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.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Using the Manners Minder to teach contacts to Zaz and Itz

First I just want to say that I am NOT an expert on running contacts. I am playing around with them with Zaz and Itz simply because I wanted to see if I could train it. It took me awhile to feel inspired to train the pups and trying something new helped me get some enthusiasm back. I watched videos and analyzed blogs from people who have seemed to have been successful teaching their pups from beginning training through to competition. (Cflyrun and Adventures of the Millers Four Pack). These two trainers are now successfuly running their dogs in competition. I also read and re-read Sylvia Trkman's Running Contacts Information on her website. Obviously Sylvia is the running contacts guru! All this information was free! Amazing in this day and age when everyone wants to hide their "agility secrets" or charge ridiculous amounts of money for information. I also watched Nancy and Zeki work through the process and was inspired by Zeki's lovely running Aframe.

What I did find was that I either needed another person to reward the dog for me (to prevent the pup from looking back at me) or I needed to invest in a Manner Minder Treat Dispenser. Luckily Dennis was back in NY and he brought one home for me! (Now you can buy them in the UK).

I looked through some of the videos today to see if I could find any that showed how I used the manners minder. Unfortunately I did not take that many videos as I found it was too much to try and train both dogs, set up video, look at video, download video ect ect. The earliest videos I took (of the pups on the plank on the ground) were with Quicktime video and I just cannot easily make a movie of those. If the pups end up competing successfully with running contacts I will eventually show those early videos as they are very very funny!

So here are two clips of the more advanced stage where the plank was first propped up on a caravan step and then propped up on a table. The Manners minder is set up about 15 feet away from the bottom of the plank. I tried to work through sending, recalling, running with ect ect at each stage. You cannot see the Manners minder but you can occasionally hear it beep and you can see the small remote in my hand. I took the videos focused on the contacts so that I could see if I was rewarding the right behavior. The most difficult thing for me was trying to decide in a split second if the contact "hit" was as I wanted it. So I took some videos to watch back after training to see if I was correct in my calls. These videos were taken in June and July. I found the Manners minder very helpful as I could concentrate on watching the dog's performance and not worry that they would be looking at treats in my hand.

I hope some of you find this interesting and take it all with an understanding that I am also learning something new. Use what you can from this information but realize there is no substitute for just getting out there with your dog and working on it! I am so glad we did the majority of the work already as my garden is now flooded and I think puppy training is going to be limited over the next month or two as this rain seems to be never ending! My weave poles have now been moved onto the patio slabs and I may be able to do some weave pole training only if the rain and wind would stop.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More OBay pups at the Girlpower 1st Birthday party

I invited the pups from Zen's second litter to the Girlpower pup's party. This was the litter with Zinna (puppy name Mouse), Zeki (Zest), Ziga (Linford) and Zev (Fathead). It was so nice to see them all run; they all are just loving their agility and have great trainers and handlers who love them. What more could I want?

Nancy and OBay Tiz Zensational "Zeki". Zeki is named appropriately! Doesn't she look so much like Zen on the Start line?

Christine and OBay Tiz Wild "Zev". Zev was "Fathead" in Zen's last litter. Hmmm I think he has changed a little!

Elizabeth and OBay Tiz Magic "Ziga". Ziga was "Linford" in the same litter. He is such a fluffball now!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Girlpower Pups 1st birthday party!!

Zaz, Itz, Zavvi and Yazoo will be 1 year old on 4th December! What a special litter they are and I had to celebrate this milestone for them. I could have never believed I would have kept two puppies; yet I cannot imagine not having both Zaz and Itzy. They are Yin and Yang; Frick and Frack and The Terrible Twosome all rolled together and I love them both dearly.

We had the GirlPower Pups 1st Birthday Party a week or so early as Johanna was in this weekend for a Freestyle Competition with her Border Collies Soda and Spooky. So I thought it would be nice to have everyone together so Johanna could see all the pups. Johanna is such a big part of all these pups especially as she owns the Daddy Tazz and Grandaddy Monty. If it was not for all her help over the years I would not have any of these special little shelties.

Of course we couldn't have Johanna over without putting her to work setting us up some courses. I had the great idea of inviting everyone from this litter plus everyone from the previous Zen x Tazz litter to come do a little training with Johanna in my back garden. Best laid plans and all that....the weather turned unbelievably awful and I thought I would have to cancel. Luckily we have a small local agility club nearby and their venue was available for a few hours on that day. I was able to contact everyone to meet at the riding hall instead and the training still went ahead. Phew!

It was so cool to see all the pups running agility. They are all so similar yet all so different! First Johanna set up some complicated sequences with Zeki, Zev, Ziga and Kizzy and Todd as they are all competing already. Then we did about 30 minutes training with the Zaz, Yaz and Zavvi(Itzy got left out as I couldn't run two pups!). Johanna thought we were all so funny as all three of us (Karen, Marilyn and myself) told Johanna that the pups haven't done much yet so do not give us anything complicated. Yet the pups acted like they had been doing it all their lives and made us all look like great trainers! What good pups!

