Monday, November 27, 2006

Future flyball dog in the making!

I had a great day yesterday at Croydon for their Xmas breakup. Classes all ran at 9:30 and then we finished at 10 for some fun and games. Agility, flyball, lure coursing, rally-O etc was all set up for the dogs and handlers to have a go. I only did flyball and lure coursing. Would have liked to have a go at rally-O but never actually got there! Leo decided both flyball and lure coursing were fun to say the least and i'm sure he wouldn't mind having a go at it. I was told that I *must* sign Leo up for flyball! We had a good laugh at the poor guy. Most people were just walking their dogs over the jump but coz leo has done agility I got to leave him at one end and call him over the jumps. Leo had a blast and finished it at top speed (yep, fast coz he slammed into my knees!). So they decided to test him out again and put the ball infront of the box, showed Leo, we let him go and he FLEW through the jumps, about turned and FLEW back over the jumps to me! Was very amusing and I don't think either of us believed that he did it first off. Needless to say that Leo was very proud of himself. Hopefully we will be able to do this over summer when the Rockets keep up their practice either on Wed/Fri nites or Sat mornings. I'd really like to give it a go.... well flyball and herding and freestyle all ontop of obedience & agility.... did I mention that I was wanting to do this all with dog no 2 also... along with conformation! Whew!!! Right thats it, no more work... i'll just train my dogs instead!! Who wants to fund me doing this?!?!?! Anyone....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Photos, Puppies & the rest!

Well first things first - Aussie Specialty photos!!

Thanks to Amanda and Michelle respectively for these piccies of my boy! There is no way I could have taken a pic just as good! You can also click here for some more piccies from the specialty! These were taken with another camera by me and I just got them today from Tracey whose camera I used. Leo's training has been going really well this week. We have been working on some distraction stuff (voting day wasn't all that useless after all!) with lots of kids on bikes, balls bouncing etc.... also changing the context to the stay. It seems to be working but I know that there is still a lot of work to do! Our heeling has also been getting a bit of practice and the past few days he has improved also. I tell you what - I am now of the idea that you can certianly 'overtrain' your dog as by giving him a bit of a breather inbetween practices sorta helps him to digest what we are doing as well as become more enthused when we actually do work. Dog number 2 will certianly help with this IMO.

Took Leo out for a walk (don't worry we usually do this 2xdaily!) yesterday with Sarah and her mutts. They had a ball but I was in stitches watching Leo amble around with these two. You let him off the lead and he can't believe his luck being allowed to play with other dogs. Then he follows them like a little kid not sure of what the game is but running because the other dogs are (ball was being thrown but Leo didn't see).... later Murphy was wondering about marking trees etc.... again Leo was being the little kid tailgaiting Murphy with the expression "whatcha doin?!".... was quite funny to see actually! Boy yesterday was MAD though. Got up late, went to NDTF to sign some papers (so yes, now I am a qualified full fledged dog trainer!!!), proceeded across the street to get haircut (time:10:30am) waited around for at least 1 hr or more until I got my haircut (very annoyed at this point, luckily I brought a book!).... ended up leaving at 12noon and I was meeting Sarah at 1pm 20mins away from me but in the other direction to where I was, and I had to squeeze lunch in there at some point! argh! Also ended up running late for Jewellery party in Cranbourne that night coz I forgot how much organising I had awaiting me at home that needed to be done before going out! LOL! Jewellery party ended up being really good - got a few bits and pieces.... they seemed really good quality etc... and I got sucked in to book a party of my own :P.... well I did see quite a few pieces that I thought mum would like so it didn't seem like a bad idea!!!! Ended up coming home later than expected and flomped into bed!

Today was another pottering about, lazy day which was good, but not as lazy as I would have liked! Went to see puppies again (skye x ben) as other breeder was not free this weekend (after ASCV breakup... finally!!!!). These guys are 7wks old now and oh so CUTE!!! There is nothing like watching 7 gorgeous puppies zooming around the yard like hooligans! The black tri bitch that was standing out last time I saw them, was still catching my eye and repeatedly coming up to say hello - very people orientated! I was honestly interested in her, but found out that she was promised to a family in Tassie :(. Turns out she isn't quite as good conformation wise as Tracey would like and for a foundation bitch wouldn't be suitable *sobs*. But having said that her temperament was perfect! I now officially can't wait to see Ana's litter next week (I think they will be 5-6wks old then) and hopefully there will be something conformation and temperament wise that suits! Was thinking about it today and realised that I honestly wouldn't mind if I got another 'Leo' as a pup in terms of activity level.... in fact i'd be quite happy.... I mean you couldn't ask for a better adjusted, better tempered dog and it is fantastic to have a dog that will flomp on your feet while you watch TV and be perfectly happy, yet when you take out and about is go, go, go. Also thinking about it I think that in terms of a dog 'thinking' for itself, looking for something to do and being 'smart' comes down a lot to how and what you train. If you teach a pup to think for itself (which this one will and Leo never did) then they will grow up always looking for something to do. Of course genetics does play a role, but I think environment and early learning plays a very big role too. So hopefully there will be a pup for me in the litter i'm seeing next weekend!!!!

