Friday, November 1, 2019

Pizza School starts!

It constantly surprises me to see how brave Pizza is. She isn't a "balls-to-the-wall" puppy like Noodle was, so watching her conquer things is a great reminder to me that although she is different than Noodle, in some ways she is very much like her.

These two pictures are a good example - watching her fearlessly bound up the side of the dirtpile was fun to watch! The picture to the right shows a close-up of her, she is having FUN!

Today is a diary entry that will serve well to remind me in the future that every dog trains differently. Pretzel trained different than Noodle - he was fairly easy to shape, hated to be wrong, and I had to train him with very little correction. Noodle had crazy amounts of drive and was super easy to shape because she would turn herself inside out trying different things to see what I wanted. She was tougher than Pretzel, she could take being wrong, and let it roll right off her back as she tried something different. At times she was frantic with try. Pizza is quite a bit different, and over the past 3 days I have some to realize that my training needs to change a bit to fit her learning style. She is learning best with a combination of shaping and a little bit of luring. It took a few sessions to get her excited about training...I think she wasn't really sure what was going on and how she should respond. Things really started clicking today. Today is about the third day I have been working on these two exercises - putting her back feet on the training board, and circling the pole. I am also working on "down", but seriously, this puppy does NOT want to lay down! The best I can do is get her to flop on her side by luring her with a treat.

However, I do believe (knock on wood) that she might be getting the idea of potty training. As of yesterday, we have not had a day in this house without an accident. Today at two different times she walked to the door and kind of looked at me...I let her outside and she went. Whew! She actually knows how to use the heavy gun dog door already, she learned that last week - WAY faster than Pretzel or Noodle ever did! She just hasn't figured out yet that when she has to go, she can let herself out to do her business. As of 7pm today, we have not had an accident! I'll let you know tomorrow if we make it the rest of the day.

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Think, then DO...and don't leave out either step.

  • Accepting my limitations is sometimes the hardest task I face. I don't like to believe something is impossible. This has driven me for years, but sometimes you have to step back and be realistic. Realism sucks! But in being real, one can re-focus on a new goal with a new purpose. So 2019 will be a year of re-focusing. Setting my sights on new things, accepting my changes in direction, and being happy for the joy of the moment. Sounds good, doesn't it? well...we shall see!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The training continues...

So, we have had TWO straight days with no accidents in the house! Yay Pizza! She is starting to somewhat indicate when she has to go - walks over to the door and looks out. She actually let herself out the dog door a couple times, but only if Noodle was already outside. Hopefully she will learn that she can go outside alone and survive.

Training is going well - she has really grasped the concept of hind feet on the training board, and circling to the right around the pole. Today i started trying to get her to circle to the left, and boy was she confused! She kept trying to turn around and circle to the right. We went back to the beginning and did a little luring to get her to go to the left. She will get it, I am confident.

This afternoon we went to a training facility nearby to do a conformation drop-in class. Our biggest plus is that Pizza was fearless - walked into that building with those strange dogs and didn't have a care in the world. Her patience with stacking and standing still have quite a bit of work to do...we average about one full second LOL! I also need to work on her gaiting. She is in that akard floppy stange, so it's hard to judge her gait right no. She is doing much better at staying by my side and not trying to dart to the right. Progress...we are getting there!

I forgot to note that yesterday I worked Cadence for the first time wearing a snaffle bridle. I first worked her on the longe line with no bridle...she was WILD and bucked a LOT. After she settled down, I popped the bridle on her and she could care less. Score! Oh, and I measured her - 15'3 1/2" at the withers and 16'1"+ at the hip! Whoo-hoo!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pizza School - getting better!

Pizza' training is improving in some areas, and stagnating in others. She has really grasped the concepts of targeting her back feet on the plank, and going around the pole. New today, going around the pole in both directions! Previously she had mastered going to the right, but was totally confused when i tried getting her to go around ot the left. Today the lightbulb flickered on!

Slower to master is the whole standing still while stacked thing. I tried food, no food, holding her head, not holding her head, holding the collar, dropping the leash completely...she hasn't quite figured out how to stand still yet. Part of the problem is she has such itty bitty baby teeth that she can't tear off pieces of the bait without moving. I tried cheese this afternoon and it seemed to work a lot better, so we shall see! This training stuff is so much fun. Every puppy is like a puzzle that you have to figure out how the pieces go together.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A good training day all around!

