Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Spot' On

Trophy's contacts tonight were fantastic.  The one time he hit his contact a bit too enthusiastically on the A-frame and sort of popped right off (it was like he drove it in too deep and his butt wasn't quite ready to stop or something) he immidately got back on.  Yay for a proofed "Spot" behavior!  Weaves are still killing us >_<  need more hours in the day.

Need to win the lotto tonight so I can quit my day job and play with my dogs all day everyday.  Yeah, could you all just cross your fingers for my so THAT dream could come true? Thanks!

Pan was a bit crazy tonight again.  Silly section, curved tunnel in a corner, jump on the straight away and the table slightly off to the side.  Tire jump in line with the exit of the tunnel and the jump.  I'm expecting Pan to blast out of the tunnel and hit both jumps.  Instead she bypasses both jumps and springboards off the table.  Uberdork, that one.  My sister and I switched dogs the last run of the night.  I sent Pan into that tunnel (and my sister said she saw her ricochet off the WALL OF THE TUNNEL she single strided from her landing out of the tunnel all the way over that first jump.  AT LEAST 15 feet.  It looked like she was trying to clear the jump and land on the table straight from leaving the tunnel.  The girl has mad extension and some pretty sick bounce. :)

Had 5 dogs adjusted by the chiropractor tonight.  So I'm hoping to have 5 fluid dogs tomorrow.  Demo and Qwill's backs were pretty wonky.  Trophy wasn't actually that bad, although Pan's neck was pretty out of wack.  Shiner's very lower back was out (which doesn't surprise me) and his neck was off a bit.  We'll see how they feel.

 Trophy was feeling much better today.  His jumping was more fluid.  Encountered a problem with jumps perpendicular to contact obstacles, but I think I need to rev him up a bit more first.

Always learning, we are!

Signed up for an online class in Treiball basics.  They pushed back the start date to Friday April 6th. boo!  I'm SOOOOO excited for this class to start!

Monday, March 26, 2012


So I decided to make kennel name plaques for CanAm last October.  Well, now Demo needs one, and since I decided to put his full name on his I had to remake Trophy's to use his full name (first world problems over here, I tell ya) and then I decided to make one for every body...

Anyway, so I posed pictures on FB and friends were asking how I did it. So here is a tutorial.  I appologize for the crappy pictures.  My camera's new lens has a really looooong focal length, and the original 50mm lens it came with no longer has an auto focus, and I can't do everything left handed.  SO you get crappy, slightly blurry photos.

First, head over to your local craft store and pick up your supplies.

  1. Blank wooden sign boards.  
  2. Some sort of Primer (if you're working with light colors, probably not necessary if you're going to use a black base coat, but I primed all mine anyway) - I used a spray paint white primer.  
  3. A wood safe sealer.
  4. Acrylic paint in whatever colors you are going to want to use.
  5. A sponge brush
  6. Small liner brushes - size depends on what type of font you decide to use - for blockier fonts you will want some larger brushes, but you will probably want some VERY fine brushes too.
  7. Ball point pen
  8. Pencil
  9. Designer fonts
  10. Computer program to print out fonts, printer, and paper. :)
Start by lightly priming your wood.  Get a smooth coat across the top and don't forget to do the sides.  Several light coats that won't drip or clump is best.  The lighter your base coat of acrilic paint is the thicker and more opaque you will want your primer coat to be (so you don't see the wood grain through).

Let dry throughly.  Then apply 2-3 (or more depending on the color) coats of your base color.  I used a small sponge brush for this, doing the sides first and then the top.  Keep your brush strokes going in one directions to keep the top looking neat.  Let the paint dry completely before adding the next coat.

Once the color is how you want it and while it is drying go to your computer and print out your words scaled to fit on your wood sign.  I used a digital scrapbooking software to get mine to just the right size.  I cut mine out to just smaller than the top of the sign so I could center it perfectly.  

Now flip it over and using your pencil color darkly over all the letters.  

Hold the paper up to a light source to ensure you have covered all of the letters.

It will look like this when you are done:

Right side up, center the paper on your now dry sign 

and trace every part of the letters with the ball point pen.  

This will transfer the graphite on the back of the paper to your sign and serve as your guide.  

Using whatever brushes/method you are most comfortable with paint and fill in the lettering.  Add a second coat if needed, and then let dry overnight.

