Fun, by Choice

Standard

Looking out of the window, seeing everything blurred from the crazy downpour…

No one in the right state of mind would set out for a training out in the field under this condition.

No one, but us…

Without any hesitation, we head out for training with a flask of water, a ball and some durian cakes.

What greeted us was portholes of water and a field that could easily pass off as a swamp.

As though that wasn’t enough to dampen my mood, my dear O’ precious decided it’s the right time to not listen to daddy..

With her unleashed, she decided to run and greet everybody and ignore me. Tell me about Zero Recall…

“Go tunnel!” and she went to chase after Smash.

“Jump!” and she thinks the bird is asking for a chase game.

“Precious, come here!” and what i got in return was a chase game with her, me being the chaser.

What a good way to test my patience.

With all these, training can’t be fun if all i’m doing is chasing after her..

How can it be fun?! Looking at the ground, “shake head”, Turn back and saw my barking monster lunging,”shake head even harder”. Sigh.

It was then an idea struck me, if she can be crazy, why can’t i? Hahahaha

So i decided to initiate a (one sided) conversation with her whilst running the course!

“Ah-li-ba-ba, Jump!” “Hui Hui, table!” “Ah-li-ba-ba, let’s go!” Surprisingly, she listened!

It was during the run i realized, THIS IS FUN! So we ran the course like a loony!

Of course, she didn’t run the course well but i got a positive feedback from someone saying precious looked happy! ūüôā

It has been quite some time since i hear that, because i have always been looking at the angst,anxious and all-time-crazy girl… How i love to the person that could bring her happiness each time we run the course. It is not easy, especially so during trials.

All this applies to many other stuffs in life;¬†if you can’t change it, love and embrace it.¬†

Learn to have fun! As easy as it sounds, doing it can be an uphill task.

 

Plans…

Standard

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

If you plan and not execute it, you’re living in your dreams.¬†

If you spot the problem and not act on it, you’re nurturing it.

Attempts to tackle the problem without a plan, you’re creating more problems..¬†

Perhaps doing agility was just a way to evade from tackling her social and behavioral problems, now that I think of it.

I seems to “escape” to dogpark often when i don’t feel like walking her, where all the barking and chasing come to life.

I have a dog that’s calm and tired( most importantly ) after all those engagement.

But it seems I can’t continue being an ostrich as my poor girl continue straining that poor throat of hers.

and you must be wondering what’s with the sudden realization…

You see, walking her sometimes¬†can be an absolute disaster ( she chases and barks ) … especially if it’s my mum walking her.¬†This has been going on for the past one year, though i have done a little corrective training, i must admit i haven’t been¬†consistent with it hence the sub-par result.¬†I could live with all these but it wouldn’t be safe for her nor the people around her if this continues. I want her to enjoy¬†her teenage life( life span of 15 years) fully.¬†Well, all these didn’t bring about any serious attention of mine till yesterday where we did our little agility training at¬†bishan dog run. I was given a chance to correct her with the little¬†advises¬†from my training mates. Those simple methods¬†which you could have thought of but never for once crosses your mind. Often people resort to screaming,¬†yelling, yanking of the leash when the problem arises… For the whole¬†walk, the dog has behaved well and received¬†zero reward. ¬†And that’s the problem of many humans, ¬†focusing on bad stuffs and fail to appreciate the good. So i tried¬†the new method today while walking her, and we¬†successfully walked past 2 cats (!!!!!!) with no pulling, no yanking ( on¬†my side ), tugging ( from her side ) and ZERO¬†barking! I can’t wait to see the day where I can off leash her on walks, till¬†then it’s more reading and researching!

Moving beyond

Standard

Just returned from 12 hours of dog agility trials where the dreadful sun beams its unforgiving rays on us. Much of the toll taken were on the dogs where you could see lost of concentration and lackadaisical attempts in maneuvering the course in the mid and latter part of the day.