Tomorrow is the last training day for CDODC. I am sorta looking forward to the break, but I guess our break won't start until after the 10th Dec which is our last trial for the summer. I really hope we get the title at this one, but I am trying not to think about it as that will just put too much stress on me again. But in all honesty, I think we will succeed given the fact that already he is more confident in his stays and we certianly aren't going to stop practicing now!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let the puppy come!

Another rather eventful weekend! I have officially started applying for jobs but as to how successful they will be that is another story! I just hope I find one that I'll enjoy. I have already got a few replies saying that I don't have the qualifications, but they were expected simply because I require 'sales experience' etc. Worth trying though, and i'll just keep applying/ calling agencies until I get a 'heads up' I guess! Not really bothered if I don't get one before xmas or a little later though.... just so long as in the near future i'll have something.

Well my bank balance is officially crying poor! I have spent until i'm blue in the face the past few weeks - mainly on puppy things that I didn't realise I needed and was shocked at how much it would have added up to! Well truth be told I did need it to do what I wanted with our yard. I put up the partitioning yesterday just to see if/how it worked and I was quite impressed with the results. It is sturdy enough given that the dogs shouldn't be jumping on the pen (they won't be popular if they do!), but if they do, or if they bang into it it should only rock a little! So everything is set up and each dog should have ample shelter, water, sleeping quaters etc,etc. Don't worry, my poor tykes will still have plenty of time to hoon and play with each other but I just want to make sure that no 'accidents' happen when no one is supervising! I am proud of it though, and glad that it works as well as I thought it would!

Didn't get to see any puppies this weekend despite trying to contact said breeder :(. Everytime I rang her - she was out and vice versa! LOL! Saturday arvo/night involved another trial for me which was unsuccessful again. I was initially really dissapointed about this because Leo works SO well in the first half and just can't hold the darn stays. I actually thought we had passed until I returned to him and realised he was a little further ahead of the start peg. This really was disheartening coz he heald a really difficult stay (dogs broke around him and got up) but that is trialling for you. On the drive home I realised that the more I dwelled on the fails and not just took them in our stride, the more I wouldn't enjoy Obedience (don't get me wrong I love it!) and the more i'd be chasing the sashes/titles rather than just going out there and having some fun..... coz afterall that is why we do it isn't it! So like I do when I train dogs I have to start looking more at the positives of our performance rather than the problems. Don't get me wrong, I need to see the problems also so that we can improve on them and make our work better, but I just shouldn't dwell on them and kick myself over them. So that is my new philosophy and all the 'bitterness' of the weekends trial has gone out of it and I still had fun!! LOL! The more I stress, the harder it would be to win I guess (my heart was in my mouth!).

So I found out some things I need to work on over the 'summer':

*heeling under heavy distraction - generally all round proofing; he does it but can tend to loose concentration so we need to work on this.

*make sure he doesn't anticipate the recall..... he almost looked like he did on Sat, so prevention is better than letting it happen!

* the drated stays. Gotta make sure he thinks stays are the best place to be EVER! This means lots of food, lots of reassurance, resistance training ('tempting' him to break and rewarding when he doesn't... ie: pressure on collar forward, he pulls back, patting leg, me crouching down and make it look like i'm about to call him.... make funny noises that entice him to come (all without saying his name) etc, etc)... all of this he has done before, but not for ages and we really need to build his confidence up that stay is exactly what I want. We did some of this on Sat/Sun and I think he'll pick this up quickly. He'll get BIG rewards for the stays also (i'm talking chicken carcasses, meaty bones, pigs ears etc) just to keep pairing stays with good things! I'll also do stays in all situations (his drop stays are excellent here) whenever we are out in busy situations etc. I'll work on both sit and drop as his drop stay is starting to get a little fidgety also!!!

I had a class again on Sunday and it was quite fun again although coz of the heat is was a little hard to keep them (owners and puppies) motivated. It didn't really help that there were two Keeshounds in the class and they were STIFLING! Poor guys! But I do like this class and they seem to enjoy it also which is the main thing!

So I'm all ready for the puppy to come whenever they are ready LOL! Hopefully i'll get to see them this weekend at some stage, so if I do you'll be hearing all about that!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The joys of puppy breath!!!!!!

