Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trick Title Update: Read Me a Bed Time Story?

Well now that the trail is over it's back to perfecting Gaius' tricks for his trick titles. I had a little set back yesterday teaching Gaius to run through a rolling hoop (not technically required for his trick titles but a cute thing to teach). You see the hoop fell on him mid jump and scared him. Which caused him to shriek and run away. The hoop got tangled in his feet and he dragged it across the apartment with him at full speed until it tripped him on the tile in my front hall and he skidded head first into the wall. Suffice it to say he decided he no longer likes the hula hoop.

In fact the next time I pulled one out to practice he whined and hid under the couch. I pulled him out and tried to do some counter conditioning but ended up moving a bit to fast and he ran into the bathroom and spent the next three hours cowering in the bathtub. I felt too guilt to move him again. So let's just say we are currently working on gaining confidence around hula hoops. So in the mean time here is a trick that Gaius already knew but had to be perfected in order to qualify for the trick title (I had to add the head down at the end).

This actually took some time to teach. At first I couldn't get him to roll over with anything in his mouth. I started with his obediance dumbbell. Can you roll over while holding something fimilar in your mouth? When he had that down I moved on to a wash cloth folded into four. When he could do that I slowly unfolded the wash cloth. We ran into a bit of a snag when it got large enough to catch under him when he rolled. The pressure caused by his body cause him to drop it. But we went slow and he got over that we moved on to something actually dachshund blanket sized. Teaching him to pick up the corner by himself didn't take much time at all and tada!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Agility Trial

What is this stupid thing around my neck and why are you so happy about it?

Well Gaius and I are back from our first agility trial ever! And a really couldn't be happier with him. So lets get down to business and talk about the check list:

Goal 2: I want Gaius to stay with me the whole time (No darting off to bark at judges or sniff, or do whatever else comes into his little dachshund brain)

With the exception of the last run he stayed with me the entire time :)

Goal 3: I want him to move at faster than a walking pace for the majority of his time on the field. None of this slow poke bull he does outside.

Even when he had his little meltdown he ran fast! Which I couldn't be happier about. He had his slow poky moments but all in all he ran his heart out. Who could ask for more?

Goal 1: I do not want Gaius to bark at the judges when we are running. (He can bark at them when they measure him, that's understandable)

Ok, we fell apart a bit our last run but Gaius made it through three whole runs without paying either male judge any attention. So all and all a success.

I now take you to the video tape!

Let's break it down by run:

Saturday JWW: Wonderful gorgeous run. Nothing bad to say about it. He read my front cross gorgeously. The only thing that kept us from the Q was him knocking the bar. After reviewing the tape I'm pretty sure that wasn't my fault (As in he didn't miss it due to a handling error. He just needs some foundation jumping stuff.) And obviously we need to work on weave pole entires being that he's missed every entry this trail but that's not SUPER important in novice as he gets as many chances as he needs. I'd say this was his 2nd best run.

Saturday STD: This is the one that didn't make the video tape. But I'll break it down, at least what a remember. He was a little pokier on the run. It was the end of a long day for him I think. It also was probably the worst weave poles. I had to send him through three times which ate seconds. He also refused the A-frame which I had a sneaking suspicion he would do. He ran right past it and it took me a moment to pull him back around to try again. I have to give him a lot of lead up on the A-frame to get him over it because he has such small legs. But he took it the second time which was good. But all of this added seconds and we ended up going over time. I was convinced we hadn't Qed.

But this totally sweet woman with a beagle told me to stick around for the ribbons just in case, because she had a sneaking suspicion that you could have a time fault in Novice. So I did hang out for basically another hour (my parents were a bit miffed) and it turns out we did Q! And with the stiff competition of Gaius being the only Novice A 8" dog we got a blue ribbon in the bargain! I'd say this was his 3rd best run of the weekend.

Sunday STD: Near perfect run. No complaints. Again he missed the weave entry and the only thing that kept him from Qing was stepping on the broad jump but it was a rough entry for a long backed dog. And did you see him read that rear cross at the end?!? I had to do a rear cross! He's never going fast enough in class for me to do a rear cross! Awesome! I walked out of the ring feeling on top of the world. Awesome! I couldn't wait to do it again. This was by far his best run of the weekend :) 1st place in my eyes.

Sunday JWW: We were the second to last dog running at the trail and we were both out of it. This run went down hill quickly. I made two handling mistakes very quickly and you can see Gaius get frustrated with me. I think the judge having to raise his arms so much (calling our faults) made Gaius take notice and he decided to take action to remove him from the field. He left me three times to bark at the judge but at least I was able to get his focus back each time.

General Trial Conclusions: I think something that really contributed to Gaius' little last run meltdown was the fact that I volunteered in other rings for most of the day meaning that I was away from him for long periods of time. Also all the leash running and bar setting tried me out and by the time I got to running my course I was sloppy and forgetful causing me to make many handling errors. So lesson learned. Less volunteering, more worrying about my pup.