Touch up the next day, let dry per your sealant's instructions (mine says to dry for 24 hours), then seal and let dry again.
I use 2 eyelets and double 'S' shaped carabiners to hang them from - if you think of something better let me know!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Balls to the Wall

I forgot my tripod today, so no videos of my dogs at practice today.

Since Trophy was so off at agility Tuesday, I did just a few (maybe 10) boxturns down and back over one jump with him and one boxturn down over one jump with a full run back.  He felt off when i was restraining/revving him, but he didn't look tweaked.

I did full runs with Pan with a few other dogs in the team.  First full run she blows out the last jump and runs completely though the tunnel in the corner of the room.  Um, wtf?  That's a first...  Then she continued to blow out the last jump unless I ran her in anchor...  very weird behavior for her, but our junior handler was helping run a dog so our already small runback was very crowded.  I'm going to chalk it up to that and hope she does better at our next practice since it'll be the last one before our next tournament.

Then my Demo, my awesome Demo flyball prodigy.  We worked on running over jumps past stationary experienced dogs with everyone on leash.  He was very good despite the other two new dogs constantly trying to run up into his face.  I need to do a lot more desensitizing with him.  He's very good at focusing on me, but I'm really afraid that if we have a dog cross over on him there's going to be bloodshed.  He's very uncomfortable with strange dogs crowding him.

Since that's my worry, next I worked on the exact same drill we did with him last week, two ungated jumps, two gated jumps to a ball on the floor and back.  This week he refused to stay in the jumps, so we need to work on that.  I think I've relied too much on gates in his limited practices, so next week I'm going to work only on his boxturn and recalls over ungated jumps until he understands he has to go through the jumps always.  I digress, so I'm sending him to a ball, as soon as he gets the ball i'm having a teammate recall Trophy over four jumps in an ungated lane.  Demo chased him twice, the first time I barely got his attention.  The second time I screamed UH-UH just as he blew out the ungated jump to chase Trophy (his favorite game) and he dropped to the floor like i shot him.  He didn't chase Trophy again, he stayed in our lane even though he still blew out the ungated jumps.  yay!

So we put Trophy up and I worked on his boxturn.  No fear transferring from the jump board to the box.  No fear of the noise or motion of the box, then we introduced a ball and his turn went to crap.  Ok, have to work on retrieving a stationary ball from the board.  Next week we will work more on the box.

Overall I am very happy with his progress!  He is driving SO well down for his ball it's almost hard to hold him back and he is driving equally hard for his tug back to me (as in I need to invest in gloves, like, now).

I wish we had practice twice a week because I'm so ready to get him running full runs!! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What We Do For Our Dogs

Tonight at Agility my sister was feeling better so I only ran Trophy.  He was not his normal spunky self.  He was even slow when the teeter sucked him on board while we were heading towards another obstacle.  My agility instructor said he looked like he wasn't extending his stride and he looked a bit roach backed.  My instructor is also a canine massage therapist, so she felt his spine and when she touched one vertebrae on his back I thought he was going to jump out of his skin he jumped up and flipped around so fast.  She worked on his muscles a bit to ease the spasms, but by the last run of the class he was knocking bars.

So now I have an ice pack and I'm trying to figure out the best way to ice his lower back...

I wasn't planning on having him adjusted at the chiropractor next week since I've been taking it really easy on them in their flyball training... but, well, now I am.

Amazing what people do for their dogs this day in age, isn't it?

Last month when the chiropractor was at our agility building adjusting dogs I took Shiner, Pan and Trophy.  Shiner has a completely smashed pelvis from a run in with a car before he was even picked up by the shelter.  He's also a little shit to the other dogs sometimes.  Ok, a lot of times.  He has been quite chipper and much more zoomie since I had him adjusted.  It's going to be a monthly thing for him.  I'm also hoping to take Qwill this time to see if it helps him and his broken butt.

Anyway, so no major disasters for us in agility, although Trophy wasn't fully in the game physically...  Pan, on the other hand, had her little setter head screwed on straight tonight.  She was amazing.  She was actually hitting and holding her contacts.  She was right with Tasha for directions to either the A-frame or the teeter (which were almost next to each other).  She was taking directions to correct jumps and she was just SOARing.  She's going to be a beautiful dog to watch run when she's finally to that point - her weaves are still a train wreck :).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Train Wreck Agility

Tonight at agility was hard for me.  Tasha hurt herself so I ran both dogs.  Now, Trophy and I are a great team. For the most part we are very connected and he reads me well.  Not so much with Pan.  She's a train wreck most times and she's EXHAUSTING to run.  Her problem/motto is "run first, think later".