Haha - it has turned out to be quite an eventful weekend :D! But I am officially a broke lady!! LOL! I went out again on friday to do some shopping for bits and bobs (I swear coming back from holidays and re-stocking is expensive not to mention all of these puppy things!!!)..... so if anyone wins tattslotto in the near future can you please gimme half *smiles pretty*?!?!??! I re-stocked Leo's 'meat supply' on Friday and spent the whole afternoon mixing, packaging and cutting up his Mince and dog treats for training..... I also had a whole bunch of carcasses - the ones from Leonards must be on hormones because they were HUGE!!! LOL! I kinda 'over estimated' how big our freezer was though and it is kinda a little stuffed now..... not ideal when xmas is coming and mum probably needs the space *blushes*!

Saturday I spent the entire day out with Kylie shopping (ok, probably not the best choice when you are trying to budget, but we couldn't think of anything else to do)! Well I thought of an ulterier motive of searching for xmas/birthday presents - came out with a few ideas, but didn't buy anything yet. We did go shopping in the city which was very exciting considering I had to drive! I am so proud of myself - navigating around the city :D! Unfortunately though we did find the worlds most expensive car parking area :-O - but with the Myer windows unveiling (forgot that was on when we planned this!) I didn't want to circle around and we went straight in. Of course walking around the city after that meant that we kept passing parking for half the price of what we paid :(. We were going to stay in the city for dinner also but by around 4:30 we were all shopped out and not all that hungry so headed home. Ended up bludging infront of the tele for the rest of the nite. Was good fun, with the exception of the DVD player chucking a hissy and deciding that it would not play Wimbledon for me (nope Kylie it still wont...grrr... all that talk about your DVD player not working must have transferred!).... So we had to settle for watching something else instead!

Sunday actually turned out also to be a busy day - I had training in the morning - Leo did well but again didn't seem all together comfortable in his stays. First sit-stay he held but had a scratch midway, and also thought about lying down but decided against it..... So I thought i'll let him do another one - he was going much better, but a dog broke next to him (to get to agility) and stood right next to his nose.... he tried to resist but after about 5 seconds couldn't handle it any longer and broke also :(:( - what do you do if that happens in a trial anyway?!?!? Unfortunately I couldn't repeat the stays because I had to run off and take my class. But of course before I did all of this I got to sit down and cuddle Amanda's gorgeous Hope while she was training Sierra (hahahaha)..... I swear i'm going to stalk you two (Amanda & Nic) until I get my own....hmm... then i'll still probably stalk you!

I have been listed to do an 11am puppy class which started on Sunday. It was tonns of fun and I really enjoyed myself. I got through everything and didn't feel that I rushed or missed anything out -much easier when they are coming from puppy preschool. I even had time at the end to go through general problem solving for puppy problems which I like to do at the end of class as usually everyone is fighting with the same issues! They seemed to appreciate that! I honestly enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would - I guess the break has made training all fun again :).

Went from Croydon to the blue cross open day - this was quite good and a bit of fun, but only stayed for a few hours. Leo of course got the usual comments "oh what type of mix is that", "what a stunning dog".... but there was a fellow Aussie owner/ breeder there so there were also quite a few that knew Aussies which was a nice change. Got talking to Tracey (breeder, Elzcot Aussies) and ended up having an impromptu visit to her place for some puppy breath. She has 7 puppies (4 gals, 3 lads) sired by Leo's dad (Ch Tajwen Divine Indulgence CD) and a HevnSent girl Skye (HevnSent......*insert here*... angel ). The puppies were gorgeous (aren't all puppies?!) and I really liked a few of the girls (typical me, I was told that these were the 2 picks at the moment :P)..... Interest in this litter because both parents are very drivey, fizzy dogs which is what i'm looking for, but because they are an outcross from Leo's lines i'm really interested to see how they turn out. As fate would have it, the mother of the pups, Skye is actually litter sister to the mother of the last HevnSent litter that was bred when I was looking for Leo (Bridget's mum).... definately keeping my eye on this lot... but how do you choose which dog is the right one for you???? Hopefully i'll get to see these pups again as they get older and also go and see Ana's litter.

Well that is my weekend. Busy, busy, busy - but of course all in the name of fun, which is what it should be! Now that i've tasted puppy breath I am quite excited about my puppy coming along, but as to where/who from or even when, I honestly don't know! So long as it has the right temperament and attitude to what I want!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bad, evil thoughts......

