Monday, 30 December 2013

FLIP! Another new command for Finn

We haven't got to right and left yet, but I was playing with Finn today - throwing the ball along the passage in the house.

He can now GO on command and run right to the end of the passage without looking back.  Sometimes the ball hits something and bounces back, so he needs to turn to find it.

I thought it would be cool if I could use this to teach another word.  I decided on the word FLIP

I started to call FLIP after he'd run out on GO, and then just lob the ball near my feet.

I was totally amazed at how quickly Finn picked this up.  The first few times I let him hear the ball fall, and I called FLIP as he turned himself around.

A few more throws and I could call GO followed by FLIP and then roll the ball towards him as he came back to me to get it.

Soon I need to work on RIGHT and LEFT - but that will have to be outside.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Starting a few Jumps with Finn

This is all just a bit of fun and is intended to give Finn the idea of going on ahead of me over jumps.  This was the first time we'd tackled two jumps in a row.  I did a couple of runs by putting him in a wait, and placing myself between the two jumps to help him get the second one.  Then went back to the start and what you see is what happened.  I was delighted with this achievement.

The jumps I ask him to do are just a cross pole from the Small height, because Finn is only 8 months, and so jumping higher is not sensible yet.  

Thursday, 26 December 2013

So what about Patsy?

So recently I've been talking a lot about Finn and his training, and there's been very little mention of Patsy.  The reason is rather fun.

Earlier in the autumn I loaned Patsy to Shona to run in the qualifiers for the Young Kennel Club Agility  at Crufts.   And my little black dog came up trumps and qualified both as part of a YKC team and also for the individual event with Shona.

So, recognising that my handling style must, by necessity, be quite different from Shona's, I decided to stop handling Patsy in either training or competition until Crufts is over.

This has given me time to concentrate on Finn and to teach him a variety of tricks and skills ready for doing agility once he is old enough.

Oh and I got  a fun present for Christmas this year from Tim: he bought me a GoPro.

The 1 minute clip below is the first I've managed to produce. Nothing fancy, no music or stunning effects It's just me, Patsy and Finn going out for a Boxing day "walk" to burn off dinner!  You'll be pleased to know, I did manage to edit out the boring bit in the middle where nothing seems to happen.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Some Finn Special?

I have now sent off Finn's registration papers to the Kennel Club.  After much consideration and deliberation I have asked for the name "Some Finn Special".  So, if we get it, he'll need to live up to the name!

His training continues.

In reality it's a bit like playing a few games with him one on one.  He is very ball motivated, which is great an so in addition to reinforcing the words: "Go" and "Back" when I throw the ball in those directions, I'm also starting a little bit of agility by way of small jumps and a tunnel.

For the "jumps" I'm actually making a cross pole from the small jump height, which is really just a token gesture jump, but gives him the idea.

I have also brought the tunnel out again and am sending him through it.  We started this first when he was quite little, and despite not doing much in the interval, he hasn't forgotten.

So today I set up a jump, tunnel and jump in a straight line.  I put him in a wait before jump and scooted to the tunnel entrance.  Then called him over the jump, sent him through the tunnel and when he jumped the jump on exit I called "Go" and threw the ball forwards for him as a reward.

I was very pleased he "got" this quite quickly.  Next I hope to be able to send him down the line, with me in various other positions - such as his start position, or out to the side of the tunnel.   At the moment, setting him up in a "Wait" at the start of the sequence is very useful, and his wait so far is strong.  

Anyway - no pictures today, hopefully I'll get a few more over the holiday period.

Happy Christmas peeps!

PS Finn's show name is "Some Finn Extra Special" 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Finn on Video: Wait! Go! & Back!

Just a short minute long clip of Finn.  Here he demonstrates Wait! and then Go! (and running on past the scooter).

Clip also shows him run Back! on command, and demonstrate Switch! (changing sides behind the scooter).

