Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Just a quick note

Ida and I started an agility class at a new facility last night.  I was really nervous heading in, but most of the dogs were barking, growling, howling while everyone got settled.  The whole class is about jump grids which is kind of boring in class but I think I'll get lots of good info out of it.

I also think it will be good for Ida to learn to chill with other dogs around. Dogs only work one at a time, and she'll have to walk by other dogs (with some distance) when we switch out for our tun. Additionally, everyone is crated while they're not working which will give us an opportunity to work on her being quiet while crated, even with exciting stuff happening (like dogs walking past).  Hopefully it will allow us to work on her reactivity in addition to her jumping mechanics!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Week 9 & 10 Update

It's been a busy and exciting two weeks!  I got a last-minute project at work which took up all my time (imagine doing 3-4 weeks worth of work in one week), and then Sarah Stremming read the thank you e-mail that I sent to her on the latest Cog Dog Radio episode.

My work was nutso last week; it caught me off guard so I wasn't able to finish my weekly update post, so I am combining last week and this week together; I'll try to keep it concise!

This past 2 weeks Ida and I... 

... went to the big off-leash park by ourselves.

... went to the shelter, and Ida hung out with the staff in the office while I worked with dogs in the back.  They were understaffed and two of the regular volunteers didn't show up, so we ended up staying for over 8 hours.... whoops!

... while at the shelter, we walked around a place with weird scary echoey noises (the adoption floor).  Ida hated it, so we headed back into the office area and she watched people/dogs through the window instead.

... almost missed agility class because of the work project that kept me overtime; I just barely made it on time but it required me to... go faster than Ida is comfortable with and she did not like it.

... played fetch in the cul-de-sac again, in the dark.  There where a couple of times when vehicles drove past, and Ida watched - calmly, with tail up (although not moving), no yawns, no lip licks, or other stress signals - before resuming play.  Maybe I'll add toys to a walk around the whole cul-de-sac; shorter time outside, but better exposures maybe?

I noticed...

... Compared to two weeks ago when we went with our doggo friend, Ida was much less comfortable at the park by herself.  She finally relaxed about halfway through the walk (instead of in the first 10 minutes).  I think having another dog not only boosts her confidence, but the other dog also deflects some of the attention away from Ida which I think helps her.  We'll be doing only buddy-walks from now on, and I'll have to figure something else out for decompression walks when we can't find a buddy.

... At the park she made friends with a large black dog - normally the kind of dog she is afraid of.  It was a lab that was walking ahead of his person who was just behind us.  After their initial greeting (which was brief and calm), the dog mostly ignored Ida until at the very end she invited him to play, and they chased/wrestled for a couple minutes before the other dog's owner leashed him up to head home.

... Ida's getting too much of her bottom cue from my body position, so I have to figure out a way to fade that out.

This next week I plan to...

... survive mostly?

... hopefully go on a buddy walk.  I have put some feelers out to a few new walking buddies.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 8 Update

This week's update is late; I have no excuses, I'm sorry!  It was a big week though, and I have lots to share this week.  This has definitely been Ida's most eventful week in a while!
Every action has a consequence.  Like baths

I'll start off with Snowball I guess; I've decided - for his health and mine - that we're doing daily walks every. single. morning.  Weather be damned, even if we only go out for 5 minutes on days when the weather is truly awful.  It's been going good so far, and we both feel much better for it.

On Sunday, we met up with a friend of mine and her sweet and steady chinook.  After a morning of tromping through (and drinking, ugh), the mud, Ida got the double joy of getting a bath at home and then going to the groomer for the afternoon.  She was great with the dogs that we encountered while I was waiting to drop her off (completely excitement-based barking, no fear at all), and when I arrived to pick her up she was curled up and taking a nap.

This week, of course, was Halloween.  We handed out candy, Snowball barked (from behind the kitchen gates) at tiny children, and Ida acted like the whole thing was boring, dressed like the princess that she is.

Everything the light touches is my queendom.
And all of that happened before our agility class on Thursday, where we were the only students....(because the other students that are enrolled are on vacation in Mexico this week and the head trainer).  So Ida got some awesome one-on-one time with a really great trainer who got her walking over the lowered teeter - something I've struggled with for months - in a matter of minutes.  It's not you Ida, it's me.

This last week Ida and I... 

... went to the big park for an off-leash walk with a doggo (and human) buddy.   Ida was nervous on the car ride, but wasn't immediately reactive to the first thing that she saw when she got out of the car (unusual for her).  I tried to be strategic about parking, so that we wouldn't be entering the park in a swarm of dogs.  Although Ida barked at my friend's dog, it seemed to have worked, and she settled down much faster than usual.  After those first 2 minutes, she was great!  Impeccable recall, and did great with the other dogs that we met.  I think I've found another method to add to this madness.

... worked some handling drills in the back yard.  I nearly had an asthma attack.   We will  be doing more running things as long as it is safe.

... started teeter work at home.  Now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing, I think we'll be able to make some progress with it.

I noticed...

.... Ida's shaking in the car doesn't seem to correlate with her performance at agility class any more. 

... Ida has been less reactive to the other dogs when she can see them running on the course.  Not sure if it's because she is relaxing, or if I am getting better at timing my counter conditioning.

... Ida likes to avoid the last jump of a course.  We'll have to fix that.

This next week I plan to...

... finish my list of Dreams and Goals for each of my dogs and myself.  It'll be in an upcoming blog post - eventually!

... take Ida to hang out at the shelter office for the first time in 8 weeks.

... decide if we want to enter an agility fun match on the 13th.  Even if we do not enter, I'm going to try to go watch to see what it's about.