Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our St. Patrick's Day (no alcohol involved!)

This green box is pretty much one of the only green things we own, so I grabbed Wall-e for some photos, but ended up focusing more on him and pretty much forgetting about the box :P He was trying to do 2on2off on the thin edge of the box. As I kept telling him, "You're so strange! :)" Well, he started off doing 2on2off, then started raising his left rear foot in the air; kind of a 1on,2off,1in-the-air kinda thing :)
I couldn't pick just one picture; it's hard to decide between all his faces :P
(Totally not the best background for photos either, but oh well, we had fun :) He really likes the home-dehydrated beef that we've been using.)

Mister Handsome! 
I took both dogs for separate walks that afternoon; the sky was beautiful, and although it was a bit chilly, both dogs enjoyed it. I've walked Wall-e every day all winter, but I've only recently started taking Mika for walks again because she really doesn't enjoy it when it's cold. But she loved it on this day :) We have a game we play where she runs over to one of the little snow peaks and stands on it until I release her.
(Her beard is still a bit stained from her surgery last year; it got really stained because of her Elizabethan collar. I've been cutting it so it can grow out white. She's still as cute as ever, of course!)

What's up with that ear! It was WINDY! (No pun intended, ahaha...what's "up"...anyway, moving on... :P )


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Just an update

Haven't blogged in a while, but things have been going pretty great. We've had two trials so far this year (one on February 2 and one on March 2), both at an awesome indoor venue that we'd never been to before. I was SO pleased with Mika and Wall-e's performances at both trials!

Mika was so relaxed at these trials (well, compared to her usual self); she didn't show any signs of reactivity except for a growl at the February trial. It was great to see.  And in the ring she had a really nice balance of control and drive! And Wall-e amazed me with how he was running; he was running like a Masters dog, with tons of skills in his toolbox. It's definitely all coming together for him!

One thing I have to work on with Mika is start-line stays. She stays wonderfully, but it's beginning to stress her a bit. She used to stress at the start-line years ago, back in 2008, which is when I ceased to start-line stays and began starting with her; then I re-introduced start-line stays in 2009 when her speed increased and I needed that head start on some courses. She didn't have a problem with stress when I re-introduced the stays then. I still use a mixture of both stays and no-stays at the start now.

At our last trial, I led out two jumps in our first run (Steeplechase). In our second run (Masters Jumpers), she entered the ring a tad bit more stressed then her last run because she had to wait for a bit longer for her run, and there were other dogs milling around (including a lab, one of her greatest triggers). Anyway, at the beginning of our second run, I told her to sit, resting my hand gently on her back as she did so, to give her a bit of comfort (because she still had a bit of stress). But when I told her to "Wait" and I started to lead out, she got up and shook her entire body (a sign of stress, and one of her methods that she used to try to relax herself). I said, "You're okay! You don't want to stay? All right," and I started with her instead. The rest of our run went uneventfully (we Q'd), but it was a bit slower than her usual, which was likely because of our stressy start. So yeah, we're going to have to work on start-line stays, but I do need them on some of our runs. Just increasing the value of stays, and leading out, will do the trick, I think. We've been working on them at meals, which are high-value reinforcements for Mika (and Wall-e!). We'll also work on them whenever we rent the agility arena next (we've been renting places once a week for the past couple of months), and at future fun matches throughout the year.

Anyway, that's all for now! Hope everyone is doing well! :)

P.S. One more note...SPRING IS COMING!! It's starting to get warmer! :D