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Posted by on 25.09.2016 in Devi

This weekend we took a field trip to Long Hunter State Park, which surrounds Percy Priest lake.  It’s about a 30 minute drive away from our house.  It was a beautiful day, warm but not excessively hot, and sunny.  The park is on-leash only, which is disappointing for Devi, but we had a nice hike through the woods anyway.  We walked down to the lake shore several times, and Devi got to swim (I may have removed her leash for that part, but shhhhh don’t tell!).  She had a blast, chasing sticks and just generally exploring a new area.  There are several trails at this park and we only walked part of one, so I think we’ll head back sooner rather than later.

In other news, we’ve been working on improving Devi’s dumbbell hold and her drop on recall.  Her dumbbell hold can be kind of weak – she picks the dumbbell up and then loosely holds it in her mouth.  I’m not sure it would stay in if she moved while carrying it.  We’ve been practicing position changes while holding it, and working on teaching her to really pinch it behind her teeth.  The drop on recall is coming well.  The fold back down is now on physical and verbal cue, and we’re working on doing a down from a walk.  It’s funny, the faster we’re moving, the faster she folds back into the down.  I think the drop on recall will be totally trained long before the dumb bell work is finished!

Posted by on 11.09.2016 in Devi

We started another round of obedience class this week, and our very kind instructor had a party for those of us who showed last weekend.  She got a cake for Devi and Portia, a Berner who also earned her CD (Portia’s owner is the one who taught our carting class).  Apparently the bakery mis-spelled Devi as Debbie, and the instructor made them change it!  She also made us little gift bags and a very nice card.  The class we are in is geared toward novice, but she said that Portia and Devi can start to work on open exercises during class.  In honor of that, I purchased Devi her very own purple dumbbell.  We’ve been working on fold-back downs for drop on recall, and I think the jumping will be a piece of cake, but the dumbbell retrieve will take some work.  We’ve got time, though 🙂



Happy girls!

Well we finally did it!  Devi achieved her novice obedience title this weekend under some tough judges.  We had the same judge on Saturday and today, and a different judge yesterday.  Saturday was incredibly stressful because Alfie the horse pinched a nerve in his neck and I had to call the vet and wait for him to come and assess Alfie.  Thankfully Alfie will be fine, and just needs some meds and rest, but the entire episode put me behind and we were barely able to make it to the dog show.  The judge was very displeased that we were late (we arrived at noon for a class that started “after noon” and told me off several times during our run and after, during the ribbons).  The judge also gave me a hard time because Devi heels with her head glued to my side, and she took off every point she possibly could.  Anyhow, we got a Q and that was that.  Sunday’s judge was much friendlier, but we got there too early and Devi’s head just wasn’t in the game.  I was determined to recover our good name for today.  We marched in on time, warmed up, and showed the mean judge that we deserved to be there.  Devi did wonderfully, I was so proud of her.  The judge had to admit that she was a lovely dog and has real potential, if I would just get her head off me when we heel.  The judge then asked me if she was European or from Schutzhund lines – apparently the judge thinks Schutzhund dogs heel with their heads against the handler’s body?  Anyhow, the judge admitted that she’s “tougher than some”, and I think we earned every single one of the 192 points we walked away with.

As you can see in the video, we weren’t perfect (look at that front! and the finish!), but Devi was happy and engaged and I’ll take that over precise but boring any day.

And, if anyone is interested, here is the video of Alfie and me winning our class last weekend.  Thank goodness I’m done with animal competitions for the foreseeable future!

Posted by on 28.08.2016 in Devi

For a change, the most newsworthy event in our lives didn’t involve Devi this week 🙂  I had a horse show on Saturday and basically spent the entire weekend preparing for and cleaning up after that.  Alfie the horse and I won our class at first level, which was a nice way for us to end the show season.  Next weekend the focus returns to Devi, as it is her novice obedience debut.  We just got our judging program, we go at noon or 11 am all three days.  Her scores would be way better if we started at 8am, but I guess that’s life!  There’s one other dog in Novice A each day, so at least Devi will have some company in the ring for sit/down stays.  I can imagine her being a bit perplexed if she had to do stays all by herself!  We’ve been working on straight sits and finishes and not wrapping her head around my leg while heeling.  She’s getting there, and I think she will be ready to go for the show!  We’re aiming for a happy and engaged performance, and hopefully qualifying scores.

On an unrelated note, Devi’s vet told me that we needed to start brushing her teeth more frequently, otherwise she’d need to have her teeth cleaned in the next year or so.  We decided to train her to have her teeth brushed with an electric toothbrush.  Enjoy the video!

Posted by on 21.08.2016 in Devi

This summer has been extraordinarily wet in Tennessee.  I swear, it’s rained almost every week.  This week it rained multiple times a day, for several days in a row.  It’s made everything a bit swampy, and that cuts into dog and horse activities.  This past week was the final carting class.  It won’t be offered again until next summer, which is unfortunate, but we have plenty we can practice on our own.  Our biggest hurdle is that Devi wants to heel while pulling her cart, and I’m having a hard time teaching her that heeling is separate from what we do with the cart.