Gaius was beautifully beautifully behaved during the trail. He only barked at one man who was legitimating doing something weird near his crate but other than that not a peep. He slept in his crate and waited patiently for his turn.

Things I've Learned:
1) Don't volunteer for a million things and wear yourself out.
2) I need to work with Gaius on his weave pole entries
3) The scoring of Novice runs is way more complicated than I thought it was. I need to read the rules again.
4) Gaius was ready to do this inside... lets try outside. I just signed up for an outdoor trial in two months. We'll see what happens.

Agility trials mean a lot of crate time. Gaius does not like crate time.
P.S. First time adding music in imovie. I'm getting better at this :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trick Title Update: The Day has Finally Come!

Finally a video of Gaius retrieving a "beer" from the fridge. Ok, it's a small bottle of whiskey but I experimented with the whole carry a beer thing and it just wasn't happening (I mean he could do it, just not very reliably). Let's say I was afraid it would end in a party foul and a lot of broken glass.

This trick actually took a few weeks which is much longer than most of the stuff I teach him. The hardest thing I think was trying to convince him to really tug on the door to open it. He is very small and it takes a good deal of force at that angle to make the door open. Also he has to angle himself the right way (perpendicular to me, not facing me the way we do most of his tricks) or the door won't open. Both of these left Gaius tugging once, and then unenthusiastically and giving up and it seemed each training session I had to build his door opening confidence back up. So it was a two steps forward one step back sort of deal.

The easiest thing was the actual retrieving which he's very good at. Though he was scared of the door closing on him for a while. Closing the door was easy to teach but he had some issues understanding the seprate commands for each. You can hear me in the video say the command close twice just to make sure he got it. Sometimes he'd tug on the rope going back because he couldn't distinguish open and close I think.

To make this trick more reliable it defiantly needs more polishing. But here's the trick from start to finish :) I hope you enjoy.

OH! I'm not sure if I'll get another post in before Friday but just a reminder that this is Gaius' first agility trial weekend! YAY! I'll be staying in a hotel in MD with my parents Saturday night. If it has the internet I'll try and post to give you all a run down of how it went. If not you'll have to wait till Monday! Wish us luck!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trick Title Update: Moving Right Along

Well we're moving right along with the Trick title list. This video is seriously from our second session training this. So basically he learned this in 3 minutes. Amazing! Really the more tircks you teach the easier they get.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trick Title Update: One more down

So I got my book and got my hula-hops and have been working hard (ok off and on a few minutes a day) to complete my list. I thought I'd show you some progress so far. I promise a video of Gaius retrieving liquor soon!

But without further ado, Which hand holds the Treat:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Ten Days Late

Happy Fourth Everyone!

I thought I'd post a video of Gaius at the Asland Parade. He had tons of fun even though they changed the time this year to 1 PM ugh! I don't have to tell you how hot it gets in Richmond. We were losing basset hounds left and right. They were dropping like casualties on a strange long short hound dog battle feild. But Gaius and I made it till the end.

Gaius loves this parade. I think he just likes being the center of attention. Even a year ago when he was much worse with strangers I took him just to see how he would do. I was a nervous mess desperately grasping my treat bag terrified of a little dachshund meltdown. But he's not a little dog to underestimate, and he was pretty much perfect (ok he did growl and bark at the guy dressed as Uncle Sam when he reached to pick him up without asking me frist. But that's understandable. And he let the patriotic symbol pet him this year without a peep so there has been progress). But this year he was a real champ. He accepted petting from a bunch of random strangers including several children. You can even see parts in the video where he's voluntarily initiating interactions with people he dosen't know. We've come a long way. I have a little therapy dog in there somewhere.

But that just goes to show you that if you have a dog that seems nervous around strangers or barks and growls at other dogs, don't banish them to an existence in the house. Try to go out and work through it. Such issues can be over come and improved if you try to fix them. And besides, the dogs life will be happier if they get to experience life.

On that note we need to be more tolerant and understanding when people are working with a dog whose manners are less than perfect in public. At least they are out there working on the issue and trying to fix it. Who cares if the methods they are using are diffrent than yours. They are trying to improve the life of their pet which is commendable. The effort is the important thing.

So without further ado, a parade video!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trick Title

I has a happy

So I found something interesting while goofing of around the internet. You can earn Trick Dog Titles! Apparently the writer of 101 Dog Tricks gives out titles if you are able to complete a certain number of tricks at certain levels. I took a peek at the requirements and Gaius already knows most of this stuff. So I'm thinking, hey why not. I'll just have to teach him a few new things and we should be set!

