Earlier this week Arizona and Rogue had field class.
Here’s a picture of us waiting for our turn.
Earlier this week Arizona and Rogue had field class.
Here’s a picture of us waiting for our turn.
Tonight was Rogue’s official introduction to field work.
Last week, we had her with us because she had been at a meeting with me and we didn’t have time to take her home. She seemed to really enjoy herself, so I decided to see how she likes field work for real.
There were a lot of dogs present this week. There was Maverick (the duck toller) and his new little buddy Shelby (also a duck toller), Hank (the chocolate lab), Cassidy (the yellow lab) and her littermate Rainy (who is owned by Susie), Jayden (a female chocolate lab) and her buddy Reba (the fox red lab – darker than Rogue), Arizona, and of course, her buddy Rogue.
We arrived 15 minutes early, so did a couple practice runs with Arizona. Her first run was a bit rusty, but her second and third attempts were great.
No one had arrived yet, so we got Rogue out to practice, and she was TERRIBLE!! She ran right over to the bumper but instead of bringing it directly back, she ran around like a goofy puppy on the way. We gave her two more attempts and each one was worse than the last. We didn’t know what we were going to do.
When everyone had arrived and things were set up, Susie had us take turns working our dogs at their level. She had things set up like we were at a real trial and simulated what would happen if we competed.
Arizona and Rogue weren’t the only two at the first level, WC, Cassie is also just starting field lessons.
Arizona did quite well. She still tried taking the bumper to the “gunner,” but when they didn’t pay any attention to her she started back to me. Each time she dropped the bumper half way back, but then got it again and brought it the rest of the way. Her recall was MUCH better.
Rogue was okay. She ran directly to the bumper, but she didn’t pick it up immediately and on her way back she dropped it a few times. I will need to work on her “hold.” Her recall was good though. And, I overheard one o the other people say she has the drive to do this, so I’m sure we’ll get there.
Once everyone had taken their turn, we went to one of the ponds to work.
At first we didn’t think we would participate, but then we decided to take our turn.
I worked with Rogue first. She was SO excited!! She was very good about sitting beside me and waiting for the release word – “fetch.” She swam directly to the bumper, getting slightly spooked by a log under the water she bumped into on the way, but recovering quickly.
The problem came when she was coming back. Instead of swimming to me, she swam to the opposite shore – *rolls eyes*
Laura was the gunner, so tossed another bumper into the water and I got really excited, trying to coax Rogue to swim back in my direction this time. It worked.
Her second attempt was an absolute write-off. She sat and waited for the release great, and she swam directly to the bumper, but again she took it to the opposite shore. When Laura tossed another bumper into the water, she swam out to it, and again took it to her side of the pond. Then she tossed it again and Rogue swam back towards me, but dropped the bumper just before reaching the shore – Oh, Roga-Monster!
Getting down to the edge of the water was a bit nerve-racking for me, so when it was Arizona’s turn, I had Huib work with her.
Arizona is fine once she gets to the bumper, but she needs to get over the initial panic of not being able to touch bottom as she swims out.
Huib said she sat beside him and waited for the release perfectly. That once she got to the bumper, she did well at remembering who to return it to – Good girl, Airy Berry!!
When Rogue and Arizona weren’t taking part in the action they were not happy. Both girls were SO noisy!! Rogue quivered with excitement and talked constantly. Meanwhile, Arizona whined and at one point she was even screeching – Oh, Airy Berry, you are SO embarrassing!
Rainy and Cassidy didn’t take part in the water work, so once Jayden and Reba had their turns, it was dark so we packed up.
Arizona did well. She is really progressing in her lessons.
And even though we thought Rogue was terrible, Laura said she did pretty well considering it was her first time, so I guess things weren’t as bad as we thought.
Stay tuned for more field work adventures.
Tonight was the classic car show at The Village of Riverside Glen, where Huib works.
Rogue had worked all day at McMaster, so we decided to leave her home and take Arizona.
