Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Syllabus

Two months down, ten to go.

Oh dear... how quickly the months pass!

As I was writing up my March Syllabus I realized I made a tiny mistake on the February Syllabus. It seems I neglected to account for Training Level Four’s On The Road requirement, which is Training Level Two.


While I had noted it in on my master calendar ("Do four items") they never made it to the February Syllabus, and so never made it to my Weekly Worksheets, and so never got done.


So, this month I’m looking at eight, count them, eight items. In light of that, I dropped all Canine Good Citizen activities except Out of Sight Stays, which automatically get worked on during the daily “Hide The Duck.”

I also need to redo Zachary’s Training Level One (On The Road) video as the clipped turned out horribly and I’m too embarrassed to upload it.

Those wretched Training Level Three items are still hanging around – Leash Manners, Stand-Stay and Zen… all still lingering about due to lack of a filmable stranger – or lack of my desire to dredge up a filmable stranger. They are about to be joined by Training Level Four’s Leash Manners – I am so going to have to solve this soon!

I’ve added more Electives to the list. In addition to my much-loved (by me) Photography items, there are now things from Excursions (down in Field Trips). Companionship, Manners and Tricks will be explored to see what the boys already know.

If all goes well I’ll write up another four Electives in March, to begin being worked on in April, and I’ll be so swamped with things to do that I won’t get anything done.

Ok… it’s probably not that bad. Electives are supposed to encompass many real-world things, so assuming I’m getting my boys out, I should be able to cross things off as we go.


(Stop laughing.)

And finally, we have the Trick of the Month, which hails from The Helping Paw. I might never need to close another door again!

(As always, click to enlarge.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week: 8

Seven down (forty-five to go). I’m pleased to report that the dogs were 100% healthy this week.

I, on the other hand, managed to catch a flu that was in neither the HIN1 nor the seasonal flu shots I received earlier in the season.


Accomplished Last Week:

Core Studies – Worked on Stand from Sit and Stand Stay

Quiz results: Still spotty on throwing away trash. Other than that, they did beautifully.

Citizenship – Still working those out-of-sight stays using the Find it! as a reward (the duck is dead, long live the duck!)

Family Member – Zachary is almost to the point where he will let me slip his collar over his head without trying to take it in his mouth (think: horse and bridle.)


There is a marked decrease in both his reaction to outside “thuds” and the length of time it takes him to settle back down again.

Extracurricular – Both dogs are happily jumping over my pseudo-broad jump board.

Just For Fun – Zachary is almost to the point where I can put a cookie on his nose without me having my other hand under his chin to steady his head.


Blue Bar – Videoed TL4 Stand from Sit and Sit from Stand for both dogs. Wrote up ECA – Excursions and Tricks. I am now caught up writing Electives (I was trying for one a week.)

Put up a Scrapbook page of Zachary for Photography – Formal Portrait. Tried to take similar photo of Beau but failed due to his fur coloring and the background. Will try to work out something else.

Released Video – Zachary – Training Levels Four (part 1) – Down from Stand, Sit from Down, Stand, Stand Stay, Handling, and Target.

Planned for This Week:

This is the last week in February.

Back to rain in the forecast.

Core Studies – !@#$ Loose Leash remains. Added last remaining item for this category from the February Syllabus.

Quiz: First two items are for ECA – Dance, the rest are left over from last week and still need work.

Citizenship – Same as last week.

Family Member – Same as last week.

Extracurricular – Same as last week – should be able to video broad jump as soon as the weather lightens up (the spot where I can work on it is rather dark for video unless the sun is out, and it’s been overcast and gloomy.)

Photography – I wanted to do four requirements for February and I’ve now done three for Zachary but only 1 for Beau. That’s not to say I haven’t taken photos for three for Beau, rather that I have only felt successful for one of them.

Dance – Both dogs are four for four.

Just For Fun – Hoping to video this by the end of the week. Zachary is really close.

Field Trip – Rainy weather…

Blue Bar – Need to pick another ECA item – perhaps something from Partner? Will put together a TL 4 video for Beau. Need to write up March’s Syllabus.

(As always, click to see something larger.)

Elective - Tricks

This Elective is about as self explanatory as it gets.

(As always, click to see something larger.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Elective - Excursions

Here is the third and final installment in the Citizen trio for Extracurricular Activities (Electives).

I've decided to let them "sit and stew" for awhile, to see if time improves my thinking on the subject.

Once I get out and about (when the days are longer and the weather warmer) I might gain additional inspiration.

The second page (below) is just to help me keep track of where I've been and how many places I have left to go.

(As always, click for something larger.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week: 7

Six down (forty-six to go) – and my Phoenix (rising from the ashes) of last week turned out to be very short lived. Once again, we spent the majority of the week dealing with intestinal issues that had both dogs whimpering and running for the back door in the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning. Friday night was the first night in two weeks that no one wanted out (at least not enough to wake us up) so there is hope this has finally passed. In all other respects, they seem perfectly fine.

