Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Drill Team Performance Debut!

What an exciting weekend! I performed with the Paws4Ever Drill Team on Saturday at the YMCA Healthy Kids Event. We debuted our new routine called "25 Miles" which was choreographed by Sharon Ashe and also performed our routine to "I Will Survive". Sharon was also there and performed both routines with Bernie. They did great! I did great! It was really fun and afterwards, Jenn walked around with me and Bernie and we got lots of attention from people. I got to wiggle my butt and get lots of pats from adults and children. It was way fun. Jenn posted videos of our performances on YouTube.

25 Miles

I Will Survive

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dude, where are my feet?

One important thing in agility is for a puppy to know where his feet are. That may sound silly, but if I'm not aware of my feet, they could knock into the poles as I am going over a jump or I could lose my balance on obstacles like the dog walk. Learning where my feet are gives me awareness and helps my balance in agility and in general.One of the objects that can help me learn about the placement of my feet is a ladder placed on the ground. I step through the rungs one by one, lifting and placing each foot. Jenn and Eric built me my own plastic PVC ladder over the weekend. Why not just use a real ladder? Jenn wanted a lightweight ladder she could take with her so her canine clients could use it too. It is made of 1" PVC pipe, four PVC elbows, and 16 T-joints and cost about $20 for the materials. Eric cut the pieces with a saw and Jenn put the ladder together. She got instructions here on how the build a PVC ladder.

Jumping in Agility

I am learning some fun things in Agility class at Paws4Ever/APS. We had our first class outside in the agility field. First, we practiced waiting and being patient at the "start line". This is the place where we go over the first jump in the course and your dog has to wait for you to tell them, "jump". This is so hard to do! I just want to go!Then we practiced backchaining. This is where we learn a series of things starting with the last thing first. We were supposed to do a jump, a jump and then the tunnel. So we practiced the tunnel first, then doing one jump and the tunnel. Here I am demonstrating with Dee, our instructor. Then jump, jump, tunnel. Backchaining is a great way to teach your puppy complex tasks.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A New Adventure at the Southern Village Park

Jenn took me to the new dog park near Southern Village on our way to Barbara Long's Therapy Dog class at Carolina Meadows. First of all the park is big! It has two different sections you can go into, one for little dogs and one for big dogs. There were about six other dogs there and I was little nervous about meeting them all at once as they crowded me a bit at the entry gate. But they sniffed me and I sniffed them and then I could sort out who I wanted to play with. This little spitz was very cute and wanted me to chase her.
The ground is covered in mulch, so there isn't any grass to smoosh my feet into which is too bad. The dust sure gets kicked up when dogs start running. There are plenty of trees and a shaded gazebo too. And a water station that provides drinking water to all the dogs. That is really cool. Here I am chasing my little spitz girlfriend again.
There were a couple people that really weren't paying any attention to their dogs at all. They just sat around as their dogs did whatever they wanted. One dog was being a big bully holding other dogs down by the neck and not letting them up while they screamed for help. One dog was crying so loud and getting so stressed out and her person just stood around talking, paying no attention. I felt so sorry for her.

Jenn is always watching out for me. She says that humans need to monitor their dogs while they are playing in the park so they don't become bullies and so they don't get bullied. Some dogs need help keeping their play at an appropriate, safe level. And dog parks are not the right thing for every dog.

How can you be a good advocate for your puppy in the park?? Here's a great article by Pat Miller called "Dog Park Ettiquette"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My busy social calendar!

Life is getting really busy lately. I have so many commitments with Drill Team on Mondays, Therapy Dog on Tuesdays, and Agility 1 on Thursdays. Here's the rundown:

On Mondays, the Paws4Ever Drill Team is getting ready for our first performance of the season which will be Saturday, April 18th at the YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the Meadowmont Swim Club in Chapel Hill. We will go on at around 10:40am and do two routines. One is are old standby "I Will Survive" and the other is our brand new routine "Twenty Five Miles". It is very cool. I get to spin, twirl, and do-see-do.

On Tuesdays, Jenn and I go to Carolina Meadows for Therapy Dog class with Barbara Long. Barbara is a wonderful trainer and she's going to give us lots of practice to get ready for my therapy dog test. I have to get even more comfortable with strangers petting me, being brushed and touched, keeping my cool around medical equipment, and approaching people with walkers and wheelchairs. We also have to practice a lot outside of class. At the end of six weeks, we'll take the Therapy Dogs International (TDI) test. On Thursdays, we're back at Paws4Ever in Agility 1. Jenn said I'm doing much better in Agility now that I'm neutered (and a little older). I can keep my composure while the other dogs are taking their turns on the equipment. Last week, we worked on going over the dog walk, targeting, and going through the weave poles. My best girlfriend Mona is in class with me, but I can't sniff her butt until after class. Bummer.