Sunday, April 27, 2008

What CU is Not!

This was a post on the CU Yahoogroup by Leslie McDevitt, author of Control Unleashed book.....

it has come to my attention that a couple of people out in the world are viewing my work as a rationale for making dogs who are inappropriate for a certain kind of work, do it anyway.those of you who have been on this list for a while,and those of you who know me, know this is the opposite of my intention in putting that book out know that i don't force or push dogs. you know that my emphasis is on reading each dog, honoring themas an individual and adjusting criteria to suit them.from my story about rumor's retirement from Rally, you know that if i even suspect my own dog isn't having what i consider to be enough fun trialing but is rather doing it for me vs for me AND for the enjoyment of doing it, even if he is winning first place and looks showy in the ring and people are coming up to tell me how good he looks, i won't continue to trial the book i talked about criteria for accepting dogs into CU class and said that if a dog didn't meet that criteria, no way should he be in a sport class. i meet dogs all the time who are not only in sport classes but going to trials, who don't' meet my criteria even to be taught mat work near another dog. just because somebody does an exercise from the book at a trial because their dog is stressed, does not mean they are following my system. CU is a system with a lot of thought and heart behind it, it is not random exercises, and part of that system is getting to know your dog and how to meet his emotional needs.CU is about honoring your dog for being who he is and part of that is knowing if you are pushing too much and whether he is OK for any type of sport class or trials. and then if sports are appropriate for him,using them therapeutically to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment and teamwork. the "CU dogs"i work with love their sport and once their anxiety about other dogs or whatever, is taken away so they can put their whole mind on their job, or once their high dis distractability or arousal getting in the way of their performance is addressed so they can concentrate, they really shine in the ring. if they don't enjoy what they're doing enough, yes, part of CU is motivational work but that doesn't mean that every dog should do whatever his owner wants in the name of motivational work; there is a limit to what we are entitled to ask of our dogs. all dog training systems include some type of motivational work because trainers want dogs to like training, but that needs to be balanced with knowing your dog and knowing what's fair to ask of him. i have seen too many dogs stressed out by unnaturally forced 'motivational' work when they were upset. an example is a teacher putting a toy in a border collie's mouth while she was panicking in class and trying to make her tug with the hope of making her like class better; this tremendous pressure shut her down and made her like class even less. you will note that my motivational work comes in the form of the 'give me a break game' where the dog is choosing to ask for more and there is no pressure being put on him.CU gives dogs coping skills to reduce stress or distractibility and tools for the handler to build the dog's enthusiasm to work. that is NOT an excuse for making a dog do an activity he is not suited to--or one that he may be suited to in the future but is not ready for right now. that all goes back to the CU emphasis of knowing and honoring your dog for who he is, adjusting your criteria, meeting his needs would break my heart to think people are out there putting dogs in stressful situations that aren't appropriate for them and saying 'it's OK because I'm doing CU.' it's not OK, it's not CU.those of you who are local to me and who have seen Snap run, know that he is HAPPY when he runs(sometimes a little too happy ) if i look at him before a run and think he looks tired or 'done' for the day i scratch. once during a run, the last run of the day, a dog barked outside the ring (which is something he had to learn to feel safe around) and if it had been an earlier run he would have stayed happy and worked through it, but the combo of that stimulus and his waning energy level from being there all day--bite threshold model stuff, people--caused him to notice the bark and look in the direction while he continued moving with me and following my lead. that was enough for me to happily pretend we were done with our run and run towards the exit, taking the obstacles right at the exit so he didn't feel like we were leaving the ring prematurely which would have felt like a problem to him. i will not run him if he is not at 100% of his comfort level. when it is his turn, he is ASKING me to run, or I am not running him.
feel free to cross post. Leslie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Liz Blasio Seminar

Liz Blasio is a great trainer and I wish she would be in the area so I could train with her. She has been training for over 30 years and knows a lot. She is funny, honest, enjoys training and respects individuals training style.
I was doing some great front crosses with Ryker. As long as I am in the right place it is pretty easy. I am looking forward for her to come again, soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


After 5 rounds, Ryker's Uncle, NAC CH Super Star MACH 9 aka Stellar, has won the 20" AKC Invitational Agility 2007. You can watch it on Youtube. Note the barking while running. Not quite as dramatic as Ryker, but its there.
Stellar placed 3rd in the National Agility Championship in 2008 and was also the 2005 National AKC Agility champion both in the 24" class.
Linda and Stellar got 2nd place in the Maxi Team class in Norway at the 2007 World Agility Championship, where he has been shown since 2005.
He is on his way to MACH 10. I could never dream of getting that far. She truly is dedicated to the sport.

