Christmas Time

Rugby had a wonderful christmas. He helped me make a ton of dog cookies and he got turkey neck breakfast and was cooked a spring vegetable dinner (asparagus, scallions, cauliflower, carrots…yum). He loved all of it…he is such a pig ;). So Margot keeps telling me how dogs sort of ‘group’ together based on how much training they have had, and I could sort of see it in the yard but…
We had a guest dog stay the night at our house christmas eve (pretty much with no training) and Mr Rugby the charmer wanted nothing to do with her. He barked at her, sniffed her, and then pretended she wasn’t there the rest of the day. He did the same thing with my cousins italian greyhound minus the barking. These were both small dogs and he loves to play with pretty much any type of dog, but not these ones. Only the dogs at Margots I guess LOL. I was almost worried about him christmas day since he wasn’t really wanting to play the whole day and a half she was here, then she left and he took a nap and woke up and was a mad man again. Yeah for Rugby! That basically means that Rugby snobbed them because they were too ‘stupid’ haha.

He was so well behaved with everone over the house and even though he was just chillin under the table most of the time, he made sure to know where I was (without me asking him too) and if I happened to leave the room…you bet there was a little fluffball following me. I was pleased with him.

I have to admit we haven’t really been training too much. We have played some games though. When there were a couple of crazy kids over my house the other day, Rugby and I practiced some fetches. I think that is what we need to work on….distractions distractions distractions. We also took a few more pictures and we placed a lot that day. We pulled out our negative space yesterday and did a couple then too. We are going to get back to work today though….I promise.

Pictures from the last photoshoot are on a different computer, but I will put them up eventually.

More Pictures

Just throwing some up after an afternoon of picture taking. I think they are pretty self-explanitory…here they are!

Trouble Maker

That couldn’t possible be a word describing Rugby right? Think again!

The other day I was being particularly lazy and did not clean his crate pan after a delicious turkey neck dinner and I had an exam the next morning. Instead of overcoming the lack of motivation I had I decided just to stick him in the little bathroom with the babygate and a bed. How much trouble could he get into right? He can’t even reach anything.

I underestimated him. I came home and found him asleep on the couch. I thought this was rather histerical and could not stop myself from making Rugby own up to what he did and take some pictures with the mess. And here it is…
As I continued snapping away, Rugby’s head got lower and lower, almost out of embarassment which just encouraged my picture taking.

He even looks sweet and innocent here doesn’t he? I call this…plotting.

Yuck School

Okay

Everything is pretty much the same as last time I posted. The retrieve is at 6 inches, and is ready to be moved to 1 ft, but finals are getting in the way of that (tomorrow is the last one! YEA!). Poor Rugby has been pretty bored this finals week, but he is learning some patients! lol This weekend was the first time Rugby got to stay in the house alone out of his crate. He did wonderfully. There was no accidents, and nothing chewed up (that I have found yet :p).

I got *the* cutest pictures of Rugby and Caruso in front of the christmas tree at class. BUT, since my computer is full up (need external hard drive) those are going to have to wait too.
I am full of excuses today aren’t I? :)

Back to studying and in less than 24 hours I will be on winter break!

Update

It has been a while. Rugby pretty much has the down covered. I still need to help him a little bit, but he goes down by himself, with a very purposful plop and some tail wagging. :p I am not sure that the stand is getting too much better. We have stopped focusing on the actually getting up to stand part and started working on the ‘stay’ part. He goes mostly up by himself, and we can stand for 30 seconds and/or walk around him one full circle without breaking/sitting. We only worked on it on time though, so I think he will improve lots the next time we work on it. Hopefully it will help him to better understand what the stand really is too, and help him ‘get it’ more.

Rugby was doing very very well with his dumbell. He was so enthusiastic and he wanted to do it, untill we got to the point that it was about an inch from his face and he had to fetch it. This is the first time he refused to fetch the dumbell, and the first time he was corrected. He was truely offended, and decided….he wasn’t going to fetch. Sooo, we had to get some help to get back on track and with a few extra days of convincing we are back to that point again. I think he is ready to go further away (6 in) because the last time we worked he offered the fetch to me about 87% of the time. We are also moving the dumbell around his face so it isn’t a straight fetch, he has to turn to get it…and the last time we worked on that he was doing it without any help.

