Monday, December 29, 2008

Training Thoughts

Today I had a chance to sit down and reflect on Kenzie's training (and to some extent Ness's). While try hard to not make comparisons between our kids the temptation is sometimes to great. Kenzie is an absolute star, retains what she is taught and gives me 200% every time we go and do something and I guess that leaves me somewhat frustrated with Ness's lack luster attitude on occasions. Well Kenzie guess what - my ability as a trainer has been shaped and has grown through having trained your big sister Ness. I am sure that is the reason you are such a success at whatever I try is because of what I have learnt training her.

So girls we are heading out on New Years Eve to the Gawler trial and we are just going to try and have fun in the ring - passing anything will be considered a bonus. After all what better way to spend the evening of your 27th Birthday but in the company of my two favourite furkids who mean the world (and of course your training buddy Tash and Riv hahahaha).

And yes Sandi you have probably said that to me a zillion times so this post is dedicated to all you have said :).

And please in 2009 may you both remain fit and well and with relatively few soreness issues. Kenzie I am expecting big things of you this coming year but most of all lets enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Kenzie and her fur sister Ness want to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and all the best in whatever endeavors they decide to tackle in 2009.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training Session with Tash 23 December 2008

With the big kids trialling obedience on New Years Eve just over a week away we got together for a final practice session before the trial.

We headed off to the main oval at Unley High School just for somewhere different. Well we set up all the UD gear and up show a family with a remote control car. They are buzzing it left right and center around the bottom of where we had the gear set up.

Any way I tried little Miss Kenzie with her first dog in a box. She was ok but a bit distracted. Funny thing she could be half distracted and still went and sat in the box. I also did some heelwork, setting up at the start peg and a few turns. Her heelwork was soooooo nice. She has the most wonderful working position and for a little girl who has never done turns before they were spot on from the very beginning.

I also did a bit of stay practice/Susan Garrett One Jump (on in her case no jump) work. She is a lovely little girl to train and I am looking forward to getting seriously stuck into her training in 2009 and hopefully commencing her trialling career :).

No videos from tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My little girl is growing up

Eeeek my baby girl isn't such a baby any more. She has come into season for the first time at the age of 8.5 months.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kenzie - The first 8 months

A music video I made of a selection of photos I have taken over her life so far. She is absolutely everything I dreamed of and then some. She is a bright, happy, sweet little girl who throws her heart and soul into everything I ask. I am hoping this is a sign of great things to come but at the moment she is just enjoying life to the full and I couldn't ask any more of her.

Who would have thought this time last year I would have been sharing my life with another great bundle of black and white energy :).

Kenzie Bear your a little shinning star.

She is also taking after her sister with her obsession for swimming/fetching at the beach rather than wanting to play with the other dogs. She has always been happy to run up to where she can touch, regardless of the waves crashing around her but will go no further. The past 2 mornings she has actually started to swim and this morning was retrieving the toy in the water :).

Go Kenzie Panda!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Training with Tash - 17 December 2008

Well being good we met up with Tash tonight for a training session. After the last session which ended up in a bit of a disaster I made the decision to train Miss Kenzie first tonight. I took her to the park around 5 for a solid game of ball as well so she wasn't quite as full on. It certainly paid off with a much less feral performance. She only tried to launch herself at me twice during all our training and when told off she did settle.

The session didn't quite go to plan. My plan for the session was 3 separate mini-sessions. Session 1 was to be some heelwork - anti-clockwise and clockwise circles rewarding with food.

Well circle heelwork was a no go. She kept crowding my leg and dictating the "circle". I did some straight line stuff instead which was really quite good. She even threw in a couple of absolutely stunning about turns which weren't really meant to happen the just did. I did manage a bit of circle heelwork. Her duration problem isn't attention so much as she just gets hard to manage as she gets under foot or launches.

Video of heelwork session 1:

Session 2 was to be duration positions/control work as well as restrained recalls. This session went more according to plan and I ended up doing sits and drops with me throwing the tuggy around and teasing her. She did pretty well, I lumped a bit and pushed it a bit far but I did get a lovely sit stay right at the end with some pretty good distance. I also had Tash hold her and we did 3 restrained recalls to the tuggy.