Arizona was a rock star!!
She got to socialize with several residents and other visitors to the show. She slept under my chair for a while even though there was some loud music – they had an Elvis impersonator come to sing for the residents. Arizona was even patient while Huib and I helped put things away at the end. She walked nicely at my side and was a perfect angel.
With her behaviour tonight, it’s honestly hard to believe that this is the same golden girl who is a busy little bee when home.
It was a beautiful day, so Huib and I decided to take the dogs for a swim at the old Guelph penitentiary grounds.
With this smile, can you believe Rogue used to be the dog who wouldn’t even put a toe into a puddle?
Cessna hasn’t had a chance to swim this summer, so this outing was a pretty special one for her. She swam for probably 45 minutes before stopping for a rest.
Canyon often gets hot spots after swimming, so he hasn’t been in the water for probably 2 or more years. We thought we’d try it out and see what happened now that he really isn’t showing as often. He had a blast chasing the bumper and trying to keep it away from everyone.
Arizona spent a lot of the time on the shore waiting for the others to come back before she walked out to steal the bumper away. She’s such a lazy girl!
I’m not sure how Canyon’s skin will react to the water, but I definitely know the girls will be swimming again.
Last night, Arizona returned to field training. She’s been off for three weeks, first because of the hot weather and then because she finally had her first heat.
We have continued to practice retrieves over the past few weeks, but you never know what is going to happen at the group training.
Susie was away at the cottage, so Laura worked with us while Dean and Maverick worked alone in another area.
We first attempted to do some simple land retrieves. Laura went out into the field while I got Arizona to sit beside me and ‘mark’ (or look out to see what’s happening), then Laura made a duck call and tossed the bumper with the wing attached. I then let go of Ari’s collar and said ‘fetch’.
Arizona ran straight over to Laura, then to the bumper. She then brought the bumper to Laura instead of bringing it back to me. After getting her excited about the bumper again, Laura got her to pick it up again and I called her back. She came. This same sort of cycle happened a few more times, with Arizona going to a shaded tree behind me to wait for me to coax her out again, so we knew it was time to try something new.
Even though it was 6:00pm it was still quite warm.
As part of the Working Certificate (WC) test, the dogs have to do two land retrieves and two water retrieves.
We’ve been working on the land retrieves for months, not wanting to introduce the water retrieve until Arizona was working perfectly on land.
With the hot weather we decided to try some water work.
I walked to the edge of the pond while Laura walked part way around it. I had Ari sit and ‘mark’. Laura did the duck call and then tossed the bumper into the water. As I released Arizona’s collar, I said ‘fetch’.
She ran into the water and swam directly to Laura, ignoring the bumper. So Laura tossed another bumper into the water, hoping that would entice Ari to go for it – not happening!
I had Rogue with me, not a usual occurrence, because we had been at a meeting and Huib picked us up with just enough time to get to training.
Rogue had been watching Ari “have fun” and she wanted to “have fun” too. She was excited while watching her do the land retrieves, but the water work had her whining loudly. Rogue does not like the water, so to us this was pretty strange. But, since Ari wasn’t retrieving the bumpers and they needed to be brought back in, we decided to see if maybe Rogue could create a bit of competition.
With Ari’s refusal to retrieve we have been told to try a force retrieve (pinching her ear), and with her sometimes slow recall we’ve told to try a shock collar. Both of these methods are not ones we’re willing to consider though, there are so many other options out there.
Like a little bit of friendly doggie competition.
I let Rogue off the leash and she bolted directly for the water. She ran in and as soon as she realized she could no longer touch the bottom she started to panic. This didn’t stop her though, she wanted to get to that bumper, so after a few false starts, she finally stopped panicking and swam out to the bumpers. She brought the first one in and dropped it at Huib’s feet. Then she turned and went back into the water for the other.
While she was doing this Arizona swam along side, only trying to get the second one off her.