Anyway, enjoy the video below!

Tomato Art Fest

Posted by on 13.08.2016 in Devi

Today we took Devi to the Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville (http://www.tomatoartfest.com/about/).  During the art fest the city closes the main intersection in our ‘hood and tons of street vendors come out to sell pretty much anything you can think of.  There are food stands, lots of art (jewelry, wall art, photos, etc), and booths for plenty of other local businesses.  Like our neighborhood, it is a very canine-friendly festival, with lots of vendors offering doggie pools, water bowls, and treats galore.  Devi, Jake, Becca (Jake’s sister) and I all wandered the festival for an hour this afternoon.  Devi did great and was a wonderful representative for her breed 🙂

In other news, Devi pulled a cart for the first time this week.  Our last carting class is this coming week, I will try to get some pictures.

Posted by on 07.08.2016 in Devi

We have an abundance of fun things to post this week!  Devi and Jake went to carting class on their own while I was out of town, and although Jake complained that it was tiring, I think they had a good time.  Devi is now pulling the cart frame, but she’s pretty sure she doesn’t like being trapped by the shafts.  We’re taking it slow on that.  I have included a little video of her pulling her cart frame, just for fun.

Devi and I have also been working on her heeling in preparation for her novice debut.  She LOVES to heel so much that she gets carried away and tries to wrap herself around my left leg. She ends up bumping her chin onto the top part of my thigh when we move, and she ends up sitting with her haunches out.  We’re working on that.  So far the progress is slow, but she has so much fun when she’s heeling that it’s hard to stop her when she’s incorrect.

Here’s a video of Devi “finding” Jake in the morning – as you can see, she thinks this game is great fun.

Posted by on 29.07.2016 in Devi

I know it’s a week day, which is an odd time for me to post a blog, but I’m going to Philly on Saturday and wanted to update before I leave!  Devi’s started carting class, and this week we learned to pull an empty jug.  The floor of the training building is rubber mats, so the jug didn’t make much noise.  Today we practiced pulling the jug on the cement driveway.  It was certainly noisier (my poor neighbors – at least I waited until 7:30am to start!).  The next step is to fill the jug with rocks, and Devi is pretty unsure about this step.  She will sometimes pause and look back at it.  She’s never been a big fan of loud noises, so I think I’m going to need to feed extra tasty snacks when we pull the rock jug.  Good thing she LOVES eggs, cheese, and hot dogs 🙂   The other skill we’ve been working on is pivoting on her rear feet.  She’s a pivot machine when her front feet are fixed, but we never bothered to teach her the opposite skill.  It’s been quite challenging for her, because whenever she sees an object she automatically puts her front paws on it and pivots the rears.  She’s finally getting it, but I was a bit worried at first.  Our final piece of news is that we’re registered for Novice A at an obedience trial at our training building on labor day weekend.  Here’s hoping she holds the stays!!

Here’s a video of her pivoting on her hind feet and pulling her rock jugs:

Posted by on 24.07.2016 in Devi

Just a quick update today – last week was hectic and next week isn’t looking much better.  We have started carting class, which is looking to be fun.  Devi’s harness is a bit too snug, so we’re borrowing one from our instructor.  I’ll update with pics of the new harness when it arrives, but in the meantime here’s a photo of the returned one!

Posted by on 10.07.2016 in Devi

We have some good news to report this week.  Devi’s paw has healed up nicely from her trail running injury, and we were able to attend the final class in the obedience series we were taking.  The final class was a novice run, which we did as much like a “real” show as possible.  Everyone got numbers, had to warm up outside the ring, etc.  I hadn’t done any work with Devi in more than a week (since she was injured), but she did a great job.  She bumped me a few times with her head during off and on lead heeling, and she sat a little crooked at the halt a couple of times, but she ROCKED the figure 8, and that is typically our weakest point!  Her attention was rock solid, and she was prancing around like a little princess.  She did the group sit and down like a champ, she didn’t make a peep, and she didn’t break even when the dog next to her lay down during the sit.  Our score was a 195.5, which I was very pleased with, considering we hadn’t even practiced in a couple weeks.  Obedience is on break until late August, so we will work on precision heeling elements at home to clean up the head bumping and the crooked sits.  If we can get a 195.5 in the ring in September, though, I’ll be pretty pleased!

In other news, Devi had her annual checkup.  As far as we can tell she’s a very healthy girl, but I opted to get her blood drawn because one of the other bouviers at our dog club recently passed away from leukemia.  He was 5 years old, and was outwardly healthy all his life.  Within the space of 3 days, though, he got sick and died.  The leukemia was found on necropsy.  So, Devi will be having a blood count so I feel better 🙂  I also asked the vet to show me how to express Devi’s anal glands, because she’s been doing it in her sleep for years (ugh), and it hasn’t gotten any better when we’ve introduced extra fiber into her diet.  The vet kindly showed me how to do it on Devi, but her glands were basically empty, so he brought his own dog in and we expressed his glands. Our vet is great 😉