Video of session 2 is posted below:

The plan for the third session was Stand for Exam with me standing in front feeding her. She did well and was happy to stand there with me feeding intermittently and have Tash "examine" her. I also did a small amount of heelwork and by that stage she had settled even further and wasn't quite as crowded or dictating it quite as much.

She is certainly a little live wire when it comes to training. I just need to get my act together and train her some more :).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dogs SA Funday

Today was the Dogs SA Funday at SACA park. The girls had a blast and were both very well behaved. Kenzie coped much better then I had otherwise anticipated and I was a it surprised.

We got roped into doing some of the canine freestyle demo with Carol and the Aldinga crowd. Teach me to show off a few tricks with the air of them. They did a bit of tandom heelwork and tandom tricks. She was happily playing with me during the warm up and didn't freak out at performing off-lead with people around.

After doing that we hung around for the fun competitions. Kenzie and Ness went in the Best Groomed and the Best trick. The person judging had a kid alongside and Kenzie was great even when they approached. She was happily standing or trotting in the "ring" (they were using one of the show rings).

She did freak a bit in the best trick when the kid was close and I went to send her around Ness but I moved back away a bit and she was good.

Anyway the girls won the best groomed as well as an encouragement prize in the tricks. Since they one the best groomed we then had to go back in and compete against all the category winners for Best in Show.

Well my two little super stars were awarded the Best in Show prize :).

After that we had a wander around some of the other stands and I took the opportunity to weigh Kenzie. Kenzie weighed in at 12.2kg - at just over 8 months.

Here are a couple of photos of the pair of them taken the day before.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

A few photos and a training session with Tash

Well whats news since I lasted posted......

Sunday was the monthly DOL meet. I was very impressed with how Kenzie responded. I had warned people that she might be shy and to not try and pat her and she had a good time playing with the other dogs and was even going up to people happily enough for treats :). Here are a few photos that I took at the meet.







Secondly Tash and I decided on Monday were going to get serious about documenting our training with the kids. We drew up training plans and have created a training file for each of them. We had a training session on Tuesday night. Since this is Kenzie's blog I will just report back on her session. She was very feral and note to self in future don't expect a baby to work after she has watched both Ness and Riv work. Having said that it wasn't all bad. Her second session was really nice. We worked on Dumbbell, Heelwork, Stands and Stand for Exams.

Here is the link to the video from the first session:

The only final bit of news is that I decided to measure Kenzie this morning and by my measurement she is ~ 44cm. Little girl better not grow anymore otherwise she might be a 500 dog yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kenzie 8 months old Photos

Well nearly - here are some photos I took of Miss Kenzie 1 week short of 8 months. She is still such a little girl but what she lacks in size she certainly makes up for in personality.














Thursday, November 27, 2008

Last Agility Training for the year

Well last night was the final SAODC Agility training night for the year. An evening of fun relay races and party food.

They had set up two parallel course side by side consisting of jumps set at 300 and a curved flexi tunnel at the end. Each team of 6 ran the course a couple of times and then we all sat down to have food.

Well while we were sitting around I thought I would take the opportunity to take Kenzie out for a bit of a play. She has already down flexi tunnels on a couple of occasions during our normal training session. Somebody else was running there little midget dog on the other course and Kenzie was just brilliant at remaining focused on me and wasn't even interested in the other dog when it ran over to where she was.

Started off sending her through the tunnel and rewarding with either tug or food. Quickly discovered she had a distinct preference for the tug and would snob the food. Any way she was doing really well. Nice confident sends into the tunnel (even better than her masters sister Ness's). I do have to be careful though as she has a tendency to spin and grab my jumper if she is frustrated. We got some quite good distance without me having to baby sit entries and she was zooming through the tunnel.

I tried unsuccessfully to get her to do the jump in front of the tunnel. She would try and run past it to go straight for the tunnel. She did however manage a few if she was centered over the jump but then she would spin before going into the tunnel.

Moved on to stringing two tunnels together. She was just brilliant. The entrance to the tunnel from the other tunnel wasn't nice and yet she did it as smooth as though she had been stringing obstacles together her entire life. Very impressed with my not yet 8 month old munchkin.