Somewhat ironically, Zachary is obviously packing on the pounds and so I’m faced with finding a lower calorie alternative to his usual treats. I asked the Training Levels group and they came through with some lovely ideas, so we’ll see how it goes this week.

Accomplished Last Week:

Core Studies – I’ve been squeezing in practice for TL4 Sit and TL4 Down as part of Hide the Duck (with being released to find Duck as a reward) in order to avoid food treats. It paid off, as they both passed, first try, when I pulled out the video camera on Saturday (no food, clicker, or Duck in sight.) Yeah! Loose leash is still a problem finding time and daylight, and I’m wondering if I can somehow work instruction time in during normal walks… at least for Zachary. Beau could probably pass as-is at this level and wouldn’t be interested in the treats anyway.

Quiz results: Worked only sporadically as we were keeping treats boring and infrequent. That said, they both did well on what I asked of them.

Citizenship – As with last week, I continued to work out-of-sight stays in the context of the dogs waiting while I Hide the Duck during lunchtime play. Both dogs are up to one minute without issue and I know Beau could go much longer.

(They probably think I’m an idiot for taking so long to hide something they find so fast!)

Family Member – Bad news: Zachary regressed on riding in the car without paws on the console and is still hyper when collaring. Good news: He is definitely reacting to fewer bumps and thumps, and more importantly, is learning to come find me when he does hear them and then walk with me to the cookie jar. Slow and steady leads to peace…

Videoed TL4 Handling (muzzle/teeth) with both dogs.

Extracurricular – Videoed TL4 Target, just to see where they were at, and they passed with flying colors. Neither had practiced the skill since TL3 had been videoed (a couple months ago?) so I was quite pleased.

Just For Fun – Dropped Throwing Away Trash for now, in favor of Balance Cookie on Nose. Beau could do this in his sleep (and I have pictures to prove it!) but it’s new to Zachary. Was able to work on it this week using plain cookies, and he’s coming along well. The hardest part is getting him to hold still while I put the cookie on. I seem to remember that being the case for Beau as well. Once the cookie is there, he will “stay” for several seconds until I release them. Then he does a cute flip with his nose to try to get it. Right now it sails over his back, but I’m going to see if I can’t get him to catch it.

Blue Bar – As mentioned above, videoed TL4 Down, Sit, Handling, and Target for both dogs. Wrote up ECA – Companionship. Have ECA – Excursions mostly done, but left my notes at work so I can’t actually write it up until later in the week. Took more pictures tonight (Sunday) trying to get Beau in Dramatic Lighting, but haven’t had a chance to upload to see how they came out. He doesn’t like the light that much, so I’m not overly optimistic.

Put up a Scrapbook page of Zachary and Fetch.

Released Video – n/a

Planned for This Week:

Tried marking “new” things in green on the worksheet this week – perhaps to inspire me to keep turning things over. Once again, I’m hoping everyone remains healthy!

Weather should be no excuse as it’s supposed to be gorgeous this week.

Core Studies – !@#$ Loose Leash remains. Added two more items from TL4 to replace those crossed off last week.

Quiz: First two items are for ECA – Dance, the rest are left over from last week and still need work.

Citizenship – I’m convinced these items (Zen/Sit-Stay) are permanently etched onto the page, and I’m growing to loath the very sight of them. The problem is getting them videoed, not the actual performing of them, of which both dogs are more than capable.

Family Member – Pretty much like last week, except I’ve brought back TL3 Crate. This is a skill both dogs have, I just need to video it. But it’s boring. And I have to pick up some of the bedroom, as that’s where the crates are. Whine, Whine, Whine…

Extracurricular – Still waiting to get that board in the house. Added TL-4 Broad Jump. Haven’t a clue what I’m going to use for a board, so this might be doomed to failure as well.

Just For Fun – Just need to get Zachary to hold still while I put the cookie on. Getting a flip/catch is Extra Credit, but worth working for over the next two weeks.

Field Trip – Lovely weather….

Blue Bar – Will write up Excursions as soon as rescue my notes from work. I’m thinking of writing Tricks next – partly because I’ve done most of the work in other parts of the curriculum (see The Helping Paw and Tricks) and partly because indoor things are more likely to be actually worked on than outdoor things this time of year.

(As always, click to see something larger.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Elective - Basic Manners

Here is the second installment in the Citizen trio for Extracurricular Activities (Electives). Yes, I know there are some items that look a lot like Companionship. I am having difficulty make the three (Excursions being the third) totally distinct.

I'm assuming that I will need to revise these three once I'm done writing them and have played with them a bit.

For now, they will have to do.

(As always, click for something larger.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Elective - Companionship

To read about Extracurricular Activities (Electives) - click here.

My idea with the Companionship Elective was based on a Fairy Tale I told in my other blog. To read it, click here.

To read a bit (but not much) more about this Elective, click here.

(As always, click to see a larger image.)

Week: 6

Five down (forty-seven to go) – and if last week was “Started great then when down in flames”, then this week was “Started in flames and rose from the ashes.”