Rugby also officialy started his raw meaty bones diet. He LOVES it…a lot. I was surprised that he took to it so quick, because if I were him I am not sure that I would recognize a chicken wing as food right away, but he did. He has gotten progressively better and more efficient at eating chicken wings the past couple of days except one thing…he doesn’t eat the bones. That is a problem, he isn’t going to be getting that calcium and nutrients in the bones and he isn’t benefiting from that tooth cleaning the bones provide. I will give him another chance, but if he doesn’t get it soon I will just grind the bones up and put it in something that he will eat. Since reading the books, I found that there are some people that don’t feed bones at all, or feed them at a significantly lower frequency than the authors of the books I read, so I suppose it isn’t a big deal if I have to resort to grinding them. Oh…and he doesn’t like chicken feet. I though they looked pretty funny and got them to see what he would do with them….nope he just licked it and picked it up, put it down and stared at me like….where is my dinner really at?

The books I read…

‘Raw Dog Food’ by Carina Beth MacDonald
-This was more of a ‘how to’ feed raw efficiently and in a costly manner.
‘Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones’ by Tom Lonsdale
-He is a vet and the book was a ‘why’ feed raw meaty bones. It was after this book that I though ‘oh my god…I can’t feed Rugby kibble any more…we need to switch!’
and
‘raw meaty bones: Promote Health’ also by Tom Lonsdale
-This one is significantly longer and is a ‘why kibble is horrible and raw is not’ book.

And how could I forget new Christmas pictures? They aren’t as bright as the other ones…which is a little dissapointing, but that is ok.

Picture :)

Just a couple of those christmas pictures we took. You can sort of see the nice ‘yellow’ color he has to him LOL. We need to take new pictures. 😉

Let the Games Begin

So maybe I lied about Rugby being ok with the down. When we went back, he was still….nervous about it. He got to the point of when I knelt down to put him in a place, he was laying down by himself, so I snuck the ‘down’ command in there and have been using it since.

He really enjoyed the sit game (not mine…I stole it :p), where he is sitting and I move to various places around him and tell him to sit again, and he has to turn and face me…and sit..again. lol. He likes this game the best when I change places really fast and he can’t really contain himself so when he turns to face me, be hops straigt up and sort of ‘bouces’ to face me.

Sooo, this morning, I wanted him to stop the nervousness so we played the down game (stole this one too). I sort of ‘fake him out’ by starting to put him in a down over and over and then randomly have him down. Rugby though this was soo sooo much fun. He could hardly keep sitting before I actually told him to down because his butt was moving so fast. Now he is pretty eager to go down, and he was plopping down so fast it was hilarious! It was probably a little too soon to do it, since he has only heard the word ‘down’ for a couple of trainin sessions, but at least he is much much happier and less nervous about it than before, so we can slow down again and get it right now that his eyes are back in his head (ha).

He is wayyy cute, I took some pictures of him infront of the christmas tree that I will put up tonight. :) Now he REALLY needs a haircut and a bath, so we might have to redo the pictures when he is sporting a new hair-do…we will see lol.

Forgot the stand– He was doing really well last night, and this morning he wasn’t doing them at all, so he gave me 3 good ones and we stopped. I think maybe he just doesn’t like to do it as much as I have him do it. So after class this morning I went back and put did some more stands (which were very good) and we stopped at 6. It was going to be 5, but he messed up number 5 so we had to do an extra one. He was much happier with his. I think maybe I just have to do the stands a little at a time so his brain doesn’t get fried.

AND–I bought some raw dog food books, so once I finish these books I think we might have to do the big switch. Also found a couple vets that recommend this diet and hopefully they can help us out if I ever get brave enough. Wish us luck!

Happy Thanksgiving

Rugby did his usual training, but nothing really new. The down was lots lots better today, didn’t phase him at all.

Visiting friends this afternoon though, there was a little boy that was just in love with Rugby (don’t really know how old he is…4 maybe?). He was calling him to him, and petting him very gently. Rugby was being soo good with him too. When he could say ‘Rugby’ well enough that he could understand Rugby would trot over to him a give him little kisses on his hands, and if he bent over on his face. It was so nice to watch especially when he was playing with the older kids, bitting and jumping, and playing tug of war and 1/2 a second later would turn around and just give his new friend kisses. When Rugby would wander to far away (trying to get into trouble I am sure) I would call him over and tell him ‘thank you your such a good boy’ and this little guy would just repeat whatever I said to Rugby and even Rugby thought it was cute. He couldn’t help but wag his little tail and lick him to death. I was happy with him and so was this little boy.

