June 28, 2011

Trip to MI for Dog Scout camp

On Sunday the 19th Dazzle and I headed north to go to Dog Scout camp.  Along the way, we stopped to meet one of his sisters and her owner whom I have been communicating with via facebook. We also stopped at a place called Cops and Doughnuts that I first saw on her facebook post. 

When I first arrived at Cee's house, we took Jami and Dazzle for a "meet and greet" walk on her property.  This gave the dogs a chance to observe and get the scent of each other before they got close enough to greet.  They were doing well, so I let Dazzle off leash on the trail.
He went toward the horses, but was easily called away back to the trail.  The chicken barn didn't go as well.  He chased the chickens around the barn and came out with one in his mouth.  I got him to drop it and it ran off, so hopefully that's a good sign.  Cee assured me that it was no problem and that she didn't care if it died because the chickens were overtaking the place, but I felt really bad!  Sorry again Cee if you read this! 
After the walk, we ended up at the house where Dazzle met Sabin, their GSD. 
 All the dogs ran around the yard for awhile and had fun
 When they all started seeking shade, we moved indoors. 

 Jami tries to get Dazzle to play
 They had fun trotting around the center wall like they were on a track- Living room to dining room to kitchen to living room and repeat.
Dazzle spent a lot of time watching the birds in the yard and Jami spent the same time watching Dazzle so she was ready as soon as he moved.  When she wasn't watching him, she was snuggling into my lap :-)
I was on a tight schedule since I had to be at camp for the staff meeting, so my visit was shorter than I would have liked, but hopefully we can get together again soon (away from the chickens)!  Thank-you to Cee and her husband for their hospitality and a great visit.

Our next stop on our way north was the cops and doughnuts shop.  A nice place with killer cinnamon rolls! I arrived around 4pm, so there was slim pickin's on the doughnuts, but I really enjoyed the cinnamon rolls. 
While I was waiting to order, I decided to use the facilities and was very glad I did!  The bathroom is a hoot.  It's decorated like it's a jail cell, complete with a mini bunk.  I spent more time than planned reading the notes on the walls.  I left our mark as well.

Some of the graffitti and "cell bars"

In the store, they have a "mug shot wall".  Couldn't resist getting Dazzle's photo in front of it.  Charged with molesting chickens and found guilty. They also have some really funny T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Day one of camp (monday) we participated in the "greeting" hike where half the campers go one way and the other half go the opposite way on a short trail around the pond.  This allows the dogs to see and get the scent of each other, just like we did with Dazzle and Jami on Sunday.

 These are the only "hiking" photos I usually get since I can't do the regular hikes without the golf cart.

Chatting with Julie after the walk

I taught several sessions during the camp.  Here I'm demonstrating "refocus after thresholds" and going through doors politely.
 I also did several sessions on Treibball. Here Dazzle is demonstrationg "go to spot"
 Then I added a basket where the ball would usually be
Dazzle lined up properly behind the basket (easier to learn proper position without the tempting ball involved :-)

Demo of dumbbell retrieve training steps (I have the dumbbell between my knees so my hands are free to click and reward and so the dog has no choice but to grab it in the center like he's supposed to).

But between teaching and other administrative duties, we had time to participate a bit and earn some badges. 

Dazzle REALLY enjoyed the "Agilure" course and had the fastest time of 8.4 seconds!
Dragging me to the start
 So fast he's a blur!
 Through the last obstacle

Intense focus on the lure, willing it to move again!

VIDEO: Agilure Run

He also got the Puissance Jumping badge.  For this, he had to clear a jump that is twice his height.  So since he's 24" at the shoulder, he had to clear a 4' jump.  I didn't expect this to be any problem for him since he jumps like a deer, but he really struggled with the last 4" (final bar).  So I had help in setting the jump raised at intervals of 1" higher by having others hold a bar in place (it would fall easily if he hit it, meaning no reward was delivered). 
 He's fast, so the photos are a challenge!

VIDEO: Puissance Jumping (regular and slo-mo)

 Another badge I didn't know would be offered (or that I would end up doing the testing for :-) was the Triathadog.  This is a combo of Agility, Barrel Racing and Obedience all done back to back.
The first event is a 10 obstacle Agility course 

 Followed immediately by a 3-barrel barrel racing pattern performed by the dog while the handler stays 15' from the barrels. The Agility and barrels are timed.
 Time stops when the dog gets back to the center of the pattern and then the obedience begins (AKC obed. rules/deductions apply).  First, the dog has to stay while the handler walks around the outside of all the barrels and returns to heel position. Followed by a recall to front with a finish to heel position.
 Last is a 100' heel pattern.  Dazzle took 1st place with the highest score in the impromtu competition.  Lonnie tested him since I can't test myself for a badge :-)

But this camp wasn't all fun and games for him.  We had thunderstorms almost every day.  We didn't let it dampen the fun, but it did stress him out a bit. Several dogs were wearing their thundershirts.
 During one storm, a tree came down across the road near the camp driveway and took out a power line.  We were without power for several hours and dinner was touch and go till we found we could exit camp to pick it up by going the back way out of camp and avoid the downed tree/power line. The crews came out quickly to fix it, but power wasn't restored for awhile. 
Power was not restored by dinner time, so we ate by candle light and lantern.  Unfortunately, the loss of power drained the batteries in the smoke detectors so those went off and took awhile to get silenced.  But everyone continued to have a good time in spite of the minor adversity.

