Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New Titles - UKC nosework

On Saturday, October 27th, we went to Vancouver for a UKC trial. Gimme came into the weekend needing three advanced legs to complete 4 titles. On Saturday we had back-to-back searches, Vehicles to Exterior.

Vehicles - There were three whole cars to search. Gimme started across the front and turned back when she got halfway across the bumper of the second car. She sniffed the passenger side front tire and door, then went back around the front and down the driver's side. She sniffed under the middle of the car then quickly smelled her way around the back to the passenger side rear tire, where she alerted. Her time was 18.7 seconds (6 seconds behind first place), for Third Place, and finished our Advanced Vehicle title (AV). Our RallyFrEe practice buddy, Glory, got 1st - the breeze was blowing the scent directly to her as she got to the space between the first and second cars. When Gimme searched the breeze was lighter and kinda swirly.

Exterior - This was a good size search area with some landscaping and a lot of "stuff" on the sidewalk. The startline is the orange line behind the larger tree on the right. Gimme started by turning left into the landscaping off the startline. She didn't go far before she turned back to the sidewalk and sniffed around. She sniffed a black plastic cap next to the little bench and gave me a "look", but I didn't interpret it as an indication (my bad), so then she pawed the cap and I called it. Even with my failure her time was just 8.9 seconds - she got First Place, High in Trial, and completed her Advanced Exterior title (AE).

Our drive home was 2 hours and then to Mom's was another 1:15. I fixed her supper and then drove home. I'd spent 6:30 driving and was exhausted. I was still tired when I got up in the morning, Sunday, October 28th. I was pretty certain Gimme was going to be on her own once we got to the start lines for her searches.

Containers - There was a long line of 12 standard white boxes and I was sure we could get it, provided she didn't go into Demolition Gimme mode. Gimme took two steps onto the gym floor and then just froze. She was standing up on her toenails and unwilling to move. I encouraged her, but it didn't help. I finally supported her using her harness and slowly got her to the startline. The judge was very patient. Once she smelled odor, Gimme relaxed a bit and made her way gingerly down the line of boxes. She stutter-stepped at the fifth box, but didn't stick it. When we got to the end of the line, she froze again... but was able to get moving again, heading back down the line and this time indicated on the same box. I called it and she was right. This completed her Advanced Containers title (AC) and since it was the fourth element at this level we also got her Advanced Nosework title (AN). Gimme's time was 24.2 seconds, very slow for her. I was just so proud of her willingness to work under conditions which were clearly upsetting for her. Given the challenge, her time was good.

After the search she got stuck again and I had to help her with support through her harness to cross the full gym floor to the door. Gimme has never had an issue with linoleum/tile floors, never, not ever. In fact the day before, our route from vehicles to exterior was walking through this same gym and she had no issue. One of the stewards said several dogs had issues with the floor and their owners also said it had not been a problem before. She thought maybe the overhead lights were reflecting against the floor and creating some kind of creepy visual for the dogs. This could be it - when we crossed through the gym the day before, we only had the outdoor light coming through the two open doors, i.e. no reflection.

Interior - This was our first Superior run. The search area wasn't especially large (400 square feet max), but there were two hides and two distinct areas. The search area was a convoluted shape and filled with all manner of stuff. Fortunately Gimme isn't bothered by crowded search areas; I was certainly thankful we could search off leash.

Gimme ignored the threshold and the bit of locker room to the left (lowest picture), going into the first big room. She cruised around in there and then went to the second room. Once in there she soon found a hide on the chair under the white board (behind the woman in the white jacket). She did some more searching in this room and then returned to the first room. She showed some interest in the little stool, but left it and checked other areas in the room. Knowing we had a second hide, as she was coming back toward me I asked her to "humor me" by checking the threshold and lockers. She did, snorted her disdain for my stupid nose and went back to the room, quickly alerting on the stool. Her time was 2:30.1 and the fastest dog was 48 seconds. I'm not bothered by her time - when we get to higher levels, her search style and ability will serve her well. I was happy for her to Q on her first attempt at superior.

Our drive home was 2 hours and this time I dropped Gimme at home since she'd been in the car so much already. Then I drove 1:15 to Mom's and fixed her supper before driving home. Over the weekend I spent 13 hours driving 650 miles. I should get a prize for this.

Here is Gimme posing with all her ribbons and new toy. These four new titles bring us to title #59.  Just sayin...

