Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rocket and I went to my parent's house in NW Iowa for Thanksgiving.  My parents have 3 ares unfenced, so it's an area that he can run in on a long line.  He loves all the smells, so he was really getting down with tracking down bunny smells...then he flushed one!  I was glad I kept him on a line - I didn't expect him to track anything down so quickly and was contemplating letting him off leash, but he would have been long gone after that bunny - I was only able to hold him back because I was relatively close when the chase began. 

He has this really "polite" way of doing his business while he's at their house - he'll only poop in the ditch or outside the property line.  Nice!

I also discovered that 4 days with Rocket as the only dog is a little much.  He's so much a mommy's dog already that he just gets worse when it's the two of us.  He's figured out my Dad - Dad gets annoyed with the wet nose in the hand all the time, but my dad also has the habit of when he feels a wet nose he automatically starts to pet the dog in question...which Rocket uses to his full advantage.  He uses the lean with my Mom to get attention but the nose in the hand with my Dad.  Amusing to watch, and even funnier when my Dad gets mad about it.  LOL!

He did a good job with visitors, too.  When he was younger he didn't want strangers touching him, but as he's gotten older he's gotten more confident and relaxed, so he'll basically let almost anyone touch him.  It all depends on the approach - if someone automatically goes for the top of his head and moves in his space, he backs up.  I'm glad to see his improvement.

We made it back home ok, and we were both glad to see Noodle, Ruby, and Allie when we got home.  :)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a good holiday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday night Agility Fun

Wow, something he gets excited about!

Rocket did another good job at class, was really distracted by his surroundings and his Auntie Leah and cousin Revy, but always gave me his attention back right away.  Score!

We worked on jump circles with Rhonda and she was really helpful.  I have this habit of talking waaayyyy too much, so I was learning how to not say anything unless he got off course.  He's really figured out that he needs to take the next thing in front of him and when I call his name that he looks at me for the next direction.

We took our first attempt at the teeter, and after 3 tries he figured out that he could go across FAST.  However, we were using tables so he didn't get to experience the full downhill angle - which is good, because he's still a little crappy about putting his feet where they need to go.  That's the unfortunate part with a big dog - his natural foot placement is generally wider than the boards he's walking on, so he gets nervous.

We'll continue to work on contacts and weaves!  Our next set of jump circles we'll be adding a 4th jump and varying the angles to make him think.

I'm liking the whole tracking and agility's nice to keep my mouth shut and let the dogs work!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I need a gas mask.

YUCK Rocket.  I swear I can hear him fart every few minutes when he's sleeping. 

That's what I get for switching food.  I'll have to try something new...again....

Darn dogs and their sensitive stomachs.  Poor Allie can't have anything with birds in it and Rocket can't have chicken so we're really limited on what they can eat.  I usually stick to grain free.

Guess I'll go have to scope out food again at IA Pet.  Jeremy's pretty sure that I need to work there part time, as much as I spend in there.  Most of the employees know my name...I should hope so, they see me every payday!

I would love to stick with the Orijen, but it's way too pricey for me.  Maybe when I get my raise in April I can go back...but Rocket has a hard time gaining weight on that food.

I'd love to be able to go back to Petsmart to buy dog food again.  This sucks.  Nobody light a match in my house...we'll all blow up.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where is my puppy going?

Rocket just turned 20 months, and I can tell he's maturing.  It makes me sad to see my goofy puppy in his goofy body disappearing, but I can't wait for him to mature.  His muzzle and skull are widening again, and his appetite has increased, so I know he's going through ANOTHER growth spurt.  This dog just doesn't stop....he grew UP so fast (28 1/2" at the shoulder at 8 months) that he hasn't gotten wide at all.  His chest still hasn't dropped and his ribs haven't sprung, so he looks so gangly and thin.  He's been so slow to mature that it makes me think he'll be 3 when he's finally done, then I can show him again.  I can tell his hormones have really kicked in.  He's gotten so distracted by the world around him that it's hard for him to focus.

That doesn't mean that his mind has caught up!  He's still a baby mentally, so he's a little crazy at the moment.  He's still doing a *really* good job with his training, so I can only imagine what he's going to be like when he's a "real man." 

Unfortunately I think Rocket has turned Jeremy off of male Dobermans in the future.  I'll be able to get a female in the future, as long as she's a pet...we don't want any intact females in the house.

I'm really liking Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.  Maybe in the wwwaayyyy future I'll get a male, but it looks like our future dog limit is going to be 2.  Jeremy is convinced that he must have a Boston Terrier at some point, so I may have to compromise and wait to decide on "future dog."

Fun Matches Galore

DMOTC had fun matches last Sunday and let me see what problems I still have with Ruby and what I still need to work on with Rocket. 