I participated in 4 runs today, namely 2 jumpers and 2 agility course and claimed 1st in one of agility runs – her first agility run -, and though it was not a perfect run as i would expect, i’m actually quite contended with her performance today. ¬†Shall just talk briefly about the four runs she had…

1st  Jumper    

Zero focus. She had her gaze fixated to dogs that are barking outside and paid little attention to what i was asking of her.

2nd Jumper

Focus was there but at the 3rd jump where i suppose to call for her, i forgot. Yes, i had that planned during the run through but i totally forgot about it during the actual so the blame’s on me. Otherwise, the run was pretty good from my point of view. An unlucky loss.

1st Agility – 1st placing.

Focus was there but ¬†i did not slow her down before the table ( I had no knowledge that i had to slow a dog down before table since it’s my first agility trial ) causing her to fall off the table. She did return back to the table and finish the course with not much problem. Judge did not penalize the fault and she was given 1st place for having the fastest timing. A lucky win.

2nd Agility

This run was held 8 hours after we first arrived and she was totally drained ( partly because i didn’t keep her in crate and let her play around ). Run was smooth, at an acceptable speed but a refusal at tunnel caused her the win. Later was told that i rushed through the tunnel too fast and had not given her a clear enough command so i guess it’s yet another handling fault of mine. She did finish the course with much effort and i’m thankful for it – i could hear her heavy panting when running with her -.

 

 

Training Review No:1

Standard

Course

Course is interesting with many handling to explore and experiment on. New things to touch on, namely the serpent jumps and some tight turns. Things that i am familiar with are dog walk aligned with the tunnel – it gives a clear vision of where to go if you run ahead of it –
and also tons of left hand handling.

First Run

The start is plagued with lots of problem; focus was off and she was distracted by dogs in and out of the run ( first time having such problem ) My guess is she looking for rekku for revenge XD

For distraction, focusing and concentration issues, I’ll pull the dog back to start line over and over again and go back to high rate of reinforcement to keep them going. If it all fails, she’s back to being leashed up. Lucky for me, she did manage to focus after a torturous 1 minute 30 seconds.¬† For serpent jump, i was doing it wrongly by using the same hand to jump and to draw her back. Not sure how that works, shall try it when i have the time.¬†Through this video, i realized she has pretty bad tight turns and tend to run the “longer” route. Weave is alright i guess.. i wish for more drive and consistency though.

Things to work on

Focusing work : It’s been too long since i work on that i probably will go back to hand focusing work.. She really has been focusing less on my hands ever since i stopped doing that exercise.

Tighter turn when it comes to jump

Second Run

As usual, the focus was off and took me some time to get it back. Aside from that, i’m pretty satisfied with her performance considering that she been through a lot of issues prior this run. Weave was good and turns were tighter ( the jump before the weave ). Of course she drifted off a little during the Tyre part ( not sure why that happen since i gave the command early – though it was a wrong command – )

Training woes

Standard

Training can be¬†fun when sailing smooth but without a¬†goal it can be¬†a real chore to get down¬†to it.¬† Previously i¬†had aims, targets which¬†i¬†locked on to, goals i¬†head towards to and training was so much fun during those periods. She learnt weaves from DVDs – yes, DVDs which i¬†borrowed from michelle¬†– and now she showed me she could restrain herself from dashing down dogwalks¬†and A-frames. She is no longer afraid of teeter and can now¬†steadfastly stride through it though more contact work is required¬†to perfect it. But something is missing… ahh¬†my handling skills. Yes, handling skills play an important role in a run.¬†I know i¬†cant do¬†this alone and¬†have decided to pen all these down and update you guys on how my training is done¬†so as to¬†seek some constructive advices¬†–¬†Do¬†NOT follow my training methods -.

Aims

What i have in mind to train are as followed :

1. Wrap for jumps ( Still thinking whether is there a need to add commands to it )

2. Focus and concentration work ( pointed out by michelle )

3. Drive ( Treat to learn, Play to drive is what i’ve¬†been told and i want to try it out. Guess there will be more outdoor trainings from this point onwards )

4. Distance work ( Yet to research up on these so i’ll¬†just state it as a long term goal )

Will be taking videos from now on for all agility usage to look at her runs and my handling technique as i¬†believe that’s the best way to review and improve on. Great¬†to spot weak points to improve on.

