Friday, September 1, 2017

Dreams and Goals - Update

I am just reviewing and revising my dreams/goals for each dog and myself.

Snowball's Dreams
- TEAM1 Title
- "Compete" in rally and/or scent detection
- Get his intermediate trick dog title (strikeout)
- Get his advanced trick dog title

Ida's Dreams
- Be comfortable around traffic
- Be comfortable around other dogs
- Get her CGN
- Title in agility
- Have running contacts
- Title in Rally

My Dreams
- Build a career that involves dogs

- That's really the only one that matters


Submit the papers for his Novice Trick Dog (NTD) by Friday, January 13, 2017
Complete!  Snowball received his NTD certificate February 22, 2017.

New Goal: Film and submit ITD before December 31, 2017. Selected tricks:
  • Go around a cone
  • Close a door
  • Leg weave
  • Perch work
  • Roll over
  • Shell game (nose=1, paw=2)
  • Back up (2)
  • Cross your paws (2)
  • Distance work (Sit, down, stand; 2)
  • Place (left finish)
Enter the Barnhunt fun match in Red Deer in March 2017.
Complete! Snowball “passed” the instinct test with the second fastest time in his category; we did not Q for either Novice run, but we had a lot of fun anyway.
Hind end conditioning with the end goal of pain relief for his arthritis (and improving his sit)
Ongoing. Regular perch and pivot work

New goal: Continue perch/pivot work on both sides, and work on building a stronger sit/eliminate him walking backwards into a sit.

New Goal: Fade out rewards during rally sequences in preparation for trialing in the future.
Submit papers for her NTD title by Friday, January 13, 2017.
Compete!  Ida received her NTD certificate February 22, 2017.

New Goal: Film and submit ITD before December 31, 2017. Selected tricks:
  • Go around (“fly”)
  • Jump wraps
  • Baton jump
  • Jump through circled arms
  • Perch work
  • Place (left finish)
  • Sit pretty
  • Soccer
  • Go to mat
  • Directional casting
  • Back-up (2)
  • Directed retrieve (2)
Attempt TEAM1 by May.
We have cleaned up several components; and are starting to do run-thrus.

New Goal: Film TEAM1 by December 2017.
Learn weaves and teeter by Summer 2017
Ida has 6 weaves in easy situations (low distraction, low-medium arousal).

New Goal: Work towards 12 weaves and building fluency with high arousal, from different entry points, etc.  Will be put on hold when snow flies.

Teeter work on hold until I have access to equipment.

Car conditioning. I aim to do at least one session per day.  Sometimes I do none, and sometimes I do three, c'est la vie.  We have made notable progress - she is no longer bothered by the sound of the car being started (when she’s not in it), but she is still nervous of the car when the engine is running.

Take Snowball for a walk every day, even when the weather is bad*
*walking a circle around the cul-de-sac counts in really bad days.
Write out cue dictionary
Train at least 5 minutes per day with each dog.  Seriously me, 5 minutes isn't that long, set a timer if I have to.
The amount that I train has significantly increased.  I have also added an easy limit on Ida’s car desense - 10 dried anchovies per session - which has made it far less intimidating for me.
Drink at least 1000 ml of water every day for the rest of January.
I failed at this.  New goal: work on a more creative solution.
Take at least 7500 steps every day for the rest of January.
I have been keeping up with this.  I won’t say I’ve been perfect, but I have been adding in small things, like taking the stairs down instead of the elevator and parking my car a bit further away and walking to my office.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tonight I am initiating a hiatus from Facebook.  It will be hard - it has been a part of my daily life for the last 10 years, a way to connect with the kind of people I've struggled to meet locally, both in terms of philosophy and shared interests.

But it's become too much of a habit, and a draining one.  There is too much judgement, too much ignorance and hate.  And I know going off facebook won't eliminate that hate, but it is extremely hard for me to constantly expose myself to those attitudes - especially in a context in which I can't do anything to change them.

It has also become my main displacement behaviour.  Unsure what to do?  Check facebook.  Bored in the car?  Check facebook.  Finished writing a work e-mail and not sure whether to send it or not?  Check facebook.

It needs to stop, and it's not stopping on its own.  My goal is to build a new displacement behaviour - one that's a bit healthier and not as easy to get sucked into.  I also want to spend more time just... in life.  With my dogs.  With the cat.  And connecting with people more meaningfully, which is not something I'm good at doing online.  I hope someday I can return - there are a lot of things I like about it and a lot of people that I don't have any other way to connect with.  I'll miss having a resource for nearly immediate answers to question, but I won't miss the word vomit that spouts from my fingers, seemingly out of my own control.