Hiya guys,

Well a not so good ending to an otherwise relatively good *long* (with the exception of working yesterday) weekend! I can't remember where I left off my last post. I had an absolute ball at the Aussie Specialty on Saturday. It was great to see so many Aussies all in one place, as well as cheering on Leo's 'lil brothers and sisters. I also got my puppy fix (Thanks Amanda!) but unfortunately every time I tried to walk away with the gorgeous puppy I got busted :(. I still have my fingers crossed for good pups out of the litter i'm waiting on - hopefully there will be the *perfect* puppy there for me (female puh-lease!)! I had Leo entered in the de-sexed sweepstakes at the show and we came 2nd out of 3 dogs - not bad, but I was pleased with how he behaved - like a natural show dog.... i'm sure he loooved it in there as getting food was so easy - all he had to do was stand 'pretty' and get treats - how easy is that! In the other ring I go into I have to work to get the food! LOL!

Sunday was a day of dissapointments. I went out shopping in the morning to get some puppy things and other stuff I needed (ok, ok, wanted) but everything on my list was out of stock!!!! So I came out with nothing that I went in for! Grrr..... I then came home and set to work on cleaning my room - ah - doesn't sound like a hard task, but it hasn't been done in a VERY long time. Two reasons for this clean up - 1) I'm running out of space and need to actually SEE the entry and exit to the room, 2) hopefully finding my lost memory card that I bought for my brother. I turned the room upside down, emptied all drawers (even chucked out old clothes!), dusted everything and put stuff back in its rightful place..... result - no memory card :(.... nothing, nada, nowhere to be seen. I think I just have to face the music and admit that it is lost - perhaps the boogey man took it?!?!?

Well that brings us to today - the day when I was to get my CCD title (positive thoughts here!).... I was SOOO nervous before going in - I tried to tell myself - don't think about title - just go in and have fun.... went in - Leo did reasonably well - heeling was good, but not as good as heeling at Eastern (he went wide a few times) but he didn't miss any positions, held his SFE and did well on his recall - end result a score of 54/60 - GREAT! I thought - excellent - he should hold his stays - which means a pass of 94 (i'm happy with that!). He has been doing SOO well with his stays so far I thought what could go wrong..... went into ring for stays with peppy dog (good sign), sit your dogs (perfect attention), GSP breaks and hoons out of ring (bad sign), Leo maintains attention (good sign) - leave for sit stay (unbenowns to me dog stands then sits again), have dog barking next to us (kill, kill), Leo scratches multiple times and looks really stressed and not wanting to be there (bugger!), judge calls 'return' - Leo shakes and stands (oh $#&*!). Well we've blown it - so drop stays - same routine (minus running dog!) Leo stands when I leave, drops again and holds drop. *sigh*! What can you do eh? He just didn't want to be there and I think the combination of dog running off and sheltie barking just made him too nervous and me too nervous too! Well I guess we couldn't have made it 3/3, so we'll be back to try again on the 18th at Southern ODC, fingers crossed for this one, but I just don't know how to train for the stays as this is so out of character for him (hey - usually we just drop, not fidget!)...... Cest' la vie!

Ok - now that i've had my rant and shared my dissapointments, there really isn't anything more to tell! So keep good wishes coming my way re: CCD title AND the right puppy coming along!!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween & trial results

Well after reading Amanda's halloween post - my 'halloween' party sounds rather futile. Your comments about America in the autumn make me want to jump on a plane and get over there right away! No fair! LOL!

Went to a halloween party on Saturday night which was great fun - I dressed up as a Japanese Geishia (minus the white on face - too lazy to go that far!). The idea came to me after a day/afternoon of 'op shopping' with Kylie trying to find something - none of us found anything except trashy clothes that no-one would wear. Initially I wanted to come as Anne of Green Gables in light of the recent trip, but I couldn't find anything. I then came across a kimono in my cupboard from a Japanese student we had while I was still in primary school. needless to say that didn't quite fit me anymore, but Mum had a nice red/white one to wear. I put that on with a flower in my hair and it seemed to do the trick :D. As for photos - you're going to have to wait for Kylie to hurry up and send them to me!!! hahaha!

Had our trial on sunday and WE PASSED!!!! Which means we got our 2nd pass (out of 3 needed) toward our CCD title - our first ever title we will have achieved!!!!!! We came out with a score of 92 and second place (by one point!!!). I was thrilled with the way he worked (save a few errors he shouldn't have made) and I hope that he will work just as well on Tuesday at our next trial (cup day - the first one in like 5 years I can enjoy since I don't have an exam the next day!).

I am very excited about this weekend - I have the Aussie Specialty on Saturday (Leo entered in de-sexed sweeps) and trial on Tuesday. Saturday usually turns out to be a great day out and I am really looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to getting a puppy (hopefully) by the end of the year and can barely contain myself..... since i've come back from holidays everything seems to be happening and i'm honestly having a ball. The weather is also putting me in a good mood - reminding me of the summer that is to come. At last we have daylight saving which means LONGER walks with the pooch!!! Such fun! He is also 'happier' - I don't know why but I can notice a difference and he just seems more sprightly in the summer. Doesn't it just put everyone in a good mood????