By this point I could see Ness was getting ancy at watching so I got her and worked them both. Funny thing is Kenzie was happily following Ness over the jump and through the tunnel and then back over the jump. Once she even offered the next jump.

I came home tickled pink with my baby girl and hold high expectations for her next year when we start getting serious about our agility training. Go Kenzie Panda Bear :).


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sue Ailsby's Training Levels

Well lets see I have been very lazy in training Kenzie as she is pretty easy to manage on a day to day basis with what little commands I have been bothered with. Her extreme obsession for retrieving and chasing her toys when we are out means that there is very rarely a time when she is more than a meter or so from me unless she is off fetching and then its straight out and straight back.

Having said that I made the decision on Monday night to enrol her in classes at the Canine Behavioral School (CBS) for next year. Not that either of us really need to attend to classes for a training perspective but I guess it means she is out and about and it looks to be a good place to train. Now we have signed up there is now the prospect of being "tested" to see if she can go straight into the Gold level class or whether she should start in Bronze.

Given that classes don't start until February I thought I better get cracking on actually working out what she knows and working on bits and pieces with her (other than having her set up at heel which she does without thinking).

The good thing about CBS is that they are manners type classes rather than strictly formal obedience. While there is no doubt I intend on trialling her in the future there is a lot to be said for having a well mannered, confident pet that is a loving and happy companion first and foremost. At the moment she does need to develop confidence if I have any hope of making it in the competition arena with her, especially confidence in people.

Well all that being said I thought I would have a go at Sue Ailsby's Training Levels with her over Christmas as a starting point.

As it says in the introduction to the levels:

"These Levels are written for those who want a coherent training plan. They aren't aimed at obedience competition, or agility, or tracking, or any other particular sport or job. They're aimed at producing a dog who is a willing partner, eager to learn, happy to work, and having the basic civilization necessary to allow her the access she needs to do her job and to allow you the confidence to enjoy being and working with her"

So with that in mind we are starting out at the very beginning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Photos from the Herding Instinct Test

Well I finally chased up the photos of Kenzie on the sheep from the Herding Instinct Test that Karron took of her. Certainly looked to be showing interest from the photos and she is oh so serious about it.




Saturday, November 15, 2008

Southern Agility 15 November

Well tonight was our second to last agility trial for the year, Ness was entered in MA and OA with little success but I let Kenzie tag along for some socialisation.

She had a great time rumbling with Buddy and sucking up to the usual crowd. She seemed slightly more confident that usual and was approaching people for pats rather than trying to cower away. A lot less stress signals from her then I would usually see but then most agility people are great at ignoring her until she makes the approach.

While we were sitting around I took the opportunity to do some dumbbell and metal article work with her. She is now getting quite reliable at returning the dumbbell to hand (although not with a sit yet). Her metal is improving slowly. She is now at the point where she will confidently and reliably grab it from my hand as long as I am holding it. However when I place it on the ground she struggles.

I did some work on shaping her weaving as well. She will happily wrap 2 poles with correct entries. Need to work on getting independence to this behavior rather than me blocking so she is forced to make the correct choice. Interesting tonight I had food in one hand and her tuggy lead in the other and she would routinely chose the toy over food.

Sharon has kindly lent me her puppy see-saw so tomorrow I'll start working on shaping a 2o/2o behavior at the end of the flat board before introducing her to it moving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kenzie Photo Session 11 November 08

Some 7 month old photos of her playing with her enduroball and posing in the yard.







Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kenzie's Benchmark for Duration Heelwork

Well I set myself a task this afternoon to find a benchmark for Kenzie's duration heelwork. I will take the results of a few separate sessions and then use those as a basis for where we are at.

So this afternoon we headed to the local school oval to try for session 1 and I was totally blown away with my little munchkins performance. No visible rewards. No nothing just me and on the first attempt. I did choose to ignore a bit of pogo bouncing in the middle as it was only 1-2 steps before she would get back into proper pace again but she managed 29 seconds until she decided she had had enough and hanging off my sleeve and not letting go was more exciting. During that entire time she didn't drop her head, she was prancing along, pushing me the entire way. To think she is only just a day short of 7 months and to give me that. The most complete, picture perfect, attentive focus. Compared with her sisters 4 seconds on the first attempt and 11 seconds on a second attempt you can bet your bottom dollar which dog I would rather have entered in the ring on Sat night.