I think she knows the photo routine, since she immediately gets up and lays in front of her ribbons when I start pinning them in place. I guess she wants to make sure I remember what is most important here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Title - Tricks

On September 27th Gimme and I performed the tricks we needed in front of Veda, to complete the requirements for Gimme's AKC Intermediate Trick Dog (TKI) title. The certificate came in the mail today.

Intermediate Trick Dog video - Our ten tricks are: go to place, hand signals (3) exercise, weave poles, paws on arm, leg weave, wobble board, catch a soft toy, fetch to hand, rollover and for an alternate, back around handler (our "otto").

Here's Gimme's certificate...
I'm sure there's another new toy in her future.
Just sayin...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Nosework (1/34)

This night was a series of exterior searches where we were supposed to be practicing a handling technique of keeping our leash at one length, as well as keeping even pressure on it. I wasn't very good at it and frankly I don't see the point. This isn't even remotely consistent with leash handling in tracking.

Exterior 1 video - It was a very large search area with 5 hides. Gimme had the first hide in 14 seconds. She was the only one to go down the landscaping strip. She found the next three hides quickly. Regarding Dorothy's question about whether Gimme notices when I let out the line when she's not close to a hide: I'm sure she does. Since I'm letting out line instead of going with her, to me it sends the message, "You are welcome to check, but you are out of the search area." Because of the direction of the breeze, all the dogs found the hide on the boat trailer last.

Exterior 2 video - Dorothy moved the hides and there were only 3. Gimme found all three of them in 42 seconds. Way to go speedy girl...

Exterior 3 video - This time there was only one hide... part of the challenge was navigating all the chairs. Despite the crowded search area, Gimme has this hide in 30 seconds.

Do note, Gimme used her paw just one time in all three searches. She'd already been rewarded for the hide; I think she was trying to con me.

BTW I am now officially caught up with my blogging.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Title - Nosework

We went into this trial hoping to come home with three new titles. Sadly it didn't work out that way. I have no videos.

AM Container search - We entered the search area and Gimme took a quick tour of the boxes, then turned back and alerted on the third box. It was a false alert. The judge later told me she was one box off.

AM Exterior search - Again Gimme took a quick tour of the area, then came to a thing in the middle of the search area (don't know what it was). She sniffed it, started to move away, then whipped back to it and alerted. Another false alert.

It's so unlike Gimme to give me false alerts, so I was really surprised. For awhile I thought she might not be hydrated well enough, even though she'd had a big bowl of "soup" for breakfast. She hadn't been interested in drinking her coconut water before her morning searches. She was happy to drink after her searches. Later when I walked her, just before lunch, she had a really icky stool. When we first got there, we walked and she was fine. So possibly she had a bad tummy distraction and was just reacting to the first thing to smell like odor.

I made sure to take her for another potty walk before her afternoon searches. I also worked with her while we were waiting, doing tricks and keeping her entertained. It has the advantage of getting her into her working brain. I do this much of the time at class, while we are waiting in the foyer.

PM Interior search - This search was set up on the same bit of open flooring where the container search had been. This didn't seem right to me, since the dogs would be searching for the hide while working through residual scent from the earlier search. They also did the same thing for the novice interior search. The search area was about 15x20, had three tables with chairs around them and some extra chairs. Gimme took her time and was very specific on her sourcing, alerting in the right place. Her time was just over 56 seconds and I didn't think she'd be in the ribbons. Instead I found out she got first place (only 3 dogs qualified) and earned her Advanced Interior (AI) title. Yay for Gimme.

PM Vehicle search - Then we went to the vehicles. At novice level it's only the front bumper (anything in front of, but not including the wheel well). At intermediate it's all of all three cars. Gimme started across the front of vehicles, but then turned back before she got to the second one. Then she worked her way down the side of the first vehicle nearest the startline. She sourced and indicated on the rear tire. This is her first advanced vehicle leg. Her search was just over 7 seconds and she got second place. The first place dog was 5 seconds.

I sure prefer ending on a good note, eh...  As does Gimme.  I like ribbons and new titles, Gimme just wants new toys.  She's certain an Empress can never have too many toys.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

RFE practice (79)

We started with getting better videos for Gimme's AKC Intermediate trick title. She has completed the requirements, but we haven't received confirmation from AKC yet.

I was prepared to follow her and put the leash back on at first, but didn't need to. She did start to wander, but came back right away when I called her.

Heeling w/distractions videoGimme is so drawn to any prop. You know my girl - she's not convinced I have any reason to be the boss of her. Thus she's prone to making her own decisions about what comes next. It's been an issue her whole life. We should work on this more often, eh.

