, AND well, she started up the dog walk and jumped off. Started up again...only made it up a few steps before hopping off again with her 'what the heck is that!?' look. Rubber Matted contacts...she's never been on them. So she got back on and I put my hand under her ribs and supported her all the way across. I'll post the video later...its kind of funny how she tip toed across the whole thing. She was happy once we completed the dog walk so I ended our run there and gave her lots of treats! Run #2 Regular 1 Totally not focused! I was really nervous and so she just kind of checked out a bit and sniffed a lot...we had so many faults and she missed quite a few obstacles. I think I got in her way twice and that sure didn't help. She also wanted to go say hi to my sister who was off to the side with the camera. Not a very good run for either of us BUT she did the dog walk! She hesitated and was nervous about it, but she did it! That made the whole distracted run well worth it. Run #3 Regular 2 AWESOME! NO FAULTS! We were 4/10ths of a second over on time so did not Q but I could not be happier with our run. She did circle around one jump but went back and completed it. A great last run! Best of all...she did the dog walk with no hesitation! I'm very pleased with our first trial! We had fun. Everyone there was great. I didn't know anyone but it didn't matter. Everyone was nice and glad to help. @Jumpin Boots - It was nice meeting you! Renoir sure is a good looking dog. We (my family and the people sitting next to us) all enjoyed watching him run! Today, after her runs Meg was laying by my feet while strange dogs she's never seen before walked close by. She either ignored them or showed mild curiosity. This from the dog who had to be separated from the others in our first obedience class because she kept snarling at anyone who came near and kept trying stare the other dogs down. She's come a long way in the last two years. I'm very proud of how relaxed she was overall being in a new place, with lots of strange people and dogs. That's my girl! I can't way to give it another go!
  17. My family will be around with the camera(s), but they know next to nothing about agility. There is only one ring so that makes things a little bit easier to keep track of. I get totally lost watching the AKC trials when there's more than one ring.
  18. Will do! Meg will be the rough coat b/w border collie without a tail. I'll definitely add a cooler and snacks to my list. And Meg of course...Thank you! If Hoopers is numbered we can do that. Maybe we'll drive out and just see on Friday. At this point, I'm not worried about points, Qs, etc...mostly I just want to get through a course without Meg tuning me out. She finds the ground much more interesting when she's stressed or feeling pressured so I've been trying to just keep her moving and having fun. She's doing good lately (and it shows outside of agility too). I'm still debating how many runs to do. On Saturday, our choices for runs are 2 Regular, 2 Touch-N-Go, Jumpers, and Chances. I'm not ready for Chances and Meg hasn't been too thrilled with just boring old jumps lately, so I think we'll stick to Regular and T-n-G. I'm thinking Meg and/or me will probably bomb on our first run and it would be nice to be able to try again when the nerves have settled a bit.
  19. Fortunately, Meg is not bothered at all by fireworks. She is the first dog I've ever had that wasn't bothered by them. Bear however pants heavily, barks, paces, and chews on whatever happens to be closest to him. So for him I make sure he's got plenty of thing to put in his mouth. That's what he does to self-comfort and it also keeps him from chewing on wires, dishes, wood, etc. We make sure that someone is inside with him at all times and take turns watching fireworks. Last year, I didn't stay up to watch. He and I just went to bed...him on my bed instead of his own. He jumped up and started barking a few times, but eventually settled down with his kong.
  20. Mom and Dad our dogs as kids once a day (or they free fed) and it worked fine. My dogs eat their daily meal a couple hours before dark. They snack on fruit/vegetable pulp from the juicer, grass, training treats, and leftovers throughout the day so really they eat several small portions during the day and one big portion in the evening.
  21. Meg and I have been taking agility classes for almost two years but have yet to compete. Finally on Saturday July 7th I plan to enter us in a NADAC Fun-Raiser. It's indoors on dirt, single arena, much like the building we have classes in. Here's my 'to bring list': Crate Blanket and cover for Meg's Crate Water bowl Water Treats Tug toy Chairs Poo Clean-up Bags Camera and camera-person Money Meg's NADAC number (will be registering day-of, shouldn't be a very big trial) I think we're going to do one Regular run and one Touch-n-Go run in the Skilled category. Meg likes contact obstacles the best so I think she'll like Touch-N-Go. Her least favorite obstacles in class are weave poles. At home she'll fly through them...in class she s-l-o-w-l-y creeps through. I'm considering going Friday to give Hoopers a try (and so Meg can get a feel for the place) but I'm not sure. It's only 10 minutes from my house, so certainly do-able, but I don't really understand Hoopers as described in the NADAC handbook with the Test vs. Non-Test hoops. I'm excited and a bit nervous. I don't expect to Q, but I hope Meg has fun and doesn't tune me out completely. Any tips for us first timers? Anything I'm forgetting on my list off stuff to bring? Should I do two Regular runs? I don't want to overdo it, but I also don't want her to be bored. In class last week we moved all the equipment to the newly fenced outdoor area. Meg loved it! She by-passed the teeter and most of the jumps the first run through, but she had more fun than she's had in a while (she's been way too serious/bored in our agility class lately). If I get that response in our first trial, I'll be happy (though it'll be nice if she actually completes most of the obstacles).
  22. I think in many cases the bad dog odor comes from a poor diet...not all for sure but I can usually tell when a dog is eating junk brand dog food by the way they smell. I do all grooming myself at home. Meg gets bathed more than any dog I've ever had. Her fur seems to be a magnet for mud so anytime it rains when no one is home to bring the dogs in right away she gets a bath before coming in for the night (they have two dog houses, but mud is more fun!). Bear (lab) I can towel off and he's good to go. Meg...I rinse to get most of the mud off, shampoo and rinse again to get more mud off, condition and rinse yet again to get still more mud off. I have no idea why it clings to her so; her coat is really not all that thick. Just a quick rinse will not do the trick though. I'd rather take the time to bathe her than have mud all over the house. She does not towel dry well either...I have to blow dry her or she'll still be damp in the morning. I don't shave her, but I do trim the fur on her back end so it doesn't collect debris or matt. She hates being brushed back there so our compromise is she has to sit still while I trim her butt every few months. She also gets a few unusually long strands of fur around her face/ears too. The vet calls it her 'wild' look. I'll trim those every once in a while too. I brush as needed...not much in the winter or late summer. A fe times a week in spring and fall.
  23. If you're not sure you can provide for all his needs it might be best to help him but not adopt him. You could look into sponsoring him, continue to promote him like you've done here, and visit him at the shelter to walk and do a little training. Then again, not many of us have money on hand to cover every possible emergency. If you can afford basic expenses and routine vet visits (whatever you consider necessary), there are credit options for emergencies as long as you are willing to go in debt to see that proper care is given. So that just leaves whether or not you have to time to train and care for a second dog which is something only you can decide. I don't think moving with two dogs is any harder than moving with one. Its mostly just a matter of searching and waiting for the right place. Either way, I'm sure he's better off having you on his side. If the landlord says ok, you could try fostering him and see how it goes.
  24. Meg has a green frisbee that she has trouble spotting in the grass. Apart from something like that though I don't color would make a difference. Meg prefers softer Frisbees. Many pet store ones tend to be too hard in my opinion. I like the Skhoundz SofFlite.
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