I know that this won't magically fix all of my problems, but it's something that I can initiate by myself, entirely on my own terms.  I hope it gives me back some time, and also some of my sanity.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

FE 345 - Immitation and Mimicry - Week 1 notes and homework

Behaviours on verbal cue

  • Sit
  • Over
  • Hup/Up
Behaviours almost on verbal cue alone

  • Drop
  • Spin
  • Kiss?
Behaviours not on verbal cue alone that are likely easy to put on verbal cue
  • Left (paw)
  • Right (paw)
  • Fly
  • Touch
The rest of the homework for this week is proofing stays/waits, and thinking about how to demonstrate the behaviour so that the dog will recognize the human motions as analogous to dog motions.

An eventful week

Two amazing things happened this week.

1.  We have started working on consent cues, and a nose-touch on the car door is how I've been teaching Ida to ask to get into the car.  A friend was dropping my husband off from a day-trip yesterday - Ida came outside to say "hi" and hang out while they unloaded the car.... and during that time Ida offered several nose-touches on the back door of our friend's car.

This is huge, mainly because first, she's offering the behaviour outside of the context of training, and second to be it indicates that she actually wants into the car, which would never have happened a month ago.

2. We also have started going to a the nearby community league property, which has an outdoor rink that is almost fully enclosed, and is grass and therefore disused in the summer.  We've just been going there to hang out in a new place.  What I didn't realize is how many hares live around there (although I probably shouldn't be surprised, since there is a large community garden plot less than 100 m away from the rink).  We were just hanging out in the rink, Ida was sniffing some stuff and started wandering over to the open door.  I called her back no problem and we kept sniffing... she started wandering over again so I put her into a down stay and went to close the gate just in case, and wouldn't you know it, there was a GIGANTIC hare just laying in the grass about 20 feet away. Good girl Ida (and thank goodness the hare didn't decide to take off because I have no illusions about how well she'd recall while chasing down a rabbit).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

This weekend there was a regional agility championship held in my city.  I knew a few people running; a friend, some former shelter staff/volunteers, former instructors, former classmates, and even a shelter dog who I worked with briefly years ago.

After my friend finished running her dog, as I pulled out of the parking lot, a bunch of things hit me all at once.  How awful it is to explain to people that you can't play the game that you love because your dog can't leave your home.  How everyone I know is progressing so well and I'm stranded behind them by myself.  How, even if I get a puppy, it will still be years before we actually get to play (and then what if the new puppy can't play either?  Then what?)  How unfair it is that I have this great, fun, smart little dog and no one else gets to see how amazing and smart she is.

I'm just throwing myself a pity party, but I had to get it out.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I took my first Fenzi Dog Sports Academy class last August.  At the time, I didn't realize what an amazing community was behind the online dog training center, but with additional classes, I discovered the support and encouragement of other people embarking on the same training journey to improve the lives of their dogs (and themselves).  I have online, R+ dog-friends from other corners of the internet, but something about the people in FDSA has been incredibly inspiring and uplifting to me.  Reading others' stories and successes with their own dogs - some with very similar issues as Ida - has been been very encouraging for me and I am incredibly grateful everyday for having found a community that focuses on using R+ as much on its people members as on its canine ones.

But there has been something else that I didn't expect from joining such a large online community.  Even though there are thousands of people, it is quite tight knit, and the increase in support and motivation and encouragement has also come with heartache, as people who I previously had no connection with say goodbye to dogs that have taught them so much about themselves and the way they view the world.

Sometimes it feels like I've known the dog personally.  They've become fixtures in my online world, seemingly infinite and ageless, even as I see the numeral marking their years increase in online posts. Others I have never read about until their owner posts a heartfelt goodbye that reminds me how little time we get with our dogs.  It doesn't matter if it's one year or ten, it's never enough.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I failed my dog today.

But she did great anyway.

Patrick and I took Snowball for his morning walk. Ida was VERY insistent that she come with us. I don't know if its because she wants to be outside, or if it's just because she wants to be with us, but she does this thing where she howls at us when we're leashing up Snowball, and then she stands at the front door, pointing out, like she's ready to go.... I caved, and harnessed her up.

It was pretty early still (about 7am) so not much traffic on our residential streets... but I forgot to check the bus schedule - Ida's nemesis! Sure enough, a city bus roared right past us to pick up passengers at the stop only 50 m from where our cul-de-sac opens onto the main street.

And you know what babydog did? My baby girl - who used to panic and try to run as far away from the bus as possible and continue to freak out for several minutes after - came over to me when I called her. She ate the cheese that I furiously shovelling into into her facehole as fast as I could. And once the bus was gone, she continued trotting along, tail up, checking out the new smells on the boulevard ahead of us, for all intents and purposes looking like a normal dog out for a normal walk

<3 <3 <3