I took some videos of all the OBay pups at the training day. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my video camera and used my little digital camera instead. It fustrates me as it uses Quicktime and I do not know how to make movies from Quicktime clips. So I have to publish each clip seperately instead of combining on one movie. Sorry! So it may take me a little longer to do any of the older dogs videos but I will start with some clips of the puppies. I have been very fustrated trying to do these videos! I think I need a new compact video camera; we just need to decide which one!

Here is a little jumping sequence with Yazz and Karen.

Here is Marilyn and Zavvi on her jumping sequence.

While the older dogs trained Karen and I did a few Aframes with Zaz and Yazz. (yes we often get those names mixed up!)

Here is Yazz.

And here is my gorgeous amazing Zaz.

After the training session we all went back to our house for lunch and cake and birthday presents. All the shelties joined in on the gifts and there was alot of paper shredded around the living room!

Zeki looks like she is saying that she had NOTHING to do with the mess.

Little Vinnie was invited to the party since he won't have any littermates to join him in his own 1st birthday next year! We were all surprised at how small he turned out. Shelties are not easy to breed and you never know just what you will get! He is adorable anyway and he doesn't realize how small he is!

We had cake for the humans.

But even better was the "doggie" cake that Marilyn and Zavvi brought to the party. It was gorgeous and had all the 4 pups names on the cake and had "here come the girls" on pink ribbon wrapped around the cake.

This doggie cake was made with liver and other things but actually smelled delicious! The dogs all waited patiently for their piece of cake. Well most waited but you cannot blame Zavvi for stealing her piece off the table. She had to endure the 4 hour ride with the cake in her car and just could NOT wait any longer!

It was great to see so many of the OBay shelties together. Zen and Tazz did a great job producing these puppies and it is so gratifying for me to see them all in loving happy homes. Thanks to all who came to the GIRLPOWER 1st birthday party! And PS it was not as noisy as expected!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Girlpower pups 1st birthday Party Portraits

There were alot of black shelties around the house today! The party game should have been "Who can correctly name each sheltie?" OR "Who can find their own black sheltie?". But the stars of the day were the Girl Power pups themselves. From left to right: Zaz, Itz, Zavvi and Yazoo. A photo of the proud mum Zen (far right) with her year old pups. And not to forget Zev, Ziga and Zeki who are just missing their last littermate Zinna. They never had their own birthday party so they joined in today! More photos and videos in a day or so. All the dogs were so good together; there were no problems other than some cake stealing going on.....That is little Vinny (Luna's pup Neil who is now 5.5 months old) eating the "doggie cake". Grandma (me) is allowed to teach them bad habits like eating off coffee tables! Oh yes in case you are wondering: Vinnie is teeny tiny! Another Zinna in the making!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Witch and A Birthday Party coming up!

My sister Terry sent me this photo of Little Zinna dressed up for Halloween. Oh what we put our dogs through....

Sadly Zinna will be missed this weekend at Zaz and Itz's 1st Birthday party. This is the first time in over 5 years that I am doing a "birthday party" for one of my litters. We did have a party 5 years ago for Zen and her littermates (Lucky,Bailey, Timmy, Chi and Unique). It was a great party BUT it was exceptionally LOUD! It has taken me 5 years to get up the courage to do it again! haha. But Zaz and Itz are such special little pups to me and I had to celebrate their 1st birthday. So joining Zaz, Itzy, Yaz and Zavvi at their first birthday party will be Zinna's littermates Zeki, Zev and Ziga. Do you think I will be able to keep ANY of those names straight? I will be going zzzzzzzzzzzzz oh whatever!

For those who have asked me about how I used the Manner's Minder for Contacts. I will try and find a video of the pups when I first started them on the plank. Unfortunately it won't show much as I usually just focused the camera on the plank and you cannot see the manners minder as it is much further away. I also turned off the "beep" sound on the manners minder so that it wouldn't turn into another cue for the pup. If I get a chance I will do this tonight or tomorrow but first I have to clean the house to get ready for our guests!

Here is a photo of Zen's 1st Birthday bash. The only missing pup from that litter was Unique who was in Denmark.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manners Minder Remote Reward and fantastic customer service!

So I must say that lately I have just come to expect bad customer service as that is what seems to be the norm. In contrast, this past month, I have received some of the best customer service I have ever experienced!

I have been using the "Manners Minder" Remote Reward Training System to help train Zaz and Itzy on their contacts. The Manners Minder is a remote food dispensing reward machine. It has been very successful but I had been having some small glitches with the machine itself being slightly temperamental.

The Manners Minder is produced by Premier Pet Products. Dennis brought this back for me during the summer when he was back in New York. Although I was pleased with it and it accomplished what I wanted it for (running contacts); I had trouble with the remote at times. So I contacted the company this month (a few months after I initially purchased it) to see if they could help and they immediately mailed me a new remote to see if that would solve the problem.

Unfortunately that did not solve the problem and the machine was still acting temperamental. In response to that they immediately offered to mail me a WHOLE NEW MACHINE! I did NOT expect such an immediate response. What a pleasant surprise: a company that has fantastic CUSTOMER SERVICE!

