“Mind Your Manners!”

“Mind your manners!”

How many of us grew up hearing those words? I’m sure we all had a magic word that made what we wanted happen. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way to good relationships. Simple things pave the way for peace and harmony in community.

These simple things so often get ignored in society and not just by the 2legged members either. Manners are a vital part of having a 4legged friend that’s a good member of society too.

Manners have always been high on my priority list with my dogs. Unfortunately it’s easy to get distracted by the flashier and fancier tricks in dog training. That’s happened with me and Magnus.

My boy turned one last month and we’ve learned a lot in his first year but I’m noticing he really needs some “back to basics” work. I’ve neglected some of what I consider to be foundation behaviors for a good pet. He has a good start on almost everything I think he needs to know, but it all needs a bit of polishing.

There are several areas I think we need to focus on, some of which would be taken care of if we got his CGC, which was one of my original goals. All of which we’d accomplish just by working Training Levels.

Greetings and Door Manners
Greetings are one place we need some major improvement. Especially when my mom, Charley and Chloe come over he gets way too excited. When a knock on the door is the cue to jump, bark and run around like a maniac you need some manners work. This is a bit of a logistical problem for me since as a self confirmed hermit I rarely have people over. Yet another 4legged lesson: Dogs make you get out of your shell.

I like the video below on how to keep dogs calm when people come over. It sets the dogs up for success even if the humans don’t cooperate with the plan. I often find I have an easier time communicating with my 4legged friends what needs done for success than with my 2legged ones and by putting the dog behind an x-pen it creates a physical cue to the humans that training is going on.

I also need to make my greetings much calmer. The challenge for me is that when the dogs run out so excited to see me and want to smother me in Cavalier hugs and kisses it’s hard to resist! Looks like I’m going to have to practice some greeting zen for myself too!

Door manners are also on my list. I’ve always taught the dogs to wait to go through the door until released. I still like that method, but I’m adding another element our trainer showed me. So instead of the dogs sitting, waiting and then when released bursting through the door and go on their merry way the criteria is now for them to sit until released then reorient to me. This applies to gates and cars too.

A combined element to door manners and greetings is that I want a solid park it on their mats when I open the door. All of this is covered in Training Levels, so if I get busy on those these things will come. Relaxation Protocol helps with this too.

Crate Manners
Both my dogs crate fine, but Magnus has trained a bad habit into me with crating. Maizey gallops into her crate just fine. Magnus on the other hand has decided he only has to get in bed if I have the treat already in my hand for him. SIGH! How did I let that happen? It was one of those subtle things that developed over time and I didn’t even notice until this week.

The solution? First I need to leave more time when leaving to put him to bed. If I’m in a hurry instead of actually training I tend to resort to “Okay I’ve got your treat now hurry up.” I’m going to work through Crate Games with him to get that eagerness to load up back.

Relaxation Protocol
I’ve come to the conclusion every dog can benefit from RP. Magnus and I have worked through three days. I have video, but I figured you were all getting sick of RP video so I haven’t posted it. I may put it on youtube eventually. If you’re dying to see it let me know and I’l upload it for sure.

Maizey spoiled me as far as grooming and handling’s concerned since she’s at “Level 33″ with handling. Magnus is the exact opposite of her when it comes to handling. He’s never loved being groomed, but this last month with is limp he’s really got the best of me.

He submits, but he doesn’t love it. I know he’s probably not ever going to love being groomed, but I need him to at least cooperate. Today I actually took him to a groomer to have him cleaned up. Neither if my dogs has ever been a groomer, and I found one I felt confident leaving him with. I’d still rather groom him myself so I’m adding handling to the “mind your manners” list. This is another thing that will be taken care of by working the levels.

All this manners work means we aren’t going to be doing classes for a while. I’m taking it back to basics with him and hopefully that will set us up for more success when we get back to classes!


Magnus is an AKC S.T.A.R. and Maizey Will Soon Be a Petite Pal

I always read these succinct, short, to the point blogs that are so easy to get the news you want without wading through extraneous fluff you really don’t care about.

Then I read mine. . .

So, I am going to endeavor to keep this short, which should be difficult since I haven’t kept up on the news around here lately.

I promise to do my best.

Monday, February 28, 2011 Magnus took and passed his AKC S.T.A.R. puppy test! Enter a proud Crazymomlady moment when his instructor said, “He’s almost ready for his CGC.”

Now that he is officially a S.T.A.R. and my life is trying to resume some sort of normalcy (whatever that is) he’s starting back to Agility For Fun class. On March 24th we will join one of our favorite instructors, Astrid, for the last 4 classes which we missed due to “real life” getting in our way the first time.

