Sunday, April 29, 2007


This is a little off my usual topics but our dog Patriot just figured out how to "do it." I was almost ready to give up at one point this weekend. We bred him about a year ago for the first time and the puppies came out great. "Major" just finished under a year old with 4 majors. The first time, we helped him alot putting the bitch on boards (he tended to be very high on the bitch) and guided him it. Like a teenager, he had trouble finding "home plate." Then if you touched him, he would ejaculate so you could not guide him too much either. Somehow, we managed to help him breed twice for his first litter. We were unsuccesful the second time without any boards or help and the bitches owner did AI but she never got pregnant. This third time I was again ready to give up; it is frustrating for everyone! However, we brought the bitch home to try one last time and were able to breed him pretty quickly once we got the bitch up to the right height. He actually used an obedience broad jump! The second time, I put the bitch on the board again and he was in in less than a second so that was encouraging. Today, I saw that he seemed to be getting closer on his own because he was not going so high so I left them alone and the bred without any help. What does this have to do with training? Well, I did see learning taking place but it did seem like some assistance was needed at first. The motivation to learn was also high. I did see him losing interest also when he was not having any success.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two Different Agility Practices

I started doing a little agility work with Wyatt outside again after a long break. We have been going to class but not working at home due to the snow, ice, and later mud.

First practice was later in the day, hot out, using standard soft venison treats. Wyatt was OK but still doing some avoidance and needing coaxing to come down and play.

Second day, I showed him the cheese and took him out on leash, took leash off, and started. This practice was much, much better. Still having problems with repeating or taking contacts when I have not signaled them but this second practice was much better and we did work on the "contact suck" issue.

I beleive the cheese, temp, and time of day were factors...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rally Results

I was very happy with Wyatt and had a lot of fun with Rally this weekend. Wyatt got 2 double Q's (our first 2 RAE legs) with scores ranging from 93 to 97 and one fourth place in Excellent B today (not easy to place in Rally B anymore)...

He did great on backup 3 steps and many other hard stations. Hardest stations (which I will work on) were stations that go from sit to stand (Wyatt needs multiple commands to stand typically - I taught this for Novice Obedience by moving forward) and the stationery call forwards where he does not always sit straight in front.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Too Motivated?

I noticed that Wyatt can get sloppy (most noticable in rally and obedience) if he is too excited about the treats he is getting. For Wyatt, this means cheese. He will tend to sit crooked - more in front - in his excitement to get the cheese. Should I use a lower value treat or work with it? Save the cheese for trials?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tracking Workshop

Wyatt and I took a tracking workshop this weekend. I liked the technique. It was to use multiple drops (with food in each). We did 2 straight tracks Saturday with 6 drops on each. One was our scent, one was with a different tracklayer. Wyatt did really well on both. I found I needed to figure out what my criterion was for letting him stray. But he was motivated and found all the articles and seemed to really like the game. The instructors seemed to think he was one of the dogs that was doing the best. (I have done some work with him in the past). There are so many techniques; I am going to stick with this one. It seems to work the best for Wyatt.

On Sunday, in the blizzard, Wyatt did a turn and did fine. His biggest distraction was another dog from obedience class walking by (this dog is agressive and has come after him a few times - we just waited until the dog passed by). I realized I really had to know exactly where the turn was.

The best part is that this group practices once a week and is a half hour from my house. This sport and utility scent discrimination really give you a glimpse into how dogs see the world - through their noses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

AKC Stats

I was looking through the last 4-5 years of AKC event statistics and I made a graph of number of entries by year from 2002-2006. Of course, this only covers AKC events. I was amazed at how much rally and agility are growing especially if you consider that there are now 7-8 agility venues.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wyatt of Dodge City, RE

Here is a photo of me and Wyatt after we earned our Rally Excellent title.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wyatt at the Window

I am at the Whippet National Specialty Show in Kansas City. I came without any dogs just for the weekend. That is very unusual for me and it feels strange to be without a dog in the bed. Though they sleep on the floor (on dog beds of course) at home, we let them sleep with us when we are on the road. It feels strange. I may have to look for a spare whippet around here (and there are plenty) for some nightime company!

Calling home, my wife reports that Wyatt is looking out the window a lot and waiting for my return! That is so touching...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Run Thrus

I took the baby and went to some run thrus in Vermont on Sunday. Wyatt did pretty well. He wanted to run; I actually struggled to keep up with him and cue him fast enough. This may be because he has had some time off and/or because I had cheese - his favorite treat. We are still not back to 100% though. He is still prefering contacts to running my course at times. I am not sure if I should go with him and finish the contact or keep running. My sense is that I should do the latter, then loop back and try again. We did have one really good run with no problems. It seems that I have to handle better and cue earlier and more right now also until this problem is corrected. If I "get lost" or even hestiate he will make a choice or "spin"...