Friday, September 25, 2009


Darcy is getting on my nerves. No the best thing to say as a dog trainer but its true. She is always SO busy. Yesterday she chewed half the head off of Cutie Anna, one of my son's favorite stuffed dogs. We didn't tell him and thankfully we were able to find Cutie Anna II online and bought another. If anything chewable is on the floor it's fair game. Toys, shoes, papers... Oh and if anything is in the garbage that is her's too. We bought garbage cans with lids to thwart her from getting diapers and "feminine products" from the garbage and as she proved this morning she can open them. We have no idea if she put her paw on the little step to open it or nosed the lid open to get a dirty diaper and a box from a bar of soap but they ended up chewed and littered all over our bedroom floor.

If I were my trainer I would tell me to work with the dog. She will never get better if she doesn't learn what she is supposed to do. I join the many that don't listen to my advice... :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today was a busy day for Darcy. Hopefully it will make her sleepy tomorrow! First we picked up Justin (our son) from school and she did markedly better in walking. I did remember treats this time but she really has no interest in them when we are outside. Too many squirrels to watch I guess.

When we got home Darcy and Bella had an INSANE play session in the backyard. I don't think I have ever seen them both that tired. They were cashed out on the couch for the rest of the day.

I finally got Darcy up to go to agility where she rocked. We did some simple courses but worked on some new concepts like getting the dogs to take a number of obstacles ahead of them even if you aren't next to them. Before that we did a course that involved both the "a frame" and the dog walk which have been a bit difficult for her. Last class she discovered the joys of the "a frame" but today she really got the dog walk. After multiple tries with me on one side, Polly the instructor on the other side and Kim at the end of the dog walk for her to target on she finally plowed over the thing. It is crazy how fast that dog is. She got to the top and then just left me in the dust. I was so proud of her!

Lastly Darcy stuck around after agility for Puppy Parties. Her boyfriend Capone, the Neopolitan Mastiff, was there so they played like maniacs. Here's an old video of them playing together:
Courtesy of Capone's blog Capone's House. We'll see tomorrow how resiliant she is!

Monday, September 21, 2009


No work on Sunday since I was training other people's dogs for about twelve hours but Monday I took Darcy to pick up my son from school and she did great. The walking took a bit longer since we had to keep stopping when she pulled. I probably should have brought treats to help her stay focused on me. Even a trainer forgets!

All the other parents were interested in the new dog. I can't imagine what they think of me bringing first my Rottweiler and now my Pit Bull to preschool. The great thing was that his teachers thought she was very sweet so hopefully I can get to talking to them about using the dogs to teach the kids animal safety and things like that. A lot of the kids are extremely good aroung the dogs (asking if they can pet them and petting the dogs backs) but some just run up and pull on them. I know both Bella (our Rottie) and Darcy have no problem with it but many dogs would. I would also love to get both the dogs in the school for kids to practice reading to. Bella would love it since she adores kids. Darcy just likes everyone.

Anyway, not so much about training in today's post. Kind of sleepy and writing just train of thought stuff. Hopefully it's interesting... :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This week was a bit of a bust as far as training. My son and I were sick all week so not much was done with Darcy until today. One a good note we didn't have anything bad happen. One shoe was chewed but I've had them for about ten years now and haven't worn them in a VERY long time. They were about four inch wedge sandles which are not really conducive to dog training or being a mom.

Today we did start a trick class at The Anti Cruelty Society. Darcy did wonderfully. We learned Crawl, Sit Pretty, Back Up, Bow and Yes. We attempted to do Shake but she either layed down or chewed my knuckles off (I had a treat in my hand in hopes she would paw at my hand to get it out) so I didn't pursue it much. We are really trying to restrict her from jumping so any activity that gets her front paws off the ground is not so good. She barely did Sit Pretty (sitting up on her haunches) so we probably won't work on that one much either.

So you can see what she learned here is a video of her demonstrating her new skills:

Monday, September 14, 2009


My day started today at just a little past midnight with my son coughing uncontrollably. That was off and on until 7am when we "officially" got out of bed. That kind of start is not the best mind set for training. BUT I actually did work Darcy a bit. My husband has been very annoyed with Darcy's dedicated interest in the garbage, the open dishwasher and my son's toys so I finally started working on the command "Leave It" with her this afternoon.

I put her on leash (for control), pulled the kitchen garbage out from under the sink and walked her towards it. When she was about a foot away I told her "Leave It" and then walked backwards away. It took me through the dining room and almost to the front door but eventually she turned around and looked at me which got her a click from the clicker and a tiny piece of string cheese. The next few times got a little better and after about eight times I couldn't get her to be within a few feet of the garbage. Of course the problem is when she is not on leash so I dared to try it with the leash dragging and with me stepping briefly out of the room. She made a relatively slow beeline to the garbage but I told her "Leave It" and picked up the leash and she looked at me and walked away. We then repeated all this with the open dishwasher with about the same response. We'll keep working and she if Cutie Anna, Poochie Woochie and Cookies (my son's stuffed dogs) will survive long enough for him to grow out of them.