I hate front crosses because I can't see where I'm turning into, and we did quite a lot of them tonight.  I am truly surprised that I haven't fallen on my face yet.

Trophy, once again, was sucked up by the teeter when I cued him to the A-frame.  However, his contacts were much smoother tonight.  He paused twice on the A-frame, but he didn't have that smug "I could jump it if i wanted to" look on his face.  He was better with the pinwheels tonight too.  That is one thing Pan has over Trophy, her pinwheels (when she can actually focus on them) are amazingly smooth and natural looking.  Her main problem is her ADHD - she's all over the place, connected, disconnected, what's that shiny thing over there?! Are the rubberized pellets that fell off the A-frame really cookies?!?? WHEEEE JUMPING IS FUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!  The other problem is that, while I work with Trophy a lot outside of the Agility ring, I don't have the opportunity to work with Pan much (and quite frankly, if my sister wants to run agility with her SHE needs to put more work into training her, not me... but my sister doesn't work her, well, at all.)

The other thing I hate about the current class set up is that both of the tunnels are straight.  Yeah, *two* rocket booster tunnels.  Hello, my dogs are pretty speedy little flyball dogs.  Rocket booster tunnels in a course where I'm already sending them to the tunnel when I'm slightly behind them and I somehow have to get back in front of them to send them to a jump or pull them around to the teeter are near impossible.  So yeah, I wasn't thrilled with the course layout tonight, but I always feel like I'm making improvement when I work with Trophy, anyway.

Handstands and Boxturns

Yesterday I worked early, took a wonderful nap curled up with my puppies afterwards, and spent the evening training the dogs.  I'm working on Pan, Shiner, Trophy and Demo to teach them handstands, or the "Circus" Trick as I will eventually call it.

Pan needs more work with hind end awareness, and since my sister won't work with her, I am training her on this since it will also help with flyball (hopefully?).  I didn't work with Pan for this video, however.  I'm always trying out new tricks with Trophy, who picks up on new behaviors VERY quickly and he seems to be quite enjoying this one.

I'm using this currently as foundation 2 on 2 off work with Demo with full intentions of turning it into a handstand eventually.

And Shiner?  Anyone who knows Shiner personally and knows his extreme aversion to anything resembling work has to be asking how Shiner got roped into this... well, Shiner loves freeshaping, and I've gotten him to do a few fun tricks.  Quite honestly the thought of Shiner doing a handstand amuses the snot out of me, so I decided to teach it to him.  I don't know if his body will let him do it in the end, but we're trying anyway.

So I started teaching this several weeks ago.  Trophy knows exactly what I want, but he doesn't have the muscle to quite do it yet.  I'm working on just holding the position over and over with him and occasionally asking him to offer it without the prop board (like when I show people at work what we're working on).

Trophy's part starts at 2:40 and Demo at 4:45.  Also, I messed up the dates in the video, they were all taped on 3.12.12.

Also, sorry for all the dog butt in the video, It was hard to get a good angle.

Now, today was my day off.  I worked Demo on his boxturns again.  I'm SO thrilled with his progress in this one session!!

I think the video speaks for itself.

I WOULD have a video of Trophy working on 2x2 weaves, but Trophy's brain decided to take the day off.  We went outside, he pottied, he took some treats and he chased one "warm up" ball... and then he wouldn't pick his nose off the ground to even try to run through the weaves.

I'm just hoping that whatever is wrong with him isn't going to affect our agility class tonight as we are leaving in half an hour...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunny Sunday Practice

With work being crazy swamped with requests for training consults I didn't think I was every going to get home today.  3 hours of work then 2 new client assessments and my first in home session with a new client.  It was awesome, but I left home at 7am and didn't get home until 4:30pm.

Despite daylight savings meaning I had an hour less sleep last night, It did mean that I had plenty of daylight to get some training and videos done.  Which is good cause I needed to film some demonstrations for my CTDI (Certified Trick Dog Instructor) certification.  When I got that done (which took forever and 4 different dogs to complete) I pulled out the weaves and the practice board for some weave practice with Trophy and box turn learning with Demo.

