Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week 26

Twenty-five down (twenty-seven to go.)

Accomplished Last Week:

It’s was a week of failures and new thoughts (see blog posting: Drills)

Core Studies: n/a

Rally Still not “feeling” it when it comes to practicing. I really need more room than I have and as a result everything is feeling clunky and awkward.

Weekly Quiz: See above.

Family Member: We’ve been working on “Don’t run out open door” and they are getting very, very good (and not running out). Same for food on a low table. I left all kinds of yummy things out and left the room completely and the food was still there, undrooled on, when I returned.

Extracurricular: Ugh – trying many things, none of them working.

Just For Fun: Worked on both walking backwards while heeling, and walking backwards while facing me. Both did very well.


Released Video: Beau – Training Levels Three (part 4) – Contacts (walk the plank), Leash Manners (40’, 1 Distraction) Crate (1 minute).

Blog: Certificates of Achievement, Just a Golden, Just a Golden (update), BumpersDrills

Planned for Next Week:

The usual suspects are still there.

As I wasn’t at all happy with Contacts, Scenting, or Retrieve – and I’m not required to do them as I already the four-of-eight optional items for Level Four – I might choose to give them a rest this week and work on other things.

They were supposed to be there to put some fun in the program, and at the moment they are anything but.

The Weekly Quiz will be the official test for the items listed (mostly from Basic Manners). Five passing scores and a total of 8 of 10 possible points = a pass for that item.

... and I really need to dust off the camera and get back to snapping pictures!

(... oops, just noticed I forgot to turn TL4-Down-Stay "black", as it was there last week. My bad.)

(As always, click to see larger)

Finally, for those who made it this far, I'm still working on my new website:

... just for Canine Homeschooling. Feel free to let me know what you think: (or you can just post a comment to this post.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 25

Twenty-four down (twenty-eight to go.) Do you realize the mid-point in the year is only a few weeks away?


Accomplished Last Week:

I cranked out two videos this week (although the ultimate fate of jumps remaining sadly unsettled) plus material for one more.

This week saw the completion of Level Three for both Zachary and Beau (Beau just squeaking by in the waning light of Sunday.)

Core Studies: At last, a breakthrough! After weeks spent dinking around with On The Road Loose Leash with Zachary, making not enough progress to warrant even a footnote here, Zachary now seems to finally get it. (See blogs: Ruts)

Canine Good Citizen:I still have yo-yo on a leash (see Week 24) but he is becoming less… extreme… about it. He’s also spending more time with me than without. At this rate, by the time he’s Beau’s age (in four years) he might actually be good at it.

Zachary’s shiny new Canine Good Citizen manners got a big workout when we went to the Boy Scout meeting in the park. Lots of adults, lots of kids, lots of motion, a few dogs in the distance, a really boring talk (from a dog’s perspective) that lasted 15-20 minutes where I required him to be lying down.

I’d give him an A- on the outing. He needs more “calm” before he gets an A. (In contrast, Beau pulls straight C’s on a good day.)

Rally Not a good week for Rally. I’m struggling finding a place to work on the larger items (serpentine’s, walking backwards…) and I didn’t get time at the Boy Scout meeting like I had hoped.

Weekly Quiz: Zachary’s left turns are a work in progress, but the rest was pretty good. Beau has no problem with this… so long as I’m in the house or yard.

Family Member: Zachary is asymptotically approaching goodness, but he’s remains really far from perfect.

Extracurricular: Finished Contacts (Beau better than Zachary), worked on Retrieve (Zachary better than Beau) – didn’t get to Dance at all.

Just For Fun: n/a

Videoed: TL4 – Crate, TL-3 Leash Manners (Beau)

Released Video: Zachary - Training Levels Three (part 4) with Contacts, Crate, and Heel. Beau - Training Levels Four (part 3) with Distance, Heel, Jump - Broad, Jump - High, and Zen.

Blog: Loose Leash (not), Homeschooling Revisited, Compare and Contrast, Homeschooling - Planning Guide, and Ruts.

Planned for Next Week:

Ok – two weeks left in June, as I’ve decided if the Monday is in the Month, then the week is in the month. So there.

Four more items have been added from my Rally Syllabus, the quiz retains the left turns from last week and adds the left turns from the new items from last week. That’s probably a bad idea, as we’ll get dizzy – we’ll see.

Looking over my plan for June, I note I’ve got some things untouched – and so they have been added (and colored a lovely shade of green.)

I’m going back and thinking again about what it means to Homeschool your Dog and how to create a Homeschooling Curriculum, as I’ve created a web site dedicated to just that. If you’ve read this far and are interested (keeping in mind this site is only a few days only and rather sparse at the moment), visit:

(As always, click to see larger)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 24

Twenty-three down (thirty to go.) Yikes.

This is the first week in a long time (since March?) that has felt even remotely like a “normal” Canine Curriculum Week. Perhaps next year I should just treat Lacrosse Season (March-May) like Summer Vacation for the boys and plan out activities accordingly.

Accomplished Last Week:

I finally released another video this week (listed below.) Yeah! I have the equivalent video of Beau just waiting to go out, once I figure out if I did the Jumps right (standing vs. running past them.)

Core Studies: n/a

Canine Good Citizen: Worked on Loose Leash quite a bit with Zachary. Instead of a pulling dog, I now have a yo-yo dog that goes to the end, then backs up until he is beside me, then goes to the end again. Not pulling, just making it taut. Fascinating, in a train-wreck sort of way, but not really what I was looking for.


Rally I spent a fair chunk of this week in this corner of the teaching world. You can read about our first try HERE, and we’ve had additional quasi-success/quasi-failures since there. The exercises (at this point) are not the problem. Trying to set up the where’s and how’s to practice them - that's the problem.