Since the instructors at Calling All Dogs are so wonderful they have agreed to help me work Maizey through the Petite Pals class there on Saturdays. She starts on March 12th.

Yes, this means I am officially insane, as both dogs will be in different classes on different days. Something I swore I would never do. However my Notsocrazymomlady is taking Chloe to that class and when Nicole heard the progress Maizey is making both she and Michelle, the instructor of Petite Pals felt it was worth a try to see how my Princess Of The Shrill Bark would handle it.

I will take it week by week and have their assurance they will help me monitor her stress levels and if it’s not a fit for her we will adjust accordingly.

In Steps to Success news Maizey has completed 38 of the L2 steps. Magnus is close behind with 29 steps complete. With our weeks filled up with classes we will be taking a bit of a hiatus from the levels until Sue releases the new book. (Which we are hoping and praying and wishing and begging will be soon!)

There! How did I do? Succinct enough? Oh wait. . . I forgot to update about Maizey’s persistent Blepharitis, Corneal Dystrophy and Distichiasis. Then there’s the Walking Challenge, my new obsession with making leather leashes and the perfect treat bags.

I can’t forget to at least mention the great honor Magnus had of being named one of the naughtiest dogs at Embee Cavaliers! A great thanks to Mary Beth for including him!

Most important of all I need to come up with a registered name for Magnus’ AKC PAL#!

Goodness, this being succinct thing is hard. Oh well, I guess I will have to get caught up on a night when it’s not already 12:15a.m.

In the mean time why don’t you help me out by coming up with a clever AKC registered name which includes the words: Magnus, Magnificent, and Moments. Who knows one of you could have the honor of giving Magnus The AKC S.T.A.R. his registered name!

(Don’t worry if you’re drawing a blank my next post is about the confusing world of AKC Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege and should make you all as confused as I am!)

Okay, Okay, I wasn’t short and to the point at all, again. All I can do is beg your mercy and hope you’ll keep putting up with my long windedness since I value your input so much!


Walking Challenge 2011

My first walking challenge was 30 miles in 30 days. There were some really special walks in that first challenge. Actually I hardly remember a walk with my 4legged friends that wasn’t special in some way.

Sure we got tired sometimes, but challenging myself really got me moving after Maizey’s surgeries. As I already freely admitted to being a self confirmed energy hoarding sloth walking the dogs as much as I should can be a challenge in itself. I find that committing to a certain number of miles really forces me to get out there on the days when I otherwise may find an excuse not to.

So no more excuses! This year the challenge doesn’t end! Walking Challenge 2011 is on!

A year long challenge may sound daunting, but we all agree exercise for  our pups is a year round priority. Okay, it’s true, exercise for me should be a year round priority too. So a year long challenge makes a lot of sense.

I found in a 30 day challenge if I got behind in my miles it was hard to catch up so a year long challenge is more flexible. Weather, health, work, family or anything else distract us from getting out there with our pups, but in a year there is time to catch up. Time to plan ahead for some extra miles on some days, or a special training walk on others. In a year “real life” won’t derail my challenge, I can always catch up when the day isn’t so ‘rainy’.

The rules are: there are no rules. I do these challenges for myself, but find if we have support cheering us on it helps us get out there even more.

I call it a walking challenge, but it doesn’t have to be walking: biking, swimming, skateboarding, surfing, running, crawling-whatever floats your boat, as long as it is activity with your 4legged friend is fine by me.

Joining is simple, just leave me a comment in any post or email me privately and I will add you to the list in the 2011 Walking Challenge sidebar widget. Then when you complete miles leave them in a comment or email them and I will update the list.

Now I am open to suggestions here, but I was thinking I would do a regular post about the challenge, perhaps monthly, or even bi-monthly if there is enough support. If you have a blog and do a walking challenge post I will link to your post so we can all get revved up by each others progress. Perhaps you need suggestions on what to do, or perhaps you have some suggestions for the rest of us, if so post those on your blog or in a comment here so we can all support each other.

As far as miles go feel free to set your own bar. I chose 365 for the simple reason it is just a mile a day, but I know I don’t walk my pups everyday and rarely for just a mile. It made sense to set the goal as something easily achievable, I can always do more! So set what works for you. If you want I can list your personal goal with your progress.

I think we can all think of those special walks we had with our 4legged friends. The peaceful ones, the one with a training triumph, the sunrise or sunset that was stunningly beautiful. Perhaps it was that special location or a personal triumph that made it memorable, but whatever the reason it was having our 4legged friend there that made it all better.

So lets get out there! Lets make 2011 the year we look back on with many more fond memories of active time spent with our pups!