Whatever Beau had most of last week, Zachary had at the start of this week. Thankfully, he seemed to have been hit less hard.

Accomplished Last Week:

Core Studies – Loose Leash - This is turning into quit a problem finding time to get outsite while still daylight. I wish I could work on it during normal walks, but hubby is under whelmed by the idea.

Quiz results: Both dogs were 100% on all non-honor activities. The honor works at 20’ away, but anything closer and they break.

Citizenship – Worked out-of-sight stays in the context of the dogs waiting while I hide the duck during lunchtime play. This has the advantage of not requiring a food reward (a prerequisite for a kibble-and-cottage-cheese only week.) This is huge challenge for Zachary (who adores finding the duck) and therefore really great practice.

Family Member – This is the category got to shine while the others were idling. Both dogs will now come when I call even though they are engaged in all-out play. I still need to be a bit louder than normal to get their attention, but they disengage and come running when they hear me.

We are making good progress in the “thud” department, and Zachary not only comes to me when called after he hears thuds (firing off a short volley of barks first) but will then walk by my side (with lots of encouragement) as we go to find the cookie jar for a reward. I’m really pleased with his progress here.

Zachary is also calming down during leashing, but only after Beau has gone out of the house.

Extracurricular – both are shaping exercises, and I avoided them most of this week due to tender tummies.

Just For Fun – see above – although I did work a bit on last Month’s Trick this weekend. My biggest problem is lack of a good item to be “trash”. The paper gets too wet, and crumpled up foil is mouthed (and flattened) so much that I’m afraid someone is going to try to swallow it.

Blue Bar – Videoed Zachary Level Three – Watch (yeah!), Go To Mat, and both dogs doing the Trick (although neither is that exciting.) Wrote a draft version for ECA – Companionship. Photo of the Week: Scrapbook – Light and Shadow.

Released Video – n/a

Planned for This Week:

Starting in on Training Levels Four items. Hopefully everyone will remain healthy.

Core Studies – Kept Loose Leash on the page, but I’m not that hopeful of finding daylight to work on it. Added Down/Sit from Level Four.

Quiz: First two items are for ECA – Dance.

Citizenship – I’m beginning to think these items are permanently etched onto the page.

Family Member – Pretty much like last week, except I’ve added TL-4 Handling.

Extracurricular – Still waiting to get that board in the house. Added TL-4 Target. Dance items are listed in the Quiz.

Just For Fun – Will start on the Cookie trick while I polish the Trash trick in the Quiz.

Field Trip – Weather is iffy – will try to make it downtown.

Blue Bar – Need to write up at least one new Extracurricular Activity. As I was hoping to write up one a week, I am now one behind. Photo of the Week will be something for ECA – Photography. Not sure about videoing Zen/Stand-Stay. Since I don’t feel like videoing “strangers”, anything requiring them will probably not end up on film.

(As always, click to see larger)

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Syllabus

One month down, eleven to go, and I’m thinking I bit off a bit too much for my 2010 goals.

Fine. A lot too much.

The problem isn’t that I put too much stuff on any one dog, it’s that I need to do all those things with both dogs, as just about everything you see on my Weekly Worksheets needs to be done in duplicate.

The weather hasn’t helped, either. All the Citizen stuff was a total washout (literally) as we’ve been pretty drippy out here, and while my boys don’t mind getting wet, I do mind them getting everything else in my house wet.

As I contemplated February, I realized a choice had to be made. I could either revamp my schedule (roughly planned out through May) to take into account what I learned this month, or I could charge ahead full steam and see how many walls I could plow into before the month is through.

I opted for Full Steam Ahead. If I’m going to go down in flames, I’m going down in style. Most of the things that I didn’t finish in January were moved to February, making the shortest month of the year look a wee bit cramped.

I did push Training Levels - Level Four Watch out to March, as I can’t work on it until I finish Level Three. I dropped Level Three Crate since both dogs are quite comfortable in their “home” crates and this is more a technicality of filming than anything they need to actively work on. As watching a dog sleep in a crate is akin to watching paint dry, this whole task might disappear into the ether.

( On The Road Crate is a totally different story, as that requires the travel crate and Zachary is not nearly as comfortable in it… but we aren’t quite there… yet. )

Canine Good Citizen is a Good News/Bad News scenario. The Good News is that the Canine Good Citizen class got rescheduled and now we can actually go. Yeah! The Bad News is that now I can’t strip those items out to try to slim down the month.

On top of everything else, I added items from my two new Electives, Photography and Dance. That’s not quite as foolhardy as it may seem as (a) I’m having a great time photographing the dogs and I would do it anyway, and (b) I’m going to pick the Dance items that help out my Leash Manners and CGC requirements.

Field Trips hasn’t changed – It’s a nice mix of activities and I don’t see any reason to muck with it at this juncture.

And finally, there’s Just For Fun. As last month’s activity came from The Helping Paw, this month I picked a pure Trick: Balance cookie on nose. This is a blatant effort to help me catch up as (a) it’s a really easy trick and (b) Beau already knows it!