Archive for the ‘C litter’ Category

Melanie Miller Seminar

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

I was lucky enough to attend the Melanie Miller seminar at Stone Hill Training Center in Central Square NY this past week. Zhora and I attended the Masters day on Monday, and on Wednesday Alice and I attended Puppy in the morning and Green Dog/Young Dog in the afternoon.

It was a wonderful two days! I usually feel like if I get one or two things out of a seminar (things I will actually use), then I got my money’s worth. Well, I MORE than got my money’s worth!

The concept of the “mouse line” (which I think comes from Jenny Damm, IIRC), where the handler should be running where a mouse would be running.

The idea of teaching obstacle independence well enough that a step towards the correct obstacle should be enough for the dog to commit to it, allowing the handler to move to where they need to be next.

The idea of me needing to SHUT THE HELL UP and just tell the dog where to go, perhaps reinforce that they are correct with a verbal (like “weave” or “jump”), but not muddy the water with using the wrong verbals or too many verbals.

Zhora did great on a horribly hot and humid day, she came out of her crate raring to go every time, and I only had to really rev her up halfway through her last turn of the day, and she rallied wonderfully. Love her work ethic so much. On one of my turns Melanie said “you’ve got some moves, girl!”, which I took as a compliment!

Alice was a revelation. I haven’t done much of anything with her for a couple of weeks, so I wasn’t expecting much. She did well enough running a course in the afternoon that one of the people who were there all day asked me if she was really the same puppy as in the puppy session in the morning. She worked her butt off! If I am clear with my cues, she knows and does her job, and does it with speed! I really credit the OneMind Dogs puppy stuff I did with her with this for sure. She had a couple of zooms when her brain was getting a bit fried, but she came right back and worked. And I believe in USING the zoomies (you will see in the videos that I just use her momentum to start running where I want her to go), I think this helps with enthusiasm and it also helps with developing the “team” aspect of the sport. She has a really impressive work ethic.

I didn’t get any videos from Zhora’s day, but here are three from Alice’s. Thanks so much to Sue for videoing as always!

Alice Agility

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Alice is coming along nicely, not worried, learning well, focused. I need to work on obstacle focus, but I’m happy with how she’s doing, especially since right now we’re really only playing one day a week.

Alice!

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

She’s in a bit of an 8 month old shithead phase, so today we did a bit of much-needed reminders about Crate Games and tricks and relationship building. She’s wonderful anyway, it’s normal testing the boundaries stuff, and it’s quite easy to pull her back to being her usual self. I wanted a strong-willed dog, and Vallhunds are that! She face planted while practicing today and got right back up and went back to work, not much phases her so far, which I love. And she is being great with Sue’s new puppy Blast for such a hellion!

(she is not actually weaving 12 poles, we’re still on wide open channels, but she does do a few in line)

Cora!

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Cora RATN!

Cora (AKA Popcorn), Alkemi Corona del Roble LS just because Alkemi Corona LS RATN! She earned her first title today at age 8 months: Barn Hunt Novice!

Cora lives with her uncle (Zhora’s brother) Lobo, Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS, who was the first Swedish Vallhund to earn the Barn Hunt Open and Senior titles, so little Cora comes by it honestly.

Congratulations to Cora and her owner Jan! The Zhoraberts are kicking butt already!

Alice Agility

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

We’ve been doing bits here and there but really haven’t done much other than some very basic things, and look what she can do!

Love this puppy so much. She’s 8 months and one day old. She does a few tiny jumps once a week or less (in case you’re wondering). Love her focus and working drive, love how she isn’t afraid to be wrong, and I LOVE how bombproof she is so far!

Really excited about how fast she’s running and how she’s taking distance and driving to obstacles. I also LOVE that she reads the deceleration cue at the wrap perfectly:

Love how she gets more confident as she goes along!

Alice!

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Alice Best of Breed 5/18/18

Alice (Alkemi Clear Air Turbulence LT) earned her first Canadian Kennel Club championship points today under judge Tony Monk at the K-W shows in Kitchener, Ontario. And she did it it style too! Winning Best of Breed over two specials and two class dogs for (I think) two points (that’s her CKC major out of the way with her first win!).

Yesterday she showed well but Ulla’s Winni (Nina’s half sister – they are both Bibi daughters) won breed and then a group 4 under Swedish judge Wera Hubenthal!