Ruby - FRONTS.  For pete's many times have we been playing the front game?  I need to do more doodling with her and teaching her what she needs to do with her entire body...she's just been weird on recalls.  She doesn't want to sit in front on her own, she wants me to tell her where to go.  So somewhere along the line I didn't A) teach her exactly what front meant or B) taught her, let her learn it, but then "fixed" it so much that she isn't sure of herself anymore.  I think B may be my problem.  Also, I've noticed that her performance leaves a lot to be desired when I take her and Rocket to the club, so I may have to spend more one on one time with her.  Stand seems to also be an issue, so I'll keep working on it.  She'll stand for exam no problem, but getting her to stand from a sit can be iffy sometimes.

Rocket - We'll continue to work on our heeling and attention.  I feel like he heels well without keeping his head up, but I'd like for his head to be up.  His figure eight was really nice!  All of the work we've been doing on making his back end move is really showing.  He knows how to front on a recall pretty well, so we'll polish that, and keep working on his finishes.  His stand for exam is solid (Thank you conformation!)  His off leash heeling actually isn't that bad, but again I want his head up.  He pays too much attention to what's going on around him (A Doberman that pays attention to it's surroundings?  WEIRD.)  Also, he's still convinced that wanting to sniff everyone around his is what he should be doing on a sit/down stay.  I'm thinking about going way back to the basics on it so he won't shift - I want him to sit still and keep on his side on a down stay and not want to sniff at other dogs or worry about what's going on around him.

We have a trial next weekend, but since it's Thanksgiving weekend, I'm going to visit my parents.  I wish I could'd be nice to get another RN leg for Ruby, but family is more important than a dog show....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It was sleeting and 30 degrees with a nice strong wind...

When Rocket and I decided to get up at 8 this morning to go meet up with our tracking class.  Rocket is generally a pansy when he's cold, so I put him in his jammies and hoped for the best.  Of course, this means that he was made fun of when he gets out of the car in black and red skulls, but he doesn't have long hair!  He seemed to know what we were there for, though, so the weather didn't bother him.  Karen was nice enough to lay a 50 yard track into the wind and a 75 yard track with the wind at our backs and he took care of both in short order.  I've found that he does better work when I don't lay any food on the track..just a few pieces to start and a jackpot in the article at the end.  Food distracts him at the moment.  I've got to get a longer nylon lead so I can work our line handling - all I've got is a 6 ft and a 40 ft, but nothing in between.  It looks like I'll have to invest in leather roping gloves too.

I finally got a key to the club!  So we went there next to train...waited about half an hour to start so I could get feeling back in my toes and fingers.  He did another nice job this morning...added another bar to our broad jump....starting to realize what our "drop" signal means and that when we are coming back at Mom that we should be looking at her...not checking the floor! I introduced him to a short dowel today so he would get used to it - using it to teach him how to move his butt when we are doing left turns and when we are fronting.  I've been working more on his body position and rewarding him heavily when his head is in the position I want it in.  Did our go outs with the big box of fun and he's really into it.  I managed to keep him "up" our entire training time, loaded with distractions - especially Carson, an intact bicolor GSD who apparently returned his interest. 

I put him up and decided to help Sonia work Prada the Springer.  Prada is very much an excitable dog and tons of fun, but lacks a lot of mental maturity!  We've taken to each other so much that Sonia is thinking about having me show her instead of herself..Prada's parents are more of conformation people and wanted someone with more experience to train/show her in Obed.  Today, we're still setting up her basics..stay very much a challenge for her, and she's such a wiggle butt that she forgets her heel.  But she's making good progress and it's a good experience for both of us....I've never trained a Springer and it challenges me to think outside of the knowledge I've gained from working Ruby and Rocket.

Fun match in the morning...we'll see if Ruby's recalls have actually improved!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If his brain is in his testicles...where does it go when he's neutered?

Rocket added further proof of his...uniqueness... yesterday while we were hiking at beautiful Ledges State Park.

A large group of us had met to go hiking - over 20 dogs!  Rocket has met Jack the Setter before, but never had this reaction.

Rocket was under the impression Jack was a she...and in heat.

I reminded him that Jack was in fact a he and had boy parts.

He didn't believe me. 

We then spent the majority of our day whining and searching for Jack every time we stopped and really wanted to give him lots of kisses.

Never has he acted like this.  It was literally the most annoying thing he's ever done..and he did it FOREVER.  I was about ready to disown my dog, since his only brain is apparently in his nuts.

The only way to stop the whining was to follow behind Jack with a lot of distance between them.


He'll have to stay intact if that's where he stores his brain.  No wonder people are concerned about Dobe brains swelling larger than their skulls and turning on their owners. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ruby, you are digusting.

When we get our first freeze, Ruby goes in search of gold.

And by gold, I mean frozen poop.  In a certain size and shape.  That we can carry around and CHEW on until it's gone, then find another.

