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Flashy Friday Week 2!

Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flyball Wall Turn Practice!

Practice Makes Perfect!

Dante is getting a lot of height, I imagine the next step will be to teach him to turn tighter and lower since the flyball box isn't very tall.

We're still working on bringing the jump closer to the wall, for some reason when I try working it closer Dante ends up taking the jump awkward and crashing into the wall instead of making a nice tight turn.

I imagine this is mostly my error as a new handler as opposed to his error. I have a few ideas for fixing it before our next practice this Friday but the problem we're running into is that it's been to hot to practice when I get home in the afternoon. Dante melts down into a puddle of mush and just looks at me like i'm crazy even when I get his favorite toys out! I know he's too hot when he does that!

"Too hot to play mom, i'll just lay here..."

Maybe if I hose him down before we play? How do your dogs do in the heat?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Flyball Friday! Wall Turns

Flyball Friday
Part  2.  -  Wall Turns

We've been practicing our flyball wall turns almost daily, and if possible at multiple random intervals during the day (usually morning and evening since our afternoons have been blazing hot!).

We've had a few hiccups in our daily practice due to things breaking, our fridge/freezer unit decided to go on the fritz...nice of it to do that at the same time a water sprinkler pipe decided to break, and my car window motor possibly went out.... It will no longer roll up for me.

When it rains it pours right?

Dante is starting to get his wall turns! They're becoming much more consistent than when we first started, the ball is slowly increasing in value but he's learning that a tennis ball is a pretty fun toy too, what's really funny is that he can easily fit the whole ball in his mouth and it just disappears beneath his floppy chocolate face flaps of lovable squishiness. To make the ball a higher value and to get him to bring it all the way back to me we've found a way to incorporate tug into our training practice time. Dante loves to tug, it's his favorite game ever! So what we did was - when he brings the ball back I reach carefully into his mouth and we play tug! I know it sounds kind of crazy, but he really is VERY gentle with his mouth so I'm pretty comfortable grabbing onto the tennis ball with a couple fingers and tugging with him for it.

One thing that is super important in flyball is the turn off of the flyball box, now we don't have a flyball box to practice with but our trainer was kind enough to lend us some equipment to practice with until I can get my own. One way to teach a flyball box turn is to practice the mechanics of the turn on a wall, HERE is an awesome post by our trainer over at So Fly about proper box turns.

We've been practicing most of the time using a jump and the padded vertical board, but recently I saw a video where the trainer was teaching her dog to do the turn by jumping over the trainers knee. We decided to give it a go with Dante and he took to the method really quickly! After a few quick repetitions I was able to back away from the board a little bit and his turns were staying pretty high and tight which is what you want in a wall turn or "swimmers turn" as some people call it.

Ultimately what we are looking for is for Dante to land high with his front feet, followed by his back feet, and for his back to be horizontal when he's on the wall.

We're slowly getting it! We're also practicing him jumping quickly back and forth over a short jump, and nose touches to the end of a stick so that I can step further away from obstacles when training.

Happy Fit Dog Friday!
If you have a fast pup who loves to bounce and tug, you should consider flyball! There are no breed or size restrictions in flyball, your dog just needs to be good off-leash and friendly towards other dogs since they run on teams.

More On Flyball Box Turns:

FitDog Friday

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Fun!

DZ + Jack Adventures!

Guess what my amazing hubby did for me! Go on...guess! 

He rallied the family and for my graduation gift they surprised me with an amazing camera!! It's a Nikon D5300 I hope you enjoy our fun pictures as much as I enjoy taking them!

Here is some fun we had over the weekend.

We played at grandma's house, they have 5 acres of fenced-in fields which has been a perfect location for us to work on recall with Jack and of course the pups had a blast running around and smelling everything. 

On another note - 

Ziva's knee is looking great!  We've been stopping by the vets office every Friday for a quick look, our wonderful vet just wants to watch Ziva's gait and make sure things are improving and we're sticking with the Chinese herbal supplements for joint and tendon health. Just taking exercise kinda easy to make sure she makes a full recovery. We're thinking it was just over stressed from exercising to hard, or she strained it during play time.