I received the new Manners Minder today and it works like a dream! I can stand a huge distance from the machine with the remote behind my back and it still works! yeah!! I thought it was a good product but now I think it is a GREAT product. I can't wait to use it in teaching other behaviors now.

BTW, Our LI Sheltie rescue always used their martingale collars for our sheltie rescues (as shelties are prone to backing out of their collars). They do have some great products and how refreshing to deal with a company like this!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Zaz and Itz Training November 2009

I am pretty confident that Zaz and Itz are done growing. They have both been in season and they both seem physically grown up. So now agility training can really begin and it is such an exciting time for us! This is the stuff that I just love; the feeling that all our foundation work is coming together and the obstacle training itself is just a bonus.

Each puppy has their own little agility class during the week as well as our own training right here in my back garden. I am so lucky as both Zaz and Itz's agility classes are small and safe with friendly dogs and we get so much done in each class. I do most of my "real" obstacle training at home and use the classes to train around distractions and work on jumping sequences. I also try to take both puppies to private lessons with Lesley whenever I can. In between Nancy has been a great help to me with both puppies; a great sounding board because she has been playing around with running contacts also. :-) This past weekend I took Zaz to her first training day with Nancy and we had a great time. A puppy agility class with three shelties Zaz, Yaz and Wish; what could be better? And, no it wasn't a noisy class at all!

Since today was so beautiful we just had to be outside. When Dennis got home from golfing I grabbed him to do a little video of the pups obstacle training to show how they are progressing. After that we had a great walk with all the dogs and enjoyed the beautiful November sunshine. What a gorgeous day!

It was Bonfire night on Thursday and we have been so lucky not to have fireworks nearby. I feel awful for the dogs that have to put up with the fireworks all weekend. Lucky has come to stay with us for the weekend because the fireworks are so loud around his house. Lucky (Zen's brother) has been such a joy to have around and it has been a nice change to have a dog that likes to sit on your lap when we watch TV at night. Unlike my girls who are always scattered around the floor or in other rooms, Lucky loves to cuddle.

Anyway enjoy Zaz and Itzy's video and don't laugh at my constant "good girls"! I just cannot help it as they are just so GOOD and so cute and I just love both of them!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

ArchAngel Halo Extraordinare

I just wanted to share a note I received last month about one of my pups. Halo is Jordan's baby girl; one of only two pups that Jordan gave me those many years ago. Halo was to have been my dog; the sable girl I had been wanting so badly. But things were not meant to be and Halo went to live with Karen in New Jersey almost 9 years ago. I know that these things always happen for a reason and I think that reason was that Halo was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago. Karen fought as hard as Halo and with determination together they came through.

Can you believe the size of that Rosette?! I think it is appropriate that our Angel "Halo" (O'Bay Say a Little Prayer) has been awarded the title of ARCHex.

From Karen:
Just a quick note

Little miss Halo, the miracle dog fought cancer and has achieved more since that battle than many pups without her handicap. 2 years ago we could only hope that Halo would live to have a quality life after her battle with cancer. And, although she is somewhat challenged by the scars left by the radiation and staph infection, she has gone forward with the class and determination that is Halo.

This past week-end she earned her ARCHEX (APDT Rally Champion Extraordinaire). To get to this point she had to earn 10 QQs in Rally levels 2 and 3 and do so with scores of 195 or better for each Q. The ribbon we were awarded is bigger than Halo, but can't compare to the size of her heart. She is truly the apple of her mother's eye and loved to pieces. I have never had a dog like her and probably never will again. I've attached a pic of Halo, the judge under whom we earned the last qualifying leg, the ribbon and me. .

Gotta love this dog to pieces. Now we're back to some serious work in utility and herding. Yes Bernadette, Halo is back to herding along with Kismet. Halo's leg doesn't seem to be able to handle agility with the zeal that Halo likes to move, but she does very well with the sheep. She's not wild, listens and loves to work.

Thanks Karen for giving Halo the best home and a helping her recover from that awful cancer. Even though I cried all the way there and back; I think I made the right decision when I drove her to your home all those years ago!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Kizzy, Wizz, Zoe and Oz (and the blog!)

It is hard to believe that it was back in September 2006 that this blog was started to keep everyone up to date on these potential puppies! Three years ago today Zen gave birth to her first litter of pups. Happy birthday to Kizzy, Wizz, Zoe and Oz.

The very first "Z" litter! Gosh what a hard time I had getting those owners to give their puppy "Z" names. I finally had to compromise and let them just pick names with "z" in the name instead of starting with "Z" as I really had preferred. Meanwhile the 2nd Zen litter had very obedient owners who named their puppies Zeki, Zinna, Ziga and Zev! They must have really wanted their puppies!

Here is Zen with her first litter.

Three years later and this blog has been a fantastic way to keep in touch with the growing OBay Family. I find it hard to believe that we have had over 190,000 visitors to the blog from 100 different countries! How fabulous is that?

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog and makes such lovely comments. I feel like I have so many more friends in so many different countries and maybe one day will get to meet everyone in person!