Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 Months of Age

10 weeks
having just experienced rain for the very first time

10 months

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rally-O: 360

My balance disc/perch work helps me perform all the left turns (especially: 360, 270, 180 & 90). Mom has trouble with turning left in really small circles but she's trying to improve.
 360 TURN LEFT (AKC#12)
2 weeks ago:

Yesterday's class:


Monday, March 26, 2012

March, you say? 2

the pond is a lot  c-o-l-d-e-r  than Trudy's pool!

The "winter that wasn't" is creating confusion for plants and critters alike. Lawns are green, shrubs are budding (forsythia are already in full bloom) a month or so earlier than normal and reptiles are emerging from their dens just as temps are plunging below zero. While searching for birds on Sunday, I came across this large sunbathing garter snake under some thorny shrubs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Road Trip

Went on my first road trip this past weekend. It was my first long car ride (4 hours one way) and first stay in a hotel. We visited with friends and entered a conformation show. My weekend started on Thursday with a rigorous swim.

Sometimes I create big splashes
Sometimes I glide through the water creating barely a ripple
That was a great workout
Seeing crocuses for the very first time
Relaxing during set up at the show
Checking myself out in the hotel room mirror
Playing with a new tug toy
Stretching my legs after 3 hours in the car
Unexpectedly warm at 22c
So happy the predicted thunderstorm blew away

My assessment of the weekend:
Highways are long & boring and hotels are large & noisy
but, all in all, road trips are FUN!

*Technical difficulties have delayed upload of a photo and video from the show ring (camera has been dropped one too many times!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rally-O: Taking it Outside

We have been training Rally exercises indoors - off-leash at home and on-leash in class. Training outdoors presents many distractions (birds, squirrels, smells, noises, etc.) so it is a good thing to get outside for a little practice. Here are two snippets of an impromptu session from the other day.


This was a very promising example of Halt-Down-Sit until my elbows were pulled up off the ground by a reward that was held too high! The correct placement of a reward for a drop/down is close to the ground. As they say, "handler error."  Shall we list the other handler errors: setting me up too far away, body/feet not facing same direction as mine, feeding from the wrong hand ... Must use video more often to help catch and correct such poor training habits.

This is a much better example of the exercise.

Oooops, another handler error! This is an Advanced/Excellent exercise - so no need to practice this for awhile.  Need only practice the SIT followed by the DOWN (AKC #4). Well, I did say it was an impromptu training session. Apparently, the challenges posed by the great outdoors affect both species!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Trick: Part 2

Shut the Lid
Experimenting to see which actions get clicked. (Notice how I paw at the lid and then check in to see if that's going to get rewarded.)
Getting closer ... lots of clicks and one overly-excited human.
Clicks ... jackpots ... lengthy pauses ... success!

Ahhhhh, post-work belly rub!

Friday, March 09, 2012

New Trick: Part 1

Open the Lid
For this trick (or skill), we started with "free-shaping." Free-shaping entails clicks+treats for every interaction with the new object. After the initial free-shaping, the clicks become more informative as they only occur when I'm performing something that leads to the desired end result.
Is this what you're looking for?
How about this?
Once I figure out how to get the clicks+treats, I realize I can play the game while reclining on the floor. Although the click is a bit late (!), notice the jackpot of treats I receive when I forcefully throw open the lid.

Opening the lid while standing. (Sorry for the dark videos but it was 10:00 at night!)

The next day:  I have become proficient at the task so it is now given a name, "open." In the next video, the delay after the cue "open" was not caused by confusion but rather a noise in the distance that caught my attention. In spite of the temporary loss of focus, I remember what I was asked to do.

So there it is, from novel object to new skill in just a few easy steps!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

What's in a Name?

Varazs Mokany Kiralyi Orban

As you can see, I have quite the moniker. As best as we can translate (loosely, no doubt) from Hungarian, the meaning of my registered name is: 

Magical Spunky Regal Urbanite

Varazs (kennel name): magical/spellbinding

Varazs honours all those who have come before me, especially

Miska-Mom's Parents, Sasha and Nova

BPIG Am/Can CH Varazs Kiraly Sassy Sasha Am/Can CDX, FDJ, RAE, TT, CGC, CGN
CH Ferngold Varazs Innovation Can/Am CD, FDJ, JH, Can RA, Am RAE, CGN

Mokany:  spunky

In honour of Miska-Mom’s cousin, Milo (Mom’s first Vizsla (and first dog, ever)), who passed away (unbelievably) one year ago today

CRMCH Varazs Mokany Ficko FDJ, CGN, SSGDC, SADC, AGNJ, CL1-R, AGN,
Am/Can CD, Am RA, Can RAE, UCD, CRAT, URO2

Milo was the most wonderful companion anyone could ever ask for.
Milo demonstrated his working versatility by earning 28 titles in 4 disciplines
and was the first Vizsla to earn each one of the following titles:

CARO: CRX, CRV, CRNT, CRAT, Bronze Ch, Silver Ch, Gold Ch, Master Ch

Kiralyi:  regal
In honour of Miska-Mom

BIS (Veteran) Am/Can/Int'l/UKC CH Varazs Kiralyi Kedvesem FD,

and in honour of her dad, Sasha (pictured above)

Orbán: urban dweller

Well, that one's unique to me. I live in a big city, Mom has big plans and, as you can see, I have very big paws to fill. As a companion or as an athlete, I have quite the legacy to uphold.

Bódi (call name): from Bóldizsár “God Bless the King”
(more on that later) 

*All titles have been compressed to the highest level awarded (eg, CDX denotes 2 titles: Companion Dog and Companion Dog Excellent; RAE denotes 4 titles: Rally Novice, Rally Advanced, Rally Excellent and Rally Advanced-Excellent)

Wednesday's Word: Incredulous

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Foundation Work: Go-Outs

We've been working on "go-outs" this past week. This exercise teaches me to work away from "the handler" and is a foundation exercise for agility and other sports. Among other things, it helps to keep my spine supple so I can wrap tightly around a jump standard when necessary. I started learning this exercise up close to the cone. Once I understood the exercise, distance was added a few inches at a time (the deck boards come in handy for visualizing distance).  In this video, I am being sent to the cone from between 30" & 42" away (measuring from tip of boot to the cone). Once the cone is moved off the deck, the distance will gradually be increased to several feet/yards. Although you see me wrapping the cone L, R, L then R, I usually work both sides in a more random fashion.  

Monday, March 05, 2012

Dogpaddling 4

On Friday, I hopped into the pool all on my own for the very first time! However, when I realized Trudy wasn't in the pool with me, I immediately swam back to the steps.

As you can see, I've become quite proficient at swimming the perimeter of the pool counter-clockwise so next time I'll be working on swimming clockwise.  Notice how I've taught myself the beginnings of a swimmer's turn (when I reach the end of the pool, I push off of the bump-out).
Swimming is hard work!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Proprioception: Backwards & Upwards

I've been trying to walk backwards and place my rear feet onto the balance discs/pods but because of their small size it is too easy for me to step around them and therefore misunderstand what is being asked of me.  Today, the old sofa cushions were transformed into giant balance squares and voila!  Not only did I figure out that I was supposed to walk straight backward and step up onto something but in just a few tries I reversed up 3 levels.

(The loud cartoons you hear in the background serve as distractions as we work.)