During one downpour, most of the lawn was underwater because of how fast and heavy the rain was coming down.  Thankfully it's all sandy soil and drained fairly quickly.  Only a couple activities had to be cancelled or shuffled because of the weather.

Dazzle didn't spend much time in the play yard this camp because I was usually busy working, but he did still get in some after hours play sessions.  Here he's playing with Zatoitchi, a blind Akita pup (though Dazzle's eyes look pretty freaky in this photo too!)
 He was quite the tease with his toy, but the pup did a great job of following the movements with his hearing

After camp, the very first IMPROV competition was held.  This is a new dog sport that challenges dogs and their people to strategize and think outside the box.  I don't yet have the photos from the competition, but I do have video posted below.  Lonnie created IMPROV several years ago, but it has only recently become an official DSA sanctioned competition option.  Her dogs had the highest scores, but because she was the judge, she couldn't accept the placement awards.  This meant that even though Dazzle had the third highest score by a small margin (behind Lonnie's dogs) he got awarded 1st place!  So he has the distinction of getting 1st place in the very first DSA IMPROV trial.  Very cool! 


On Sunday, after I was all packed up and about to leave camp, a group of us went to visit Lonnie's horses.  Dazzle went along because he has always been very good around horses in the past. 

He decided to use their water trough to cool off.  It needed to be cleaned anyway :-)
 Dazzle sticking his tongue out at Drako
Melissa found just the right spot on Drako's belly (Happy horse face)
Rollin' in the hay

Dazzle joins Kozi for a roll in the hay
 He had no fear of the horses.  Probably not a good thing because shortly after the photo below he decided to try to get Drako to play.  Except his idea of play was "I'll chase, you run" like he did when we tried herding and he thought it was great fun to go "bowling for sheep" and see how many he could get airborn at once.  Not a good thing with a 1,000 lb. horse. He did end up getting kicked in the head, but didn't seem to notice and didn't seem a bit hurt.  Scared the crap out of me though and I was so mad at him I could barely contain myself.  I didn't forgive him till several hours into the trip home when I finally calmed down a bit. 

 Not the best ending for camp, but we all survived and hopefully Lonnie's horses don't act differently around dogs now.  I spent last night and today getting caught up on emails and facebook, edited and uploaded the videos above and now I can cross off "update blog" from my to do list :-) 

June 16, 2011

Denise Fenzi and trip to KY

Last weekend Dazzle and I were joined by Candy and Ted for a trip to Chicago to see Denise Fenzi.  Denise is a brilliant and creative trainer that used only positive reward to get the highest obedience title on her dog.  I have been to a LOT of seminars, but I have never ended up with 10 pages of notes (after typing them out)! TONS of helpful hints, tips and "secrets" I can use with Dazzle.

I didn't take many photos, so the facility photos and dinner group photo will have to do.

K-9 Play Place in Mundelein IL where the seminar took place:

Dinner with some of the attendees and Denise:

I do have to say I was highly impressed by the La Quinta we stayed at in Banockburn.  HUGE room for a very reasonable price:

Even had a fridge and microwave!

On Tuesday I was playing around, trying to get the "evil face" Dazzle makes to the hose just before he gets squirted, but it ended up looking like a smile :-)  I think it's the big tongue.

Yesterday I spent the day at the KY horse park with a friend I grew up with and haven't seen for 3 years. I love the way things pick up as though we haven't been separated by half of the U.S..  We had loads of laughs (often at the things her child said) and I didn't want to leave.  We kept finding things to do so my departure could be delayed :-) 

I had the chance to see her and her husband work their horses, then we wandered around the horse park, doing more walking than I should have (but then I've never been good at self-moderation when it comes to things I want to do) :-) 

After that we went out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  We ate at at table right next to the pond on their outside deck. The ducks right below us were driving Dazzle crazy!  He REALLY wanted to go swimming but he was good.

Then we wandered around the book store we had to go through to get to the restaurant.  Not wanting the fun to end, we went to Olive Garden for dessert and I think Ryan has a new favorite dessert :-)  Hopefully he was able to sleep after all the Black Tie Mousse cake he ate!  We finished up back at the barn, after dark, where I finally remembered to get my camera out and get a few photos.

Gayle and her beautiful horse Dubi

Joshua, John, Ryan and their new best friend

Ryan and his new friend. I think Dazzle has a new fan that will be reading his blog :-)
Hopefully it won't be another 3 years before we get to see each other again!