More to come! Stay tuned for a Dante flyball update! I'm hoping to get to that tomorrow, I thought graduating would make my life less hectic but in reality we've been crazy busy.  Thanks for stopping by!

And if you know anyone in Oregon, preferably the Eugene area...this beautiful boy is still available for adoption!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Training With Jack

Welcome to Our Home!

One thing Dz Dog and I talked about was the idea of building a gate on our front porch. Since Jack was practically feral when we first took him in we ended up dealing with a lot of bolting issues. On a good note he's improved dramatically in the two months we've now had him, and his Last Escape was a couple weeks ago.

We discussed a gate though for a couple reasons, it would allow us to practice with Jack on his front door manners while providing a bit of safety should he make a break for it while we're training, if guests come over it would give us a safety measure so that when the front door gets opened - ideally he'd be stuck on the porch rather than potentially darting into the street, and finally since we plan on doing more fostering in the future it would provide all these same benefits for future pups we work with and train.

So here it is! Our new gate! It's mainly just a visual detterent for potential escapee's. If Jack wanted to he could jump it or go through the side (Not in Our Plans), so we're considering adding a few bars to the porch itself.  As you can see from the pic, Dante, if he wanted to could definitely slip his head through the side and get out, but he isn't motivated to leave me for any reason so he stayed on the porch like a good boy so I could snap a picture.

Also I love the red! What do you think? We thought it was a nice warm and welcoming color and a great addition to our house which is brown with cream accents.

Training a Hound..
So last night Jack and I made a huge step forward. In order to test him "off-leash" but in a safe manner, hubby rigged a 50 pound fishing line leash for me! Being fishing line Jack practically can't feel it, we then attached it to a heavy duty metal leash clip on one side, with a handle on the other end, and gave him about 50 feet to roam.

Jack weighs 50 pounds, but so long as he didn't hit the line at a dead sprint we felt pretty safe using it as a training tool and being able to potentially reel him in if needed.

So with my treat bag full of hot dogs I ventured outside in the front yard (which is un-fenced, lots of kids, lots of cats, squirrels, and other distractions) with Jack.

First we practiced his door manners. I put Dante and Ziva in our backyard so that they wouldn't interrupt my training with Jack.

Step one - Ask for a sit, reward the sit.

Open the door just a crack - Reward him for continuing to sit with the door open, if he gets up we start over with the door closed.

While he remains sitting -  I exited the front door, then asked him to join me with, "Come".  Reward him for coming straight to me through the doorway.

We practiced this for a bit, then did it again when exiting the gate on the front porch. What seems to work really well is just keeping his attention. He loves to do nose touches so when he starts to get distracted I ask for a "touch" and then throw a party when he does. Touch by the way is a great way to teach recall.

We then went into the yard with Jack on the light leash, he did great! All the kids were out on their bikes, roller blades, skateboards, etc. making a bunch of racket. At first I was prepared to call it quits or go find a quieter place to train - he hasn't had much distraction practice.
But he did great! He paid close attention to me because I had yummy high value treats - The Value of High Value Treats.

We walked around the yard, tossed his tennis ball a bit, said hi to some of the kids and Jack was a rockstar about it! 
I was even able to call him back to me when he wanted to go check out the neighbor's cat! All without having to put any pressure on the line!

I'm still not ready to just let him be off-leash in the front yard with me but i'm feeling more confident about my ability to be able to recall him should he do some silly zoomies again.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Me, Myself, and Jack!

Graduation 2015

I am still having a hard time processing that i'm done with school...forever...!!!! I'm so excited! After having been in school for what seems like a lifetime, I now get home in the evening and have time for projects, although I constantly feel like I should be doing homework. I'm so happy!  I just graduated from the University of Oregon with my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, and a concentration in Marketing.

A big thanks to my family and friends for offering so much encouragement and to my wonderful husband for all the support and help you gave me throughout school; knowing when to break out the margaritas, encouraging me, making dinner, helping out at home and with the pups, tolerating my frustrated moments, and for all those late nights editing my papers and helping me go over projects. I have such a wonderful husband!