Some days nothing goes right, and some days everything works like clockwork. Today was a clockwork day! I started off working with Pizza. She had her puppy agility foundations class today and she was wonderful! She did fantastic on the hind-end targeting on the travel boards. Today's new thing was a curved tunnel...no problemo for Pizza. Another new activity was the A-Frame. It as lowered down to only a few feet off the ground, and she was obsessed with going over it. The BEST part is that she figured out right away that the bottom of the A-Frame is just another "travel board" to put her hind feet on, and she was starting to stop at the bottom for her treat. It's a 2-on, 2-off contact in the making!

Her circling wasn't quite as good, but I think that was mainly because at home I use a jump standard and in class they were using a cone. It took her a bit to figure out that the action should be the same, and by the time she figured it out, she had been working for 45 minutes and her little brain as pretty fried. I will have to work more at home circling different objects. Our next goal is to teach her to target her front paws on a round disc.

Dare I report that we have not had an accident in the house in days? I am hopeful that this lesson has stuck with her, because let's be honest - this is by far the most important lesson she will learn!

Next on the training agenda is Cadence. Today we longed with a surcingle and a bridle. I longed her first, she bucked a little bit but not nearly as much as she did last week. I put that surcingle on and tightened it, and she did not care one bit. She longed as quiet as can be, even looked a little bored. I love that!

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

This workplace has gone 10 days without an accident!

Look at this proud puppy...10 days accident-free in the house! It's like a switch was flipped suddenly, and she figured it out. It was helpful that she learned to use the dog door so early, and also helpful that she follows Noodle everywhere and so she follows her outside to potty quite often.

Our training has been going well. Once again, in a "lightbulb" moment, she figured out how to go around the pole both directions. Today I changed the object to something else and she went around it just fine. Yeah, I couldn't find anything heavy in the house other than an unopened bottle of beer...whatever works!

Our newest training feat (or "feet") is targeting her front feet on the round plate. This one has been trickier to teach, because she is so focused on her hind feet now that she is taking longer to think about putting front feet on the plate. She is slowly getting it, and most times I can get her to put at least one front paw on the plate.

I am also pleased that our stacking practice has been going better - she is figuring out how to stand still and just look at the bait, and I can actually get a couple seconds of stillness from her. Progress! I'd post photos, but she is going through the most awkward growthy stage right now, it's almost comical. Pretzel never had a weird growth spurt like this. Noodle had one, but it wasn't nearly as wacky as this little girl, Her legs are seriously everywhere. I am so excited to see her growing...I just can't wait to see what our future holds. This week she weighs in around 31.4 pounds. Last week she was around 29.2.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Guardedly Optimistic

Cadence got her feet trimmed today, and afterwards I did some training. I longed her first with the surcingle...nearly zero bucking today! After I worked her a bit, I put the bridle on her and decided to jump in and attempt to start doing some ground-driving.

Cadence stayed really calm throughout the process. I started slowly, asking her to walk a circle with me behind her and slightly off to the side. That part was OK, but going straight was another story...she had no clue about how to walk forward in a straight line. It was a lot of wiggle worm walking, and a LOT of stopping and just standing there. Not too bad for day #1 of ground driving!

Pizza has really gotten the hang of our lessons this week - hind feet targeting, circling the pole, front feet on the plate, and new this week, she is starting to figure out "down" and "stay". I was able to walk about 3 feet away from her at a stay. The down is better - I can now lure her down, which is a big improvement over 2 weeks ago when nothing I did could make her lay down...and then last week all I could get was a flop onto her side. She does everything very deliberate, I need to figure out how to get her a little more sparky and excited. That is my goal for the rest of the week.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Fear Period?

So today Pizza had her puppy agility foundations class. They had the big teeter lowered, and I took Pizza over it 4 or 5 times, and she did awesome! Then suddenly, she refused to go over it. I bribed her on it once more, but I could tell she was uncomfortable, and then she really wanted nothing to do with it. What the heck happened? She didn't have anything bad happen, went over it happily many times and then it was like someone flipped a switch and she said "no way". I decided not to push the issue any more during class.

