Monday, 21 May 2012

Backyard agility

Well we had a few successful training sessions since our last post. The most recent was today in our beautiful back yard. He's really starting to settle down out there. He was very focused on the equipment but still a little stressed. He hasn't really taken to tugging out there yet, so we need to keep working. I did, however, manage to get him to chase the bait pouch if I put a treat inside where he could get to it.

So today we worked on the chute; unfortunately there was enough breeze that it kept blowing over so he'd run in it and it wouldn't stay flat. So he kept running back out. But whenever it was flat he gladly went in it, which I'm thankful for. I guess I need to modify the chute a little so that it doesn't blow away.

We also did a brief session with weaves. 2 sets of 2x2 were used open. I got him to run with me twice on each side. He wasn't really aware that they were there so I think my goal this week will be to do weaves three times this week.

We did some work on jumps as well, actually we did the first two jumps of a pinwheel (jump to tire at 90 degrees) and then we worked on set point grids. He did so well on these that I kept adding jumps. It is clear that he is very comfortable with these at home, we got up to a cross rail (or more like cross plungers) and two jumps. So a total of 3 :). His lead outs were going really well, and he was looking down his line at the bait pouch perfectly.

Lastly in between set-ups and moving jumps we worked on the table. I flipped a rubbermaid container over and put his mat on it. Any time he was not working he was being praised for lying on his mat on the container. During clean up, I laid his mat on the ground and he actually stayed the whole time :) he got a few jackpots for that.

Below is a picture of our beautiful backyard. The tree is also perfect for circle work.

We also had some other success stories this past week. Saturday was agility class, we changed a few things up. I didn't bring his house and he was pretty quiet. I think we may try without the house for a while and see if I can get him quiet, then re-introduce the house. We worked on the teeter as well as set point grids. Harley was a little more focused, but we still haven't gotten him to stay calm and de-stressed in there. We are making some progress though.

Wednesday was tiny dog class, Harley played with his buddies and we worked on sit-stays. He did pretty good with that. We also worked a bit on name response and recall.

Tuesday, we ventured out to visist our friends Kobi and Scout. Scout is a very quiet therapy dog so we thought that would help Harley work on his reactivity. Kobi is a beautiful boarder collie who is very hyper. We let Harley and scout meet first. Harley barked quite a bit, but did settle down a little. We then introduced Kobi and let them play. This was good because Harley got a reaction every time he barked, Kobi wanted to play! We did a bit of work with both dogs walking by the fence as well, this is to work on Harley's need to bark every time he hears dog tags, but can't see a dog. We did good. Lastly we went for a walk, which I was very pleased with.

Overall it's been a good week, let's see what the next week brings. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Back yard practice...

Well it was a beautiful day, and after yesterday's not so good class, we decided it was time to hit the back yard for some work. I let all of my frustration from yesterday go (essentially I was flustered the dog was stressed and it just wasn't a good hour) and we started.

So I noticed the grass was a little longer and figured Mr. Harley would want to sniff it, so I came armed with a load of treats. We started with circle work and played a few games and when the tug came out he was EXCITED. We played fetch then worked on him laying on his mat while I set up all the "equiptment" some day I'll post pictures of my make-shift stuff... He got up a few times, but for the most part he stayed at his mat. We need to do some more leave it work inside, cause I dropped a bunch of treats out of my bag and he kept trying to eat the grass around the treats to clean up every morsel. I think we'll do it's your choice from class tomorrow or maybe tonight where I have a pile of treats and his mat, in order to proof the "lie on your mat" command.

So we started with the chute. This was brazen of me; however, I trusted that seeing it was in the same place as last time he'd remember it. He did! (Thank the agility gods, cause he was afraid of it two sessions ago) He was sucked up that chute like a little vacuum. So I grabbed the tug and worked on jumps (set up in 180) the dog walk (where we worked a bit on the stick-it, with a lead-out to the chute).

This was going so well, that I decided to set up weaves. Well a car pulled in the driveway and it was the neighbors (with the dogs), so I raced for Harley, got him on his leash. Luckily one of them clued in I was there and shouted they would leash the dogs :) (very much appreciated, I thanked them later). Harley had a minor melt down. But he did regain partial focus. I thought the idea of weaves were shot at that point and almost gave up, but I got him refocused on me... He didn't have tug drive anymore, but he was still treat motivated, so I got him into a sit-stay and then released him to race through the weaves. I had planned on working on off-side, but figured I'd just do two reps of running with and called it a day. End on a good note, isn't that what we're supposed to do... LOL.

So I am very proud of my little guy for actually staying remotely under control through the whole thing. Still need to build more tug drive, but at least we had it for half of the session.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Weekend Agility

Well yesterday Harley started another set of Agility classes. We are working on finding our golden nugget toy and working on calm and quiet in his little house. We started by giving him a piece of lamb tripe to chew on, this kept him quiet and settled in his crate while we started the exercises.

We did some circle work and front crosses on the flat. I was very pleased with how Harley did on this. He's improving a lot with his circle work, practice makes perfect.

