Monday, 26 January 2009

Assessment Day

I have really progressed well with Dinky at college, she is walking back 2 meters and targeting a mat with her back foot. I have begun to elevate the target to 2 mats on wood, so it’s about an 2 inches high.
She is also targeting a box with her front feet and now doing a rear movement quarter circle to the left and right on the box. She is just the best dog ever!
Wednesday was assessment day, me and Dinky were stooges for 2 assessments. Dinky decided to do ‘dead’ in one when practicing down. I have free shaped Dinky to play dead and its kind of her default behaviour so if she’s not sure she offers ‘dead’. Dinky was also very well behaved and good demo dog for my fellow students.

My assessment was on Thursday. I woke up at 3 am on Thursday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep for ages thinking about my assessment. Then when I eventually managed to get to sleep I just kept dreaming about my assessment going horribly wrong.
At least in the morning I was well prepared for every eventuality of it going wrong. I was so tired, I’d been training (in my head) for hours!!

For my assessment I taught ‘Leave’ ‘Stay’ ‘Touch’ and Loose Lead Walking all with Clicker Training. Thankfully all went well and I passed, one of my tutors commented that she can see I really know my stuff and the other asked when I was moving to Hull so she can come to my classes. How cool is that!!!
Then my tutor asked if they could use my lesson plans as examples for next year’s students. I’m such a swat, I’ll have no friends left at this rate!!
Me and Dinky stooged again for 1 more assessment.

Ah don’t you just love that great sense of relief when it’s all over and it went well.

In the afternoon a vet came who does alternative therapies and we watched her do acupuncture on one of the tutors old shepherd with bad hips. Wow!!
It was really interesting as she explained how the needles work and what they do from a science medical point of view and how they create energy flows. She also explained it works well used alongside modern medicine and the importance of tests etc to diagnose a condition so the acupuncture is appropriate for the specific condition. She said used incorrectly could make a problem worse. The needles increase blood flow in the area they are inserted so an inappropriate example would be if the discomfort was caused by as tumour, the last thing you want around a tumour is increased blood flow.
Watching the difference in the shepherd’s movement afterwards made me well up a bit it was quite significant.

Our tutor then gave us a little taster of the inappropriate canine behaviour module which we begin in March. I’m really looking forwards to this module and I’m hoping I already have most of the books for this already in my ever expanding dog stuff book collection.

Well back to work, training and finishing those last few assignments before our short break in February.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Christmas, Cold, Courses, Cabins and Clickers

Well Christmas is over and all is getting back to normal, not sure I like this cold weather, its freezing, The good thing is as everything is frozen the dogs stay clean but I think Id prefer to be warm with muddy dogs.
We had dog club parties they were great, the atmosphere at the dog party was fab. Then 2 weeks off for Christmas. I got new walking boots for Christmas which I was in desperate need of.

Just before Christmas I attended Lynda Edmondsons obedience classes in Wigan. As Lynda is regarded as one of the best trainers in the UK I though I would go get some help with training for college. Lynda is lovely and I learnt loads it was fab. I took Dinky and I have been to more sessions this month including a full clicker training day on Sunday which was awesome. I now have to teach Dinky to spin on the box and also to do a back foot target. Lynda has also helped me alot with my competitive heelwork. I have direction now and I’m feeling motivated and positive.

I’ve decided Im doing HTM with Dinky for my advanced dog training at college.
College for the last few months has been hard and many of us have had low marks on our assignments which seems to have demotivated everyone. I feel I have hit a turning point and Im finding writing assignments a bit easier, but hey lets see what the tutors think about them lol.
Im at College now on a block week, I brought both Dinky and Snoopy with me. Stewart is holding the fort at dog club for me. Its freezing and rained all day yesterday which has horrible. Didn’t do much training with the dogs yesterday so took them for a run on the westwood at Beverley racecourse. They were filthy and needed a hose when I got back. My cabin was bit cold yesterday but has now warmed up nicely. The dogs settled and slept all night, got up in time for breakfast but was nearly late due to talking dog stuff at breakfast with other students.

I had a practice run at my assessment today which was good, it’s the real thing on Thursday. Today I got Dinky to walk back 1 meter and target 2 mats on top of each other with her back feet. She also is turning 1 pace to the left and right on the box. I was pleased as she only did this for the first time on Sunday and progressed in a different environment today.
Back at the Cabin now the dogs are crashed out and Im off for pizza in a bit

I have plenty planned for the first half of the year, Snoopy is at Crufts in March, I’m also doing my CAP 1 and maybe 2 with Lynda, Im doing a clicker demo for the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of Wales and College of course always keeps me busy. I have also been asked by the newfy club to do an obedience session, but need to check my diary.
Ive had no internet for nearly 2 weeks as its broke, so the only access I have is when I visit my mums, I felt like I had lost an arm, but now I actually like and have begun to realise how much of my life wastes away in front of the PC. It’s a pain when doing course work if you need to do a search for info, but other than that lifes not that bad without it.