Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Zaz 16 weeks old

Just to show that it's not all about Itzy. Here is Zaz this weekend on her walk. The pups turned 16 weeks old today.

Zaz is so much fun to train. What did we all do before clicker training? I cannot remember that far back!

We have a two weeks left in our little local village hall puppy class. It has been good; very basic but good exposure for the pups. The funny thing is that neither Zaz nor Itzy will play with the other pups during the controlled puppy play-time. I think because they have each other they don't find these puppies very interesting. Itzy is actually afraid of the little Shih-tzu in the class! You can see on her face that she just would rather NOT say hello to THAT pup!

I am very excited because we will start a more agility based puppy class in 3 weeks. It is a class that both Zen and Hex went to as pups and I really enjoyed it. It is a long trip to get to (over 1 hour) but worth it. The only problem is which pup do I work? It is a day class so no chance of Dennis helping out this time.

It was so windy and rainy today and we had just a few minutes of no rain for me to run out and do some video. It was one of those days where it would be pouring with rain one minute and sunny the next and then a gale force wind would pop up. I cancelled any lessons today so had some good training time with the pups. I am working on their retrieves right now; it is a slow process but fun to see their little brains working it out. Just to prove that Zazzer actually does things too; here is two videos I took this afternoon It is not easy to video, command, click and give food! I guess if I was smart I would have a tripod for my video camera but then what fun would that be?

Coordination and Balance training

On Sunday after a nice lie-in, lunch and walk with the dogs we took Zaz and Itzy to a Coordination and Balance Training class. The class was given by Hannah. It was a great class and well worth bringing any young pups. Thanks Hannah we really enjoyed it!

So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon we packed up the entire Obay crew and went off to Karen for lunch and a walk.

The whole sheltie crew fits nicely in my new car cages. I think the oldsters up on the top bunk enjoy their own personal crates and great views out to the world.

The three sisters (Zaz, Itzy and Yaz) could not be more different in personalities and looks. I love seeing how each personality develops. I do not like to give "labels" to each pup because people take it too seriously when you do. Instead I just like to enjoy watching them grow and develop into their own unique character. I think their characters are definitey also shaped by our own preferences.

Zaz and Itzy definitely like to stick together. Zaz especially doesn't see the point of other dogs besides her own little pack.

Hannah's "Balance and Coordination"class exposed the puppies to new wobble boards to wobble, cavelletti poles to trot over, ladders to coordinate their feet and ramps to help them learn to shift their weight. Everything very easy and slow for the pup-lets. Neither Zaz or Itzy had done work on the ladder yet nor the ramps or cavellettis. The most interesting thing about the wobble boards was something that no one would have guessed when watching Zaz on them that day.

Earlier that week Dennis made me a new wobble board for the pups as the only other wobble board they had been on was their baby one. I put the wobble board on our new paved area and just took it for granted that both pups would go on with no problem. Itzy seemed to have no trouble and pounced right on it and was soon doing her rights and lefts on the board. Zaz is much heavier and the first time she put her feet on the board it slammed down onto the slate paving and gave her a little jolt. That was it; she was not going near that thing again! I sat next to it and just tried to encourage her on it and she would circle the board confidently but just refused to put her feet on it. It became a game of just how close could she get to the board without touching it!

Yes! Our first training challenge! I was so psyched and couldn't wait to train. (get "That Winning Feeling" by Jane Savoie if you want to understand that joke right Diane and Ann?) Well really I wasn't that positive about it initially; my bad trainer brain just wanted to plop her on the board and say "get over it"! But then I sat back and thought "What would Susan Garrett do?" and I felt calm again. I would look at this as a challenge and shape it!

So we did and I clicked her for looking at it, nose touching it (she did lots of that!) and finally putting a foot on it. I also brought her out with Itzy and while Itzy was playing on it and getting treats; soon Zaz was getting more and more worked up over missing out. We did just 2 minute sessions 2-3x per day for 2 days and by the 2nd day she was on the board and doing her tricks happily. Result!

So you can imagine how thrilled I was that at this training class Zaz had no issues on any of the wobble boards even the big one that took the small pups for a magic carpet ride not unlike any Disney theme park ride!

I worked mainly with Zaz during the training but did bring Itzy out when I wanted to give Zaz a break. Both pups dealt with the new environment well and were focused on working with me. What more can you ask at this age? You would not be able to tell by these two videos that Zaz was worked with at all! Why does Dennis only do photos and videos of HIS dog? Itzy on the large wobble board. Itzy in the ladder. Itzy Itzy Itzy....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stick envy

They don't have enough toys so sticks are very coveted....Zaz was thrilled with the stick that Yaz dropped.

Then came the momma.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mid Downs 2009

Mid Downs was our first "real" agility show of the year. I was looking forward to doing a low-key show to get Zen and I back in the zone.

Zen only had two runs but she did so well in both of them. Perfect sit stays on the line and really nice solid contacts; so I was a happy bunny! The agility course was really good for us as it was tight and had some difficulty. I saw the trophies and was really hoping for a placement so I could get one! To my surprise Zen came in 1st and won me a A-Frame trophy! I have been wanting a A-frame trophy since I moved here in 2001! There are some people (who have no taste) who made fun of my trophy but I LOVE it. What is really funny is this Aframe trophy is bigger than the Aframe trophy I won at the World Championships for the Silver medal team!

