Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tree cave

Chimera emerging from the "cave" in this tree:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Barn Hunt

There's a new sport called Barn Hunt gaining popularity around here. It's meant to mimic the work that a ratting dog in a barn would do, as there are bales of straw stacked up and rats hidden among them. The rats are safely ensconced in thick PVC with air holes drilled in. The dog is required to find all of the hidden rats (without alerting on decoy tubes containing rat bedding), as well as go through a tunnel made of straw bales, and climb onto at least one bale with all four feet.

My friend Sarah is trialing two of her dogs in Barn Hunt, and I decided to give it a try since Cai goes nuts over Sherry's pet rats. Sarah put out two PVC tubes with rat bedding inside, and one with an actual rat. Cai sniffed that tube all over, wagging his tail, and we praised and petted him for showing interest. I led him away, and Sarah switched the positions of the tubes. Cai found the one with the rat again, we fussed over him again, and the game was on! With his background in nose work and agility, Cai quickly realized that he could find the rats via scent and had no hesitation about climbing all over the straw bales.

We didn't use any treats since Cai wasn't settled enough to take them, but our support and his natural drive for hunting down tiny critters was enough to build his enthusiasm more with each try. I scheduled another lesson with Sarah in a couple of weeks.

Scissors bite

I'm taking FE238: Structure and Movement at FDSA this term. We're just getting started with learning the basics about bones and muscles, but one of the lectures last week was about the shape of the head and jaw, and included some info on types of bites.

The instructor, Sue Ailsby, confirmed that Cai has a lovely scissors bite.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The princess and the pea

Cai approves of his new mat... on top of his old mat, on top of his regular crate pad and blanket.

We're all packed for Clicker Expo in Reno!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Raw egg

When I collect the chicken eggs in the evening, I put them in my jacket pocket since I need both hands to hold the flashlight and lock up the coop and run. This evening I came in the house, squatted down to untie my shoes, and an egg rolled out from my pocket and across the floor. Before I could even see where it had gone, Chimera snatched it up and carried it up his little steps and onto my bed. He bit down on his treasure and spilled the contents onto my blanket. He then had fun crunching up the shell while I cleaned up the raw egg. He was so proud of himself.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More agility and rally-free practice

Last weekend was busy for Chimera. We went to the Boxing Day agility match hosted by Jump'n Java on Saturday, then to rally-free/freestyle practice hosted by REDD on Sunday.

Agility went well except for Cai doing the teeter fine twice, then bailing the third time, then not wanting to go onto it at all. With weaves he also did them perfectly twice, then started skipping random poles (not the last two, which have been a consistent problem). I suspect a physical issue, and will schedule a visit to his chiropractor as soon as they open again in the new year.

He focused well for about 6 minutes of "ring time" in San Lorenzo DTC's building, then became increasingly distracted by smells / needed a break. After that he was pretty much done with training, even after a break. Tired pup!

Winter solstice and new year's pictures

(Click on any image to see it pop up larger.)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Agility and obedience practice

It's been tough to find opportunities to practice agility outside of classes or private lessons. Fortunately Jump'n Java scheduled 4 fun matches around the holidays, and we were able to attend the one after Thanksgiving, plus we'll be at the upcoming one on Boxing Day.

Cai and I are totally out of practice. This was a new location, outdoors on grass. Despite these things, Cai did super well! He was focused the entire time we were out on the field, other than one time he couldn't resist the allure of the tall grass along a fence line. But no staring off at barking or running dogs, like when we did a fun match a year ago. The power of fresh-cooked rabbit meat helped, but he's definitely gained maturity and focus.

On the Jumpers side, we did a Novice course. The first time I got lost, but the second time went smoothly. I actually heard a few "oooh"s as we finished up. We also did some on-the-fly sequences.

On the Standard side, we mostly practiced the weave poles. We have 10th pole syndrome. I'm going to take some more time to heavily reward the completed poles, and put him back in if he pops out early. If that doesn't make a difference, I'll have to schedule private lessons to help us figure it out.

The best part was that he was eager and fast on the teeter! I babied him and lowered it just a tad slowly the first 2 reps. Then I let it fall normally. He slowed down briefly at the tipping point (which was almost at the end of the board, since he's so fast), then quickly moved up to the edge. The next time, he leaned back when it tipped but was at the end as it hit the ground. WOW!! Then I had to focus on rewarding him for staying at the end, to prevent fly-offs in the future. So proud of my little guy.

On Wednesday we returned to the drop in obedience practice at SLDTC. There were only two other dogs this time. We practiced playing, heeling with tricks, recalls, stays, dumbbell retrieves, and the broad jump. No one bothered to ask why Cai didn't sit on the halts and fronts. (It's because rally-free and freestyle are higher priority than obedience.) We also practiced crating with me 10 feet away or briefly out of sight. He's slowly improving on that front - no barking this time, but a little scratching at the crate door.

Stays with a Yorkie and Sheltie.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Nose touch to object

Chimera has always loved to put things in his mouth and chew them up. I've managed to change that to putting things in his mouth and bringing them to my hand. However for training Match to Sample, I waned an indication behavior that won't involve always messing up the objects he's choosing from. I chose a sustained nose touch. Today I finally got a nose touch to every single one of the 13 kinds of objects I've set aside for this training.

We'll still need to repeat this a handful more times before the nose touch is fully reliable. Also, realistically, the nose touch will still slide them around when he's indicating, but at least he won't be destroying the object.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rally-FrEe Intermediate leg 1

Recorded at ARF for the West Regional 2.

We only scored 137 - yikes! Cai was pretty distracted, but also the scoring is a bit more rigorous now that we're out of Novice. We need to practice a lot before the live trial in March if we want to qualify then.

There is no audio because I played music for us to work to, and YouTube has removed it due to copyright issues. Sad.