Saturday, January 21, 2017

Freestyle music picked, private lesson

No one else showed up to Freestyle class last night (possibly because of the storm), so Chimera and I got a private lesson. I had just decided what song to use for our first routine: I Kissed A Girl by Jill Sobule:

I had a few ideas already for certain parts of the song. I shared them with Judy, who gave me feedback, and then we worked on developing the parts in between. We're about halfway done already!

I need to edit the song file down to between 1:30 and 2:15 in length, then divide it up into sections that I can play and practice to individually.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mat hate

"I don't like the mat. You can't make me use the mat."

He'll get on it for a treat, but he's never been into settling on a soft mat when we're out. He chooses the floor instead. Yet at home, he would never lay on the floor, but always chooses comfy beds. Weirdo.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Musical Freestyle class

I signed up for an advanced-level Musical Freestyle class with Cai. It's taught by Judy Gamet of Dogs Can Dance. The class is for dogs and handlers who have already learned a variety of Freestyle tricks and are looking for help putting a routine together. There are three other students, all of whom already have some basic idea of what they want to do. I entered the class without any ideas; I need help figuring out what kind of music would fit us as well as putting together sequences.

After a warm up for each student, Judy asked me to pick one skill that we already do well, and we brainstormed together. I picked going through my legs. We ended up with a fun sequence that alternates between walking forward and weaving through my legs, and has me stepping both forward and backward as Cai weaves.

For next week I need to come in with another skill to work on. I was thinking of picking paw raises (though I need to be careful of overtaxing Cai's left shoulder) or backing up.

Going through the brainstorming process with Judy really helped me see how I could start putting together multiple moves with a theme. I suspect my biggest challenges will be 1) memorizing the choreography for an entire piece, and 2) coordinating doing my own movements with giving the correct verbal cues to Cai, with correct timing. That part has always been a weakness of mine, such as one time when I yelled "hup!" as Cai ran toward a tunnel entrance during agility class. (He pulled up short and gathered himself for a jump, then stopped and stared at me. I was amazed, as at the time I hadn't realized just how much he does listen to my verbal cues.)

I hope that we'll earn our Masters (aka Excellent) level title in Rally-FrEe this year, and possibly even Champion. Once that's done, I'm planning on transitioning my sports focus to Freestyle. Agility is still up in the air until we get the all clear from Dr Wallace.

Chiro check up

While Chimera enjoyed running through the snow, on the second day's hike he was favoring his left shoulder. We cut the walk short.

He had his regularly scheduled appointment with Dr Wallace a couple of weeks later. He had slightly knocked his pelvis out of alignment again, and his shoulders were much more painful than usual. She said that it was most likely due to the different kind of activity than he's used to, and is not necessarily indicative of anything serious. I was disappointed, though.

We went to the pet store today and I bought a cute little dress for Cai - I've been looking for just the right piece of "formal wear." He flinched when I was guiding his left leg through the hole.

His bad iliopsoas sprains seem to have mostly healed, but now that shoulder is worrying me.

Snow holiday

We spent four days in Truckee to celebrate a real white Christmas with my family. The drive up was stressful since it was snowing, but then we got to enjoy hiking through the picture-perfect snow. I got some nice shots of Cai running in the snow. (Just with my smart phone, as I totally forgot to pack my nice camera.) Click on any photo to see a bigger version pop up.

The little brown dog is my housemate's "foster" dog, who came with us since my housemate was also out of town.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Solstice 2016!

(I had a particularly difficult time wrangling them this year.)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Belly band

Chimera outgrew his puppy belly band a long time ago. He still occasionally marks at Sherry's and at my parents' condo (where we're spending Christmas this year) so I finally made him a new one.

Good news from the chiropractor

Dr Wallace was pleased with Chimera's recovery! She didn't have to do any major adjustments this time. She could tell that I had been doing his new rehab exercises, because his movement was better in his shoulders and he let her extend his back legs more easily. He's still licking his front left foot intermittently and we're not sure why.

I'm to continue with his current set of rehab exercises:
  • Front foot pivot on pilates disc
  • Reaching up and forward with front legs (especially pulling something down from above with his front left leg)
  • Crossing front legs across his chest, and also stretching sideways out away from his body (they go farther than I'd realized!)
  • Back foot pivot on pilates disc
  • Lifting and stretching back legs out

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