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Finn - Scooter Training

Just a short clip to show Finn as he learns a few commands related to the Scooter.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Finn's Lessons

So Finn is doing a load of learning these days.

This picture is from the Summer when he started Puppy Class with Shona.

Recently however, my friend, Janine, has been handling him Obedience Classes and he has even been upgraded from puppy class to the Bronze Good Citizen Class!

He is growing fast and at 7months now weighs 20kg.

This does not stop him from trying out the smallest size of dog box however.

I have started training him along side my scooter and so far he (mostly) understands the following:

Close - Run on my left side
Side - Run on my right
Switch - Change sides by running behind the scooter
Go - Run forwards (and wait for ball)
Back - Run opposite direction to scooter ( and wait for ball)

We are also practicing all his other obedience words: Sit, Down, Come, Wait etc.

And I've got to say collies are might quick learners!

The last photo was taken by my daughter.  The "Sit" command came in useful to keep him in frame for this lovely photo!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Agility Inspiration

This post is a Thank You to Philippa Armstrong, who inspired me to keep going with agility when my mobility became insufficient to continue on my feet.  Watching videos of Philippa competing her dogs using an electric wheelchair, and then talking to her online, gave me the confidence to start using a mobility scooter to compete.

Just watch this small clip to get an idea of what she has achieved:

Youtube clip of Philippa competing

Unfortunately, in order to be able to continue to compete Philippa now needs a new and upgraded wheelchair.  The clip above mentions her appeal and there is more detail in the post below.

Wheeled Agility with Philippa Armstrong

I have made a small donation as a BIG Thank You to Philippa for all her support to me over the past year.  I hope that one day we can meet in real life - and perhaps compete against one another!!  Mind you that might take a while!!

Best wishes Philippa.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Having fun with Finn

So I've been doing a little work with Finn and a tunnel.  I had barely set our tunnel down and unfurled it before he dashed through  - so no fear there!

I immediately used a toy (thrown to the other side of the tunnel) to encourage him through while going away from me - which he picked up very quickly.  

Then I started calling "tunnel" and throwing the toy only once he ran into the tunnel.  Once he got the idea that going through the tunnel meant a toy would appear magically at the other side - he started to run through without any command!  Repeatedly!

So, next, a bit like playing "Simon says" with a child, we had to spend a bit of time learning that the toy only appeared if he had been instructed to "Go Tunnel" first!  (I think he is getting this now!)

Anyway as you can see from the pic below he thinks the game is good fun and that's the way I want to keep this.

 The two pictures below were taken at 10 and 20 weeks - he's grown quite a bit! & Leg length has rather increased!

But of course like all puppies he just loves his cuddles.  Here with Elaine before she heads off to Uni....

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Mighty Chuffed with our First Ever Clear Round!

So blue skies despite earlier forecasts, and some lovely courses put up at The Patch for the Mind To Win Fun Day.

The "Tunnel Vision" course was a nice sweeping course with only a couple of tricky  twists, and this is where we struck gold.  We did a running start .... and then remarkably we just kept doing one wee bit after another right...  Every little twist worked, and suddenly there we were crossing the finish without faults!

So no action shots today but here we are with the lovely Judge's Special Rosette that we won for the round.

I brought Finn out to let him see around, and was really pleased with how well he took everything in his stride.  And Shona was delighted with Jack Jack who did four lovely training rounds without leaving the ring at all.

That's Finn in the background, Honey up front and Jack Jack on the right.  All with Shona.

Good day!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Verbal Commands in Dog Agility

I would LOVE to be one of those silent handlers who just points at an obstacle and the dog understands....  but as that is not the case, this is a post about the verbal instructions that I try to give Patsy.

It seems that the choice of words used to instruct the dog is related to where you train and local fashions.  Obviously all that matters is that the handler and the dog are speaking the same language!

