Friday, August 26, 2011

Gilda Goes Pro!

Gilda's official Doggie Brigade trading cards are finally here! She is now like a pro athlete...

{Big Smile For the Kids!}

{Official Stats}

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gilda Gets Going... Pico Plays a Part...

Linda's plan is a great one! At Linda's suggestion, we moved Gilda back into private lessons to try and get her out of her Agility funk. Tonight was week 3 of private lessons and it seems to be working beautifully!

{Gorgeous Gildz}

Linda went all the way back to making Agility a fun game. The first week we spent much of class just calling Gilda back and forth between us and treating her. After a few repetitions, Linda would move so that a jump was between us and then 2 jumps were between us. There were no commands and Gilda was always correct. This took the pressure off of her and she was able to relax and run like she used to!
We slowly added in other obstacles, again keeping things upbeat and relaxed. Gilda got a treat anytime I held her collar so that that wasn't stressful.
This week we were able to get Gilda to do some really nice sequence work at a fairly quick pace. While we still had some trouble getting her to tug, she remained relaxed and happy throughout the class which was such a relief to me (and I'm sure her too!)
Pico came to class tonight which served many purposes:
1) To help with his crating issues and to acclimate him to the Agility environment.
2) To motivate Gilda by being forced to watch me work with her 'brother'. (This sounds cruel but it really isn't. Gilda is highly motivated to clicker train at home when she sees me working with Pico).
3) To give Gilda a break during class.
All three goals were achieved! Pico did great being crated while Gilda worked and only cried a few times. Pico also did great on his first ever Agility lesson. He was willing to go through a straight tunnel and a "J" tunnel and he learned to walk on the board with just click/treating.

{Agile little Pico}

Gilda seemed to come back strong after her break too. It was so nice to see her relaxed and happy because that's what it's really all about in the end!
After class, they visited the kennel where they will stay during our vacation. Both dogs did well there for the most part... Gilda stood at the fence and barked at the pond incessantly.  Since she had such a good day, I stopped by our friend Lynda's and gave her a swim in the pond as a reward!

{Gilda in her Glory}

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2 Steps Forward... One Step Back...

Gilda is having a difficult time in Agility class. As usual with dogs, the reason isn't immediately clear to us humans. In the last month we have had extreme heat and humidity, a new dog in the house, and new flooring at Agility Underground. [The new Astro turf is wonderful!It is soft and cushy and has to be better for the dogs. Handlers are allowed to run barefoot on it which takes me back to childhood!] Gilda could also be worried about something we aren't even aware of... who knows?!
At Linda's suggestion, we are pulling Gilda out of her group class and back into private lessons for awhile. At least that way, no other dogs will perform the dreaded Teeter and set her off! We are also going to borrow a Teeter and practice at home.

{Oh that face!!}

With Gilda's background, setbacks aren't a huge surprise. As smart as she is, learning often takes longer than 'normal' because we have to first work so hard to overcome her fears so that she can learn.

I have watched many online videos of what appear to be confident, obedient, driven dogs. Often, the videos are accompanied by a blurb written by the handler that describes the great trials and tribulations they have gone through to get their dogs to this point. I believe that Gilda is one of those dogs and that it's just a matter of time, patience, and perseverance.

{Me & My Gilda}

We will be moving forward together soon!