This goes on until our last thaw.  I have no clue why she does it, just that it's completely disgusting and there's no easy way to break it.  I'm pretty sure she collects it during the winter and stores it in a hole she dug in the snow.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rocket's Progress - 15 months of Training

1.  We've mastered Sit from a distance, signal and voice.
2.  We're 95% consistent on the down, better from a slight distance than near, better with both of us moving than standing still.  Signal better than voice.
3.  Listening position is mastered - he'll go between my legs and come back to sit between my knees.  He uses my leg as a cue, no voice required.
4.  Twirl and Spin mastered up close and slightly away, but not far.  Signal and voice.
5.  Heel - we're still working on what position I want his head in at all times.  I can't decide, so of course that means that his head position isn't consistent, but he does give attention when heeling and seems to understand what the word means.  I haven't tried it with a signal.  I really need to nail down where I want his head.
6.  Front mastered at a distance of 10 feet.  We're still working on longer distances, but he knows what it means - I can shift positions and turn away when he's coming at me and he'll front no matter where I am.
7.  Finishes - eh.  I've shown him two different signals, so that's my fault.  I can't decide if I want him to get up in the air to get around or if he's good on the ground. 
8.  Dumbbell - yay for dumbbell!  He knows how to take it, get it, and hold it.  We just starting asking for fronts and jumps with a dumbbell in his mouth.  I need to get him one that's more his size, we're borrowing a dumbbell at the moment and it's not "high" enough on the ends where he can snag it and move again.
9.  Jumps - we know what over means.  The high jump is mastered, I haven't tried the bar jump yet, and the broad jump seems to throw him for a loop. We've started working on directed jumping as well, and he seems to understand the concept, but I haven't tried him past the very starting point.
10.  Recall - we know what that means!
11.  Go outs - I've been training him using a box, so he knows that when he sees a box he needs to go out and sit on it.  He's been consistently understanding the concept from all distances, and he'll usually do it on his own in between exercises if I've left the box out.  We're also going to be using a box to help him remember how to sit correctly...we're still getting sloppy sits at times...of course my fault.
12.  Agility wise, we've mastered all of the equipment except the teeter - haven't done it yet.  Weaves aren't consistent either, but we don't practice agility as often as we train Obed, so that's to be expected.  He really enjoys the table and tunnels.
13.  Backing up - he can back up in front of me with a voice and signal in a straight line for about 15 feet.  Woo!  We haven't done as much practice in heel position, but he's shown that he can also back up in heel for 5-6 steps.
14.  Stand for Exam - no issues so far!  I'd say it's mastered.

We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but I think it's going well!  I'm using the clicker more and more to really reward him precisely - I've found that his understanding doesn't come about because he just doesn't get it, but because I don't reward him for *exactly* what I want.  I've trained the dumbbell in it's entirety with a clicker, and I've started using the clicker for his heeling.

He's such a joy to work with.  I love this dog!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doberman musings and last night's class

We had our second week of beginners obed last night....It's so exciting watching dogs "get" what their owners are trying to teach them!  We have a bunch of stellar students, and some not so stellar owners...but everyone's practicing! 

We do breed reports at the end of class to share info about each dog - volunteers get to share about their own dog and any breed characteristics...basically a short share about their dog.  Usually not a big deal, but my pet peeves:

1.  A Goldendoodle/Labradoodle/Cavachon/Poochon/FunkyMonkey IS NOT A BREED.  You purchased a mixed breed dog!  I have no issue with those who rescue these mixes, but for pete's sake a little research!

2.  There are a few ways greeders and BYBs rip Doberman puppy buyers off.  The most common: "European Doberman."  This drives me crazy.  Yes, it is possible to get a dog imported from Europe. However, the best dogs in Europe generally STAY there...and only if you spend a lot of time with the good breeders, travel to see them will you come home with a decent dog.  A lot of commercial breeders in that country ship their cast offs over here so people can breed "a bigger Doberman."  STAY away from commercial breeders!  If the breeder is breeding a "european" dog with titles to an untitled female....don't buy that puppy! 

3.  While we're on the subject, don't buy a Doberman puppy if:

- you have zilch experience posting ears and your breeder can't help you or you won't utilize the resources available to you to figure it out. 
- you can't stand being touched constantly.
- you like to pee alone.
- you "have to get a big ole male who's gunna be 100+ lbs, that's why I got him, cuz he's gonna be big."
- you already have a male dog at home.  seriously...can't train out same sex aggression people!
- you can't keep up with a dog that's smarter than you.
- can't train a Lab.
- think you need a "working" dog because they are better than a pet from a show breeder...but have never put a title on a dog (again, the whole European rip off scheme!)

There are many more reasons - always do your breed research before you buy or rescue ANY dog!  This is not a good reason:
"I got him because I wanted a big dog. Like 100 lbs. And I like to run, so we run alot.  (Your puppy is 6 months old....not a good idea!)  He's nice even though he looks mean."

*forehead smack*
*end rant*