We then spent 20 minutes tossing the bumpers into the pond and having Rogue and Arizona compete for them, returning them to Huib for treats.
Once Ari seemed to be getting the hang of it, I held Rogue and Huib worked with Ari, tossing the bumper a short distance from where he had her sit. She ran into the water without an issue, but it took a few attempts before she finally started swimming out and bringing the bumper back to Huib. A few times she gave up, so I would let Rogue go out a few times, before holding her again.
We worked on water retrieves for probably 30-45 minutes total and by the end I think both girls had a pretty good grasp of the concept.
We then decided to try some land retrieves again. Arizona did two almost perfect retrieves, just taking it back to Laura at first, but then turning to bring it back to me in the end.
Laura thinks that because we’ve been working so much with her bringing the bumper back to the person who threw it, that when she’s at field training and the “Gunner” throws it, Arizona thinks she needs to return the bumper to whoever tossed it.
While this was happening Rogue stood with me watching intently.
Once Ari was finished, I decided to do a couple practices with Rogue and she was freaking perfect!
Rogue has never done field work training, she’s only watched us work with Arizona. Just like in conformation, where she learned by watching Canyon, Rogue has learned field by watching Arizona.
I think I might start bringing Rogue with me to group field classes, maybe she can get her WC. I think we are also going to start bringing Ari to rogue’s tracking lessons so we can do some field work afterwards.
The ability to do whatever activities with my dog is one of the highlights of deciding to owner-train, rather than go to a program for a guide dog.
I think Laura had just as much fun as we did watching Rogue figure things out, and teach Ari about water retrieves.
It was a regular afternoon at the ruled by paws house. I was busy working on school stuff and the dogs were busy catching up on their sleep, or at least I thought they all were…
Arizona likes to go in and out constantly throughout the day, but she also routinely falls asleep around 1:30pm and naps until close to 5:00pm.
I had been letting the dogs in and out all morning, so I settled back to work easily each time they returned. I knew each would let me know when they wanted out and then when they wanted back in, so I wasn’t really paying much attention, I was kind of on autopilot.
Around 2:00pm, I’m not sure why I did it, but I had a feeling something was up, so decided to do a head count. I went to the treat jar and started calling each of the dogs over. Everyone came over, but one…a cute, but devious female golden.
I was a bit nervous. I immediately ran over to the patio door and started whistling and calling her name. Nothing happened. I was becoming a bit more frantic, but I didn’t think it was possible for her to have left the yard.
As I was calling Arizona, Dad came in from outside and asked if all of the dogs were in side. Dad happened to be out in the front having a cigarette, and noticed a golden that looked kind of familiar across the road watching the neighbour’s cat.
I told him Arizona is missing and he ran back outside. He called her name and at first nothing happened. He called again, more firmly and she turned towards him and ran back across the road to the house. Dad said she didn’t even stop to check the traffic, but thankfully the traffic was light and no one had been driving by when she ran across to see the cat or back to him.
I gave her a big hug and some treats when she returned to me. I then texted Huib to let him know what had happened. We decided that for the rest of that day she wouldn’t be allowed outside without Dad to watch her.
We figured out that there was a breech in the fence where the fence meets the neighbour’s fence. Our fence is a white vinyl, but the neighbour’s fence is an older flexible metal, so Huib used some wire to tie our fence to the neighbour’s fence.
It seems to be holding so far, but we’re keeping a closer eye on our little Houdini.
It has been a couple of weeks, but Arizona has returned to group field classes.
It seems as though the entire group is back, Maverick the Duck Toller, Hank the black lab, Butler the chocolate, and Cassie the yellow lab.
Susie wanted to work with Hank and his owner, so she had us work with Chad (Maverick’s owner) and Laura.
Arizona did well at going to the bumper with the wing, but she forgot to come back. It’s like she’s forgotten what the whistle means, and any other form of recall we have tried to teach her, lol!
