Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spending the Weekend At Home

I was home this weekend with the three dogs. Throughout the weekend I've spent time trying to finishing unpacking and recovering from the post-Gustav repairs. I hung up a few more pictures, framed the Tien Tran pictures I got in Monroe two weeks ago, and shredded a mountain of old paperwork. All in all I'm pleased with my efforts.

Saturday I was on a quest for crate mats. I shopped at a PetsMart, Petco, and Target that are all located near each other. There was a photographer at the Petco taking pet portraits. He had a small table and a huge blue drop cloth that draped in a manner to create a nice background over the table and up behind the dog. Since Teds is not competing there aren't any professional photos of him. So off Teds and I went to Petco with a large bags of Zukes mini treats (peanut butter flavor). The photographer commented that Teds was the best behaved dog all day (Great Boy!). The photographer seemed to not be real dog training savvy... Teds had to learn a "stand" command during the photo shoot. I stuffed in treats and praised when Teds was doing what I wanted. Teds was happy since the cookies were coming every 30 seconds or so. The photographer, with much help from the cookies from me, got some good pictures which Teds will give to his father for his birthday next month.

Saturday evening before supper everyone had a short one-on-one obedience lesson with Mom. Bern got to go first. We worked his drop on recall. We did the recall from a down, we did the drop to the floor, then we put it all together. Bern had beautiful spats on the floor... skidding to a stop if he wasn't on a rug. Please let him have that same effort in Houston next week. Grace was into the cookies and was trying offered behaviors but I made her work her finishes, stands, mom-walks-around-with-her-standing stands, and other Rally moves. Teds was happy to have his turn. He smelled the treats and offered me a down... yippee! He gets it. He worked on some of the same things as Grace but at the very beginner level.

Sunday morning Grace and I met up with George, Noel, Flash, and Rip at Linda's for a herding lesson. Rip was working the sheep when we got there. Rip, having more drive than Flash, is much more enthusiastic and seemed to be having a great time. Flash is so serious about life that he doesn't seem to be having the great time that Rip and Grace have in the sheep pen.

When I was out running errands on Friday night I bought a extra large leaf rake. This was a suggestion in the most recent herding video Linda loaned me. The Legends Tree Pine Ranch folks have aussies. Their herding DVD was very helpful. In addition to the leaf rake, the Shopes use a rattle stick (a plastic water bottle with pebbles or BB in it at the end of an old wooden mop handle). My hope had been to make such rattle stick before Sunday but I just ran out of time. As it turns out Linda actually found a similar item that she purchased to use with a few of her more enthusiastic (less impulse control) students such as Grace. The Koehn Rattle Paddle worked great with Grace.

Grace is continuing to improve. She struggles with impulse control entering the pen... geezzzze there is a down before she enters the pen, a down after she walks through the gate, and then she has to wait quietly and calmly for Mom to walk to the sheep. All behaviors she is doing some better with - she is understanding there are rules that Mom has for her to play the game "SHEEP!".

Tracey called yesterday with good news... Xanadu earned her CD, Kazee earned her CDX, and Kazee picked up another confirmation point on Saturday. Congrats on all that in one day! I wish I had been there to take all the ribbon photos.

I think another set of obedience lessons are in order before dinner this evening. I would like the couple that judged our LCCOC show in May to see some improvement in Bern at Reliant. Mrs Wood has Open A on Friday and Mr. Wood has it on Saturday.