Here is Zen with her World Champs A-Frame Trophy.

And now in technicolour with her Supadogs A-frame trophy.

To make the day better, Zen's daughter Kizzy won her class (running in small over the same course as Zen)and won an A-Frame trophy also. This win also put her into Grade 6 so congratulations to Andy and Kizzy! Although Andy was risking me handing back his trophy as he didn't see the beauty in it that I did.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Girlpower pups go wild

Good trainers have well behaved puppies. My puppies have been so well behaved that they are getting more free run of the house.

I thought they were being quiet and realized the baby gate was open and they were upstairs. Look what I found...

Pax is NOT impressed.

Oh well we are encouraging their tug drive anyway.

Zaz doesn't see a problem here.

As a good trainer I took this opportunity to practice down stays.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crufts 2009

Well sorry about the delay! It is surprisingly busy here with two puppies to train and socialize.Plus the weather has been so absolutely gorgeous that I have not been on the computer much. I have no video and very few photos so I "stole" these videos from You tube! :-)

What can I say about Crufts. It was difficult for me this year. I was not sure I really wanted to go yet I really wanted to go. Understand? Friday was the worst for me. Walking into the building was hard because the last time I was there was with Hex by my side. I thought I would be OK but then I saw Indy (Hex's brother) and just lost it.

At one point during the day I was sitting alone with Zen and looked across the aisle at another dog in it's crate. My heart just stopped for a second when I saw Hex's face on a bag of treats on top of the crate. Her photo is on a bag of Burn's Dog treats and one of those bags was sitting on top of this dog's crate.

Zen was a good girl both days. We had our issues with some contacts but that was because I was pushing her for speed. I knew with the border collies that were competing that we had no chance of a place without really going for it. The courses were nice but not difficult enough to cause too many mistakes. Zen was manic both days; she just was out of her mind excited. I guess having Crufts as her first show back in 6 months was a little ambitious!

On Friday during the Crufts Singles I was so proud of her 1st run which put her into 2nd place between (yes of course) two BLUE MERLE BORDER COLLIES. haha Her second run was lovely except for the missed Aframe (darn judge with good eyes!) which put her into 3rd behind (yes again) two BLUE MERLE BORDER COLLIES. Do you sense a trend?

On Sunday in the Champs her jumping qualifying run was fantastic! She came in 2nd place after (yes repeat after me) a BLUE MERLE BORDER COLLIE. I knew for the Champ Agility qualifier I just needed to NOT get eliminated. She ran well but a dropped bar and a dodgy see-saw made me worried. I knew we still made it into the finals in the evening which was great.

The evening finals is always exciting. This one was bittersweet for me and I just felt I had to hold it together for Zen. I was so worried about her because they did not allow our grooms into the holding arena. This made it difficult to watch and have your dog ready to run as they run a tight schedule. I do not understand why this year they did not allow the grooms into the holding arena as that is the point of having a groom! They blamed the extra security as there was alot of talk of protesters due to the KC expose that was run by the BBC this year. So you can imagine that I did not want to let Zen out of my sight for one second.

I cannot even remember the finals course! I am sure somewhere it is on a video but I cannot find one right now. Probably just as well as I remember it as perfect and would rather just remember it like that! I was so proud of Zen; she looks so small next to the jumps especially since she lost all her coat after the pups.

I think we put in the best run we could have done. Zen was lying in 1st place up until the last dog ran. I knew that if Toni and Minx went clear that there was no way we could beat their time.

Zen ended up in 2nd and came home with the Crufts Reserve Championship Ticket. And I went home with the best dog at Crufts.

Here are some videos of the Singles runs and the Champ runs during both days. I included the Small Singles just so show how well Indy did this year at Crufts. Nicky and Indy won not only the Small Crufts Singles, Small International Final but also the Small Agility Championships. What a great partnership they are.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Post Crufts Pups

I hope to do a Crufts re-cap tomorrow. I am too tired today to even think about it! Thanks to everyone who sent Good Luck messages and Congratulations messages. It was so cool that people all over the world could go to the Crufts TV Online and watch it live! I think it was the best Crufts coverage ever.

Meanwhile the pups stayed at home with Dennis; so I have minimal Crufts photos because I was without my photographer, videographer and best helper! I survived without Dennis thanks to Leah, Nancy, Sonia and Karen; all true friends. I am hoping I will get photos from other people. I know that Susie and Nick took photos from the Singles on Friday and they are going to send me some. I don't know where to get photos from yesterday but know Agility Eye was there and am hoping they will give me a photo or two. If anyone knows please let me know?

I missed the pups so much just being away from them for two days. It seems like they grow and change everyday. I feel bad if I don't get a training session and back-garden running around session in everyday. As soon as I got home each night I did little training with each pup. Itzy is learning to back up and now she backs up for everything; even if it is not what I asked her to do! Zaz goes "bang" whenever she sees food...hmmm I am seeing a pattern!