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Long time,

So, it has been a while.

Rugby has been diligently working on his stand. 3 days ago we started adding the ‘stand’ command and yesterday he decided he didn’t know what it was, but he didn’t completely forget, just needs some more help so we will continue, on this long long road of the stand.

Rugby’s dumbell came in the mail yesterday too, so we started with that. At first, he really really didn’t like the idea of me putting it in his mouth, but after three times of him trying to run away from the dumbell, he gave up. Since he loves his play retrieve, it didn’t take long for him to decide it wasn’t so bad. Tonight we were doing some more ‘fetches’ and in between the ‘give’ and the next ‘fetch Rugby’s tail was just wagging and wagging and he would try to reach out and grab it. I let him a couple time because it was so funny, and he wasn’t even trying to play with it he just grabbed it and held it like I had been asking him, and giving it when I asked. How can you not smile at that? It was precious.

We also started the down. Rugby thinks this is stupid. He is slowly changing his mind and today when we finished he was going down without telling me that it was stupid. It is coming though, I think he will be much better as we go on. I have been having a hard time trying to figure out how to get him down and give the proper downward pressure on the leash. It is hard since he is so small (5.5 lbs now) and he needs know that me pulling downwards means lay down for later in the game. We have been experimenting, but nothing is really easy like it is with the big dogs.

That is all I can think of right now, but I will try to write more often. Good night…

Good Morning

We worked this morning and got to work on a lot of things. We did more negative space work, and more stands and stays too. I think our stay problem was that we just haven’t been practicing staying for long periods of time like we should so we fixed that this morning. We also did some recalls, and they weren’t awefull, but still. Humph. We just need to do recalls over and over and over again untill we are both sick of them. We will try to work 2 more times today, and see what we can get done.

Thursday Night

So. Class time.

We behaved better than last time, but we still hace lots to work on. So I know this is like the 100th time I have said that we are GOING to GET the stand, but this time we really are–just because we need to learn to ‘down.’ Then our dumbell is coming, and we are going to need to learn that too. We did work on the stand a little this morning and before class, and it isn’t horrible, but it isn’t ready to be a command yet….(or should I say still). We also did the transition to the negative space this morning, and he was actually a little enthused to have something different to go to instead of the boring old place board. He switched over very quick with no issues..yet. :p (not going to jinx myself). At class he even placed to the negative space from 15 ft away. He only got off track twice…maybe three times…(by off track I mean distracted or doing something else besides placing), and I can deal with that for now. The comes….I just don’t get it. He insists that I ask twice, and I keep having to insist that I don’t, and we are in this rut because of it. He did pretty good with some encouragement from the line today though, but he does need to make the move himself and he need to come in closer to me.

On a random note, he got the cutest christmas scrunchie collar thing. It is red and white and has little bells on it. He wore it to class and jungled all over the place.

OH…and he can offically jump on the couch by himself now. He might have been able to before, but he hasn’t really showed an interest unless there were humans on it, and then he always just asked to be picked up out of habit I guess. Today I took his scrunchie collar off and threw it on the couch and he just popped up there to get it for me. :O I was schocked, so I had him do it a couple more times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke…sure enough he can do it! lol

Blah

I know, I know, I know. I am slapping my hand right now for not training enough with Rugby. We did go to the barn today, and he was a little more sensible around the horses, so he could spend less time in his crate. He played and played and played with Joyful, and got wayyy to dirty for his own good. Now I have a filthy dog with muddy paws and a muddy face belly up on the floor. He is worn out! We are getting back on track tomorrow. Really really really need to work on recalls, and need to switch over from the place board to the negative space that he has now (he is plenty ready). And need to do more stands…and maybe introduce the down (or not yet). We also are buying a dumbell to start the retrieve! I am excited about that…he is a retrieving fool already…I think he will enjoy it. :)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the other day we did the place again, and there were people playing football, and Rugby wanted nothing more than to go play with them, but he was working and he was working sooo well! He placed amazingly from past 6 ft away, and knew exactly was he was supposed to be doing. What a good boy!

Fall is almost over!

