The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

12 January 2014

Pet Expo

Yesterday, Dad and I took Juno (off duty) and Kaline (on duty) to a pet expo in Santa Clara. As an expo it was kind of disappointing, but as a training challenge for Kaline, it was awesome. We went for the distractions, and they were everywhere! There were a ton of dogs, since the event was pet-friendly, and though none of them (to my surprise and delight) were reactive or aggressive, many were very friendly to the point of being a bit rude. And owners were mostly letting them greet any dog around. Kaline did a really nice job of ignoring the many noses in his face and up his butt!

There were also several demonstration areas running. One had flyball, which was the most difficult for Kaline to ignore. If you don't know, in flyball dogs race over a series of hurdles, pop a ball out of a box, then run back over the hurdles as the next dog in their relay is coming. It's action packed, to say the least. Everything else, even if Kaline did get distracted, he was very easy to refocus. This included the obedience/protection demo with two awesome, high drive Malinois. The OB is pretty easy to ignore, but Kaline had his “meh” face on even when one of the Malis was sent on a bark-and-hold—go find the decoy and stand in front of him barking until the handler calls the dog off. He wasn't even that distracted when the Malis got sent on bites! (I was. I was totally entranced.) The miniature horses also posed something of a challenge. So cute though.

After the obedience demo we were allowed to take our dogs on the obstacle course. Juno just took everything in stride with Dad. Kaline was a little more ... eccentric. I'd lead him onto an obstacle, say the ramp to a catwalk, or onto a teeter-totter. He'd just go the first time. Then he'd hit a certain point where he'd get a look that said, “What am I doing?!” and that would just be the end of it. I'd take him back and try to get him to go on again, and he'd look at me like, “Ha, you're not tricking me with that again.” The best was the A-frame. He eagerly went to the top at my urging, then had no idea what to do once he got there. He sure as hell wasn't going down the other side ... but he didn't really want to back down the side he'd just come up either. Silly, silly dog. For going through and giving my email, we get a free class with this training group, so I'll try to take advantage of it (location could be an issue). I think it would be a great confidence builder for Kaline.

Toward the end we met up with new and old friends: a brand-new SDIT handler and her beautiful Doberman, Bruce, along with her wee pittie puppy, Ember, both wearing gorgeous Paco collars that had me drooling; and our friends Amie and Matt from Growing Up Guide Pup, with Eli, Ricki, and Ozzy. I was all over Ricki because I am her fangirl, basically; lucky for me, she loves everyone and I am included in that! Kaline and Ozzy hit it off great—Ozzy doesn't even mind being smacked in the face by enormous Doberman feet! I let Kaline be off duty to hang out with our buddies, and then we all just went home and crashed.

We had an uneventful Sunday of PA work today, phew. I also got a nice return email this week from Penzey's corporate, saying that their policy is indeed in line with federal law and does not allow for employees inspecting SDs for acceptable identification. Education will happen. That's a win in my book!

After our errands, Juno, Kaline, and I did a bunch of Rally and crate practice (whoever wasn't practicing Rally got to work on quietly chilling in our pop-up crate). Kaline did nicely on learning his left about turns (also known as the Schutzhund turn) and with Juno I practiced things like the moving stand and down, pivots, and finding front. They both did a lot of work with pivots and finding heel, as well as doing finishes in both directions. I used Kaline's newly learned finish right for our trick of the week—I joined a Facebook group where the challenge is to teach your dog a new behavior every week. I will probably end up doing some known behaviors, just cause I'm not sure if I can think of 52 new things to teach Kaline, much less Juno, but it'll be fun regardless. Keep us sharp and all.

Last week's “trick” was retrieving keys, which has been a seemingly unattainable goal for Kaline for a while, until Sonja's magic. Here are videos for the first two weeks.

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