From a recent walk in the snow


Post 150: A New Year is Upon Us

I have never laid out my goals for my 4legged friends in a yearly format. But this is the year. Yesterday, January 1, 2011 started 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days of organized lessons from and for my dogs.

Magnus is now five and half months old, his life has barely begun but he has come so far. Where will he be one year from today? I guess we will all have to keep reading to find out! But I have some ideas.

As for my Maizey MayMay. . . my little girl is not so little anymore. She is growing into my new Meeka. The pup of the flock that always does the right thing the first time, that knows and understands the most. It is a beautiful thing and yet in some ways I miss my flighty girl of a year ago.

Just think in eight days she will be two years old! I can’t imagine how time has flown that way. So where will she be 365 days from now. Of course I have some plans.

My goals will be laid out in quarters. Each quarter will have a theme, or a prominent aspect each pup will work on. There will be supplemental plans and projects interspersed with the quarterly goals. As always I reserve the right to change, adjust, or just plain trash any goal that isn’t working for us. My title isn’t administrator for nothing you know!

Each pup will continue to have their own Daily Life page with a specific goal layout for the year. Updates will be given as quarterly posts on the first of each quarter. Reviews will be given periodically through out the months.

But enough with the small print, lets get on with the fun stuff!

What will the Lessons From and For 4 Legs be for 2011?

The new Training Levels, Steps to Success, will continue to be our main curriculum. But also look for more tricks, CGC work, Rally Obedience, and hopefully new classes through out the year.

The big announcement is the new and improved Walking Challenge. Instead of an occasional monthly challenge I am taking the plunge and doing the first annual 365 miles in 365 days Walking Challenge. The rules are the same-there are no rules. If you want to join us you can ride, skate, walk, swim, run or crawl through the miles and we will have all year to do it! As always I will record all our progress. Look for more details soon!

In the reactivity arena Maizey and I are going to work on Relaxation Protocol, Leslie Mcdevitts’ Control Unleashed and I really hope to learn enough to use BAT with her. However, I am not going to focus to exclusively on reactive work. Last year I bogged us both down by training only that too much, and this year I want to bring the lightness and joy back to her lessons.

There are other plans in the making, but for a first quarter summary just check out Maizey’s Training Adventures and Magnus’ Training Adventures pages.

"Look out 2011 here we come!"


Walking Challenges, Plans, Contrivances and A Purpose

One time I heard an illustration about the difference between a plan and a purpose. For the purpose of dog training it would look like this:

Your purpose is to have a well mannered, well rounded, skilled pup. Your plan to do so is to train that dog the necessary amount to pass her CGC and be able to perform the skills for Rally Obedience.

But on the road to your purpose there are a lot of “road blocks”. Reactivity rears its reactive head, other 4legged friends get Degenerative Myelopathy and require much more daily care, your pathetic 2legged body just doesn’t cooperate (ok thats a wimpy road block, but honest), real life just does get in the way of your plan.

Here is the superiority of having a purpose. A purpose is not so rigid that you can’t take a different route, bypass the road blocks and move on towards your ultimate goals.

A plan get derailed by the roadblock, not having a contingency plan to keep the purpose in focus the whole plan is derailed and failure looms! (Dramatic thunder and lightening booms here.)

I have a purpose so I do not feel failure loom, but I take a lot of refocusing to stay on the road to my ultimate goal of a well rounded, well mannered Maizey. It seems to take many adjustment in my plans that allows for contingencies.

It was only on August 11 that I did the last of these get organized and giddyup posts. Time for a new one, sorry! Maybe I should just make this a regular monthly feature to give forewarning to everyone!

Since this is the month of the walking challenge the plan is to work the rally skills we both know the basics of into our walks.

For an easy example, HALT: Handler stops, dog sits in heel position team heals forward. Should be pretty simple as we stop for each road crossing and can do random halts in any walk. Simple enough!

Another example, HALT DOWN: Handler stops, dog sits in heel position, then downs from sit. Team heels forward from down. Same application of above and all skills she knows well.

Okay, for the enactment of this plan I think I am going to need more flash cards! The same way I keep the TL’s skills for that session on a carabiner to my belt I can choose a couple Rally skills for that day/walk and put them with the TL’s ones. Ahh. . . now the plans are flowing.

For the CGC skills I want to focus on: obviously we will meet plenty of strangers walking so Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger, can continue as aforementioned, with the addition of some increasing distraction level by walking past the elementary school near here, she LOVES kids! This also works nicely for Test 2: Sitting politely for petting and obviously for Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead) also for Test 5: Walking through a crowd.

Again I can see the usefulness of more flash cards for this too. YAY! (I do love flash cards you know!)

