miss Lu

Since this blog is supposed to be about Lu, I guess I should probably actually write a post about her.

Not that much to say though – I’m rarely training her and I think this works best. I try and only train her after I get home from work because then I get maximum enthusiasm from her.

So here it is: basically an entire training session with Lu. The actual video went for 7 minutes – so there was a bit of extra time there with her in a drop stay while I got more food for her toy, and a bit of extra time at the end after I finished with her before I turned the camera off. But otherwise, it’s pretty much “as is”.

Anyway… nothing too exciting, I just like seeing my happy girl and feeling like she’s really running a bit more.


speed demon

I’m trying something new/old with Lu.

I know, I know what you’re thinking, “Em, you do this every couple of months”. At the moment I’m waiting on a reply from Polona about what I do next but basically the other day I set up a super easy little sequence.

And then I back-chained. And after each go she got a thrown ball and either a big jackpot play or hose game or something. And she seemed to really like it. Here’s the video from the other day:

(I left in all the inbetween playing bits for Polona)

Then I did a new sequence tonight which used a similar concept- building on really simple little sections  that didn’t involve any thinking or slowing down. Big open courses with no discriminations, no consequences for doing things wrong, no hard tunnel entrances, just RUNNING…
And… I think she likes it. I think this could be good for her. Really good. Really get her to understand that agility is about running fast, and about having fun, and just about go go go… and then when she’s doing that, add in a turn here, or a discrimination, or a tricky tunnel. Just one, and the rest about running. And then add another one. Which means no tough sequences for a while, no ‘international’ stuff. Just fun ‘novice’ level stuff. Which is ok.

A lovely thing was despite running running running, she hit all her contacts beautifully tonight. I love it when she does a good job- it’s just such an obvious hit – 2 front feet, smack bank in the middle/lower third of the contact zone.

Still working on Loki’s RC. He did 2 hits from a close wrap start today that were AWESOME… and the next 3 were leaps. But at least we’re doing the whole thing so he’s getting to the contact zone with some speed. Now it’s just a matter of him continuing to run down rather than leaping off cos he’s going too fast.

just a Loki

Sooooo… I have a problem.

It’s actually a really good one to have, I’m just not used to it, or haven’t ever had to think about it before. My little puppy is going so fast that he can’t turn tight. With Lu, our issue was always getting faster. Yesterday I tried Loki for the first time with a tiny little bar doing some cik/cap stuff and oh boy, did our tightness go out the window. I really don’t mind, it’s just something I’ve never had to consider. Whaaaa? Going TOO fast?! Here’s a very good example in the video below. We’d been playing lots of tunnel games this afternoon and I was SO impressed with this little thing we did: first there was the threadle-arm into the not-obvious entrance of the tunnel. Good job puppy. THEN, I tapped my leg (ala “Flappy tappy” to call him right PAST the tunnel, WHICH HE DID, even though I was moving (that had been the trick before: stationary Em = easy to come to hand. Moving Em= might as well do the tunnel) and RAN, and he did it. It was cool. So I filmed it. And watching the film you can see the extreme wideness as he takes the tree on the ‘tok’ side (actually usually his better side) which probably would have helped him not do the tunnel, though to me at the time he was still SO close. I was holding my breath and running to see what he’d do (without looking at, and therefore pointing at, the tunnel entrance).



And then he’s started doing this which is also extreme levels of cute.

Loki doesn’t really like the water, generally speaking. He’ll sort of go in a bit but doesn’t like to swim. He’s recently discovered though that when he walks through the water it makes splashes that make ripples. And he can bite the ripples and when he does there’s more splashes and more ripples! It’s pretty cute.


Meanwhile, we were meant to be moving next Friday to our awesome agility-friendly property, but there are some issues and so might not have anywhere to live as of that afternoon, so that’s pretty cool. I’ve had a few people say we could stay with them, and then I remind them I have 3 dogs (I figure we can cattery the cats if we need to, and actually I could probably shuffle Mallei off to a friend – everybody loves Mal) but that still leaves you with Lu (who is a turd, and injured, so wouldn’t be able to play all day with other dogs, etc.) and Loki (who is young, and a BC, and therefore high-needs).


slow running

Oh, Lumen.

After an absolutely smashing, fantastic, blitzing RC session the other day, I went back this afternoon to have another go with the DW at 1 meter high….

And I got…

Oh, so lacklustre. I don’t think it was confidence- she tired quickly and was puffing. It was fairly muggy (which she hates) and I left her and Mallei outside today with a bone each so there’s a good chance the two of them were fence running all day and barking at the next door dog. But still, it’s so frustrating. Every time she gets tired or weird I get all paranoid that her ulcers are back… hopefully it’s just fatigue. I’ll take her to school with my on Friday and she can sleep all day and we’ll try again then.