Hell Kenzie is going to be an absolute star when it comes to obedience I just know it. In the mean time she is enjoying being a happy go lucky Kenzie Panda Bear.

Little by little LOL

I was just looking over some of my old DOL posts/emails and thought I would tabulate her growth so I could have it all in the one place:

2.4 kg - 11 weeks
4.7 kg - 13 weeks
7.1 kg - 4.5 months (13 August 08) (34cm)
10.3 kg - 5.5 months (19 September 08)
12 kg - ~ 7 months (28 October 08)(42/43cm)
12.1 kg - (17 November 08)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Training Session with Tash

Took the liberty of an extra person to play restrained recalls with Kenzie. She did really well would come flying in to me after the tuggy. I also started her on a stand for exam having her stand and me feeding while Tash approached and circled her. She did some lovely skip sits in front. I also did some change of positions type stuff with having her drop and sit on signal only.

I got Tash do some heelwork with her and the videos of the heelwork are posted below. Her circle heelwork is coming along a treat and her level of focussed attention is just lovely. She is an absolute delight to train :).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where we are at ....

Well I thought I would make this post a review post of where Kenzie with her training so I can start formulating training plans and making forward progress rather than continually stagnate. I will divide it up into General Household Manners, Formal Obedience Behaviors and finally Agility related behaviors.

First up general household manners
  • Her recall is a work in progress, she likes to stick around so losing her is hardwork. I haven't really pushed her recall to any great distraction level but have made hanging with me and interacting the best thing since slice bread. She is quite happy off-lead and I don't have any concerns about her running away. I will continue to call her when she is playing ball and already coming to me.
  • Crating - well I have fallen into the bad habit of having her sleep on the bed with me. She is pretty content to spend the night on the bed without going anywhere or getting into trouble. I should go back to crating her a few nights a week as she is starting to become noisy in her crate at trials/training unless she has been worked first and is tired.
  • Grooming manners - was something I was meaning to work on and just has slipped by the way. She is ok but not flash at being groomed and having things like nails clipped so I need to continue working at that.
  • Her response to ordinary commands like sit, drop in an informal sense is really quite reliable however she does still need to develop some self control with respect to mouthing and launching herself at me.
  • Socialisation is a continued work in progress. She is lacking confidence in certain situations, especially having to interact with strangers/people patting her. She is fine if they ignore her and she is allowed to approach on her terms but if they make an approach to her then she isn't happy and will try and shy away.
Formal Obedience
  • Her heelwork is starting to come along nicely. She has a lovely setting up at heel behavior and a reasonably strong hand touch. I need to work at increasing her duration heelwork and introducing different paces into the equation. Slow and normal seem fine but she gets a bit to excited at fast pace. She will happily work whether there are rewards (toys/food) visible or just because I ask her to. She will work comfortably under situations of fairly heavy distraction - like the meadows country fair and respond to known behaviors reliably.
  • Her drops and sits at heel are nice although I need to work some more on automatic sits as I have broken them by introducing drop. Stand is the only command that is causing as hassles at the moment and the one she doesn't quite understand yet.
  • Her distance positions are really good and pretty reliable at a distance. She will drop and sit although sit isn't as reliable as drop. I have been using both verbal and hand signal and she will drop on hand signal alone.
  • Formal recall - I have really only introduced this in terms of skip sits in front and finding front rather than from a wait/stay.
  • Retrieve/Articles - she will happily pick up her dumbbell and place in my hand but again there is no formality yet. I have no stay and she won't sit in front on the return. I also am working at having her sit in front and hold it without mouthing. In relation to articles she still isn't super happy about picking up the metal but she did pick it up a few times today off the ground. She will hold it if I hand it to her so the problem area is getting it up off the ground.
  • Stays - Not really started on those yet. Need to start I guess but she will hold position for a while if alongside Ness or when she isn't full of beans.
  • Sendaways - she has been learning to go to her hoop and I can put it out on the front lawn and send her from varying distances pretty reliably. I also introduced her to a box a few weeks ago and within 1 session she was happily offering a dog in box behavior when she had never done a box before.
Agility Behaviors
  • Foundation flatwork/circle work - I need to do more of this. I have done limited amounts and the same problem I experience with fast pace for obedience she starts jumping up when she gets excited.
  • Targetting - she happily targets my hand and I have also introduced her to targeting a disc. The problem I encountered with my last disc session is that she thought picking up the target was more exciting then the treat I had to offer. I haven't tried another session yet so will put that on the list of things to do.
  • Puppy equipment - she has been through the flexi tunnels at training and is a happy camper. She will follow Ness through a dark curved flexi and was then happily running through a different tunnel for her tuggy reward whether she was following Ness through or not. Hoping to borrow my friends puppy see-saw so I can get her use to that as well as finishing off my contact trainer so I can introduce her to a 2o/2o behavior.
  • She has a lovely tug drive and is also an avid retriever.
Well thats enough for my list of where we are at tonight. I am sure I will add to it in the coming days as I think of things that I have left out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kenzie at 6.5 months