So just had to take some pictures before all we have is snow on the ground! (YEAH FOR SNOW) Today was our first snow–nothing special but it was so great to see all that white stuff falling from the sky!
This first picture with his tongue out is my favorite 😉

He has been doing pretty well with his training, although it hasn’t gotten all the time that it deserves–he is maintaining pretty well. He wasn’t crazy about having this photo shoot today, and I can’t believe I got him to look at the camera for these pictures.
Last night he went to class with me and he did not let out one peep the whole class. He did bark before class though, and I am glad he got it out of his system before he got me into trouble. :p Seem like he barked at people carrying things the most
(like people moving a folding table, carrrying an instrument, wearing a hood). He also liked when he echoed inside–he is sort of conceited and likes to hear his own voice (just like everytime he chases after his toy he goes and stands in the front door for a couple seconds just so people can see that he got it haha).

Quite the character he is. :)

Pictures

So, snapped a few pictures before bed time tonight. His eyes look much better! :) Still a little redness, but so much less!

This is my favorite picture of the happy guy.

Persistence

Okay, so it was really hard to get up and train again this evening, but Rugby was plenty of energy so we went for it. Just stands and stands and stands then some comes. Stands were good. I think we improved from last night, but it has definetely decreased in quality since last week. Humph. Comes…had to run away still. We were in a different place than where we were this morning, so I guess that is to be expected.

Come

So last night Rugby went to class again. He was having trouble coming though. He did one of two things. 1) Came but stopped a couple feet from me jumping around like a crazy boy or 2) just stayed untill I called him twice and then he proceeded to do the above. So to fix that, when I called him and he didn’t come, I was to run away and hide. It only took him about 15 seconds to become become concerned with where I was and he came :). So we did this a few times last night and did some this morning too. This morning, we did it 5 times and every time I had to run away. THEN, on the 6th time he ran full speed at me and sat down like a pro. We were doing it at different place throughout the house, and when we moved back downstairs I had to run away again, but he was much quicker about finding me.

At first, his stays were aweful last night. I was running around with him before class started and he was not convinced that we were finished playing. After breaking so many times and getting corrected so many times though he was pretty much back to normal by the end.

He was also having trouble sitting when I told him to sit last night too (he would take a couple steps then sit). He wasn’t doing it at home earlier that day or this morning, so I think it was just being distracted..so…we need to find some more distractions at home.

We did stand a little bit last night but it was not as good as it has been.

Phew, we have so many things to work on, it is hard keeping them all straight and finding the time to work on them all! :O He was definetely not on his best behavior last night.

He was a little crazy this morning, and his poor toy can be testimony to that now that it is missing an eye, and has a gaping wound in its armpit. LOL Poor bunny. His xtra large petsmart dog also lost an ear and has a little gash in his stomache (suprising since the toy is way bigger than he is). So violent!

Space

So, we didn’t end up working another time today but we were able to make Rugby his own negative space. :) It is a little bit big, but I figure if it needs another inch taken off the side than that is better than having it cut too short. He DID however, once the negative space was made do a place. We needed to give an explanation to the grandparents (since we used their saw to cut the pvc pipe) so I pulled out his place board, put the negative space on it, and reached for his leash. BUT, he was paying attention, so I turned in a way that I picked him up on my left side said heel sit, which he did both (with no leash or anything) and then i bent over and pointed to the place and gave the ‘place’ command. That amazing little boy went, walked right up there and sat there just staring at me. *melts* What a smarty pants. :) Then he did a very decent come off the board.

Then, they had a little white stool that was similar to one Rugby had placed on before, so I decided to give it a shot. It was a little taller than the one he did before so he was reluctant, but I just snapped the leash on him and helped him up once, then he did it by himself twice. Again…super smart guy.

Quicky

Okay, just practiced a bit more when we went outside to use the bathroom today. This time, the stand instead of going through the typical phases, was just mediocre the whole time. I did not have to actually lift him up, but I did have to continue the whole stroke down to his belly. It improved slightly the last couple we did, so I decided to stop there. We also did a couple of recalls, and he did come a little closer in than yesterday. He also sat very quickly and I hardly had to do any turns when we were heeling. There was at one point he apparently hadn’t finished his business earlier and was very interested in the grass, so I did a pace change, ended with a sit and then let him finish what he had to do. :) We will work more later today.