Instead of coming, Ari thought she would parade her bumper around Laura and Chad.
Despite trying a number of methods (e.g. with a tracking line on or off), Arizona was just not in the mood to return to me after fetching the bumper.
It was actually kind of embarrassing. I am not really worried about Laura seeing this mess, but Chad seems to be really into perfection and he hasn’t seen Ari work well yet, so it was hard to have him see her lack of recall.
Arizona is still not so sure about picking up a dead duck, so we’re trying to introduce it to her slowly.
It seems as though everyone in field uses an E-collar, and both Chad and Laura suggested we try one out, but Huib and I refuse to even consider it. We aren’t in a rush to get titles, so if it takes Arizona another year of lessons before she gets her WC (working certificate) then that is fine with us. We refuse to use a shock collar, even if Arizona is a brat!!
Hopefully next week goes better.
The Maple Leaf Kennel Club was having trouble getting enough entries for their UKC conformation show, so we decided to enter Arizona.
The UKC or United Kennel Club, is a more family and fun oriented organization. They offer a lot of the same events as the Canadian Kennel Club, but instead of being focused on just looks at conformation shows, the UKC looks for dogs who not only fit the breed standard, but who can also perform the jobs they were bred to do.
One really neat thing about the UKC is that you cannot use a professional handler and the dog must always be shown or trialled by the owner, breeder or immediate family of either one.
Arizona was entered into two shows on the Saturday, but in hindsight we should have only done one. It was a really hot day and all of the dogs in the show seemed leggy by the afternoon.
Despite the fact that Arizona got last place in her class, we were very proud of her. When the judges had finished judging the group and were taking a break, we went over to ask them what we could have done better.
Both judges said she looks and moves great, and showed very well, but that she was the youngest female golden retriever being shown, so they were not able to give her a better placement. They both said she just needs to grow up, grow into her body. This probably sounds silly, but it makes complete sense to us and we are happy with the outcome.
Rogue came along as well. I should have entered her as an altered, but I didn’t realize they had the altered class. She worked the entire time and did really well. It was neat to see how easily she guided me around the fair ground and ignored the various distractions.
Despite not earning any points or ribbons, at least we now know that Arizona is not a waste of time and that some day she will grow into her body and maybe earn a conformation title or two.
The dinner gathering on Tuesday night was a wash. The organizers really didn’t offer any food, just a few appetizers with drinks. People seemed to know one another, so it was a bit awkward for Huib and I. We stayed for a couple of drinks and then left to order pizza in our hotel room with Rogue and Canyon.
Wednesday morning we had a bit of breakfast and then I went to the keynote by John Bradshaw, while Huib returned to the room to watch Dirty Jobs with Canyon.
The keynote was good. Bradshaw talked about anthropomorphism and how it can be both good and bad. I didn’t really agree with his belief that dogs lack higher levels of intelligence and the ability to feel some of the complex emotions, but overall I really enjoyed his talk. After he had finished, the floor was opened for questions. The most interesting question asked was by a woman who used to be a nurse in a hospice. She wanted to know how Bradshaw can explain the reaction dogs have to dying patients if he believes they do not possess higher levels of intelligence and feeling. I totally see what she was saying and I didn’t feel Bradshaw answered her question. I wish I had taken good notes, so I could actually explain what he was saying and how her question related, but of course I am a horrible notetaker.
When the keynote was over, Huib came back to go with Rogue and I into the ball room where the posters were set up. The people who had posters were asked to stay by their poster for an hour each day of the conference to answer any questions.
I had a number of people come by. I’m not really sure why, but people really seemed interested in my project. I had a couple of people comment that my poster had too much writing, but otherwise I had a lot of compliments and questions regarding my research findings. Even though I am still in the beginning stages of my project, I was able to answer most questions and I don’t really think anyone noticed that I haven’t really started my research, lol!