Also this month I would like to work on Test 10: Supervised separation as the trouble spot to focus on. Having this nailed down more would have made our trip much easier on both of us. . . but that is its own post in itself!

Of course we will continue to work on Ricky’s Training Challenge, and finishing up our last 5 L2 skills:
distance, stand, stand-stay, target, trick.

So in conclusion I have a good purpose, which is what keeps me going and a lot of plans and contrivances. Perhaps a month in review may be in line here too! Goodness its, plans, contrivances and purposes, Oh my!

"Do you think she is biting off more than I can chew? Good thing I'm such a snarf hog!"


Walking Challenge Is ON

First a Meeka update: Meekers ate!! And drank!! And asked to go outside!! Such simple things but such good news. This morning I gave in and hand fed her. I knew she didn’t want to eat but because she is her she would if I asked her. So she ate about a cup, which I was happy with. Then tonight I boiled her a mahi mahi fillet and fed her about a cup of the broth with her normal dinner-all gone!

What does it mean? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s good news to me. She even ruffed at the dogs barking outside, which is more alert than she has been for days. So for tonight we will take the relief she is showing and maybe I won’t worry, well not as much anyways!

The walking challenge: I’m not too much in the mood for a walking challenge, but Maizey is. Who knows maybe Meeka will feel better enough to take a stroll too. (How’s that for positive thinking?)

Basically I feel that if I don’t commit myself to doing something healthy for us I may just sit around here and go even crazier and we all know, if not believe, that exercise is good for us. Plus I just don’t feel like it’s fair to the Turbo Maizey to be cooped up around here. Add to that how winter is looming and I figure its time to get in gear.

Also I think we can combine our walking challenge with Ricky’s Training Challenge by working in some routes with more dogs and other distractions that are challenging. Plus with the fowl mood I have been in lately just getting out the door should be a challenge to me!

However I am nothing if not a realist so this won’t be a huge challenge as miles go. I have settled on 15 miles in 30 days. Which puts our start date today, September 1, 2010 and the end date September 30, 2010.

I know its sort of wimping out on the miles but between the week of wedding commitments coming up (yes I know another wedding and we all know how I feel about them!), the weekend conference in the middle of the month, and various and sundry other 2legged commitments 15 miles is about all I think we can be successful at. And if I am supposed to always set the girls up for success, shouldn’t that be a 4legged lesson for me too?

So if you want to join us the rules are as always, which means there are none. Want to walk, run, blade or bike through a mile? Go for it! Want to do 40 miles? Rock on! Let us know if you want to join us in any comment and I will add your names to the list, then just keep us updated on your progress and I will update the list. Of course all good-on-ya’s and well wishes will be appreciated. Especially on that, okay those, days when the “just don’t wanna’s” get in the way!

Walking Challenge 15 miles in 30 days is on!


Crazymomlady Giddyups on Maizey’s Training Levels

I like to be organized. Not that I am, but I like to be. I like lists, and spread sheets and flash cards, and notes on things I’ve read.

"She really does, see all my L3 flash cards?!? Good thing I'm a super hard worker!"

Yet somehow no matter how organized I get I don’t seem to be making much progress on Maizey’s Training Levels work. Maybe I am afraid of success.

Part of the reason is just life. I won’t bore you with the details there but sometimes real life does get in the way.

Another reason is this whole reactivity thing. I think I have developed an completely irrational fear getting into a situation with Maizey that I can’t control so that has hampered my training away from home with her. Maybe she is fine and I’m the reactive one! Combine that with the generally overwhelmed state of life and you have one very unmotivated crazymomlady.

So diagnosis complete. Now to solutions.

Ricky’s training challenge actually really helped me. Another thing that made me want to get busy on our TL’s work was when one of the Training Levels list members posted she and her dog completed L7!! (Congrats Vinnie!) When she posted, “We did it” it gave me a glimpse of how good that would feel. Even if just on a smaller level of posting, “We did L2″.

So I got out my master list of all we are working on and my levels flash cards and binder with all behaviors for all levels. (Okay it has been out sitting there staring me in the face, but I actually opened it!) It is a formidable book once all printed out, but I am a hardcopy girl at heart and I like having easy access to it even if I can’t be online.

I put all the info I need for just what we are working on in a lighter binder so it is even easier access. And the conclusion after all this organizing?

L2 skills needed to complete:
distance, stand, stand-stay, target, trick

Out of those 5 skills (5! I have been wimping out over five measly skills? Rolling eyes at myself here) target and trick are ready to test today.

L3 skills will be covered in their own post soon. As will an update on the rest of our day to day skill on our progress report.

For today: test trick and target. Work on stands.

Aint motivation great?