Now I proubably won't send in to get an ACTUAL trick title. Because it sounds like I'm just sending $80 off to some random person so she can print me a certificate using Microsoft office. Maybe I'd find the money if it was the AKC's trick title. But that doesn't mean I can't complete the check list.

Below is a list of the tricks required for each level and Gaius' status as far as being able to complete them. Now the instructions say that you can reuse a trick from a higher level for your easier trick title levels... but that seems lame. So I'm not going to do that. Each level of tricks should be original. Purple are things I need to teach, Red are things I've worked on but need perfecting.

Novice Trick Dog Title (The dog must be able to complete 15 tricks at a novice level)
  1. Come/Recall (Gaius knows this)
  2. Down (Gaius knows this)
  3. Drop it (Gaius knows this)
  4. Doggie Push-ups [This means the ability to do sit down stand in a quick sequence) (Gaius knows this)
  5. Take it (Gaius knows this)
  6. Hoop Jump (I can teach this in an afternoon.... I need to buy a hula hoop...)
  7. Jump over a bar (Gaius knows this...you've seen the agility tape)
  8. Kennel up (Gaius knows this)
  9. Place/Return to Heel Position (Gaius knows this)
  10. Shake (Gaius knows this)
  11. Sit (Gaius knows this)
  12. Spin (Gaius knows this)
  13. Stay (Gaius knows this)
  14. Touch my Hand (Gaius knows this)
  15. Tunnel (Gaius knows this)
Intermediate Trick Dog Title (The dog must be able to complete 15 tricks at an intermediate level)
  1. Carry my purse (Gaius knows this... we practiced this on the fourth of July, more on that to come)
  2. Fetch Food Dish (Gaius knows this)
  3. Food refusal (Gaius knows this)
  4. Head Down (Gaius knows this)
  5. Jump throw my Arms (... we're practicing this. He currently thinks it means throw myself at mom's arms....)
  6. Moonwalk (Gaius knows this)
  7. Roll Over (Gaius knows this)
  8. Sit Pretty (Gaius knows this)
  9. Teeter Totter (Gaius knows this)
  10. Tidy up Toys (Needs some practice, but I've worked on this with him before. It shouldn't take long to perfect)
  11. Wave Goodbye (Gaius knows this)
  12. Which hand holds the Treat (I need to teach this)
  13. Scratch my Back (This is my extra trick that I'm using to count as an intermediate trick)
  14. Heel Forward (Gaius knows this)
  15. Pick a Card from the Deck (I need to teach this)
Advanced Trick Dog (Dog must complete five advanced level tricks)
  1. Play Dead (Gaius knows this.... but I have to look at her rules. He doesn't put his head all the way down so it might not count)
  2. Play the Piano/ Type on the Keyboard (I've been DIEING to teach this trick)
  3. Baton Jumping (Like the hoop Jump this will take an afternoon)
  4. Close a Door (I just taught Gaius this!)
  5. Double Hoop Sequence (I need to look at the book to see what this is... But I bet it's not that bad)
Expert Trick Dog (Dog must complete five expert level tricks)
  1. Bring me a tissue (This shouldn't take long to teach)
  2. Ring Toss (This is proubably my biggest challenge... I've been working on this one but Gaius sucks at it... I mean just sucks. He's just not a detail oriented, gentle enough pup for it. This takes tactile skill and patience. Gaius is just a fan of smacking things into each other until it works. We'll get there)
  3. Weave Pole (Gaius knows this)
  4. Roll Yourself in a Blanket (Gaius knows this. This was actually sort of tricky to teach.)
  5. Bring me a Beer from the Fridge (I've been working diligently on this all week. Seriously. Right now he can open the fridge if I hand him the tug tied to the handle, but not if he picks up the tug by himself. He can retrieve an object from the fridge. And he can close the fridge by himself. So I just need to work on chaining those actions, ironing out any rough bits, and getting some distance. In other news Gaius can not lift a bottle of beer by himself. Ok he can but its really hard and I'm afraid he'll drop the bottle on the way out of the fridge and then there will be broken glass and shit. So I'm going to teach him to retrieve one of those little liquor bottles you can get from the ABC store instead. I'm sure that still counts)
So those are the tricks from the list I've chosen to teach. Not to bad, it I just have to teach seven tricks and iron out four. When I'm all done I'll make a video and post it :) To be honest I had some trouble picking from her list, trying to find enough tricks in each category I could conceivable do. It was a very big dog biases list. I mean half the stuff was things like, teach your dog to turn on a light switch... yeah right. I'm going to teach my ten pound dachshund to reach a light switch. Look, no amount of clicker training will make him grow four feet higher. Or, jump over my back hahaha. I think I should write this lady and tell her to make it fair she needs more little dog tricks in her titles. Oh well, she has Weimaraners, she doesn't understand the blight of teaching complete tricks to a dog inch tall legs. Anyhow, I'll keep you apprised of my progress!