We also had some good experiences with the kennel today. Two times in the kennel that were about 2-3 hours each and when we returned it was only moved a few inches and she seemed relatively calm. We are still doing two stuffed, frozen Kongs, a quarter cup of dog food sprinkled on the crate floor and the Comfort Zone but we will wean off those in time. No rush on that since she could still use a bit of weight on her!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I was at work all day today but Darcy did manage to get into some mischief before I even left. Apparently my husband woke up to the wonderful smell of poo. That was a new one for Darcy! Thankfully that little present was not too messy considering what has been coming out of her last night and the rest of the day due to my over-salami'ing her at the CGC test yesterday. That on the bedroom carpet would not have been pretty!

Some time soon we really need to get the carpets replaced. But it brings up the age old question of when is a dog "fully" housebroken. I can say that I have no idea when that is. :(

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Well I won't keep you in suspense - we did NOT pass the CGC Test. We did prove my theory that the "Sit, Down, Stay" portion is what kills everyone. She would not lay down to save her life! She rocked the the first three tests which involve people approaching and/or interacting with her. We had a little stutter when we were doing the "Out For a Walk" because she wouldn't sit at the start. She doesn't really have to but she is so awful walking on leash that I needed every advantage I could get. We did it over again and she pulled but apparently that was not enough for us to need work. I think I would have failed her on that though!

She did great on walking through a crowd but then came the dreaded "Sit, Down, Stay". Her down has been shaky so I was practicing it the whole time we were waiting for our turn. When the evaluator came to us she suddenly found the ground the more interesting than ever. She just wouldn't stop sniffing! I finally got her into a sit but then she noticed the ceiling. I don't know what ACS does to their surfaces but it is fascinating to Darcy! When it was obvious she wasn't going to even look at me we did the coming when called which she aced. Then back to the evil "SDS" and the floor and ceiling took over her brain.

The evaluator went on with the test and she did a very good job. She started to cross in front of me to see the other dog in testing her reaction to another dog but she got back in line and did great. The other surprise was that she was good with the supervised separation. Apparently she just stared at the door I went out of. I guess her crate issues do revolve around the crate. We will try to let her out of the crate when we aren't home but I need a little more assurance that she will be fine since we have a brand new couch in the room she's in...

The great news is that two of our clients passed the test! Tito the Shih Tzu (pictured here) and Gracie the Dachshund. We are so proud of both of them! I guess it's true that those who can't do teach! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Unfortunately not much training this week. I plead getting back from a trip and my son's first week of school as reasons for not keeping up with my plans. You can see how much it took out of us! It's really not the best timing to slack since tomorrow we are taking the Canine Good Citizen Test and she definitely needs practice. She was in the kennel a good amount and didn't move it much at all. We are still using the weights and the Comfort Zone but have stopped any kind of music. Maybe she really dislikes classical? Whatever makes her happy works for me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Just a little post today since I didn't get Darcy out of the kennel until after my class at about 8:30pm. But when I did get her out we did a "fun run" for agility with Stacey Hawk's class. She did two runs total. Her first one was a bit rough. Plus she took a dump in the middle of the ring though she had literally just gotten out of the kennel so I can't be upset with her about that. The second run was fantastic. I got my front cross in with ease, she didn't knock over any jumps and she took the A Frame like a champ. She's really starting to get her confidence with this and it is great to see!

Monday, September 7, 2009

9/3 through 9/7

We are out of town now and won't pick up Darcy from the kennel until Tuesday, September 8th so not much to say about her training. We will see what kind of mental condition she is in when we pick her up!

While we are gone here is a picture of our son saying goodbye to his date for his uncle's wedding!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We are leaving on our trip tomorrow and dropped Darcy off at Windy City tonight so there wasn't much time to train. I went through one hot dog in the kennel and pushed a tiny bit more time (paused about five seconds after walking ten steps away) and she only barked once. When she started barking I just put my hand on the door of the room she was in and waited for her to quiet for a split second. When she did that I burst in and let her out of the kennel.

She did have to be in the kennel again today and with the weights she moved it about three feet again. We'll see if we can get that down to nothing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


In light of our issue with the kennel yesterday I vowed to work Darcy more on the crate training. Every day I am going to cut up a hot dog and she will get small handfuls of those thrown in the kennel throughout the day. I did this about five times throughout the day and she did well. I got to the point of locking the crate door, closing the door to the room she's in and walking about ten steps away. Then I would come right back and let her out.

When I did have to leave I tried blocking the kennel in the corner of the room with two 25 pound weights. Sometimes if dogs realize they can't move the kennel or break out of it they stop trying which calms them down. It helped a bit. She only moved it about three feet.

Tonight I confess that I skipped my agility graduation. We are going out of town for the Labor Day weekend so I had a bunch of last minute things to do. One of those was to get a pedicure so I guess I can't be too upset when students miss my class graduations... Though we will be starting a new session in a few weeks so there will be lots more graduations!