And now it's time to party!

Photo Credit: Bonita Suraputra
By party of course I mean, drink margaritas and get to all the things i've been neglecting...such as the house.. but with the weather being so nice that's a tough one. I think a good hike is in order, lots of swimming at the lake, and playing with dogs!

Our summer has already started off kinda busy, Dz Dog's auntie moved in with us (she's home from France!) she's my little sister and we get along great! 

We've reorganized the house, made a mess of the house, cleaned, moved her in, we've tackled the yard, I planted my garden, and we just finished building a couple gates on our front porch to help us keep Jack from racing silly circles around the neighborhood while we work on his recall and shenanigans - he's such a silly boy! One last coat of paint and then finished pictures to come!

Jack Update

"Who me? I'm not a silly plott hound."

Well we were really hoping to have sent Jack to his forever home by now, through no fault of his own, his last potential adoption fell through. They're a wonderful family but due to a few family things happening and a cougar problem, we all mutually decided that right now is probably not the right time for a new dog. In the future we're happy to work with them to find a dog, but in the meantime Jack is still looking for his furever home.

We've been working really hard on Jack's Bolting Issue, and last night we had a minor escape and he didn't take off! We had just finished our gates and wanted to see how the dogs would react to a fenced in front porch.  Sure enough they were super excited to see what we had been doing making all that crazy noise, so after a few zoomies Jack stuck his head through the posts in our porch and slipped right out!    Not in our plans...   He did some zoomies around the front yard and behaved like a total punk, but he didn't leave the yard. And he came in for a nose touch when hubby called him. After a few swipes we were able to corral him back into the house but at least this even didn't involve us chasing him down the street! And now we know he can get out if he wants so we may be adding a few posts to our porch railing to make the gaps narrower.

To work on his bolting issue we also recently enlisted the help of one of my agility trainers, she teaches a class called, "Control Unleashed" based on a book written by Leslie McDevitt. She gave us some pointers regarding teaching doorway manners, both for house doors and the crate door. Jack is so smart, he's learning really fast that if he wants to go "out" he has to patiently wait for us to give the "ok". And she had some fun game ideas we hadn't thought of before! I love positive training!

It also helps that we've been working on him sitting before entering/exiting, and he already has amazing crate manners.

Have you guys ever had a pup that bolts? How did you manage to solve the issue?

Now get outside and go play!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flyball Friday!!

What Is Flyball?

OMD we are so excited! Tonight is our first flyball practice and we'll be taking classes from So Fly a fellow blogger and flyball enthusiast!

Flyball is a dog relay race, each team consists of at least four dogs with maybe an alternate to sub in if needed. The course consists of four hurdles placed 10 feet apart, and the flyball box placed after the fourth hurdle. Hurdle height is determined by the smallest dog.

The dogs run their four jumps, grab a tennis ball, run the four jumps back and the next dog goes! Each dog must return its ball all the way across the start line before the next dog crosses, so timing is everything. The first team to have all four dogs cross the finish line error free wins the heat!

Individual dogs earn titles and awards based on points their team earns in racing.

So you would think that a dog with a ball drive like Ziva would be a good choice.

But actually a dog with a ball drive tends to run slower because their reward in their mind is the ball, since they already have their prize they run slower coming back. So Ziva is going to be our agility girl and Dante is going to try out flyball with me!!

Being that Dante loves to tug, he is the perfect candidate for flyball. As soon as he brings the ball back he'll be rewarded with his toy! He's super fast and in excellent doggy shape so i'm hoping he'll pick the sport up fast so we can try out competing with a team!

His dearest toy that he loves so very much...

We've already been practicing having him fetch a ball to play tug and he's doing really well!
Another great thing about this sport is that all dogs of any size/breed can participate!

I'm pretty excited about this, after seeing how much more focus on me and confidence Ziva has gained from agility we're pretty excited to see Dante's focus improve.

Wish us luck!
Now Get Outside and Go Play!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Love My Veterinarian

I thought that with school coming to an end things would get far that is not the case. In fact it seems like we've been busier than ever!