Weekly Quiz: Zachary is now officially a cabinet-door closing fiend. It is his favorite thing to do, and every time I open a cabinet door he runs over and stands by, waiting for me to tell him when he can close it. The fact he gets a cookie for this behavior is, no doubt, a contributing factor.

I personally think it’s cute because he had a really hard time learning this trick, perhaps because he is a such a gentle soul. I’m happy to report he now pushes enthusiastically, and even looks satisfied with himself when it bangs shut. (Beau has never had a problem with it, and shuts things with the same bull-in-a-china-shop gusto that he applies to most things.)

I didn’t end up testing the tissue item – I couldn’t find the box I was using (I think it was re-purposed during allergy season) and so abandoned it, and neither dog seems capable of reliably Bowing on the first cue despite several weeks worth of effort I dumped into it. It’s possible Bow’s physical cue looks (and the oral one sounds) too much like “down” and I need to rework them. It’s not a problem bowing, it’s a problem knowing I want them to bow.

Hitting the "Easy" button is always a favorite, and both dogs are pro’s.

Family Member: n/a

Extracurricular: We were very busy working jumps (both high and broad) as well as contacts.

Just For Fun: Done! Yes, this was cheating, a bit, as both were already pretty good at it. I’m going to switch to Backing up while facing me to finish out the month, and call it a twofer.

Videoed: TL4 – Heel, TL4 – Jump – High, TL4 – Jump – Broad, Tl3 – Contacts

Released Video: Zachary - Training Levels Four (part 2) - Distance, Heel, Jump-Broad, Jump-High, Zen.

Blog: Rally Syllabus, Six Cone Rally – Practice #1

Planned for Next Week:

We’ll have a new outing this week – the Boy Scout meetings are moving to their summer digs, in a place where dogs are welcome. Zachary, sporting a brand new scarf just for the occasion, will hopefully put his shiny new Canine Good Citizen manners to good use.

The next set of exercises from the Rally Syllabus has been added, and last weeks were moved to the Weekly Quiz. I threw in some Dance items, since anywhere I practice Rally (other than at home) will have enough space to do them.

(As always, click to see larger)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 23

Twenty-two weeks down (thirty-one to go.)

Wednesday was the Canine Good Citizen test - and Zachary passed (see CGC Test Results.) Yeah! Since there are many different flavors of “passing” (or not) depending on the evaluator, one has to ask the question: But did he deserve it?

And the answer is…Yes. Not with a Gold Star, mind you. I had to work way too hard on the Loose Leash/Crowd/Reaction to Another Dog parts for him to be considered an “easy” pass. But sometimes a ‘B’ is a good as an ‘A’, and Wednesday night was one of those times.

That said, I’m going to keep some Canine Good Citizen items on the Weekly Worksheet for at least a few more weeks, just to see if we can’t give those areas he had the hardest time with a bit more (or a lot more) shine.

Accomplished Last Week:

After all the cramming we’ve been doing of late, I sort of let the rest of the week slide by after the CGC test. Oh well, summer is almost here and with luck that will mean an abundance of Homeschooling time to make up for it.

Core Studies: n/a

Canine Good Citizen: (see blog posting: CGC Test Results)

Weekly Quiz: I’m embarrassed to admit we didn’t do enough Weekly Quizzes this week to reach minimum progress.

Family Member: n/a

Extracurricular: We worked on Scenting, with only marginal improvements. My problems are all me and not them. I just haven’t come up with a good way of presenting things yet. Then, to make matters worse, I didn’t make it back to my Icky-Stranger’s office on Friday to retrieve my “articles” before she left for the weekend. No articles = No practices.


Just For Fun: n/a

Videoed: n/a

Released Video: n/a

Blog: Last CGC Pre-Test OutingCGC Test Results, What's Next?

Planned for Next Week:

Per my blog posting this week, with the completion of the CGC Class, I’m going to give Homeschooling AKC Rally Novice a try as one of my 2010 Goals was to enter Zachary in a Match (or Show) by the end of the year. I hope to have time this week to develop some sort of Rally Homeschooling Syllabus. Right now I’m targeting a Show that is usually held in October, which is four plus months away.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue on Training Levels! In fact, Rally Novice covers much of the same ground as Training Levels, so work on one is really just work/practice on the other. It also means I’ll have great On The Road testing opportunities, like Crate (since dogs must be crated for Rally Walkthru’s) and Go To Mat (since the dog needs someplace to Chill), plus all the usual Obedience things. Rally also does Fronts and Finishes, which will give me incentives to finish (pardon the pun) those icky beasties up.

Since Rally covers many of the Weekly Quiz items from last week, I’m just going to ditch that quiz altogether and move on to other things (mostly from Help Paw).

(As always, click to see larger)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Syllabus

Ah, the lovely month of June…

According to my “Master Plan”, I should be finishing up Training Levels Four this month.

(I can hear the laughter from here)

Of course, that assumed the CGC test was going to be mid-may and not tomorrow (some 3 weeks late.) Then again, if you look at what I’ve got left (included at the bottom of the June Syllabus for easy reference) you’ll quickly see I probably wouldn’t have made it anyway.

No matter – we shall press on and hope that with summer’s arrival we’ll magically find extra time that we aren’t finding now (hint: my son will be out of school, which could either be a good thing (no studying, projects, or Lacrosse) or a bad thing (depending on how the vacation, Lacrosse camps, and camping winds blow.)

There are no more classes or tests on our horizons (near or far) and so our motivation must come from within.

(As always, click to see larger)