Sidepass into dog video - I'm trying to remember to cue her by stepping my far leg behind the near leg (toward her). It's still a work in progress. I wish I'd had a clicker, but it's one of the things I hadn't gotten back in the van yet. Still she showed improvement. It's probably too soon to be attaching a cue, but I just couldn't help myself.

Center-front pivot video - As usual it takes several tries to remind Gimme to stick with our center-front pivot, i.e. not turn it into "otto". Next time I think I should start going clockwise first, hoping to give her a hint about what behavior we are doing. I did find it helps if I maintain strong eye contact with her.

Backing in heel video - She started out really well, especially since this is the side where she is most likely to turn it into "otto". I think making the first iteration just one or two steps helped a lot. We even got a little backing in heel without a foot target - big progress.

"Fanny" video - I started with tossing treats and having her find "fanny". We haven't done this in awhile, so it took her a little bit to remember how it worked. We need to put some time into this.

"Otto" & "izzy" variations video - Gimme does better with "otto" than with "izzy" - no big surprise. I think I should use the guides to help her learn "izzy" variations, though breaking it down to smaller pieces worked well. Even with "otto", Gimme got uncertain the second time if I did the same pivoting the opposite direction variation twice. If I broke it up with straight-multiple "otto", then she was fine.

"Scoot" video - I'd like to straighten her "scoot"; she tends to angle to my right. Her normal tendency is to do just the opposite in other behaviors, so I don't know why we get the opposite here. I think I want to try using a foot target and clicking when she hits it, starting with very short bits of "scoot".

"Cane" & "orbit" video - She remembered the meaning of "cane" and "orbit", but tends to stop listening to what I'm saying and just repeats it if she hears anything. I wonder if I should use her name when I'm giving her a different cue, to get her attention and hopefully her listening ears.

Distance behavior video - I'd planned to teach Gimme to back to the matt and then spin, but she decided she wants to "scoot" instead. The requirement is to back from center 4 steps and then perform a distance behavior. We were actually backing 5 steps, so all we have to do is fade the matt and work on reliable performance. I saw the "back" getting lower and lower, morphing to "scoot", so I'll also need to practice the two parts separately. I absolutely have to have the clicker so I can mark when she's backing upright and before she turns to look at the foot target. This is an advanced behavior, so we have plenty of time to work on it.

We've also been working on the backward weaves at home, another advanced behavior. It's starting to come together.

We have two more RFE video events this year. I will enter the one in November. She'll be in the worst part of her false pregnancy, so won't enter the one in December. We just need one more leg for Intermediate, which I hope to get in November... then we'll need some time getting our Advance behaviors together.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Nosework (6/33)

It gets dark so early.

Vehicle 1 search video - There were two blind hides. Paul forgot which button to push on the camera, so the recording starts where I was rewarding Gimme for the first hide. The stuff Gimme went to check after the trailer hide was not part of the search, but she often likes to check other stuff and she's so quick it doesn't impact our times, thus, I don't interfere. It only took her 35 seconds to find the next hide, even with the diversion. From there she went around checking stuff. Part of the checking was re-checking scent drifting from the other hides. She wasn't fooled and since she was not showing any sourcing behavior, I called "finished" and was right. I'm getting better at reading this part of her behavior.

Container 1 search video - The instructor said most dogs missed the hide the first time down the line. Gimme did, but only because she was drawn to the larger visual at the other end of the room. Once she turned back and started checking the containers in the chairs, she got the hide the moment she smelled it.

Container 2 search video - Naturally Gimme thought the ball was very attractive, but left it the moment I said we were playing with it. Even with the ball diversion, it only took her 18 seconds to find the hide. Not sure why she left it the first time, but she realized her error and went back to it quickly. Then just 13 seconds to the second hide.

Container 3 search video - We couldn't be sure why there were three false alerts in a row (other dogs did similarly). I think it may be caused by the drain sucking the scent up the row and it was just her first scent in the search. There's no way to be sure. There were two hides, which she did find. Then we went back up the line so she could find them again.

I suggested moving the containers to the other side and changing the configuration to see how the dogs responded. Since we were running through them so fast, the instructor did set it up.

Container 4 search video - This time Gimme did a really good job. She did want one of the containers to be a hide, but didn't try to convince me too hard. The hides and containers had just been moved over from the other side minutes before and the one container she thought might be promising was the one closest to the hide in the other search. So it stands to reason it had more lingering scent on it.

