Monday, 13 August 2012

Lure Coursing

My agility trainers had suggested that Kobi and I give something called Lure Coursing a try yesterday, so we did.
Lure Coursing is a competitive sport in the states, but around here it's just for fun! A track is set up along the ground and a twisty turning pattern and a plastic bag is pulled along it, and the dogs chase it!
The great thing about Lure Coursing is it requires no training, they're either good at it or have no interest in it.
Kobi and I were one of the first to run so I didn't realize just how good he was at it. Most of the other dogs either had zero interest in it or would only chase it for a short distance then give up.
Kobi on the other hand probably would have chased that thing until the machine died.
His first run was a little sloppy for a few reasons, the biggest being he got a bit worked up waiting his turn which meant he was already tired out when he did his run.
His second run on the other hand was awesome! From the minute we walked through the gate he was pulling at his collar to go! He chased it hard for two laps before they pulled the bag back into the closed off area. However, Kobi was not done. With a glazed over look on his face he started circling this area trying to figure out where it went. When he couldn't find it he decided to look along the track again to see if it was out there somewhere.
Along the track he managed to zero in on a pivot and decided to try pouncing on it a few time to see if that would make the bag come back, and much to his surprise it did! We sent the bag out one more time to bring him back in so I could get his collar back on and let the next person take their turn.

All in all it was a pretty fun day!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Teeter Work

So. It's been a while! I'm not going to try to recap everything that's been happening, there is just too much. I'll try to start fresh and just recap when and where I can. If you're wondering what happened to us, I got married on July 31st and now we're packing to move for the end of August (hello giant new yard!) and have our honeymoon next week. So I haven't just been lazy!

We managed to stay involved in our agility training over that time, some classes were better then others, some I was stressed and other Kobi was stressed but we've been doing pretty well given Kobi's lack of confidence.

Our biggest challenge has been learning the Teeter. In class we're working on the end result of having the two on two off position at the end of the teeter and getting the dogs to hop onto the end of the teeter forcing the end down making it bang. Most of the other dogs have no problems with this where as Kobi has been struggling to just even put a single paw up on it!

In just a few sessions we've been able to make it seem as though he never had an issue with it! We've been spending more time working on just the 2o/2o position in the house, finding areas where his but would be high (stairs or a landing etc.) We also spent more time on working on getting the nose touch on the ground on a dot. This is something we did during breakfast.

To work on getting Kobi up on the board I had to choose a time when Kobi was amped up and ready to play, took some high value treats and would do circles leading into the board, blocking his way with my body to force him up onto the board. If he stalled out, I would circle around again, building my criteria from one paw to two front paws, then a back foot had to come up and finally the 2o/2o with a nose touch.

Keeping sessions fun and short was the key and keeping things moving. If he stalled and I stood and tried to wait him out he would get frustrated and was prone to wandering off. Switching sides doing circle work and releasing quickly was the key.

At one point Kobi does a back cross (not good) but I ignored it because he wanted to walk straight up the board! Given his extreme lack of hind end awareness (something we've worked on a lot) it was shocking to see him just climb up without dropping his back end off. He still has yet to successfully walk across the board flat! I made sure to release him early especially since the top of the board would not have been safe or stable in the set up I had.

I am so amazed with his progress. Oh and did I mention this all happened in a week??

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

SPCA Calendar Contest

It's that time of year again, time to submit your photos of your pets doing their thing, be it lounging, sleeping, running, or creating a mess! It's time to submit your photos to the Nova Scotia SPCA Calendar Photo Contest!!
Each photo costs $5 to submit, but it's $5 towards getting your pet seen thousands, and it helps fund prevention against animal cruelty!
If  you're like me you have hundreds of photos stored away on your computer just waiting to be pulled out into the spot light, so it was never a matter of would I submit pictures, but which ones!!!
In the end I choose 4 pictures to submit, three of Kobi and one of Scout. Scout, as much as I love my boy, is not the most photogenic dog. All my pictures of Scout usually look the same, because all he really does is sleep! Kobi on the other hand is constantly providing opportunities for me to be pulling out my camera.
So these are the photos that I choose to submit. The deadline for the contest is August 15th so get your photos in soon!!



Monday, 16 July 2012

Dogs and Weddings

So, I've been toying with the idea of having one of our dogs be the ring bearer at our wedding. I don't really have any reason not to do it, I'm just not sure if I should do it.

I love my dogs and everyone who knows me knows how much I love my dogs. If it were up to me I would have them there the entire time. For Scout, not so bad, Kobi, that would be a disaster. And sadly the same goes for being ring bearer. I think if we decide to follow through on this the only choice would be to have Scout do the honour.

 As much as I love Kobi, he's not ready for something like that. I can totally imagine us up at the alter, the room is quiet, we're about to say "I do" and instead there's a loud barking fit!

Scout on the other hand, he'll sleep until he's needed, and when he is needed he'll lumber on up with his dopy little grin and preform perfectly.