We did some restrained recall/race to reward work, and also worked on some bounces. He did pretty good overall. He did start to get impatient and tired towards the end. I think when he gets full (from eating the treats in his house to keep him calm) he starts to loose motivation. We're still working on what exactly we're going to do to help with that.

Today was such a beautiful day outside, I couldn't pass it up. I debated on what to do with Harley and finally I decided to suck it up and work with Harley in the backyard. We usually avoid the backyard because our neighbors have two dogs which Harley doesn't like very much. They also are allowed off lead in the backyard (which is essentially thier toilet), which doesn't allow me any warning or ability to prepare to gather Harley, plus it also becomes a sniffing spree for Harley to check his pee-mail. Essentially it's usually a recipe for disaster.

So I checked out the backyard to see if any dogs were there, none were out. I grabbed a few pieces of equipment (I didn't bother bringing too much out because I didn't want to set high expectations) and out we went.

I started with some on-lead circle work around a big tree. I definitely over-rewarded Harley, but I praised him everytime he looked at me while we were on the cirlce so that he wouldn't take off on a distracted sniffing spree. I think this definitely set us up for a good start. Then we saw one of our other neighbors and she came over and said hi. I took that opportunity to recruit her help and got her to hold his leash while I made him lay on his mat. I set up a chute and a jump and then while her and I talked started working on the chute. She offered to hold him while I opened the chute and after a few tries and lots of treats he was excited to go through. By the end of the session he was going through the full chute on his own. I'll have to keep working on that so that he keeps the drive up for the chute. I practiced a few little sequences with Harley taking a jump and then front crossing into the chute. Those went well.

After that we worked on some grids and pinwheels and then called it a day. I was very pleased with his ability to keep his focus despite the loads of pee-mail all over the ground. I decided to stop shortly after seeing a few nervous shakes and some sniffing so that we ended on a good note. Overall I'm very proud. I think we may be able to use the backyard afterall.

Catching up...

We've been away for a while so I thought a catch up on what Harley has been up to would be in order. Going back a ways... April 27, Harley took another trip to see his cousin Blackie. We stayed there for three days. Here is Blackie smiling for the camera. 

 Harley has improved a lot with Blackie over the last few months. This visit Harley even earned the priviledge of hanging out in the kitchen outside of his crate, here is the little guy behaving on his mat waiting for some treats.

We even got a picture of the two of them together! Both quietly waiting for a night-time snack before going to bed. I was really proud of Harley, the barking episodes were further apart than the last visit, and we actually got some sleep for the three nights we stayed there. He only started barking when everyone got up in the morning.

Next we set out for a three day visit with cousin Duke. Here are the two of them playing. They got along really well. Harley spent a lot of time playing with Duke and teaching his younger cousin how to play nicely. Again he did really well this time with the barking, and usually would only have 2-3 barking fits per day. Good job Harley.

The first night Duke and Harley went for a walk on the beach together. They really enjoyed their walk; however, they both got full of sand. So the two of them had to take a bath! Here they are playing in the tub at bathtime.

Overall it was a good trip for Harley he was well mannered for most of the trip and he traveled well in the car. When we got back we went to Tiny Dog class (last Wednesday) and he had a pretty good night there too.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Tiny dog class

We had a pretty good tiny dog class today. We started with the group and practiced sit stays. I managed to walk almost all the way across the room and he stayed.

After that we worked on weaves. He's doing decent with them. I'm definitely looking forward to being less busy do we can work on them every day.

To end the night we had social time and Harley came out of his shell and played with his friends.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Awesome Agility Class!!!

So the little man had an amazing class today, actually "team little" both did amazing (that'd be a poodle and Harley).

So we started with pin-wheels. Ok we made the pocket so small that I couldn't fit in it; however, the point is he did them flawlessly on the first try :D

After a few of those we added a tunnel infront of the pin-wheel, which he did once again flawlessly. To change it up we did the tunnel, beginning two jumps of the pinwheel, and then a front-cross to the first jump and tunnel again. It was a little awkward the first few times, but we eventually nailed it :)

To end the class we worked on rear crosses, so there was a tunnel and two jumps. We were to execute a rear cross between the two jumps and then drive towards one that was off to the side. I was a little concerned because he hasn't had a lot of drive since his recovery; however, I decided we'd try it and just reward him if I messed up. Well he did the cross wonderfully, so I rewarded before the turn. Lastly to finish off we did it once more (the whole line) beautifully!

So proud of my boy!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Shopping with mom.

Well today it was my day to reward myself. So Harley accompanied me to Lululemon to go shopping for some running gear. He was a perfect little pup on our way there, heeling to me the whole time, EVEN while we walked past three very stupid pigeons. Success!

As we approached Spring Garden Rd. (on of Halifax's busiest streets) he was on his best behavior. He even stayed in a sit for a Sheltie to walk by him we almost made it the whole way without him barking. Progress!

At Lulu he was good for everyone who said hi to him, and I'm very proud that while in line he didn't bark at the children in the store or the two small dogs that came in while we were in the line up. I'm not entirely sure if he saw them, but either way, I consider the walk to be successful.