Someone suggested that maybe she is entering a "fear period"? This is foreign ground to me because neither Pretzel nor Noodle ever had a fear period. Is this a real thing, or is it another one of those common beliefs that have no grounds? I don't know. Having never had a fearful dog, I am not really sure how to go about training through it. Might have to do a little research.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Training away the fear

Noodle has been a little grumpy the past few days. I think it is because she is finally noticing that the majority of my focus and attention is going to Pizza. I don't think I have been doing a good job of sharing my attention equally. So last night I let Noodle sleep with me, and today we had an awesome agility class - she nailed everything!

Pizza had her flu vaccine today, and afterwards we headed to the dog show in Columbus to walk around. She as very very afraid, walked in the building very timidly. This is going to take some work to get her comfortable in big loud indoor venues. We only spent a little time here, and once I felt she was relaxed we headed home.

At home, I brought out the baby teeter, and interestingly, Pizza did not want to walk across it anymore.I let Noodle into the room, and of course Noodle went across it over and over again (she knows the drill - teeter = TREATS!) and soon Pizza was following. After that, she was walking across it just fine. Hmmm...

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

What a difference 2 days make...

Wait. Before you think I just posted a duplicate picture as my last entry, look closer. This time Pretzel claimed the chair, and Pizza once again laid on top. This just cracks me up. Not sure how long both dogs are going to tolerate her puppy antics, but for now it is adorable!

Today we headed back to the dog show with Pizza (Mark came with me this time). What a difference in attitude! She walked in so confident, went up to every person she encountered and greeted...um, more like demanded attention! This little girl is a thinker, and I notice that it often takes a little bit of time for her to process new things. It was fun watching her see everything and be so outgoing.

Yesterday I did an agility seminar with Noodle. She left me on the first run and ran over to someone who was standing in the ring watching, and barked once. I called her back and made her lay down, and after that we did not have any other problems. I still wish she would just get over the fact that strange people are going to be in the ring while she is running, and she just needs to deal with it. She did pretty good overall in the seminar. Our skills are getting better and better. I just hope someday I can use them regularly at trials. I am still waiting for that to happen.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Pizza's first private lesson

Pizza had her very first private lesson today - working on focus, groundwork for agility, etc. We are going to do a lesson every other week to get her started. These are the things I need to work on the next week:

• Reward her for looking at me - mark every time she looks me in the eye and reward
• Work on shaping her front feet on a raised bowl, and the moving around the bowl having her keep her front feet on the bowl
• Touch my hand with her nose
• Use a clicker plus the marker word "yes", and when I give her a treat I instruct her to "take it"
• Work on verbals - down, sit, and spin right and left (using the words "right" and "left")

I have my work cut out for me. I like it!!!!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More motivation, please!

Pizza had another puppy agility foundation class today. I did finally get her on the teeter, though she was really hesitant. She has gotten in the habit of doing her behaviors I ask (hind feet on the board, front paws on the plate, etc.) but no matter what I do, she will not release. I say OK, I throw a treat, I try to entice her to come to me with a treat, but she just stays put. I also noticed her recall has gone to poop...she comes when called maybe 50% of the time. I read somewhere that this is a normal stage puppies go through, but once again I guess my other two weren't "normal" as puppies because I don't remember this stage.

On the plus side, she is a joy to take places because she loves all people. There certainly is something to be said about an uncomplicated dog (no offense, Noodle!). She reminds me a lot of Pretzel, only a much lower-key Pretzel. She is definitely the most quiet and sedate Weimaraner I have ever encountered! I have Weims on both ends of the spectrum, and I love them both!

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Failure comes in threes

Today is a day I feel like a complete failure in training anything. We started off the morning with Noodle's agility class...and she left me to try to cause mayhem in the middle of a run...she hasn't done that in almost a year! What the heck? Then I come home and try to do a little motivation work with Pizza, but she wasn't having any of it. Apparently, only Noodle can motivate her...I am just a poor second to Noodle. Then I headed to the barn to work with Cadence. Of all 3 girls, she was probably the most successful. Today was day #3 of ground driving. Getting her to go forward is a total chore. Thankfully I had a friend with me and she was helpful in walking by her head and pulling her forward everytime she stopped and refused to move. It was exhausting trying to get her to take more than 2 steps in sequence. I finally got some progress, as seen in the video below. On the plus side, Cadence is keeping a great attitude throughout this training process. That is my #1 goal. Happy horse = happy ride!

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

UKC show -Pizza's show debut!

We left last night and headed to Winchester, Kentucky for a UKC dog show today. Last night was Pizza's first time staying in a hotel. Of course, she did awesome! It was a bit crazy having 3 dogs in a hotel room. They behaved great, but that's just a LOT of trips outside to potty each one multiple times.

