nedelja, 24. julij 2011

Summer time!

It's been a while since my last post.

Pix will be 10 months old on the 30th. Time sure flys by fast. He seems to have stopped growing a few months ago and is now living up to his name - Pixie at just 32,5 cm and 5,5 kg.
He's still my perfect little prince. He LOVES to play, LOVES to eat, LOVES to swim, LOVES to retrieve and work ALWAYS equals FUN!!! :)
He's a big dog in a tiny body and he never lets you forget it.
He starting to calm down now a in...he's now able to sit still for a few seconds so we started training holding objects (a whole project in itself for him), waiting in sit/laying down, more distance work.
He's self control is really amazing sometimes. This days he's able to lie at the side quietly while I play frisbee with Wi (a few months ago he would scream bloody murder and almost kill himself trying to get that frisbee).
With food he's now able to heel over the floor littered with his favorite treats. And he doesn't go hysterical over it.
While in the house he's quiet and spends his time sleeping on my pillow. The only time he's up is while playing with Wi or playing with a stuffed Kong toy I give him. Otherwise he just plops himself on the bed and sleeps until it's time for action.
Outside on walks he's usually a few meters ahead with a stick/acorn in his mouth, happily trotting along. He's not looking for animal tracks, doesn't chase birds (even if Wi starts towards them), doesn't even look at deer, ignores the ducks in the pond while swimming...He's also mostly ignoring other people on walks now. He'll still go to them and sniff them from time to time but that's becoming really rare these days.
Our focus right now is still mostly self-control. While he's now able to sit by my side while I throw his dummy and waits to be released he's still too fidgety and is still too prone to breaking. So we're mostly training by ourselves right now, until I'll be confident enough with his control that we'll try with someone else throwing too.
Out in public he's fine as long as I'm around. If I go away there's still barking and pulling but not as much as before and a lot less hysterical.
He has no problems playing with other people/dogs or working with them.
With this hot weather we frequently find ourselves near water and boy does he love to swim.
He goes into the water even if there's nothing in for him to retrieve. And he comes out only to bring me things or when he's so tired that he can barely stand.
We occasionally train a bit of agility. Mostly at agility trials on different equipment. He's now introduced to all the obstacles and can do cik/cak around jumps, tunnels and running contacts over a full dog-walk. We're also training teeter and slalom (4 straight poles right now, 2x2 method). He did a lowered a-frame twice and a low table once. Like everything else, he loves to play agility but we'll see if we'll have time to train it more.
In dummy trainings he can do simple marks up to about 60m. We haven't tried them further. I also introduced him to 'search' whistle and he did his first free search 2 weeks ago - very successfully. He also did a great land retrieve over water. He didn't even think about going around the pond but went straight back in with his dummy (he knows the area and knows he can get around easily).
He had a few training with game (pheasants, duck, rabbit, fox) and apart from the pheasant which he decided he would rather eat than bring back he retrieved them all (the fox skin was inside an artificial tunnel). He still has some problems with weight distribution on first pick-ups with new objects but he only needs more practice in that area. Othervise weight gives him no problem - 0,5kg or 2kg (almost 40% of his weight) he'll bring it back no problem.
He's really a joy to live and work with and is everyting I was looking for.

Wi shot a couple more commercials and made an apperarance at an animal related tv show for a few minutes. I've also seen a pre audio-editied version of the film she played in and she looks great. :) I can't wait for it to come out.
Her tracking was a bit off in winter but it seems to be as perfect as ever now. Hopefully it will stay that way for the autumn hunting trial&exam. I'm working more with her directional retrieves. She still has some difficulties going 'back'. Left and right are no problem.
Her blinds are getting better and better and overall she's calmed down quite a bit. But only if I work with her, With other people she can easily see just how far she can push them and it's usually really far.
We stopped training agility for the time being. She's just not enjoying it as she used to. Dummy/hunting trainings and obedience are just a lot more fun to her.
It's swimming season and she loves it! A few days ago we went to the seaside and in the couple of hours we spend by the sea she only went out once for a few minutes and even then I had to constantly remind her to stay there and dry herself off a bit. Otherwise this was her usual spot and pose:So far, this year she's not showing any signs of her allergies. Keep you fingers crossed that it stays that way. :)

Like previous years I had my dog workshop at children's church camp. I'm trying to learn through experience every year and make next year's workshop even better. I think this year was pretty good. :)
I mostly had Wi&Pix with me. I also bough a golden retriever once, Pix's mom and my friend's BC.
As always, Wi was the star. She's really good for dog care demonstrations since she's very patient and every kid had the opportunity to practice grooming, picking out imaginary ticks, washing her teeth with a tooth brush, putting a muzzle on her, etc. Pix was also very good. More than I expected. The kids were able to groom him while I gently held him. Some also put his muzzle on (and he stayed calm).
He was good at showing kids how their overactive behavior and actions around dogs make the dogs overactive. As soon as they calmed down, he calmed down. If they were making sudden movements, he made sudden movements too. So it normally took only a few minutes and both the kids and Pix were calm and attentive. :)We also did some clicker training demonstrations. Mostly when kids wanted to try I was the one clicking and they were the one's giving the rewards. Some were brave enough to also click by themselves.
Wi was a bit over-the-top here since she knows she can actually get rewards for doing nothing, she just has to push the right buttons. So I always had her doing things at a distance so she had less opportunities to steal treats or force them. Pix was actually a better clicker demo dog. He was really calm and focused and it was really fun watching him interact and work with very little kids.
At the end we had 'dog circus' where the dogs showed off their tricks and abilities (like searching for hidden dummies) and at the very end the kids got to play with the dogs. At the end we were all really tired but happy.
I have a few new ideas for next year so hopefully it will be even better.

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