Some shots from Kenzie's first trip up the River.





My first attempt at a stacked photo of her - 1 week shy of 7 months


And a natural standing pose


Monday, October 27, 2008

Kenzie's Herding Instinct Test

Other than a brief turn on ducks at the age of 16 weeks this was to be Kenzie's first exposure to sheep. It was a very long day that started with taking both girls for a run at the beach and then a drive down to Mt Compass for herding. We weren't on until nearly 2pm and my little girl was suitably buggered.

Any way nope she didn't pass her instinct test but 3 judges outside the ring would have passed her. I thought she did very well looking at the video and the verdict was to put her up for about a month and then take her back. If it had been a lesson situation the thought was she just might have been happy to go around the sheep by the end of the lesson. She was certainly very keen to get back in there and when they were moving she was really quite excited. On Sunday we had ducks - she certainly wasn't as keen as she was on the sheep. In fact she was really quite tired when I got her out the car to work her. She was starting to switch on and then a darn duck flapped in her face so that was enough for her to decide that they were scary. She was really nice on them at 16 weeks and the judges thoughts were that she needs a bit of maturity and maybe that will improve her confidence. So no pass on ducks either. The judge had seen her the day before on sheep and did say it was a bugger as she would have passed her on the sheep if she had been judging her on those.

Here is a link to her Sheep video:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Training Session 22 October 08

Agreed to catch up with Tash for a session and thought I would take the opportunity to video some of Kenzie's work. Her heelwork is absolutely stunning and I am so tickled pink her with her. She is coming along fantastically and shaping into a very nice performance dog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kenzie's First Freestyle Demo - Meadows Country Fair

No videos or photos from today - but it was Kenzie's first "canine freestyle demo". We did 2 demos. She was good in the pen with Ness and while a bit scared of the people she tolerated at least a few kids patting her whilst I fed her.

Her demos consisted of puppy heelwork, sits, drops, going around, tugging, retrieving her toy and fronts. She did very well for such a little baby. The second demo she was pretty visibly stressed before I took her into the ring we had but once I got her doing a few hand touches etc she was happy working off-lead in a pen with people packed around the outside. Doing very nice attentive puppy style heelwork and interacting with me (even if she spent a lot of time hanging off my sleeve). Even the horse smells from the pen didn't distract her (much less can be said about her sisters performance).

She coped with the surroundings well and was extremely interested in the sheep. As long as people didn't want to pat her she wasn't bothered but we still need to work at her tolerating people patting her.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kenzie 6 month photo Update

Some photos of Kenzie taken in the last 24 hours:

First up we have Kenzie and the red ball obsession. She will chase this ball around the yard until I confiscate it. Problem is I gave her a purple one and I think it ended up lost in the creek never to be seen again so now its a strictly supervised affair.



Next up posing for the camera.







Then we have some of Kenzie and Ness:



Thursday, September 4, 2008

5 Months Old

Argh its scary at 5 months old my little baby Kenzie Panda Bear is suddenly looking very grown up.