Our morning started off with Pizza's show debut! She walked into the building and into the ring with her tail up, confident. What a change from walking her around the Columbus show last weekend! In our puppy class, she had a blast. She aged her tail so hard when the judge approached her, that she couldn't stand up! We will have to work on getting her to stand still while the judge touches her. She gaited nicely beside me, and even did a sorta-free stack. The best part is she ended up going Best Puppy in Show! I know this wasn't a big show, but it was still a great first experience for her.

I entered Noodle also, because she is SO fun to show! We were the only Weim there, she showed like a rock star, and then in the "Gun Dog Group" (basically UKC's version of the Sporting Group with a few extra dogs added in) she took a Group 1!

There as a second show in the afternoon, so once again it was Pizza's turn. This time she was pretty squirrelly...sitting in her crate all day gave her lots of stored-up energy! She was happy, confident, and had a blast...but only held her stack for a few milliseconds at best. That's perfectly fine with me, because her attitude is #1 in importance to me...she's gotta have fun so I can have fun too!

Once again it as Noodle's turn. She was just getting better and better every time she went into the ring. She took another Group One! She is an absolute blast to show. I want Pizza to turn out just like her...but there will never be another dog like Noodle (and in many cases, that's a good thing!!!). She is a tough nut, but when she buckles down and works with you, she is amazing.

Someone at the show recognized me from 2 1/2 years ago hen I showed Pretzel in the UKC Top 10/Premiere and got 3rd overall. This made me proud, but also made me sad. What I wouldn't give to be out there still showing him. Instead, he serves as cheerleader, support staff, and security guard for the crates when we are showing. I love that dog!!!

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Monday, November 25, 2019

The healing power of prayer (and money)!

Today started off pretty good with a great agility lesson with Noodle. She was very focused and energetic today. I just can't figure this girl out!

On a whim, I rented the ARF training building this evening and took Pretzel and Pizza. My main goal was to play around with Pretzel on the baby teeter in hopes that Pizza would follow suit. Interestingly, she went willingly right on the teeter after Pretzel did it, got lots of rewards and was super happy, and then decided she didn't want to go on it again. I did manage to lure her onto it a few more times, but you could tell she was super reluctant, so I didn't push it any more than that.

The biggest news of the night is the complete and utter joy that Pretzel had when doing agility! I lowered the jumps to 16 inches and he flew over them, taking jumps just for the sheer fun of it. I decided to try him on the dog walk. Honestly, I could have sat down and cried after watching him...he looked like his old self again! Maybe a little slower and more careful, but I am completely fine with that! Pretzel was SO happy. I think I need to start lightly training him again, maybe do a little CPE agility at a lower jump height?

Watch this video comparison - last winter before surgery, and today. Happy!!!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Driving, driving, driving

Cadence did great with her ground driving today! We had really good forward motion (finally!). She is getting the hang of steering - I was able to walk her along the wall, do a couple large circles, cut down the middle and change direction. I was also even able to stop her and back her (first time I tried backing!). We are making progress!

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pizza got to experience her first thanksgiving - lots of people, and several strange dogs. She was such a good girl - very polite, and happy to see everyone. Extra bonus - no accidents in the house all day. Yay! Actually, we haven't had an accident in our house in quite a long time. I was extra vigilant at my sister's house, just to be safe.

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Teeter progress!

I rented to training building again today, and took Pretzel and Pizza out for some training. Pretzel thoroughly enjoyed himself doing some 16" courses. I worked Pizza a bunch on the little metal baby teeter. She was SO reluctant to go anywhere near it. It is strange, she doesn't act afraid, just unwilling. I had to dig deep for my patience, and work her calmly and lure her over the sides and the bottom of the teeter. Finally she went all the way across it a few times. BIG improvement today!

She also got loose twice and followed Pretzel up and over the big A-Frame with no problem. Oops!

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Forward motion is such a good thing

I had a great training session with Cadence today! Lots of good forward motion during ground driving. So far I am only walking her, but we are successfully going around the rail, doing some large circles, stopping, and backing. I am still having to work on getting her to keep her head up - she wants to drag her nose on the ground. It's a little bit of an evasion tactic, I think. She is really filling out and looking mature. I am seeing glimpses of the adult horse she is going to become.

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