The morning sessions weren’t overly interesting to me, but I did like the presentation on veterans and service dogs. The research seemed to tie in well with the research paper my thesis supervisor wrote last year for Veterans Affairs on the benefit of service dogs for veterans.
Lunch was good, not only did I get some pizza, but they also had some good salads.
In the afternoon there were several different presentations relating to service dogs. A woman from the UK did a research project looking at the psychological benefits of guide dogs to their blind handlers. It was interesting to listen to her findings because one of the conclusions I made in my short literature review was that there is a lot of research looking at the benefits of therapy dogs and companion dogs, but no real studies looking at the psychological benefits of service dogs. There was also an interesting study looking at the activity level of blind people with service dogs compared to blind people without dogs. She found that guide dog users tend to be more active than blind individuals without a dog.
I can’t really remember what the second afternoon session was about, so it probably wasn’t overly interesting.
Dinner was at a local restaurant. It was pretty fancy stuff. We had steak with mashed potatoes and grilled veggies. They also served some good salad and tasty bread. We could have also had dessert, but we wanted to get back to Canyon and we both weren’t overly hungry anymore, so we passed on the desserts.
On the final day of the conference we had to leave the room by noon, so I only went to the morning sessions. There was a keynote on zoos that was quite interesting. Did you know that giraffes are quickly nearing endangered species status? Did you know that there is no real value in conserving the Giant Panda? I didn’t know either.
There were a variety of presentations in the morning session. There was an interesting presentation by Hal Herzog, on the problems with studies looking at the value of animal-assisted therapies. He argues that most studies do not actually prove anything because often they are too small sample-wise and lack controls.
The next couple presentations were on activity dog programs at a couple of different universities and a rehabilitation centre in Switzerland. I really liked the prevention by Sandra Barker, evaluating the program her university runs. Not only do they have dogs, but they also have cats, rabbits and a chicken. Could you imagine? A therapy chicken?
Other than finding it hard to stay in a down during the afternoon sessions on Wednesday, Rogue did quite well. I got a lot of compliments on her work and about how quiet she is. I do need to work on her staying in a down for longer periods of time, but in her defence, Wednesday was a pretty long day and she did well until the last few presentations.
Once Huib and Canyon had loaded the car, Huib came to get Rogue and I. We then set off to visit Cyndy and Uschi from the blog, Gentle Wit.
It was a pretty short visit, but a good one. Such really liked playing with Canyon. We spent most of the time just hanging out at their house, letting Uschi and Canyon play with the tennis balls Cyndy brought out and spread around the living room. Rogue isn’t an overly social dog with other dogs, so she spent most of the visit hiding on the couch or trying to walk along the back of the couch to see where Huib had gone. Other than watching the dogs play and talking, we went to pick up food at the Cheesecake Factory and had breakfast at a yummy little diner before leaving for home.
I have been sending packages to Cyndy’s place for months, so we also picked a lot of stuff up during our visit. We got Swamp Cooler vests for the goldens from Ruffwear, a bright pink front attach harness and pacific blue front attach harness from Ruffwear for Arizona and rogue, some JW chew toys for Ari, some new black leather leashes for a couple of friends and for the labs along with matching black leather martingales for Rogue and Cessna. I also finally got my new purple iPhone case and Huib got a black one for his phone. Oh, and I also got Cessna’s new supplement I’m trying out with her that is made from the shell membrane of eggs. This new supplement is supposed to be better than Glucosamine, so even though Cessna isn’t showing any arthritis yet, she is making some clicking noises when she walks up stairs, so I’m hoping this new supplement will help her out.
When we got back to my friend’s place to pick up Cessna and Arizona, Ari told Huib how much she disliked the fact that we had left her for so long. She was extremely vocal about it and held onto Huib’s arm for along time, taking him from place to place in the yard, lol! My friend said both girls were great and Ari had a good time playing with her daughter’s foster puppy, Sully. When she dropped Sully off at her daughter’s place, he didn’t even greet Kelsey, he just went over and laid on his bed, lol!
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