Sunday, May 30, 2010

Training Contacts

Thought I'd share how Dare is doing on her contact training for agility. Her dogwalk is full height and now we're just working on increasing speed, varying my location and stuff like that now. Here's the video of her 2o/2o on the dogwalk. You'll see that I missed her foot coming off because she had it back on before I turned around on the last repetition. LOL

Now for the teeter. I'm ready to take it up to full height too now. I think I'll stick with having keep all four feet on the teeter rather than a 2o/2o because I think there's less chance of it bouncing back up on her. Anyway, here's the teeter video.

Last of all...the A-frame. This is the newest obstacle for her. She seems comfortable with it at home, but the other day at a friend's house she ran up their full height A-frame and just absolutely launched herself airborne off way above the yellow. I'm sure that part of that is that she haven't worked on the A-frame at full height yet. I wonder if the pitch took her a bit by suprise. Nevertheless it really reinforced that I want to have a consistant performance at the current height, before I move it up any higher. Here's what it looks like so far though.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"I'm HOW Old?"

I kept telling Dare that she's ONE year old today. Odd didn't seem to make the slightest impression on her. LOL I guess it's just me that's amazed at the blinding fast passage of time.

Honestly, I don't think that I expected to have such a deep bond with her in such a short period of time. I wish I had more talent at expressing my feelings in writing, but it's never been a strong point of mine. I'll just leave it at she has exceeded all of my hopes and expectations several times over!

I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of her today and a friend of mine has these gorgeous peonies blooming right now, so I went to her house for a little impromptu photo shoot. I had hopes that the pictures would turn out better. It seems when you have great expectations of how something is going to turn're often disappointed. Regardless, I think you'll have to agree that if nothing else, the color of the peonies is just breathtaking.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Photos

So spring is here, kind of. We've had some beautiful days, but they've been interspersed with snow and wind and cold too. I guess that's spring time, but it seems like winter just doesn't quite want to let go of it's strangle hold on us just yet.

The other day though, the weather was just about perfect. We took the dogs out for a walk, and got some nice pictures. The pictures just make me feel like being outside when I look at them. I love how green everything is right now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

An Article Bag for Dare

I know, I'm probably jumping a little ahead of myself going out and getting an article bag for Dare, when we haven't even started competing in Obedience yet. I just couldn't help myself though. I found the coolest custom article bags while I was online one day. The website is here.

I just sent Mandy some pictures of Dare and some ideas of colors I liked...and she did all the rest. I was just amazed at how she was able to recreate Dare on this bag. It is awesome!

I think Dare likes her new bag too. Here she is checking it out...

And from the other side...

Maybe we should put our articles in there...

Now it's perfect!

Thank you Mandy, we LOVE our new bag! It's the best!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stretching to Prevent Injuries

Friday and Saturday were really fun. We went to a seminar on how to help prevent injuries in dogs through stretching. Friday evening was a classroom type setting, without your dog. There was a slide show and the person presenting the information took questions and demonstrated anything we had questions about on his dog. His demo dog was the most flexible 10 year old Rottie/Shepherd mix that I've ever seen! Then we were to go home and try it out on our dogs and come back the next day for a "hands on" portion of the seminar.

I know, it might have made more sense to take an older dog like Zoe to something like this. Since when have I followed the logical path? I took Dare. I was really happy with my decision in the end.

The "hands on" portion was a little hard for her to settle down for. There was a room filled with at least 10 dog/handler teams attempting to stretch their dogs. For the amount of distraction in the room, I thought Dare was a gem. She did a pretty good job of staying on her mat, and even spent a good portion of the time relaxing (somewhat) laying down on her side. I did end up having to do more massaging than actual stretching, but I think it was a good start. She did let me get in some stretches eventually and I think it's a process that you can't rush through, you just both have to get used to what you're doing and work together.

He did explain the difference between passive stretching exercises, and active assisted type stretching. Obviously, the passive stretching are when the dog is relaxed and usually lying down and you are stretching the muscles for them. The active assisted stretching usually are with the dog standing and they do part of the work of the stretching with you. For Dare right now, the active assisted type stretches are more successful for us. They allow her to be standing and also were of shorter duration.

I thought it was interesting that one of the active type stretches that he mentioned that we could find useful for agility is having the dogs weave in figure eights between our legs. Something that Diana had mentioned in her blog after she and Miley went to a Debbie Gross Saunders Seminar. You can read her post here. I was doing it wrong though. Funny how you can picture weaving through your legs in a couple different ways. LOL The way he demonstrated was just standing with your legs spread apart and you not moving. Luring the dog through in a tight figure eight. I had tried in the past having Dare weave through my legs, but as I was walking forward, not standing still.

Anyway, one of the things that I really enjoyed was something that I didn't even expect to be discussed. It was some of the various ways you can use to condition and strengthen your dog. He mentioned that any of us that were interested in trying out the treadmill with our dogs were welcome to try. So, we did! Dare did great. She wasn't worried at all about it. The funniest thing was watching her think about walking. I hadn't considered how much thought she was going to have to give to walking. It was so funny to watch her lose her train of thought when I'd tell her she was doing good or offer her a treat. She definitely was having trouble doing two things at once. So, I think it gave her as much of a mental workout as it did physically.

We also got to do some work on the balance balls. Dare LOVED this part! I only have the balance disc so this gave us a chance to try out some of the other sizes and varieties of balance balls out there. I think our favorite was the peanut shaped ball. It seemed to me to be the most versatile. He did everything from just having her do some basic balance work, to having her balance while on 3 legs and then on just two! We even tried a little with two balls at once, but we didn't have enough time to really get her used to that idea. Here's just a little video of what we played around with. Fair'll just have to ignore all of us babbling in the background. There is also a part where a dog was trying out the treadmill and wasn't really thinking it was the greatest thing. Dare didn't seem to notice anything going on around her, other than the location of the treats. LOL One of these days I'll take the time to figure out how to put on the cool music that everyone else seems to know how to do. In the meantime, you are welcome to just hit your mute button when you get sick of listening to us.