Sunday, September 27, 2009

Agility, exams, and flus

Hi guys! Sorry I haven't posted much in a while. I tried to post something last week but it wouldn't let me put up any pictures, so I pretty much gave up on that.

I've been somewhat bogged down with prelims (midterms). I had 2 prelims this past Thursday, one of which was Organic Chemistry. Need I say more? Tomorrow I have an Animal Nutrition prelim that I should be studying for. Except instead I'm blogging. Sweet.

I also got a big sick this past week. I woke up with a sore throat and congestion/mild headache early this past week. Thankfully our school's hospital confirmed that it wasn't swine flu, which has been spreading around our campus like wildfire. Eep.

On a dog-related note, we had agility class again today! I had to miss class last week because of something else I couldn't miss. Today we learned the chute and a low-set teeter. Winnie did great with both of them, and we ended the class with short sequences of about 3-4 obstacles, including a full-on chute. She shows so much enthusiasm for agility- I'm so happy that we have the opportunity to finally learn in a class setting!

My 2x2 weave poles are sitting in the corner of the living room. I have admittedly not been spending much time with it. I simply have not had the time to train Winnie with it, which really stinks. I do have fall break coming up in 2 weeks, so hopefully I can do some weaves with her then.

Sorry I have no pictures this time. I forgot to bring my camera to agility class!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two words

Organic. Chemistry.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cornell Companions

This weekend was screening weekend for Cornell Companions, a pet visitation program here in the Ithaca area. Volunteers visit various facilities with their animals (mostly dogs, but we do have cats, birds, and the occasional llama!)- nursing homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, centers for children with disabilities, etc.

I thought it would be awesome to participate with Winnie, since she's here with me now. The screening sessions took place over a span of two days- Saturday and Sunday. Incidentally, I also happen to be the administrative assistant of Cornell Companions. I recently got the job a couple weeks ago for some extra cash. It pays a decent amount (for a low-effort job, at least) and I only have to work a couple hours a week from my own computer. This weekend was awesome because I got paid for several hours' work even though I worked on my own homework most of the time! All I really did was greet people, check them in, and tell them what forms to fill out. Good stuff.

My work station this weekend. Excel sheet, forms, scientific papers for me to read (my homework), and dog treats for Winnie. Oh, and an apple.

Anyway, I was at the vet school checking people in from around 8am to 3pm both yesterday and today. Since I was also participating as a potential volunteer, I had to get Winnie screened as well. I brought her with me today and screened her in the morning- and she passed! The screening test is basically a more relaxed version of the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Test. Winnie did really well!

Since I couldn't exactly go back home during the screening session (I had to check people in as they came for their screening appointments) Winnie sat next to me the entire morning/afternoon and acted as the unofficial Cornell Companions Ambassador.

Winnie "guarding" the gates to the screening room.

I used this as a training opportunity. She has gotten incredibly good at her "Leave It" command over the past few weeks (living in an apartment gives more opportunity for barking). I worked on keeping her calm and ignoring the other dogs, which she did fantastically.

I was really pleased to see her relax and even fall asleep a bit in this new environment.

Although almost all of the screened animals were dogs, we did have one bird- a cute Senegal Parrot. While the parrot and her owner/handler were in the other room during the test, Winnie took the opportunity to sniff out the bird cage.

Since she's more of a high-activity dog, we got placed in the Lansing Residential Center and the MacCormack Center. A nursing home wouldn't be a very good fit for her, hah.

Lansing is a correctional facility for youth females who have committed less severe crimes, and MacCormack is a high-security correctional facility for youth males who have committed more serious crimes. I'm really looking forward to going to MacCormack because it's the only facility that allows the dogs and facility residents to interact and play off-leash.

With Winnie's previous reactivity issues, I never thought I'd be able to do something like this with her. She has improved so much over the past year or so, and although she is still a work in progress, we're definitely progressing.

I'm really looking forward to our first visit in a couple weeks! I'll be sure to take some pictures while I'm there.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finally an agility dog

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't updated in so long- something called 'school' took my time away from the computer, can you believe that?

So far classes are going well..but I know that in a few weeks I'll be loaded with work and studying, eek! Thankfully, I have been able to arrange playdates 1-3 times a week with Hansel and his mom. Sometimes we go to the dog park, other times we let them run around the Arts Quad...

Aw, jeez, Mom..seriously?

...and Winnie and I started agility classes today, YAY! I'm so happy to have finally started, since the summer classes got canceled and I had to wait an extra 1-2 months.

Needless to say, Winnie totally ROCKED at the first class. The instructor introduced us to the basic equipment- standard bar jump, tire jump, pause table, shortened tunnel, chute (without the actual chute), and a dog walk (only the flat part). Winnie did each obstacle without any hesitation while some of the other dogs struggled to go through the tunnel or get up on the dog walk. Our homework for this week is to work on getting them to follow our hands as well as teach them how to target- both of which we already happen to know, hehe. But I suppose there's always room to practice more!

If anything, I spent more time (and treats) getting her to focus on me. She has had issues before with getting overexcited and overstimulated around dogs, but to my pleasant surprise she did an amazing job today! Before the class started I did some short heeling patterns with her (mostly going straight and doing a lot of left turns) to get her attention on me, which she did really well. She was very focused on me when there were dogs in front and behind her (we were in a line taking turns to use the obstacles). Most of the time, I managed to keep her in the heel position while walking around the ring. Only during the middle of the class did she start getting distracted by the treats that had fallen on the floor. Towards the end I managed to keep her mind off the floor by running around and asking her to go through the obstacles, LOL!

I'm super proud of what we accomplished today. She has gotten so much more confident around other dogs, and only rarely does she get overstimulated by them (e.g. if she saw another dog, she would rush toward them (WITHOUT any aggression) and sniff/meet and greet).

We stopped by a small pond for a quick drink on the way back to my apartment.

We have agility on Sundays and beginner obedience on Thursday nights. I don't doubt that she already knows basic obedience, but I signed up for the class in order to get her used to working around an overstimulating environment (e.g. hyper puppies). I'm hopeful that each class will benefit the other!

Snoozing after a hard day in class.