Back to the Vet's Office
I feel like I see my vet staff to often, on a good note I love the staff and we have an amazing Veterinarian. First it was Jack, getting him neutered, all checked out, and vaccinated. Then Dante broke a tooth, we had to have it looked at, then went back in for the extraction surgery, then the follow up appointments to make sure it was healing nicely.

And then last week Ziva developed weird injury like matching bumps on both of her front ankles, and they really did match which was the weird part - so we scheduled an appointment to have them looked at. Then the night before our appointment Ziva was sitting in hubby's lap and when she went to get down she seemed to have a muscle spasm and fell off of him onto the deck instead of hopping down as per usual. After that, she was gimping around pretty bad and not putting much weight on her back left leg - on a good note we already were seeing the vet the next day.

Did I say I love our Vet?  Our vets office has 3 different Veterinarians, our usual doctor is awesome but due to my work schedule we tried out one of the other vets for Ziva. The lady was a dream come true I've met her previously because she used to care for Sasja our now passed away retired K9 bomb detection dog. She had amazing bedside manner, handled Ziva gently and even sat on the floor just visiting with Ziva to make sure she wasn't nervous about it. She is the owner of the clinic, and comes with high recommendations from a friend of ours who takes his current Federal K9 Bomb Detection dog to her, and it turns out she sees all of our local law enforcement dogs! Which explains why she's always so busy and why we haven't had an appointment with her before.

From now on though I'll be sure we get our appointments with her! Ziva always has been nervous at the vets office, but she trusts me so I hold her, bring treats and a tennis ball for rewards and we generally have pretty smooth visits. But this one was super easy, Ziva was a little stressed but she was awesome and handled everything like a rockstar! I think it helped that the vet and one of my favorite technicians talked to her, and loved on her the whole time.

Sasja our retired K9 bomb detection dog.
The bumps on Ziva's front ankles had us all stumped, on a good note she said they aren't cancerous or anything dangerous like that, she seems to think Ziva grabbed something or maybe caught stickers in her skin from running through the tall grass. We're supposed to watch them for now and see if they will go away on their own.

Ziva's movement on the other hand caught her attention, she didn't show any signs of pain (but she is a tough little cookie) while the vet handled her leg, but after some stretching, poking, and prodding her gimp was back and more visible. We're hoping that she just over exercised/ over-played and maybe strained something.  Our vet put her on some anti-inflammatories and a Chinese herbal joint supplement to see if that will help, we already have her on a good glucosamine, and doctors orders to take it easy this week.  **Fingers crossed she'll bounce back on her own! If not, then we'll be doing some x-rays.

Hopefully she isn't developing problems with her stifle joint. I'd like to keep doing agility but not at the cost of Ziva's health.

Happy Tongue Out Tuesday!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Celebrity Look Alikes

If my dogs had human forms, not that they'd want to...I mean really? They are super studly machines, all of them. With rockin bods, four legs which means lots of speed, a nose that can sniff cookies out of any bag, and they live the life of luxury!

But if they did have human forms, here is how I kind of see them.

He's just a good all around lover boy, ladies love him and he's just happy go lucky all the time. Nothing scary or menacing about him, he loves everyone and every animal he meets. But better watch out, mess with his mama, and like Joey Tribbiani he'll kick your butt!

A total crazy man, who loves everyone he meets. Jack is an all around adventure guy and sweet spirit! Don't let his outward appearance fool you though, he likes to kick back and relax. And while he might not always come across as the brightest of bulbs, he's actually a genius! He just likes to see if you'll fall for his big blue eyes.

Ziva the Diva!
Like a true warrior princes she is a strong, powerful, independent female who won't take any flack from anyone. When she's working she's all business.
Look at those muscles! She loves to exercise, especially agility, and lives for her sports. And while she's tough and not afraid to get dirty, she expects to be treated like a lady so you better be polite or she'll kick your butt! Yet she's a total sweetheart who is amazing and has a knack for being really gentle around little kids.
A true over-comer, this gal has pushed past fears and her personality is shining through!