I've been putting off really delving into weave training because (other than my lack of time) it's recommended that you use toys to train 2x2 weaves and Trophy is just not toy motivated.  However, yesterday at flyball practice I had an epiphany.  I already taught Trophy to retrieve a ball for a cookie... why wouldn't that work for teaching the weaves?  So I throw the ball to get him moving away from me quickly, and he brings it back for his ultimate reward: FOOD.

My other big concern is over working him.  Trophy loses focus VERY quickly. especially when working outside and when toys are involved... so I did 5 minutes and quit on a good note.  It was very hard for me not to keep working on it, but I just have to remind myself that, in the long run, more SHORT sessions will be better. :)

Then I moved on to Demo's box turn.  He catches on so darn fast!!  Several things I noticed to yell at myself for: 1. pick a word and go with it!  I'm telling him hup, box, and ball.  I catch myself doing this with my trained dogs too.  Some times it's ready box, sometimes ready go, and mostly (i think?) Ready ball.  Bad dog trainer, bad.  2. Make sure to keep an eye on how much the board is sliding down.

Last is something that I couldn't see at the time because my back was turned, but I need to bring home the jump board as as soon as I took the front box prob makeshift thing away he cheated his way off the board without doing a nice tight turn.

Over all, very very happy with his performance.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All is Good in Flyball

Had a wonderful, if not small, flyball practice today.  We have been overrun with new people on our team (which is great!) but it makes working MY new dog (and the height dog I'm training) difficult since there usually aren't enough people there to help everyone else, let alone me.

Today I got some good time working with Demo on his full runs.  I haven't been really working on teaching him his box turn.  Primarily because I'm short on time, and also because I'm short on wall space on which to set up a jump board (I know, excuses, excuses).  So today we worked on a two jump sequence, ball on floor, two jumps (all gated jumps) and return to tug.  He was marvelous!  He dropped the ball for my tug!  He didn't eat a new dog who ran up to him and got in his way of his tug, even though he was clearly stressed by it!  He was driving so hard for his tug that he bit me. Hard. Twice!  Need to invest in some gloves to run that boy in!!  All of this was new.  He's never exchanged a ball for a tug - usually balls are his primary motivator.  Not today!  I am so proud of him!

So we started adding jumps (without adding gates) until he was running down two jumps with no gates into two jumps with gates, picking the ball off the floor and running back over the 4 jumps.  yay! Now his boxturn is going to be my primary focus in life.  I'm really hoping to have him ready for a team debut in the July tournament in Sandusky.  I'm not going to push him, but that is the goal at the back of my mind.  His debut exactly one year after Trophy's debut.  It's going to be awesome.

No videos of his run as we had a room full of new, young dogs with the zoomies today and I didn't want my camera to be a casualty.

As for Trophy and Pan, I'm continuing my plan of not over running them and drilling picture perfect box turns into their heads.  Trophy is doing EXCELLENT.  If you would refer back to our boxturn problem video taken back in August:

We no longer have the all-forward-motion-stop issue.  He is getting his butt up high on the box and really digging into his turn, even with the prop removed.  However, he doesn't run anywhere near full speed in practice.  Part of this is due to our building being so short, and part because the atmosphere is much more relaxed than at tournament.  We will see if his turn sticks at a tournament.... that will be the true test.

Here is Trophy's video from today:

Oh, and my voice didn't suddenly change, a team mate was running him for the last several runs :)

Pan, on the other hand, I have given up on getting a pretty little boxturn out of.  She is still planting her left rear foot on the ground and using it as a pivot point.  The problem with Pan is that she will crash through low props to plant that foot.  She needs a HIGH prop to force her to jump, but as soon as that prop is gone or low again, she is back to planting her foot.

I guess at this point, knowing her freight train tendencies with props, as long as she remains SAFE in all other aspects of her run/turn I'm not going to be wasting time on fixing it, but rather drilling it in farther with the prop so as to not lose it in tournament.  She continues to amaze me with how much she lives to run that flyball course. She woke me up at 6:30am because she was ready to play.... what a stinker.

Any suggestions on Pan's box turn welcome. I'm open to suggestions!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Welcome to the new home for the BrokenButts online.  Posts will resume shortly - probably tomorrow after flyball practice. :) Hoping I can find my tripod and will have videos. :)
L-R: Koda, Demo, Trophy, Pan, Qwill, Baxter, Shiner

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This blog is The Adventures of the Broken Butts 2.0, continue reading our story at the first blog found here.