Friday, December 21, 2012

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead- 2012-2013

Another year has almost come and gone. Since I know for a fact my work schedule is about to start getting hectic, I figure I'll toss in this post now.

My goals for 2012 were simple: RUN! Start handling more clearly, and educate myself with more dog training goodness.

I really did not trial very much this year. Whenever I did put trust in our training and run I was rewarded with a wonderful run. My past self was wise and did not leave any titling goals for the year. Thank you past self! I do not feel like I let you down.

This year I learned a lot. There was a lot of stress, so many opportunities to grow. I'd like to think I took advantage of those opportunities. Friendships were deepened, new friendships were forged. I have a better grasp on setting my priorities, I regret nothing!

Just to recap in the year of 2012 I:
-was in my first car accident
-got to show my Grandma everything I do with the dogs at a trial up north
-Met some awesome Juniors down in NC
-Lilly got some of her best times in jww
-Spent a week running around a farm in KY with a pack of papillons
-Went to SO many midnight movie premieres and 3 marathons :)
-Graduated High School
-Finished my first semester of college
-got a bit  better at finding balance

After getting a lecture from Pat Hastings back in May, Lilly has gone on a diet and has regained her girlish figure! She never limps after laying down for long periods of time anymore, she's in an XXS comfort-flex harness, and her MACH points in jww have DOUBLED! My goal for the new year is to keep her fit and in excellent shape, get that Q-rate up, and make some progress on that MACH!

Knight has been a bit of a roller coaster. We have awesome runs, and then runs where I'm just dragging him around the course. He really does the love the game, it's heartbreaking when he simply goes along with it because I want him to. So, I've bumped him down to 4". We're re-evaluating our goals, trying to get our motivation up, and we're just going to go out and try to have fun. Nothing beats that moment in the run when he realizes how much fun it is. His whole face LIGHTS up. He gets this stupid goofy grin on his face and I can't help but grin just as stupidly back at him. I want that all the time.

2012 has been a great year for goofing off with Mia. Selina kicked ass and got 2 points on her towards her CH. Misa and I really evolved as a team. She's such a special girl, I'm really looking forward to what the new year brings us! My goal with her is to get a few more CH points on her, and kick myself into gear with her training. Let's get this girly out of novice and trialing with the big dogs!

2013 will be a year of setting the stage.

I have a potential new job in the works, progress to be made on a degree, and hopefully Qualify some dogs for some National events! Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Novice Trick Dog Games

I though a description of the games shown in our "Novice Trick Dog Games" video might be helpful. So here it is!

1. Bobbing for Hotdogs (AKA: "Weenie Bobbing")

The full game consists of using a baby pool, but we went with the "Indoors Friendly" version. You place a few hot dog slices in a bowl of water. Then release your dog to go get them!

I actually first started using this game at agility trials to trick Lilly into drinking a bit of water. She has fun with it and learned how to breath out so water doesn't go up her nose. That results in bubbles, bubbles are always amusing right?

2. The Muffin Tin Game

For this game, you place treats in an empty muffin tin and then place tennis balls over top. I use this game to get Mia to slow down while she's eating. That fuzzy thing wrapped around the tin is just a tug toy I'm using to keep the tin from moving around.

3. Roll out the Carpet

Rolling out the carpet is a fun one I hadn't heard of until I looked into Kyra Sundance's book. You leave a line of treats along a towel, roll it up, and release your dog. Super easy and looks pretty impressive!

4. Hide and Seek
Exactly like it sounds: You leave your dog in a stay somewhere in the house, you hide, call your dog once to release him, and let him find you.

This is an extremely simplified version for the sake of the video. Lilly is a master at this. I used to go over to Maggie's house (GSP I took care of during the week) and play this game for hours! With two dogs they got the extra challenge of it being a race. Hiding all over the house, very fun stuff. The dogs get a kick out of it :)

5. Which Hand Holds the Treat? 

Two closed fists are offered, only one holds the treat. Can your dog identify the right choice? 

6. The Memory Game

For this game, you leave your dog in a sit stay and place a treat in one of 3 possible bowls. The challenge is for your dog to remember which bowl you placed the treat in during the duration of the stay.

I started out placing the treat in a bowl and releasing Lilly right away so she understood what I was asking. "Treat goes in bowl, I go straight to that bowl to get it, fun!" Then I started adding duration slowly.

7. Laundry Basket Challenge! 

This is, without a doubt, one of Knight's favorite games. It's not really the Laundry Basket Game that Sundance describes, but it's just as challenging, if not more so! I wrap up a ball in some blankets and toss that big mess in a basket. It usually keeps Knight entertained for a few minutes. Sometimes he'll even hide it in there himself! 

8. Find the Hidden Toy

Another one of Knight's favorites! If no one seems willing to play fetch with him, he'll often hide it himself. His favorite spot is under bookshelves. I use this game when I have large amounts of homework to keep the Knight-man entertained.