Happy Thoughtless Thursday Everyone!

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Heart Like a Dog, Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop, pet centric

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dog Nail Care

The Dreaded Doggy Clippers...
The Saga Continues

In a previous post I covered why it is important to cut your dog's nails, and how to go about doing so in a manner that aligns itself with positive training.
Doggy Nail Care - Dremel vs. Clippers: How to cut your dogs nails, and why.

Ziva has always hated having her feet touched ever since we first adopted her over a year ago.
Touching her paws would result in shaking, trembling, nervous panting, and "whale eyes". 
We've spent this last year working hard to desensitize her using positive training, and LOTS of high value treats. We've hand filed her nails, handled her feet constantly, exercised her before working on her feet, and even painted her toes regularly to get her used to having her paws handled.

Being that we do a lot of outdoor activities and agility, her nails need to be cut for her safety. She's broken one in the past and we'd like to avoid repeating that experience if we can.

Our sad puppy with her broken nail.
Back when she broke her nail. This was it healing nicely.
We eventually worked her into allowing us to use a dremel.

Usually our setup would require two people, hubby would dremel Ziva's nails while I held her in my lap feeding her treats and attempting to keep her relaxed. If things got too scary we'd take a break. But this seemed to be working.

Relaxing while daddy does her nails.

Well, for whatever reason something was different last time and she panicked, total flash back, the poor girl freaked out. We only managed to finish one foot using a dremel and had to stop. We knew that if we pushed the issue we'd only end up damaging her trust and further cementing that fear in her head.

Feeling hopeless, we considered just quitting. For fear of being accidentally bitten due to panic, maybe we should take her to the vet and have her sedated once a month to get her nails done.
We talked about it...but didn't like the idea of sedation. But the reality is we needed a better solution. This should ideally be a one person job, and we had hoped that by now she would trust us more with her feet. Honestly no one else would be able to handle her feet without having her sedated.

After a couple days we decided to start over. So I researched nail files and found a nice glass file, and came up with a game plan.

We need new associations.

New location.

She can't think we're going to do her nails.

Sounds easy right?

First off, when it arrived this file is supposed to be used wet. So I took Ziva outside, nail file and tennis ball in hand. Dipped the file in the water, introduced her visually to the file, let her lick the water off, and rewarded her by tossing the ball.

Turns out she loved licking the silly file!

Next step, ask for "shake" a trick she knows and is comfortable with, tap her nails with the file, reward by throwing the ball.

Turns out she didn't mind the tapping, since the file was wet she enjoyed licking it while I tapped on her toes. She was a little flinchy at first but quickly relaxed because tapping meant I would throw the ball - her ultimate high value treat.

Next step, I gently held her paw and applied gentle pressure to hold a nail while beginning to file. 

Any attempt on her behalf to escape I would allow and then throw the ball. As that got easier I began to ask her to let me file for a little bit longer in order to earn her reward.

Well baby steps seem to be working!

Our first session took two days to do all her nails, mostly because I didn't want to push my luck.

Our second session we finished in a day! And I managed to paint her nails. All by myself, no helper needed!

For some dogs relaxation therapy is a great place to start, but that didn't work for Ziva.

For dogs that are terrified of having their nails worked on, just remember to be patient, be creative, if you get frustrated or if your pup gets upset - stop and take a break. Figure out what works for you, if you can only accomplish one nail a day just remember to rejoice in those small successes.
If your dog works for a toy or treat, try shaping him/her into tolerating you messing with his paws like we did.

*I have considered teaching her to scratch a surface to essentially file her own nails, but I like being able to control the length, and remove sharp edges.*

Dante is our easy child, usually Dz Dog dad or myself just takes a few min to cut his nails. But this time I decided to infuse some fun in for him as well.
Every nail cut equaled me playing tug with him, this was also great practice for him to "release" his toy and be able to consistently get super excited, and then quickly calm again for another nail.

How do you guys conquer the dreaded clipper experience?

This month we are joining the Positive Pet Blog Hop hosted by: Cascadian Nomads, Rubicon Days, and Tenacious Little Terrier.

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