Silvia Trkman Seminar

In February I went to a seminar with two time World Agility Champion Silvia Trkman.
It was great!! Didn't want for it to stop. She is an amazing trainer and really helped me out to do some very nice handling. Ryker enjoyed the experience and he was very well behaved in his crate when the other dogs were running. I shared the ride to Colorado with my friend Julie and her dogs Rift and Cash. We shared a room at the Drury Inn. Rift was signed up to attend the puppy class. I was auditing it. Some of the exercises I already knew to do. But she had some other great ides, which I will incorporate into my classes as well. I have never trained the running contact and the way she showed us really seems like it could work. I can't offer this to my students until I have trained my dogs on it first.
She uses the clicker a lot. Shape, Shape, Shape. Love shaping. Not a lot of people I know understand shaping the way it was intended and it is hard to teach if you don't understand the concept of it.
Having fun in Agility is the most important key to becoming a great team.
Tricks are so important for brain development in a dog. They not only have a stronger bond with the handler, but if they have been trained using PR, Clicker, Shaping etc. it is quit easy to add on Agility "tricks".
Silvia has 3 dogs at this time, Lo and La are Pyrenian Shepherds and Bu is a Border Collie.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Agility With All

Yesterday I went to the Club's Agility practice. It was good. Ryker was exited to do the course. He nailed his weave entry, touched the contact zone and listened to me. I felt like I had control over where he was going.
Raygen, what can I say, he is always great. Rylie..... she had fun. I made her do some jump that she did not take. She is a Velcro dog if you have ever seen one. I basically have to go over the jump with her. Training her has been the most challenging.
Ryddick, I ran him in "public" for the first time. He was great. He stopped at the contacts, very nicely. He had a slight problem with the height of the A-Frame and went all the way into the dirt. I will accept that, to avoid shoulder injury. He confused the Teeter with the dogwalk and did a Luganis. I had him take it again and he was great. Can't wait o run him in a trial. Maybe the next ASCA trial.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bouncing off the Wall

Rylie, Raygen and Ryker are bouncing off the wall. They actually have a very nice swimmers turn, so it is more like taking a turn step off the wall. Looks so easy, but I sure would not try that myself.

Ryddick can't do it yet, but is getting nice and high off the board. He is still a bit clumsy. Who knows if he will ever outgrow that. I do a lot of walking on his hind leg exercises so he gain more strength and balance.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

CU Seminar

I signed up for a working spot with Ryddick for the CU seminar in October. I can't wait. There are so many people that want to get into this and I feel lucky get a working spot. I also hope to get into a private auditing spot. More knowledge is so important in dog behavior.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I have to travel so much more for trials here and I can never make it to any Flyball tournaments. The closest ones are in St. George, UT. 327 miles, almost 5 hours traveling. Yuk! But they happen to be on a date when there are Agility trials and AG comes first. I really don't have any dogs that are ready anyway. Rylie is on sabbatical from all competition. I may do some Agility and Rally in the future. I only need one more leg in Rally Advanced to get her RA title.
I am planning on getting Rykers RAE this year or early next year. I do have to travel to some OB/Rally trials to get some DQ's. I have 3 legs and here are my plans on getting other more....
May 1st
June 6/7/8
August 15/16/17
I should get it in August, but if I have to I will enter on September 12/13/14.
Otherwise I will do Agility with him in September.
I only plan on traveling to Idaho for Rally. Not sure if I am going to enter Obedience. So boring. Not sure what to think of it.
Raygen is on his way of getting his MACH. I am traveling to Idaho and maybe Wyoming. I hope to get it next year or maybe the year after that. It takes so many trials and there just aren't that many around here. I sure would have had a lot more in CA. So instead we do more local trials and that includes DOCNA and USDAA.

Taro and Jiro

Been trying to re-home two 10month old GSD for the last month. They were born May, 3rd, 2007.
Abandoned by their owner and left to starve, a neighbor, Eugene, kept feeding them and they bonded very quickly with him. One day they got into his yard and his dog attacked one of them. Tatsue, his wife got in the middle of it to try and break it up. A bloody thumb caused some other neighbors to call an ambulance. They apparently called AC, since it was a dog bite incident. The GSD were hauled off to AC in Davies County. After 10 days they were bailed out by Eugene. Who put them back into the neighbors yard. He then called Anna, who called me, cause Eugene lives only 3 miles from me.

These dogs are so cool. They have never been exposed to anything and still have the nicest temperament. They are not food aggressive and love people.

Today I introduced them to Raygen, my mellow dog. First we separated them and put a GL on Taro. I then walked in with Raygen on the leash and Taro freaked out for about a second. Raygen gave him all the calming signals there are and Taro responded quite nicely. They sniffed and I took the leashed off and let them go. They played around the yard and chased each other. Taro never showed any aggression, whatsoever. He tried to mount Raygen once, but Raygen, off course, would not have it.

Then I switched with Jiro. It was a bit more tense. He really freaked out and with some help he calmed down and was able to be off lead with Raygen in the yard. He is very insecure and this could be a major problem finding him a new home. I am hopefully going to place Taro this week and then we can work on Jiro and his insecurities. This is going to be a challenge. I hope to be able to get him were he needs to be to get into a good home. Maybe I will brin ghim to the Club sometime for training. That might help him out some.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weave Training

My weave pole training journey started out with Rylie in 2004. Anne Platt was our trainer and she trains channel weaves, no guide wires. Phew! Rylie learned very quickly.

Raygen started out with the channel, too. I attended a training session with another trainer and she had put guide wires on the weave. Poor Raygen was afraid of them. As soon as we took them off he was fine. To this day he can find the most difficult entries to the weaves. It just came natural to him.

Ryker has been trained using the channel weaves, too. He was weaving when he was 9 months old, but I decided to stop until our first trial at 12 months. He sometimes hits them so hard that he bounces back from the second pole. He has to learn to control his speed going into the weaves.
Ryddick is the first of my dogs to learn the weaves with the 2x2 method. He too gets it pretty quickly. He is more cautious going into the weaves and I hope he can keep it that way until he gets older. I don't want to have another Ryker weave issue. At this point I am not in a hurry to trial him in Agility. I plan on starting him in Herding in a few weeks. but that is another post.