Today she showed really nicely, we worked well together and I think I did a better job with her too. I was thrilled with her. And the judge said very nice things about her when we were getting the picture taken (nice proportions, looks like she could do the job she’s supposed to do, good bone, etc.), and then the photographer dropped a big handful of plastic signs right in front of her (the ones that say what the win was), and she just sniffed at them, and they both commented on what a great temperament she has, no spook at all. Hooray for good genes and Puppy Culture! And kudos to the judge for checking the standard when he wasn’t positive about tails before he made his selections! All the other dogs were bobtails and all came from Ulla, so Alice looked very different, but the judge found her and liked her!

Pluto!

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Can we just take a moment to admire this handsome devil? Pluto (Zhora’s son Alkemi Crusader LT, formerly known as Chex) lives in Los Angeles, his owner Pat is an amazing dog trainer, and maybe he’ll get to be in the movies some day! So happy he has an amazing home, and I can’t wait to see what he and Pat do in the future! He’s growing up very nicely!

Puppy Palooza 2018

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Alice and I attended Puppy Palooza this past weekend at Follow The Leda in Gansevoort, NY. It was an information-packed, well-run, fun, and very informative weekend!

As with any seminar on any subject, it’s important to stay true to your own training philosophies and beliefs, while keeping your mind open to new ideas that could be useful. You keep what you like and discard what you don’t. I have definitely become a fan of the One Mind Dogs methods, because they really do just work and make sense to me and my dogs, and while I am not a “purist” of any method, I do think OMD is far more natural to me than any other, and since I started Alice with the OMD puppy course, I am working within what I started.

What I liked:

  • it really made me conscious of how much reinforcement I am giving away by letting my dogs get it from the environment or each other instead of from me. So I picked up all the toys that could be tug toys, and have already had two tugging sessions this morning. If I want to use tug as a reinforcer, I need to make it valuable, not free. That said, I am not someone who is going to deny my dogs the joy they get from playing with each other. I’m not doing Ruff Love and I’m not aiming for the World Team. I just want to be reasonably successful at my sport and have fun with my dogs, and have my dogs have fun with me.
  • Some really good discussion about tug mechanics and ways to get a dog tugging well (Alice had a decent tug drive but I can see already that just changing a few things has improved it even in just two days). Also not giving up, if you start a tug session, you HAVE to get at least a little tug going before you stop.
  • Some excellent reminders about not being lazy and getting up and USING training opportunities like mealtimes and high energy times
  • I LOVED the motivational posters she has all over the training arena. I usually hate that sort of thing but these were great and actually did make me think.
  • The concept of Transitions (Greg Derrett) – starting at the crate, working on connection and building drive with tug or food from the moment you get the dog out, and between exercises or after an error.

What I will be discarding (or at least adapting):

  • Tara is a Greg Derrett adherent. I am not. I might have appreciated a heads up that the methods being taught were going to be taught strictly within the Greg Derrett/Anthony Clarke framework, rather than just presenting things as “this is the right way” (as opposed to “this is the right way within the GD/AC  methodology”). This was not a huge deal, but it did chafe a little, especially being told that things that didn’t follow this methodology were “wrong”.  I do mostly OneMind Dogs, their methods aren’t “wrong”, they just differ in some ways to GD/AC methods, and for me they work.
  • Reinforcement Zone – I do not want my dog driving to my front, that’s not how I handle. But I will be more conscious of my reward placement.
  • The comments about how puppies should not know what a jump is or what weave poles are. My puppy is sequencing with tiny jumps or just standards, she is working the “offering the jump” exercises, she is learning one set of 2 x 2 weaves, she is running through channels. NONE of these things are harmful to her and ALL are beneficial.
  • Circle work. I am sure it has benefits. But most of those benefits (learning acceleration/deceleration, learning the handler’s running style, learning to switch between reinforcers, etc) can also be had by running small sequences and doing handling flatwork or handling work with hoops. And running small sequences and handling flatwork are more efficient for me. I feel like for me, circle work is what I did 15 years ago, I no longer really think it has benefits that can’t be equally obtained in other, more efficient ways.

Overall, I am glad I went. Both Tara and Jared were really good instructors, and it was a very fun weekend.

Orbit AGAIN!

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Orbit (Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT) won best puppy at the Kandasaga AKC match today! Awesome work again Ruth and Jim!

Orbit!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT had a FABULOUS weekend in West Springfield! At only his second weekend out, he went Best of Breed over a Grand Champion (who won Westminster, no less, so a very nice bitch!) from the 6-9 month puppy class under judge Joy Brewster on Saturday and then on Sunday took Best of Winners over a class bitch under judge Kathy Madden.

Huge thanks and congratulations to his co-owners Ruth and Jim for raising and training and showing and (most importantly) loving him!