Monday, November 28, 2016

Cue dictionary

I took time to write up a cue dictionary for Chimera, since I was having trouble remembering what some of my cue words were. It's at the top of this blog, or here's the direct link.

Need verbal cues for the following behaviors:
  • Obedience go-out to distant target
  • Reverse heel position (facing backwards)
  • Limp
  • Back foot target to my hand

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

TEAM1 attempt - not yet!

Here was our first attempt at the TEAM1 title, filmed in Sherry's living room:

We received a "not yet" due to a few errors, but they are all easily fixable. Here are the notes from the judge:

Lovely engagement; well balanced energy with your dog! Easy set up in heel position.
Find heel: If you use a verbal/hand signal combination, they must be simultaneous. At 38 sec - you gave a verbal and at 39 sec you gave the hand signal when your dog stalled a bit. Clearly your dog knows the behavior! Now get it to a more confident place with one cue!
small training details (Not part of NY score) - watch your body language. Freeze video at 41 and 1:08 sec and note that you're upper body is tilted backwards - keep straight :). I would have had to think about how to score that if you didn't already have the NY for the second cue.
pivot only needs to be 180- I would have scored this as an NY because your dog is "catching up" at times rather than moving with you - (freeze tape at 1:19 and 1:22 and note how far out of position your dog is at these points). You only need 180!
Find front: Beautiful handling up to1:50 while your dog searched for food - no rush - well done. First two were lovely! Third attempt he is not on the board/straight in front position - see 2:13.
sit and down: No sit! Lovely after that.
lovely backing! Speed around cone not judged so no problem there.
Nose touch - You cannot hold the hand signal - you started the signal at 3:37 and were still holding it at 3:40. your dog clearly knows this one! Give your verbal/signal - and then go to neutral and wait for your dog to finish up on his own!
jump was easy for your dog.
Retrieve is there too. Make sure your dog reaches for the object rather than putting it in his mouth (not relevant here but will be at the second level).
beautiful scent work!
beautiful stay too :).
Your dog is well trained - you have this! Watch your handling - that cost you. Make sure that your dog can use that platform/disc smoothly and continuously with no help from you. It's likely that you were a bit nervous and that was affecting your dog's behavior - that's ok! Both of you will benefit from that experience of nervousness and will get better as you accustom yourself to it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tricks update

I've been getting back to teaching Chimera more complex tricks that require extra body awareness. (We had taken a break from those while he was on restricted activity for his leg injuries.) Some of the fun tricks we've been practicing are:
  • Dig
  • Limp
  • Crossing Paws
  • Pawstand with his back feet up on my arm (something he used to be scared to do)
  • Side passes in front
  • Weaving backwards through my leg
  • Doing backwards circles around me while I turn in the opposite direction
  • Turning 180 degrees from Front
  • Getting into smaller and smaller bowls
  • Holding unusual objects, especially rags, paper, and other light objects that are a challenge for him to hold steady without shaking them
We've been visiting Sherry frequently and he's loving the opportunity to RUN off leash. Today we took the opportunity to record our first attempt at a TEAM1 title in Sherry's living room. I'm not sure whether we passed - I'll post the video here with details once we get feedback.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Retrieving a dollar bill

I started to teach Chimera to pick up and bring me a dollar bill.

I rushed the training process and he started playing with the bill and tore it. Oops!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Finally healed!

Chimera's chiropractor had said that he was pretty much healed up when we saw her two weeks ago, and it's now been confirmed by the rehab vet. He still grumbled at her when she pressed very hard into his groin/inner thigh area, but she said that he's 90% back to normal.

I took him to my friend Sherry's fenced in field on Friday and today, and he was SO happy to be allowed to run and run and run off leash. We also went on an off leash hike yesterday, which consisted of little running but plenty of fast trotting this way and that.

I can ask him to do more challenging freestyle and obedience movements again, such as pivots, sidesteps, backing up, backwards circles, bows, fold back downs, and so on. We can also do retrieves at a distance since it's okay for him to run toward the dumbbell.

And we can play tug and ball! I just have to be careful on the hardwood floor.

We are both much happier now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Good news!

Finally some good news! Chimera saw his awesome chiropractor, Dr Wallace. She found that his pelvis was out of whack, but that was probably from his regular jumping and running while playing with Jasper. He had a few other sore spots and grumbled and snapped at her a few times, however she was able to fully extend his hind legs. His iliopsoas seem to be finally healed! We have another two weeks before our recheck with Dr Yamamoto at the K9 Rehab Center and I'll still have him take it easy until then, just in case. I want a second opinion before I risk anything.

I asked about returning to agility and she said that once he's had another two appointments in a row with no significant problems, we can start easing back into it. Woohoo!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Iliopsoas recheck

Just finished a recheck with Dr Yamamoto. Cai is improved since six weeks ago but not as much as most dogs would be. She is concerned about his slow recovery. The current plan is:

1. Schedule more chiropractic appointments as they definitely help him - I need to call Dr Wallace's clinic and just schedule a ton of appointments way out so that I'm guaranteed to get in regularly.

2. Continue laser treatment twice a week as my schedule allows.

3. Take him off the muscle relaxants since I didn't see any change with them.

4. Continue rehab exercises.

5. Continue restricted activity - no running or jumping or stairs. She said that for some dogs she would have relaxed the restrictions, but since Cai likes to run and jump when he's off leash, we can't risk it.

6. Get information about possible stem cell therapy trials/research from Dr Troy, a fellow vet at Mueller.

7. Schedule an appointment with Dr Sams up in Marin for a second opinion.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Shoulder and harness problem

Since Chimera has to be pottied on leash even in the yard, I got him a new harness that is easier to put on and take off. I can't keep a harness on him all day because it makes his fur mat within 24 hours. (This dog could spend all day sleeping at home and still end up with mats.) The one I got was the Ezy Dog harness:
I knew from a Chris Zink seminar I took a few years ago that having a strap go horizontally across the dog's shoulders isn't good for them, but I thought that for just his short walks it would be okay. I was surprised when I took him in for a chiropractic adjustment a couple of weeks later and his shoulders were VERY sore. He growled and snapped at Dr Wallace much more than ever before. She asked, "Has he been pulling himself up with his front legs onto something? Or pulling in a harness?" OOPS

Fortunately after adjusting his atlas/C1 (at the top of the neck/spine) and massaging his shoulder muscles, he calmed down considerably. And the Ezy Dog harness went into the donation pile.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brain games

Dogs are not natural multitaskers. The first time you ask a dog to sit while he's holding an object in his mouth, he'll most likely drop the object and then sit. Chimera can now hold onto the dumbbell and sit at the same time, but yesterday I asked him to wave a paw while holding it, and his brain exploded. He stared at me, frozen for a good five seconds. Finally he dropped the dumbbell and then jumped on me. "I don't understand what's happening!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It's Chimera's fourth birthday! This is how we celebrated: