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!

Expect the unexpected

Standard

There are two type of humans; one who care for animals, one who love them.

This came way overdue but i had to share this. Precious finally made it to Open Agility Class with her recent 2 Qs!

This came rather unexpectedly! I might sound hypocritical saying this but it’s the fact.

I can’t get her focus all the time, so the Qs definitely came by luck. I am, probably the luckiest trial-er.

Of course, congratulations to my fellow teammates who gotten their Qs!

Trials have always been a tiring day for the handlers so mood wasn’t set right for celebration but i’ll make it up for her!

Anyway, her result was 1 1st and 2 2nd ( Donut and Juliet claimed the 1st with their impeccable run)

Trial stuff aside, i got myself a job where i could spend my time facing more dogs than human!

Definitely something i have been wishing for ;D

There i get to appreciate for what my dog has become and to understand she is actually not the worst!

More for the people i’ve gotten to know before and after getting my dog. People who really loved their dogs and made me likewise.

With the knowledge imparted to me from like-minded people, i am able to contribute to those i serve.

Going into the dimension of unfamiliarity, exposing myself to a steeper learning curve, experiencing things i once hate

or reluctant to try on has opened up my narrow view on dog training.

Good is the enemy of great. 

No room for complacency! Time to draft out plans on how i can make her faster and better!

 

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.

Once upon a time…..

Standard

First encounter
love at first sight does exist

This went through my mind yesterday night, a day that changed my life. People who went through that house would agree, no ifs ands or buts about it. I call it the house of devils and angels. Entering the portal to another dimension of life, you see those little angels or devils in disguise loitering around. And it is no easy feat to pick one when you like all of them. It came to one I thought would be easier to take care…

Dream came true
talk the talk walk the walk but I’m walking my talk

On my way home with her was an absolute joy because owning a dog was once a dream to me. That said, I still have another job to do… Breaking the news. All year long, I have been persuading my Mum to get a dog with no success. Believing that procrastination will probably means ill never get a dog, I decided to spring into action with my own money. So how did I break the news to her? I carried her right to her face. Lol. But I’m glad she accepted her well and loved her as much as I do.

Responsibility
Embrace it

Now that I’ve got my dog, it’s time to be responsible for it. I have done my research for a year or so, seek and listen to advice of dog owners I know… thinking that would suffice. I mean how tough can it be to own a dog? Feed it, walk it and it will listen to you. I also read up on probable training methods, one that doesn’t require harsh reprimanding or any physical punishment. Hmmm, all these sounds right so what’s wrong? Everything.

Complacency
Trash it or get trashed

I thought I knew it all and that’s a huge huge mistake because no one has mastered it yet. But lady luck blessed her life and I met a kind lady who brought us to the circle of shelties.

To know what changed after knowing them… Wait for my next post!

Comprehending feelings

Standard

Feelings often get the better of you, overwrite what rationale dictates.

Elusive yet non-artificial, and that makes you a human.

During my first visit to a SKC trial, I admired what the dogs were doing and wished i could do the same.

My second visit to a SKC trial, i was already half way into training and i’m jealous of what they are achieving.

My third visit to a SKC trial, Precious was on heat and i had to give that event a miss. There, i was envious.

I also felt i have matured a lot more after going through of these training with Precious. She learnt tricks, i picked up the concept and theories behind.

More often than not, all these concepts and theories are applicable on human. It makes me a better mind reader ( sensitive ) and more aware of my actions.

I have learnt to handle victories, disappointments and expectations. Ahh wait, Handling victories?

Yup! A man who doesn’t handle victories well will end up being a complacent man with a narrow view.

There bound to be disappointments on the path to attaining victories and i’m definitely not spare from that.

Know the reason behind those failures, and seek your way back to victory is what i try to stick to now.

Expectations of others and yourself can be encouraging but burdening at times. It makes victories taste better but it also makes the fall heavier.

Getting past the disappointment is a great obstacle to overcome and no consolation will make it any easier. Think and you’ll get better! Fight on!

On the recent SKC trials, it’s so heartwarming to see so many genuine dog lovers support each other even though they barely knew each other.

As though it’s contagious, cheering for others seems like The thing that day. There i found the reason why i went into this sport…

On that day, we seem the true side and their expectations. No owner will put up a false front before their canine.

I saw trial-athletes overridden with disappointment that they could barely keep their heads up, i saw wide grins and hands-in-the-air after a great run.

How often do we really get to see this?  A very touching sight if you ask me.

Right or wrong

Standard

Not sure how this will turn out to be, with me using the phone to blog since my com died on me with no intention of coming through, but I’ll try to at least finish this up.

Ambiguity leaves a man thinking, out there in the world of uncertainty. With no absolute answer, who is there to clear the doubts of the confused. ” Choose what you think is right”, the Wise words from his equally ignorant friend set him back to where he was again. ” Follow me! “, the sage commanded. With his vast experience and knowledge, he would have known better and the man followed, in pursue of the absolute answer. He did things against his principles and his intuition because the sage said so….

I wonder how many people had experience similar to the man. Embarked on an exotic journey led by a guru who don’t share your sentiments. Things are tougher in the dogs world with the infinite methods out there to get one thing done. If you’re new, it hits you even harder. With a thousand ways to reach the common destination, newcomers are often left there to think for themselves whether they are right on track or on a one way route to death valley. Time to time, you will seek guidance but then again, no body has the definite answer. No path is meant for everyone, and it’s up to you to find YOUR rightful path. It’s enigmatic to me how these people manage to find theirs, and manage to retain their sanity. There are times I wished I could turn back, thinking things might just get better without all these. Let’s see how far this path brings me to… I’m looking forward to what I see at the other end.

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

O’ Gracious Singapore

Standard

gra·cious/ˈgrāSHəs/

Adjective:
Courteous, kind, and pleasant, esp. toward someone of lower social status.
Exclamation:
Expressing polite surprise.
Synonyms:
kind – merciful – kindly – benignant
Many heard of this word but who practices it?Have you ever wonder what magical powers the pregnant women possess to make majority of the people to go into deep sleep on a bus or train ride?

Are they sorcerers in disguise with the invisible cloak to make people not see them?
How can this be right when an old man is giving his seat to an older man…
Can we really promote Kindness and Graciousness?
Shouldn’t all these be inculcated to our kids and lead them up the right path of life?
Shouldn’t parents lead their kids by example?
Will our society deteriorate from the lack of empathy to growing apathy ?
It’s tough to find smiles in Singapore and equally hard for people to be appreciative.
Maybe this is the reason why i turn to dogs…
I have given up on us, Human beings.