In other news, the house I mentioned a while ago – this one – is back up for sale, and we can have it for the price we were negotiating, except only now there’s another house, 20-30 mins closer to my work, less work to be done on the house, but the house just doesn’t “feel” like home… So I don’t know- one is more convenient to where I work now, the other is more convenient to a lot of dog related things and a few friends’ houses (30 mins less to Penny’s house!)… one is in a familiar area, one isn’t… one had a more ‘homely’ feel, and other didn’t… one of them could easily have a large undercover training area built in future… the other couldn’t. 😉 I think we’re both leaning toward the first one – I’m just not particularly looking forward to the commute and/or it means changing schools for next year, and I like my school.


Gosh it’d be nice to just be able to have everything in the yard though. To pick the days when she’s excited to train and to let her sleep when she’s tired. To be able to do little sprints with Loki and not run out of room. He’d be about 8 months old by the time we got in there. How scary is that!



I almost forgot! We did some more kangaroo training this morning but there were hardly any (I think I was there a bit too early, they seem to come out when I need to be going home so I’m not late) but it’s just beautiful being there at dawn, with clouds hanging in the valley.

last pill day party!

Today is a wonderful day. (doesn’t Javelin look so majestic in that photo? I can’t get over his majesty. Lu looks like she has broken front legs, Pan is yelling, and Badger is looking confused. Is Javelin the only one who knows how to take photos?!)

In a bit, I’ll be giving Lu her last pill!!! When I got this bag of 90 pills, it seemed like we’d never get through them. And when we first got her home and had literally 7 different types of medicines to give her all at various times (some 1 or 2 hours before food, some with food), we had little celebrations every time we finished one of them. And today, it’s the last day!

To celebrate we did some training with Penny at the park. Fun speed-circle type stuff, nothing too twisty but still getting to play with some handling. Then it was quite warm and she didn’t want to run dogwalks (ran around it, or very slowly over it) so that was ok, we just called it quits and went to the beach.

And there was lots of water leaping, and a bit of stick chasing and a little bit of swimming. And now I have a very wet pup (she does NOT try off!!! She literally got a wash about 4 hours ago and she’s still very wet) who has been curled up, small as can be on my lap. So cute. So damp. It will be very nice when her stamina is back to normal and she can really stretch out and run again. I see her trying sometimes but she’s not quite there yet.

Despite being very tired, she keeps trying to strike up zoomie-wrestly-running sessions with Mal, who had to stay at home because he’s too broken. Poor MalMal. Yesterday I did some shaping with him because he was going a little mad with lack of stimulation but my god he sucks. He just wants to lie down and put his chin on the floor and wag his tail and maybe he’ll get treats for doing that.

Also I think I’ve made a decision on Tink, but I’m seeing Amanda tomorrow so I’ll talk to her about it in person then.

*!*!* breakthrough breakthrough *!*!*

Nic is being very kind letting me write this while he makes dinner. He is a good husband.


Today I went to the field. I had 2 goals: 1 – get Lumen focused, and to play, and 2 – do some Susan Salo jump grids.

There were some very important points that came out of tonight, and one huge lesson. I shall dot point them, to prevent me from rambling like I usually do.

  • Got Lu out of car on lead. Put her in the crate. In fact, every time I had to get more food in the treat frizbee or rope or whatever, she was in a drop stay, and every time I had to set the jumps differently, she went in the crate. This meant: no wandering, no sniffing, no investigating the dog behind the fence. What I had? A focused dog who not once sniffed the ground or ate rabbit poo. Look, maybe it was the night but it was awesome.
  • Started with a fun, familiar running game- race to the toy. Actually played this really well compared to on the weekend. She looks at me to see if I’m coming though which means that if I’m not running with her (eg driving to dead toy way ahead) she won’t run as well. Hopefully that will come.
  • Kept exercises very short. Did 2 to 4 reps at most.
  • Didn’t let her play with Mal. Em = Fun, Mal = not fun (well, he is fun, but he’s off limits).
  • Used lots of toys and ran around a lot with her making it really fun and high energy.
  • Haven’t seen freaked-out-monster-leaps for about 2 weeks. YES!!! She does tend to spring-bok the last jump but I think it’s a mix of a) excitement and b) looking for where the reward is. But unlike previously it wasn’t a monster leap because she either took off way too early or felt she needed to jump way too high. YAY, there’s hope!!!

And my huge, big, amazing lesson that I know Silvia has said in her FAQ and that I try really hard to follow but haven’t really seen why before until tonight and because I’m such a perfectionist find really, really difficult is this:

If Lumen gives me speed and drive I must reward it, even if she doesn’t do the exercise properly or how I envisaged it.


