Thursday, September 02, 2004


Originally uploaded by Pippin Noodle.
And this is Mom--she's not quite as fast as pop, BUT she's also had two litters of puppies and has another one on the way (due late Oct. visit Moy Farms for more info)


Originally uploaded by Pippin Noodle.
This is my pop running flyball. He averages 3.9 (for those not in the know, that's pretty darn fast)

Eventually it clicks

It's been a big week for me--Tuesday I started my first agility class. I'm one of the younger dogs in the class. There's a pretty old Golden Retriever who's learning for the first time--she did a great job. We practiced a couple new things. "Target", which means "go out ahead of me"--my people couldn't decide on the command--first they used "get it", then "take it", then "touch", but each of those means something slightly different than "go out ahead of me" (Get it means 'fetch'; take it means "pick this up and hold it"and touch means "hit this with your nose). We also started learning to heel on the right side. My people are calling that "fuss" (the German word for "heel), because they are, well, pretty geeky, but I love them anyway.

The thing that's finally started to click for me is running after my person while she dangles the tug and then getting to play tug as a reward. For flyball, it's really good for there to be something to motivate the dog to run as fast as they can back to their person. Some dogs (like Renzo) run for food, some run to get a tennis ball, some run for a tug and some run back just so they can turn around and do it again. I'm pretty focused on tennis balls, but this week, I've started to see that tugs can be fun too. My people have been working together on this--one of them holds me back and the other one runs ahead. She starts yelling my name and says "come" and then I get released and get to run to her.

This week-end is our tournament in Vassar. I can't wait to see what's going to happen and what kind of fun we'll have.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Real competition

Originally uploaded by Pippin Noodle.
This is our team's logo--pretty neat, huh?

So, I just found out that Mom and Pop's team Rocket Relay won the Flyball competition at ESPN's Great Outdoors Games. You can read all about it.

I also found out that the A team on my team (that's Front Runners) is in the top 25 in the world rankings. Pretty cool--and we've got some awesome dogs just starting to compete (Darby the Whippet and Cajun, an All American mix--I can't always remember what she's a "mix" of, but I know that her pop is a staffordshire bull terrier, are two dogs who we're pretty excited about).

Sunday, August 29, 2004

A rainy Sunday

Well, I'm pretty excited because one of my people took me on a really long walk even though it's rainy and yucky outside. One of the tasks I'm learning (which is hard) is to not pull on the leash. The problem is that in my mind, it's pulling that gets me where I want to go, so my people are supposed to stop anytime I pull so that I learn that pulling makes me stop (one of my people sometimes does a variation on this by pulling me gently backwards so that pulling is associated with losing ground--but it really doesn't work that well). The problem is (as it almost always is when people try to train dogs) that they aren't entirely consistent, so sometimes pulling makes me go forward and sometimes it makes me stops. As one of my trainers likes to say, "dogs are gamblers, if it worked once, it might work again", so I keep hedging my bets. One thing that works well for me is getting lots of praise.

Normally, we have flyball practice on Sundays, but today the club where we practice is busy with an agility trial. We were going to go out to a teammate's farm, but it's so wet, rainy and especially muddy, that the captain decided that we should cancel.

Doesn't matter to me one way or the other since I wasn't going to get to go anyway. Since I'm still not entirely focused on going over jumps, I can't be trusted in the open.

I'm looking forward to Tuesday, when my first agility class starts. One of my teammates' person told my people today that they'll have to be careful about training me in both agility and flyball because each has slightly different expectations of how the dog-person team should work together. That was a good reminder, since I want to be first and foremost a flyball dog (though my people would also like me to be a therapy dog, but we'll have to wait a year of so before we'll know if that's something I like. One thing is that I'll have to learn not to jump on people if I want to be a therapy dog. Not sure I'm into that--jumping on people is REALLY fun and so much more polite than just standing there...).

I also heard a whisper that I might get to go to work with one of my people on Tuesday--I love that because there is a whole new set of people to greet.