Toesday

Tuesday has been dubbed “Toesday” so that I can remember to do the dogs’ nails once a week. I hate clipping them with regular nail clippers because I’m afraid of hitting the quick so I use a Dremmel and grind them down. Gel hates having his feet touched, but he knows he needs to stand still while I do them. Midge tolerates it. In addition to using the Dremmel on their nails, once a month I trim the hair between their paw pads, which Gel hates even more. I started using the Dremmel on the puppies when they were about a week old. Last night when I held Fern in my lap doing her nails, I realized how much she’s grown in the past eleven weeks. She’s still quite small, not much bigger than the cats, but compared to how small she was at a week old, she’s grown a lot!

Last night I managed to get some training done outdoors on all three dogs before it got too dark to see. I worked Gel on weave pole entries at speed. There has been recent discussion on the Clean Run Mailing List at Yahoo Groups about weave pole entries and how many dogs in the Open (and sometimes Excellent) level of AKC cannot make correct weave pole entries. I asked the original poster if this was because people go into Open from Novice too soon and she confirmed this, further stating that many of the dogs in the Open level and even some in Excellent B are ill-prepared to be at that level. I hope Gel and I do not end up there. His weave pole entries are still not great, but he’s getting better. Weaves were the last thing I trained prior to quiting agility to focus solely on herding. Prior to selling my equipment, I had a set of weave-o-matic weaves (“WAM”), but when buying new equipment, I elected not to use WAM because I felt it taught Gel to slam through the poles rather than to bend his body around them. No matter how tight you screw the bolts holding the WAM weave poles in position, after a time or two going through them, they loosen. Gel discovered he could essentially plow the weaves out of the way, which is what he did when introduced to competition style weaves. Since he hasn’t done WAM weaves in about six months, he’s finally learning to bend around them. Hopefully this weekend I can get a video of him weaving. He lowers his head and body and drives through them with purpose. His footwork is very nice as well.

When I train Midge for weaves, I’ll use the 2×2 method as I believe that type of training teaches entries and breaks down the task into small pieces making it easier for the dog to understand.

I worked Midge in a jump grid, which she seemed to enjoy. Then I played around with her on the teeter board which I set on top of a piece of wood so it tipped like a teeter. I was pleased that she didn’t seem too concerned about the movement. I am looking forward to my lesson with Lynne Stephens on Saturday as I think she’ll have some good pointers for working with Midge.

I had Midge and Fern tied to the fence (on light chains) while I worked Gel. Unfortunately I forgot to put Gel’s collar on prior to taking him out so when it was time to work Midge, I lied Gel down near the fence, and he stayed, until I said “okay” which is his release word, but in this instance, it was directed at Midge. Fern screamed the whole time, which is frustrating, but she needs to learn to be tied. The next time I attempt to train outside, I will put the dogs I am not working in my car in crates. I guess I’m not terribly organized about my training routines.