Karen was telling me that Yazz never sleeps. My two are quite lazy; I wonder if it is me?

They start in the same bed.

Then go into different beds.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Zaz Tricks 12 weeks

I am posting these videos to cheer up Johanna who cannot come to Crufts this year because Spooky hurt his eye and needs surgery tomorrow. Poor Spooky and poor Johanna. Plus I am so disappointed because I wanted her to see Tazzy's babies and come with me to Crufts. We will miss you!

Zaz and Itzy are fun to train. The goal for us right now is just to keep them enjoying learning and working with me. It does not really matter what I teach them; I just want to see the little brains working and thinking. We also do alot of running around the garden and playing with toys but that doesn't make interesting video. Not interesting but would be funny watching me try and outrun these puppies; they can run fast when they want their toys!

Here is Zaz at 12 weeks old working on her "elephant trick". I have to laugh when I see the number of blogs now that have videos of their pups doing the "elephant trick"! I had named this trick back when Zen was a puppy and it seemed to have stuck. I had read about "perch" work in the clean run magazine and just decided to make it fun and name it something cute for our puppy class. I am taking credit for it so that I can add it to my training DVD which will cost lots of money OK? So everytime the word "elephant trick" appears on a blog you have to send me money (for harnesses and dog toys). And Johanna need to give me royalties everytime she teaches it to her puppy classes. Or, at least, come here and do us some good puppy classes!

Zaz takes her elephant trick very seriously!

Zaz learning right and left.

We also started her "bang" trick. I love that she added her own little twist by kicking her feet when she goes "bang".

Now that Zaz has a little repertoire of tricks; I need to take them "on the road" and do them with distractions in new environments. I think that really firms up what they have learned.

The pups started a basic puppy "obedience" class on Monday. Dennis took Itzy and I took Zaz. I was really pleased with Zaz as she is totally focused on me and could care less about the other pups. Itzy on the other hand is a social butterfly; she wanted the little shih-tzu puppy to chase her. At the end of class the instructor lets two or three similar size pups off lead to play and then we work on calling them back. It is very controlled and I feel comfortable doing this because of that. I am not a fan of "free for all" puppy play groups. There were 4 shelties, 2 border terriers, 1 shih-tzu, 1 german shepherd and 1 jack russell in the class. The border terriers and jack russels were the noisiest by far! Dennis and I split up at opposite ends of the room so that the pups could concentrate. We both went in with a baggie full of treats. Zaz finished all her treats as I was constantly rewarding her for staying on her bed (my bastard-ized version of crate games). Dennis was pleased he left the class with most of Itzy's treats still in the bag...bad Dennis and poor Itzy! No wonder I kept hearing Itzy go yip-yip-yip during the class! Zaz on her bed in puppy class. I think I need a bigger bed.

This week will will continue our socialization in town and try and do some tricks in new places. I think I may try and do "Crate Games" with the pups; this may come in handy since I will be training two pups at a time. I have never had success in being able to train one dog while another dog watched quietely; so I am interested to see if "crate games" can allow me to do this. In theory, it should but I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Harnesses and Dog Toys

I have been officially inducted into the "Crazy dog people who buy too much stuff" club. It is also known as the "I WANT THAT" club. Between dog harnesses, dog toys, dog coats and dog beds I think I have broke the bank this month.

First I need to share a new dog "store" with everyone. A great new place for dog toys and, even better, labels for our special dog harnesses! All you who bought my favorite dog harnesses last year can now get personalized labels! Check out a new UK based internet dog shop:

Dog Stoppers

They not only have handmade dog toys and great tunnel holders but you can personalize your harness like Niamh shows here.

Please let them know if you were referred by me. Maybe I can eventually get free stuff and will be able to eat next week.

As for my little darlings; I haven't decided what lables they need on their harnesses yet. Well actually I am not sure Itzy can wear a harness ever! I have now bought or borrowed hundreds (well maybe exaggerated) of harnesses for her and she refuses to wear any of them. These beautiful harnesess become Itzy Immobilizing Devices. She just cannot walk with them on. This morning I thought she might be big enough so that I could try my special pink harness on her and you can see the result....There is a reason I was able to take so many photos of her; she couldn't move with it on!

Here is Itzy in a perfect stay (induced by the immobilizing harness which is now my new invention that will make me millions. Just watch for the training DVD due out soon). Notice the new pink tuggy toy from Dog Stoppers!

Here is a small sample of Itzy's harness collection. All harnesses induced perfect stays or crazy Monty Python type walking.

Now for my little angel Zaz. Getting her to stay was much harder as she is immune to the immobilizing gene.

We tried the pig ear stay method.

Then we tried the push and take photo method. Why does Zaz always look like she has a large head?

Then I remembered I actually have been reinforcing her sitting on the balance disc. First she thought she should do "the elephant trick" on it.

Then she sat on it which caused the "big head" photo again.

Yes! The perfect cute head tilt photo.

She could lay here for ages.

I think she is tired of laying still and offers me a cute head down.

We have been busy heading into town everyday and the pups had their first puppy obedience class last night. More about that later and hopefully some video of Zaz's tricks.