So these are words I use with Patsy.  Some are my own, and others are more widely used, (I've put in brackets words I've heard others use):

Obstacles:  Patsy can recognise most of these words and select the right obstacle.  
Jump            (Over)
Tunnel          (Through ---- Usually pronounced Throooooooooo!)
A                 (A-frame / Walk-on)
Dogwalk      (Walk / Walk-on)
Bendy-bendy (Weave, Wee Wee Wee or Weeeeeeeeee!)

I don't differentiate between soft tunnels and round ones.  Perhaps I should?

Directionals and other Instructions:
Leave it!       This one is especially important  for me if a contact is anywhere close to the next obstacle!
Out               Used to send her away to a far jump or around a wing to jump coming back to me
Go! Go!        To send her on down an obvious line of jumps ahead of me. Usually interspersed with Jump!
Close           Run on my left side (this is not yet fully understood by Patsy!)
Side             Run on my right side (ditto)
Switch!        Flip behind me to run on the other side. (She's starting to get this one.)
Here!           To call her back towards me again.

The Right and Left Dilemma:
I haven't been good about teaching right and left.  I wish they came second nature to me, but my problem with trying to teach this is that in the heat of the moment I am very likely to call the wrong one!  I should perhaps start with Finn and see if we can learn this one together!!

And to Finish:  Here's Patsy going "Bendy! Bendy! Bendy!"  

I just found this much easier to keep repeating than "Weave! Weave! Weave!"  or even "Wee Wee Wee"

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Finding my Feet..... *Wheels!

It's great now to feel so accepted on my wheels by the agility crowd. We were out today and I did two fun rounds in front of the crowds at Castlewellan Show. 

I was pleased that I felt confident enough to just go out there and give it a shot. Patsy was really attentive and flew round trying her wee best and that made it all great fun.... the fact that we were eliminated for going under the first jump (and flunking weaves) in both rounds is neither here nor there. The crowd were lovely and cheering everyone, and I've come home just feeling a great glow of achievement!

Just had to share! :)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Finn - Checking out his new world....

No nicer way to spend a few hours than watching a puppy on a sunny July morning!  

Friday, 5 July 2013

Introducing "Finn", My Collie Pup

This idea has been on my mind for a while, but I've kept talking myself out of it.  I mean, my mobility is not great and I want a new pup - how mad is that!

However family members encouraged me to go ahead, and yesterday the three girls came with me to choose a pup from a litter of collie pups born on a farm in Co. Antrim.   So here he is: Finn at 9 weeks and 3 days old!

Both parents were working collies and half the litter had gone when we got there.... but the picture below was in the ad, and to me shows a truckload of healthy happy pups!

Now of course I was attracted by the general cuteness, but I had also rung about other litters and decided not to visit them. Thing is, I knew that once I went to see a litter I would bring a pup home!  Anyway this litter sounded good and the farmer was interested and happy to answer all my questions and so off we went.

And of course home we came with a pup.... Finn!

There were only 4 pups left when we got there. Choosing was really hard, but I was warming towards this boy,  when he then ran over and flopped down beside me and plonked his head in my lap... well that was it - he was sold!

Of course I didn't tell the farmer that I was so confident that I'd take a pup, that I had a first vet's appointment booked before we even left to see the litter!

 Once home he enjoyed a good romp round the garden

And another round the living room 

And then after a feed, he settled for a nap in his bed in a crate (kindly leant by a good friend) in the living room.  I have decided not to introduce him to the other dogs just yet.  I want him focussed on people first...

However there was another surprise - as Amy (my son Colin's girlfriend) decided she would go back up for the last bitch in the litter.  Kerry had sent her photos when we were there....

They called in on the way home and Finn was very pleased to see her.  This is Pixie ....

But two puppies are even harder to photograph well than one!

And finally Amy took her exhausted pup home.

And Finn settled into his bed for the night and we didn't hear another peep out of him til I went to check on him!  Awww..... (Wonder how Pixie slept?)