Burn it or get burnt

Standard

I always thought I have given my dog sufficient of everything; Play, walks, food and satisfaction.

In case you guys are oblivious to my situation; I’ve gotten myself a Shetland Sheepdog, Precious.

Twice-a-day walks, carefully balanced raw meal, 30 minutes to an hour of play time are what I’ve planned for her.

I upped the notch by enrolling her into dog sports – Jumpers – and started bringing her regularly for jogs and dog parks to increase her stamina and drive.

Soon, i increased the pace of her life by bringing her to dog parks almost thrice a week to train up and to have fun…

As much as i wish to continue this for her, her Heat brought everything to a halt.

For three whole weeks, her walk were nothing but minimal… She can’t go to any dog parks and trainings were put off.

Today her heat came to an end, so did her patience.

I brought her for her walk today, thinking it’s just another day but something was amiss.

She was non-responsive to my commands and to her recall ( I had treats), and was super reactive to everything!

Half way through our walk, she barked and i stopped to let her calm herself down but it didn’t happen.

She continued barking for the next 10minutes, mixed with some whining.

For some reason, i lost my patience! ( Bad Bad! )

I tightened her collar, held her by my side and did the “TSSSK”. ( I was watching dog whisperer the day before )

She started yelping, whining and barking non-stop!!

Of course i was worried and at the same time heartbroken. What on earth am i doing to my dog?

I released her collar, sat down by her side and wait for her to calm herself down, which she eventually did.

I knew something was wrong but what was it?

She had this enormous amount of frustration in her and she got a frustrated owner by her side!

Without second thought, i started running ( i was wearing my slippers )… I released the clutch on the retractable leash and let her roam.

Amazingly, she reacted to all my recalls and hand touches WHILE running. It was then i realized, “when was the last time we actually had a good burn out session?”.

We ran, i had air sucked out of my lungs but i didn’t give shit. My feet hurt like fuck but i didn’t give a shit either. I showered her with praises, encouragement and some play-chase session during the jog and i could see the difference after the jog. Dogs NEED more than walks, and they deserve more than that. She really loved running around,¬†chasing stuffs and meeting new dogs. Depriving her of that saddens me and i knew she had her message sent across. I’m glad she didn’t lose her trust in me which i was certain

would have happen if i was anymore ignorant of her situation. Had a great lesson today and it certainly made a slightly better owner! ;D

I hate my dog!

Standard

Obviously not! Since i’m not totally sober yet, i decided to write something that requires less thinking – Precious’s Daily Routine

This is what I’ve come to do with her every weekday.On working days, i wake up 6am in the morning to feed her and walk her for at least 30minute to ensure she does not have too much energy left when left alone at home. I will throw her a bone or some things to chew on before leaving home at 7.30am. The maid will come over and check on her now and then but she probably spends her time sleeping her morning off ( I sneaked back a couple of time, only to find her sleeping )

She only demonizes herself and reveal her true colors after my work! Begging for games, barking at me, snatching my socks and poking her nose into everything i do, literally!(Apparently, she uses her nose more than her paws) I will engage her in some fetch games, incorporating hide ‘N’ seek and chase. Let her take a little break and start our training with her dinner. More often than not, the training would involve agility foundation work as there are really a lot of stuff to practice on. We will then go for our walk for at least 30minutes and she should be knocked out by the end of all these. I would then get my well-deserved rest and free time. Recently, I started going for night agility training with Jazz to tap on her experience but that would mean I have to drive all the way to Bishan Dog Run and it’s pretty tiring! Nevertheless, it’s still the trip to die for! No training at home can substitute an outdoor training where your dog gets to play around with other dogs, feel the grass and roam the field! On weekends, she behaves differently knowing that i would be home most of the time and she will be constantly bugging me for play till she knocks out. If weather’s good, i will definitely bring her out to dog parks to burn some of her energy and also to socialize her. Okay my hangover is killing me and the sentences i’m typing doesn’t seems to make much sense! Later!