Grown Up!

Growing Up!

Yes Zumi is officially a woman.  She's not so impressed on the clothing she must wear as an adult. 

I've never had a dog go through a heat cycle before so it will be interesting to see how the boys handle it as well as Zumi.  How smoothly the process goes will go a long way in determining if I do an Ovary Sparing Spay or a traditional spay at 2yrs.  

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Soft turns!

Zumi still loves me!  Soft turns were started on her running dogwalk training without much of an issue so far.  Considering I never got Vito to hit as deep as I wanted on soft turns this is a big deal for me!




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The Other Pets

The non dogs of the house have been giving me more grief lately.

First Kitty has discovered how the doggy door works.  Only took 8 months!  It only goes out into a small potty area for the dogs.  But it apparently needed to be a little more cat proofed.  Hopefully it's fixed now, unless he decides he can climb the fence.  He did make his first kill, a little vole, which I find impressive considering how small the yard is.  And a little stumped since he was extremely unhelpful with the mice problem we had this last fall.


And then there's our ratties.  Penelope can not be stopped from climbing the xpen.  Main method I've been using to discourage her is to try and shake the pen as soon as I see her attempting the climb.  She is fast.  And now she likes to hang on like it's just a wild ride and refuses to let go.

Then I tried the squirt bottle.  This definitely annoys her but Penelope is determined.  Now I have a very wet rat who suddenly climbs faster and more determinedly.
The only good side to the water bottel strategy is that it makes her next climbing attempts a bit harder as her paws are wet.

Evee's a good girl.

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Vito Update

I suppose Vito is back to "normal" from our scrambling in July.  He resumed going to work with me and after some initial worked up days Vito seems to have settled back into the routine.  Overall fairly calm at work again minus his usual difficult times and difficult events of the day.

As expected, Vito's car anxiety has also started to creep back up.  Initially going back on Clorazepate was helpful, but now Vito thinks morning car rides are panic worthy and evening car rides are ok.  So this week I've decided to increase his Clorazepate to his old dose, up to 11mg.

Interestingly his separation anxiety seems to have lessened a bit.  Not so much that he can actually be left home alone of course.  But I have actually been able to leave him inside the house while I go outside with Zumi to train.  Small victories.


Sadly Vito is back one exercise restriction, again.  It's been 2 months since he was doing some yelping and light limping at an agility/obedience trial.  For 3 weeks he was on restriction although he was only sore for 3 days.  Then lifted after a rehab appointment.  Fine for 2 weeks, then 1 more little yelp at home.  More restriction and started Vito on Doxy since he was positive for a tick diseases this spring.  Hadn't show any signs so didn't do treatment earlier.  But thought it was worth ruling out a tick disease.  Almost 2 weeks of lifted restriction and Vito yelped again last week, one time.  Seems absolutely fine since. 
But now I'll likely have to do some laser therapy and go from there.  It sucks that Vito really hasn't been allowed to do much almost all summer, minus a few weekends of fun visiting parks.  Certainly no trials and agility practice all summer.  Fingers are crossed we are able to figure out his issue and just a longer period of simple rest is all that is needed.

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Zumi 10 Month Video!

Zumi's 10 month video!


Measured her today and she's about 1/2in shorter than Vito.  Around 18.5-18.75in tall and 28lbs still.  Hasn't gained a single pound since the 8 month old mark and only 1.5lbs since 6 months.  Twiggiest looking dog ever.  Somewhat stacked view of her.

On the positive side it makes Vito look downright masculine next to her, for the first time ever in his life.

Vito says he doesn't know why he looks fat in this angle but he is clearly starving.  At 35lbs he really isn't fat!

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Zumi Dogwalks and Weaves

Much improvement with Zumi's running dogwalk work.  It was a brutal last 2 weeks as we dropped all the way back to 2 flat planks and yet Zumi was still not getting the concept of targeting the last 30in or so of the board.  If anything we had purposeful flying over the lava zone.  Partly complicated by her toy switching issue.  But sadly not all blame went on that (  And then miraculously she threw me a bone and decided to go back to running normally.  And even started to do some little stride adjustments to hit!