Over and Over

Okay, so we did have two trainig sessions as promised. First one was a little shaky, because he would sit in heel position when I stoped, but he kept insisting that he face me…in heel position? So when I reached down to move his back end towards me so that he was facing the right direction, he offered the stand because I was touching his back and for the past few days I have been telling him that is what I want. So I had to figure out how to correct the crooked sitting, without asking for a different behavior…that I couldn’t correct after he offered that either because he was actually offering…which is what I want. Soo, I ended up just leading him around by his collar back into the correct position, then doing lots and lots of sits and helping him into the sit very very quickly before he had a chance to get crooked again. So we finally got over that, but then that whole confusion maybe made Rugby not feel like standing as much. We worked through it though, as always, and he worked back up to where he was again.

Seems like we are developing a pattern where he starts off good, then has a brain lapse in the middle then ends good too. Not sure what this is all about but I have noticed that the brain lapse is not as intense any more or as long. Soo, hopefully he will just give up on having all these brain lapses and then I will feel safe to introduce the command.

Later that day when I was waiting for the auto people to put a new tire on my car (drove over a nail..humph….it was unfixable), me and Rugby went outside to work. This was a set of distraction that he didn’t have to deal with before, the car noises, and cars driving by pretty close, and people walking by (couple of the people stoped and stared and said we were doing a great job and Rugby was really smart ;)…but I already knew that lol). So we just did heeling, sitting standing. This time the brain lapse came quicker than normal, but also left quicker than it has been. And he did better in general here than other place. I was pleased with him especially because he didn’t try any of that crooked sitting again. *rolls eyes.*

Oh, one other thing we worked on this morning…coming from a sit-stay 6 ft away. So…he understands that he has to come in my direction, and that he has to sit when he gets there. Problem is….if I am standing up and not kneeling down…he isn’t sure how far in my direction to come. So he will stop 2-3 ft away and sit down and stare at me (incredible cute…but not what I want). So for now I am just backing up a couple of steps, giving the command again, and reeling him in where I want him. When he is sitting there in the right place I have then been giving the heel comand, taking a 1/2 step backwards, so the leash sort of pulls him in that direction and then taking 2 steps forward so he can find heel position again. He is doing really well, except that he stops a little behind me. I think he just needs some practice, but there might be a trick to it that I am unaware of.

He also got a bath this morning, and I just bought some ear cleaner stuff the other day and we used that for the first time this morning. He didn’t really enjoy it but it wasn’t too bad for him :p. Then he got his nails done, and brushed out and blow dried. And now he is a pretty boy again after the all sorts of filthy that he got yesterday playing with everyone. :) What he really needs is a haircut but I just cannot motivate myself to do it right now, so it will wait. HA!

Stand

So I haven’t worked on it as much as I would have liked, but it did get done ever day this weekend. Saturday there was only a small time frame to work with him, so I had to disturb his napping to work. He wasn’t too unhappy about it, but it did drastically reduce the amount of training we could do before he pooped out on me. He was standing beautifully, and all I was having to do was just touch the top of his back (didn’t have to go all the way down and help him up). He was fantastic, and I did just one too many and he quite on me. He just stopped getting up all together and it was back on me again. :(

Sunday was interesting. We worked over at a friends house, where there was an evil cat and a chihuahua mix (?) to distract us. Just regular command he was ignoring so we went for a little walk to get his attention back on me, and he was much much better again, like he was Saturday morning (only helped him once on the first one). We also placed a couple times and did a very lonely sit stay. :p

Today he was tired again by the time I worked him. He spent a little time outside in one of the runs while I worked a couple of different dogs, then got to come out and play while I tried to leaf-blow an entire yard of leaves into a pile (not as easy as you would think :p). Rugby, the little charmer that he is, had almost convinced one of the more reserved dogs to play with him but he only got as far as a couple play bows and a bark. He also spent a good time playing with Duke, the doberman puppy, who was surprisingly gentle with him. When the leaves were done he moved inside with me and played even more with Wrap, his dobe girlfriend. He was really tired from all that playing so we just heeled over to the table, and then did stands around the table. This was at least 2 hours ago and he is still sleeping (in a bed this time though…lol).

It was interesting, because he again died pretty quick, but this time I did not stop and he only had me help him all the way twice, then started doing it by himself again. It was like a fast forward of Saturday-Sundays trainings.

I still have not introduced the word ‘stand’ just because of the back and forth we are doing right now. I think If I can manage to work him twice tomorrow and twice wednesday, maybe we can start with the word Wednesday sometime. Depends how he does tomorrow. :)