Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Win!

Thumper spent last weekend with me in Weyer's Cave Virginia at the Blue Ridge Australian Shepherd Club's set of summer shows, the Summer Sizzler. It was as advertised, a blast furnace there as everywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region. Fortunately the show site has a wonderful A/C unit and the manager allows the club a lot of privileges in using the building for our 3 days. Had a good turn out and saw Majors in bitches and dogs for all shows. I am happy to report that Thumper was Winner Dog for a 4-point Major on Saturday afternoon on his last day of eligibility for the 6-9 month puppy class. What a GOOD puppy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy belated Birthday Ms. Ems!

Somehow I forgot to mark the milestone here of Year 15 for my old girl Emma aka ELF Ms. Emma Peel aka The Magnificent Hound aka Queen Emteepha. Emma turned 15 on June 16 and while she is increasingly deaf, vision is failing and her arthritis challenges her ability to get up, she is still engaged and gregarious, and still has her appetite (most days, at least). Happy birthday my little sweetheart!!

Points happen!

Congratulations to Bev McWhirter on her recent wins with Ribbon son 'Painter'  aka Inkwell Paintbrush of Milwin. Over a year ago he got his first points with Bev but has been concentrating on performance training since that time. Well his first weekend back out since that time he went WD on Saturday and WD/BOW for a major on Sunday in North Carolina, beautifully presented by Amanda Butts. Half way there Bev, way to go!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back from camp!

Well we and the dogs had a splendid time at Camp again this year; cool weather made it comfortable though the second half of the week was rainy or threatening to rain much of the time, but certainly manageable and the fact that a blanket was appreciated at night was a welcome one indeed.

I mostly concentrated on various aspects of Obedience training with Ribbon and Thumper. Thumper learned a lot about dealing with distraction and temptation and also revealed to me  the areas I neglected to work on as a younger puppy, such as the insecurity he demonstrated when a dog and stranger would first appear on the walkways. Worked on that with copious tasty treats and a clicker, and by choosing not to walk him with Ribbon since they would back one another up in an annoying show of defensive barking when together. (On her own with me Ribbon basically ignored the same things). Got to go in with sheep though I must say Thumper was not a ball of fire with them, following them around at a lazy walk... Worked on Really Reliable Recall with Thumper as well, and he started some real target training and shaping. He is starting to do well with the dumb bell retrieve and was video'd by Bonnie demonstrating  a portion of the dumbbell retrieve  to be included (possibly) in an instructional video by Bonnie and Leslie Nelson (Tails U Win! training center) . My little star.He also mastered 'chin', a very amusing (in a n understated way, for sure!) 'trick' whereby he would purposefully place his muzzle onto my cupped hand and leave it there in anticipation of a click-treat.  Just funny how a dog doing 'chin' just suddenly goes very still in your palm while waiting the release, reward, or both.

Here is a picture of Teddy doing 'chin' in the dorm room.

Ribbon started some scent discrimination and continued target and shaping as well as specific Obedience exercises.

The other Ribbon sons had a good time as well with their people. Teddy learned a lot of shaped and targeting behaviors so he was quite well-versed in great tricks. He and the other boys all tried herding some sheep and he did well; also showed great interest in agility, as shown here.

Banner was a whirlwind of activity with his dad Nick, who sampled almost every single activity camp offers including, but not limited to: agility, frisbee, flyball, herding, obedience, Really Reliable Recall, Obedience, trieball, and I am sure I left something out! Here he is sitting with agility instructor Jenn, who took him in for tunnel games the last day.

Tache had a good week as well doing sheep (in a BIG way: still waters run deep I guess, since he seems the most low-key of the puppies but was insane in the sheep pen, absolutely predatory! (No injuries to hoofed stock were reported). He worked on Recall, some target and shaping, agility, and a variety of other activities.

We'd have liked to let everyone off lead together for some rough play but there is a limited amount of real good off-lead space at camp (250+ dogs on a small campus) and the boys showed signs of fast escalation of excitement that didn't bode well for safe play so in the end, a couple at a time would get some time together in an isolated corner of the campus. But all got plenty of exercise and oddly, none really showed much interest in playing with their mother after the first couple of attempts. (She is the epitome of 'bitchy' with all of them, it happens).

Anyway that was our camp, good friends and good dogs and great teachers and excellent food. Will return next year for more!