So we went back to the baby dogwalk height and started backchaining that again.  Only one lesson so far with it.  You can see we have done the tiniest bit of turn training on it too.


Hopefully future sessions will show greater improvement when we keep adding speed.

In Zumi's channel weave training she has progressed to finding the entrance from almost anywhere, with speed on the approach.  Starting work now on adding in my movement pulling away or crossing.  It's not too hard for her since the channel is still fully open so running through only takes about a second.  Thinking I'll fade the toy being thrown ahead and do some rewarding from my hand now before I make the channel smaller.  Weaves are the thing I practice the least with Zumi so it might be awhile before our next progression.

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Scent Article Training

Resuming scent article training this month!  This time with the boys.  I know they already know it, but I decided to pretend they didn't and start from the ground up with a different method that looks very different from their traditional send-sniff-retrieve pattern.


I am going to be teaching a Scent Articles From the Ground Up class in October for the Fenzi Academy!  I know I find it a bit ironic too since practicing scent articles is my least favorite thing to practice.  I even started a Scent Articles Shaming group on Facebook to hold myself accountable when I was teaching Zumi.  But practicing myself and shaming other people into practicing is completely different :) Shaming, motivating, same thing.

The method I will be presenting for the class starts initially as food based, but I expect that there will also be students who will have tried teaching articles using other methods and are stuck.  And other students who are doing the food based method correctly but still get stuck. I wanted first hand experience using a new method I know many people will have already tried, thus Lance and Vito's retraining.

I got canning lids out and decided to free shape it. The positive side was that both dogs already knew a sticky target to a lid and just needed a small bit of reminder training for that prerequisite.

And then quickly found out that this was NOT going to work for Lance.  Despite the fact that he already knows how to scent articles(!) and is very familiar with free shaping, Lance was insanely frantic.  I forget how small of steps Lance needs in shaping and how multiple options just do not work well for him.  I aborted after the first lesson as he alternated between insane tap dancing over the targets or just lying down stressed and staring.  So then I switched to a tiny smear of food on my correct target and resumed training.  Oh so much calmer and much more thinking going on.  For a dog like Lance, using food to get him using his nose helps to prevent him from being "wrong" and we were quickly on track.

Vito however I'm sticking with the pure shaping, no food.  Vito can get frantic too but he's always been much more resilient in training (surprising I know considering I think of Lance as the confident one!). It's been interesting to watch Vito think and work through the problem.  I don't think he gets it yet after his 4th lesson but he's definitely getting better at it. 

Really it's been surprising how much this exercise has seemed brand new to the boys.  Both of them have experience doing scent articles with a variety of household items without issue.  But take away the retrieve and make it a nose press choice and suddenly it's a totally different game.  I know if I wanted to really teach them scent articles with the nose press and wasn't concerned about learning the shaping method I would actually go about it a totally different way.  But this is more interesting.  

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Corgi Update

Quick Corgi update!  Lance is doing well.  Attitude is up and he doesn't know anything is wrong.  I haven't been having him do any spins or complex moves so I can't really judge how his (mild) vertigo is going, but the good news is I haven't seen any little stumbles or anything.  I've been letting Lance go the park as long as the tollers aren't doing any fetching which could cause corgi crashes.



Ears mostly match!  Both sides slightly back from his normal carriage.  And since he doesn't have any control of them they have a funny flop when he runs!

On the right side (the original) his eye can dilate pretty well now.  Left side not so much.  Smile about the same.

Still, we have improvement from a month ago.

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Zumi's Obedience Checklist

Zumi is going to be 10 months old in a few days.  It seems as though we have most of our foundational behaviors started now, at least in obedience.  Of course we are still so far from anything that looks like the final picture.

We've been concentrating so much more on tricks recently and her running dogwalk training that I thought I would look at where she is with obedience.