The only downside to Scout being at the wedding is I fear half our guests will end up covered in fur!!!

Scout's shedding has taken on an entire mind of its own. I have partially given up brushing him because he hates it so much and he never seems to shed any less! If he does end up being involved in this wedding he is going to need a major brush and bath.

Then the next question becomes, what should he wear? Should he have a dashing bow tie? Should he wear a shirt to try to reduce the amount of fur flying around? Or should he just wear a nice collar?

Any thoughts of dogs in weddings? Have you been to a wedding where a dog was present? If so, how was it? Was it a disaster or was it awesome!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wow Life

So I have been terrible and not posting anything recently, but to be honest, coming up with fun posts has been the last thing on my mind. My wedding is at the end of the month (two more weeks essentially) so I have been swamped with planning final details.

 That being said I haven't been slacking off. Kobi and I started level 2 agility last week and have our second class this week. This class is going to be a bit of a challenge for us, Kobi is very clearly not confident with any of the obstacles, so I have a lot of confidence building to do with him before class will be really fun for us.

Working with his makeshift tunnel has helped a lot, and a friend made me a teeter plank which we've started working with. Lets just say Kobi's lack of rear end awarness because incredibly apparent. He tends to walk across with his front feet on and back feet on the side.

We've switched Kobi's kennel to a portable fabric one which for some reason he is intensly reluctant to go inside. Part of the problem is that the only door is on the side of the crate meaning he has to actively turn himself around inside the crate to be in it, and he would much rather just put his front feet in then back straight out.

We have new neighbours across the street with two pitbulls who seem to be left alone a lot in the evenings meaning when they sit and bark out their window, Kobi feels the need to respond to them. So the last week has been a bit of a loud one for us with needing to keep the windows open for air flow.

I've been working out at the SPCA a lot with our C.L.A.S.S. program. Most of our "project" dogs are no longer at the shelter for various reasons, but sadly one little guy is left. His name is Dawson, he's a fantastically smart dog that just did not have the right start in life and is suffering for it. I'll try to talk more about him later.

I bought a dehydrator so that I don't need to buy treats anymore. It's taken me a few tries to figure out what the best way to prepare the treats are and I will also share this later.

We're moving in September, something very unexpected for us. We really thought we would be staying here for a few years but an opportunity for us to move into a full house came up, and honestly, who doesn't want a whole house to themselves with a big yard with lots of room for agility practice???

Anyway, my life is continuing, but I'll probably fail to post again over the next two weeks, but not to worry, when I do find time again I have lots of videos, training tips, treats and great stories!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

With summer time comes summer heat, which living in the top unit of our apartment means opening every window, running every ceiling fan and hoping that things cool down a little. The fantastic thing with our apartment is we're a top floor flat meaning we have windows on every single side, front back, and two sides, so we get fantastic air circulation.
The downside of being the top floor flat is that we have windows on all sides. Why would this be an issue? Because it means Kobi has just that many more windows and ends of the house to patrol and become barky at.
We live in what I considered to be a quiet neighbourhood (I grew up on a bustling main street in the north end of Halifax so yelling, screaming, sirens, honking and every other imaginable sound was constant.)
When we adopted Kobi we were living on a quieter street, much less traffic and foot traffic, but had thunderous neighbours above and beside us, so in reality it wasn't quiet at all. And strangely enough, Kobi never barked indoors.
Barking at strange sounds started shortly after moving to this apartment. The sounds of people slamming their car doors particularly bothers him, as do car alarams/honks, people talking as they walk by, jingling dog tags, dogs barking and a whole slew of unknown and inaudible sounds to our ears.
Having the windows open to cool the place off has not made things better. But unless we want to suffocate in humidity, the windows are staying open.
I have yet to successfully find a way to discourage Kobi's barking, but hopefully moving just a few blocks over in September will help.
Until then I'll just have to be lulled by the constant growls he attempts to hide, lying still with his face tucked into his butt hoping we won't notice that he's been growling for 5 minutes straight.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Canada Day

I'm usually not the type to go and hang out in crowds and watch kids running and screaming and families spread out on picnic blankets in the shade, but since getting Kobi, getting him into as many crowds as possible has been a goal of mine.
It was hot on Sunday! 33 degrees I believe. But despite the heat we walked down to the Commons to check out the Canada festivities. As usual there bouncy castles, food vendors, stage performances, and lots and lots of people.
I'm not entirely sure how or why, but Kobi is amazing in crowds! This that normally scare him, he doesn't bat an eye at. People that usually terrify him he lets come to say hello, without jumping!!! Sometimes I wish we were in crowds all the time because he is so fantastic in them.
We went with a friend of mine and her yorkie who is also reactive. Harely is nervous with children and of course being a small dog the poor little guy gets swarmed by them! Kobi on the other hand seems to adore kids which is fantastic!
If only Kobi could be so relaxed at home!!