Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miss Maddie working!

So here is a little taste of Intro to Odor held at Calling All Dogs. This search was odor with food.

The next video isn't so much about the search. It's about the schnauzer in the back ground. Maddie looks a few times, but doesn't react or lunge that way. While working, she doesn't even try to sneak over there. What work ethic!!!! You have come a long way Maddie XXOO

She did have a very difficult time on Odor only searches. At once point, she got so frustrated she starting throwing out tricks right and left. So, we walked away and a piece of food was placed by the odor. we came back and she hit it .

I'll be working this week on odor only and a few with food so it isn't too hard for her and she ends up not liking the searches.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Still high from last night! I am going to blog about it because I wanna remember the moments that made last night so fantastic. Plus, when we have a less than stellar night in class, I can go back and read this :-)

Maddie and I started our Intro to Odor class last night. We take our class at Calling All Dogs with an amazing trainer, Anna.

I was nervous, not because I don't have faith in Maddie, but because I don't have faith in myself to be diligent and aware 110% of the time. If I lose focus for just one second, I may set her up to fail.

We train in B room - which has large rectangular windows on two sides that face the parking lot. This made me nervous a little (ok really what doesn't make me nervous?). Cars/people/dogs come and go. The crate area is pretty limited in this room/class , so I decided to keep her in crate in car. Actually, I think this option is much better for both of us. I can watch other dogs and hear everything Anna is saying in class.

So we started back on boxes with birch odor and food. I brought Maddie in for first round. Of course she is super duper excited - butt wiggles and play bows galore, excited to see Anna etc. Last class, most of the students sat when Maddie came out as not to have too much distraction, so no one really got to "see" her work ( everyone in current class was in last class) But, this time, they were all watching. I hid the box, while Anna keeps her occupied with different commands. It's fun to hear Anna laugh at Maddie and to see Maddie respond to Anna's requests. The windows didn't take her off task, the new room didn't freak her out and either did the people watching. Her first round was successful, she was in work mode. Fast, searching from get go, and finding the box. I was stoked! When I got back to area, the other students complimented her. "wow she is fast. she is So smart. WOW she is amazing".

Next round she comes out, again ready to search. Hangs with Anna, this time more in work mode. She keeps pulling to go search. Next search goes really well (one she was slow on as it was a little harder, regular box on top of odor box, but she got it). But once search stands out. The odor box was about three boxes in. So Anna gives Maddie her search command and away she goes. She is blazing thru course, passes odor box, but in mid stride after box, she whips around mid air and dives into odor box. It was SO cool to watch. She caught scent mid air! More compliments from students "Look at how smart she is and all the commands she did with Anna". Also, compliments from Anna about how she isn't distracted by windows, people, etc. Very comfortable. She said something to affect that she was totally in work mode; very focused on the task.

Third and last round. Difficult searches. This time, Anna hid odor box and Maddie was with me. First search begins and she hit it so fast. I hear another student comment, "And that was the hard search??!! Holy cow!" Second search was a box upside down on top of the odor box. She passed it once, and then caught it. Pawed at box until she moved it and got to treats. SUCCESS! I was so stoked for her! Of course, after each round, I had to bait her with treats back to the car. She doesn't want to leave!

It is SO amazing to watch her work. I have heard the breed has amazing work ethic, and it's not like I haven't seen it before with her. But this isn't one on one with mom. And it isn't in our friends back yard, where she is pretty comfortable at too. This is in a different setting, with distractions galore. Watching her work ethic is almost like watching a miracle take place.

I will admit she is somewhat of a "bull in a china shop" when searching - LOL. She goes so fast (and she needs to slow down IMHO), if no scent from the box, she kind of jumps, or steps on it and runs to the next. Plus she is on lead, so sometimes the lead is hitting the boxes. I like her on a lead, as during trials the dogs are on leads.

I think the highlight for me really was hearing compliments from Anna and the students. Especially, people who really don't really know her except as the dog who has issues (one person asked me at beginning of class last night - " so she doesn't like dogs or people???"). It's great to hear compliments, but also hard to swallow - not sure if that makes sense? I am kind of biased when it comes to my dogs. Sure I think Maddie is smart, fast, has good work ethic, but that is at home in her comfort. But out in the big scary world , she isn't too comfortable. But when she is - when she is the dog out in the world that she is at home, and then to hear compliments. It really makes me glow! Plus, what if this is the only time these students actually get to see an APBT close up? What if they have a negative stereotype of the breed? Maybe they might not understand the breed, or the difference between HA or DA - BUT they get to see the work ethic, the smarts and the love this breed has.

Needless to say she got so many hugs when we got home and I couldn't stop smiling. But all Maddie wanted to do was go to sleep. LOL "enough hugs Mom!"

It was a good night. I hope for more, but we will have nights she doesn't do too well. Gotta keep my expectations in check. Plus, I need to remain humble with her. I don't want to be like "she is all that and a bag of chips", because a) that isn't true and b) I set us up for failure. Plus, no dog is really "all that and a bag of chips", at least in my house. There is ALWAYS more work to do, more to learn. I want to rejoice in the good times and be driven to do better/work harder when things don't go as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Heavy Heart

Today, our flyball team lost one of our core dogs.
Little Lucie went to the bridge.

Jake and I started at the tail end of Lucie's career . Still, we weren't too late to be able to run a year or two with her. She was a spitfire! You could not notice how awesome - how much love she had for the game .

After Billy met her, I got harped on getting a JRT just like her. But, there is only 1 Lucie.

Lucie and her family are very special to us. And my heart breaks for them and all the original UTB members.

She was a fighter up until the end.

RIP Lucie. Go find the flyball game in the sky. For they have now gained UTB's most valuable height dog.

Our team captain put this video together as a tribute to Lucie.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011