Here’s why: I had a jump grid set up. 3 jumps to bounce, then one where she was meant to do a stride and jump it. I looked at the distance that Susan Salo had suggested and thought: no way, she’s going to do a MASSIVE bounce jump here. Up to this point she’d been running REALLY beautifully, driving forward with speed and awesomeness. It was great. Then we did this one- she was running to her soccer-ball with me out in front… She did it, with speed and awesomeness and… sure enough…! One massive bounce-jump. So I didn’t say anything, and she went to the soccer ball and looked at me and didn’t grab it- she knew. And I knew she knew. So I was all upbeat and excited and we ran back to the start and set her up and lead out again to her soccer ball… and… I lost maybe a third of the speed we had? She was still OK, but it was cruisy compared to the try before- like she was really over-thinking it, and trying to figure out what she was meant to do – this time, of course, she took the stride and didn’t bounce it, but it wasn’t at speed any more. DARN!!!

So I rewarded her lots and tried again- same speed, slow and think-y. So we did one more where I threw the ball as she was running and of course I had the speed back AND she did it properly, so we played a lot and she fetched in the creek and we ended the night there…

But wow, how eye-opening to actually see her do it at speed and with drive, and to not get rewarded because she didn’t do it properly, so the next time she slowed right down to make sure she got it right. I’m such a moron!!! So maybe my mantra will have to be: ‘reward all speed even if she messes it up’ and we can work on perfecting it later.

But other than that little lesson, it was actually a really, really good session for us. So, that’s really promising. Now as long as Penny doesn’t break her while I’m in Europe… 😉

Back to basics. A bit. For now.

Ok, I have a confession to make. I felt like this post needed a picture, so I thought because I idolise her so much, I'd copy Penny's idea of awesome Paint-art except I don't have Paint, I have Photoshop, so one thing led to another and I worked on this stupid picture of Lumen running for AN HOUR now, and put it on the background so that she's channelling a Cheetah so she gets really fast. If this is how I want to spend my Friday evenings SO WHAT?!!!?

Ok, I have a confession to make. I felt like this post needed a picture, so I thought because I idolise her so much, I’d copy Penny’s idea of awesome Paint-art except I don’t have Paint, I have Photoshop, so one thing led to another and I worked on this stupid picture of Lumen running for AN HOUR now, and put it on the background so that she’s channelling a Cheetah so she gets really fast. If this is how I want to spend my Friday evenings SO WHAT?!!!? You can click on it to make it bigger so my mad skillz of doing eyeballs and stuff aren’t wasted.

So you may or may not have noticed a trend in how I operate. It sort of goes:

brainstorms ways to solve problem.

Here is my action plan for solving the problem! I shall follow the action plan for the next month!


… 3 days later.



brainstorms ways to solve new problem.

Here is my plan for solving the problem! I shall follow the action plan for a month!


And so on and so forth.

So here’s my action plan du jour (of the day, for you non-francophones)

I was thinking about Lumen’s sequencing the other day and she’s working with me really nicely, but she’s still not fast. I know she’s not a squirrely border-collie running dog, but I also know she can run faster than she is because she does it for RC training and she does it for some of the HGR games, and she even did it the other night when she accidentally took the weaves after a tunnel instead of coming through some uprights.  So I’d like more speed.

And I was thinking there’s no point doing sequences if they’re not at speed. Sure, she can do them, but meh. So my plan is- lots of recalls on the flat to a tug toy, running and racing. I want to build value for her tug so she actually will play when we’re out and about, which might involve clicking and treats for even attempts at playing while we’re out but I think I need to start there with her because sometimes she’s just not interested in playing with anything, so I want to try and move past that to: you can play, it’s awesome, good girl, now go sniff and stuff again. Hopefully this would then help with rewarding good recalls. Similarly, I’d like her to play the bitey-hands-game (um, not sure how to explain this one, but it’s like how dogs play bite-face with each other except only I use my hands over her nose and mouth and she gets super vocal and excited about it) while we’re out and about but with less biting than I sometimes get, and less jumping on me than I usually get.

I also want to do lots of recalls on the flat and throw a toy past me to have her drive to that, then play. More vigorous, exciting play- really amping that up. More single cik/tok wraps and rewarding only the fast or enthusiastic ones with jackpots, and the slow ones we try again – no more rewarding all of them to get her to love the game. THEN I want to do the same as above with the recalls but through some uprights with a ground bar. Then two uprights. Then a tunnel, etc etc etc. Working both on chasing/catching up with rewarding at my side, and driving ahead with a thrown or stationary toy to drive to. Lu is great at the recalls to a toy in my hand on the flat- I want to try and use that enthusiasm and show her that agility is exactly the same. I feel like we started ‘doing obstacles’ from cik/cap which she was pretty ‘meh’ about at first, and then went to jumps in a straight line, which she liked ok… but only did a small amount of ‘running really fast through jumps’. So I’m going to try this. I might even try and try it until I leave for Europe in 2 weeks (omg only 2 weeks. Eek)… meanwhile still doing RC and weaves cos they’re basically the same concept, and my HGR games.

Figure if I get her fast, I’m going to be an expert in how to motivate dogs to run by the end of it all. 😉