Novice
1. Heeling- The big one.  Zumi
has fairly decent pivoting skills and some side stepping skills.  Forwardness so far is only about 5 steps or so before I reward.  I would like her to have a bit more drive than I'm getting so I'm thinking of switching tactics and just doing some big right circles for awhile.  I've also started to add sitting in heel work as a criteria for moving to heel and for halts.  Not really lured with food any more, but I am still using my hand as help.

2. Stand for exam- Zumi has 2 versions of a stand- a kickback on the verbal stand and a jump up and freeze on landing on the verbal pop.  Pop is not as consistent with the landing as sometimes she will sit.  Once in a stand Zumi has a very good stand stay while I walk around her and while I tease her a bit with food.  I have not yet done any oppositional reflex light pushes on her.  And I have done zero work with any petting, including touches from me.   I think that's something I will start now.

3.  Recalls- Zumi has a pretty consistant sit stay and of course loves to run.  I have not done any sitting in front while from a distance, instead she gets to jump up on me or go through my legs.  For her front training we're working on the cue that hands at my side means come find position, so far with more of a nose poke still rather than the head up that I want.  We're working on pivots and side steps in front.  I abandoned the platform method as I"m just not good with using it and I find it more frustrating than using hand help or a lure.  But easier to fade I suppose.

4. Stay- Zumi has a fantastic long down.  Haven't timed it but I don't think she would have a problem with 10min+ with no other distractions.  Sit stay has also not been formally timed and I reward a lot more.  Maybe at 60 seconds? 90 seconds?  With food during it still. Has only done 1 group line up where I stayed close and fed a ton.

Open
5. Retrieves- Has a fairly solid send to a dumbbell and knows to rush back and target wherever my hand is.  Has a solid take and hold and is starting to do better with a pickup-sit-hold.  Very recently we started working on actually doing fronts from very short distances with the dumbbell.  Have not worked on any foundation with the high jump

6. Drop on Recall- Zumi has a pretty nice moving down while heeling or while I move backwards, even with some speed.   Has some distance with stationary down.  Have only done a handful of mini drops from cookie tosses.

7. Broad jump- Officially done 1 lesson with 2 boards!

8. Out of sight stays- Zero work done other than boundary training which I will do out of sight.

Utility
9. Signals- She has been introduced to both sit and down signal.  Not the come signal yet apparently.  Generally working 5-10ft distance.  Much better wtih down to sit than the stand to down.

10. Articles- We left off most our training a month ago with a mixed pile of metal and leather.  Zero distance as I'm sitting by the pile.  Still can get a bit grabby but mostly is doing very well.

11. Directed Retrieve- Zumi knows a mark hand signal but hasn't ever done it with a retrieve.  Well maybe to a toy.  Certainly hasn't done gloves yet.   I haven't done much discrimination with multiple targets out yet.

12. Moving stand- Tiny bit of practice a few months ago.  Let's just chalk this up as completely untrained.

13. Go Outs- Has a fairly consistent 5ft send from the start even in new places.  Does a nose touch.  Mostly stanchion based as I do almost all my practice at the club.  But she doesn't seem to need a stanchion the few times I do it elsewhere.  Can build up to 10ft.  Directed jumping not started at all.  Turn and sit not started at all.

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Online Classes!

Nope, I guess I didn't fix Zumi's new toy switching issue after all.  She's not blowing off the toy nearly as much but still doing quite a bit of air sniffing and now running slower.

I finally figured out that the sudden issue with her running dogwalk training is stemming from this toy switching preference.  Zumi's running bouncier and slightly less in extension because she simply doesn't care as much for the toy I'm throwing after 2 throws.  Before this epiphany came to me I recently dismantled my dogwalk again and went all the way back to step 1- 2 boards flat on the ground.  But I suppose why we work on the toy issue it's good to be at the easiest level possible.


And in other news I signed Zumi up for a working spot in Silvia's online foundation agility class!  Silvia is my hero of the agility world and I've always wanted to try a class with her.  Some structure would be good for me to start working Zumi on more than just running on a plank after a ball :)

And of course for those obedience/rally people out there, there is still room in MY online Ring Confidence class that started today!

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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