Overall a good class... Next week the classes split back into two groups and we'll be in the earlier one, so there will be a little bit of light for outside work when we arrive at 6:00 p.m.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Urban Tracking (109, 110 & 111)

On Thursday, October 4th, Nadine and I met at Auburn Cinema. She laid a track for Gimme starting in the parking lot, crossing the little lawn up to the building, following the turns of the building, then along the fence rail and back out into the parking lot. It was a cool 57º, the pavement was moist from recent rain and there was no breeze. This track was aged 65 minutes.

Gimme did a really nice job on the building. There were two inside L's and she went right up to the wall turning 90º, i.e. not cutting the corner. Sil calls those "cartoon corners". She did miss one small plastic article there. Her work along the rail and out into the parking lot and following the track around the end of the island was very nice. She had no trouble going out into the open parking lot from there and got the next article. Where she had difficulty was the left 90º (heading back generally to where we'd parked). She missed the turn and instead took me on a lovely walkabout - almost to the island straight ahead. If there was any sign she'd lost the track, I sure didn't see it. I worked her back to the turn using a spiral search and it took her a long time to find it. It didn't help that Nadine wasn't sure exactly where she'd turned. Once she found it, Gimme was solid to the end.

The track I laid for Cricket turned out to be an issue. I started along the perimeter of the parking lot, too close to the road for Nadine's comfort. We have tracked along that area many times, I just don't think we'd ever started there. Cricket tends to zig zag all over at the start. I doubt there'd ever be a start so close to traffic at a trial, so it's a non-issue. We'll just make sure to start by the islands, then move to that area.

Anyway, Nadine kept stopping her with the line in a way that Cricket didn't understand and she just stopped trying. We finally took her to the next article and restarted her.Unfortunately she was now uncertain and was thrown off by some of Nadine's line handling.

The most noticeable was how Nadine tugs on the line to re-center Cricket's harness. I hadn't really noticed it before, but it was really evident here, since each time Cricket stopped tracking and returned to Nadine. I don't think Cricket is as confident as Nadine thinks, eh...

On Saturday, October 6th, I took Gimme to the property where the old Ford dealership used to be. I wanted to replicate for Gimme what we'd done to Cricket to see how she'd handle it. I laid the track, then we drove up the street for a short walk. It was about 60º, the pavement and grass were both wet and there was no breeze. The track was aged 1:15.

Gimme couldn't seem to find the track until we got down to the first corner. She did scan close to the road, but didn't seem to be bothered when I checked the line to keep her from going too far. She really did the rest of the track beautifully.

I am wondering now if the movement of the cars going by on Pacific was disturbing the air and moving track scent around and/or dispersing it. I plan to do a track here again, but I want to reverse it, to see how she handles the part close to Pacific. I won't use this site very often, since there are chainlink fences that limit where I can go and what options I have for track design.

On Friday, October 12th, Nadine and I met at Game Farm park. It was about 60º, the grass was a little moist and no breeze. Her track was 1 hour old. The track was basically a series of transitions back and forth across various paved paths.

Gimme did a nice job with all of them until we got to the big circle of grass on the lower left of the picture. Gimme had found a second "article" at the turn, a square of leather, and we assumed Nadine dropped it accidentally. Gimme wanted to take the right turn, but Nadine said there was no turn there. Since I wouldn't follow her, Gimme was content to go on a walkabout straight ahead. When we got to the path, there were no chalk marks and Nadine couldn't recall where it was supposed to go. Then she remembered she had dropped the leather square to mark the corner. I worked Gimme back in a spiral. Each time she crossed the leg after the turn, you could see she knew it was there, but she wouldn't take it.

I re-scented her on the sock and told her I'd follow her if she'd just show me where the track was. She took two steps then turned to see if I was keeping my promise. Her "look" was priceless, speaking volumes. From there to the end of the track she did very well.

Then when we got home Gimme suffered the greatest outrage of her life!

There was a very large deer in our yard, munching away on apples. It was about 1p.m. and Friday, so the traffic on Boulevard was full and fast. I didn't want to risk Gimme running at the deer, causing it to panic and jump the fence into traffic, so I put a leash on her to get her in the house. Normally the deer come and go over the fence from 9th Avenue where there is a wide grass/gravel strip, unlike the narrow sidewalk on the front.

Here's a picture through the screened window of our intru-deer... 

Gimme thinks it's beyond offensive for them to enter our yard. I say I'd rather they eat the apples than have to pick them up myself. And Gimme hasn't offered to help pick them up, just sayin...