Friday, October 28, 2011

Collars and training

Due to a sale at the local fabric store, the dogs got new collars made this week.

I went for a new, fancy look by making them each a 2" brocade collar. With a limited slip, of course. Having my dog pull out of her collar once on a busy street was enough to ensure I will always put my dogs in limited slip collars to prevent that from ever happening again. And, I just had to do a 2" collar this time to show off the fabric.

I think it makes the dogs look very regal.

Now, since I don't have any flyball pictures I haven't already shared, I'm going to continue showing you pictures of the dog's new collars while I talk about flyball training.

Pallo is doing great with his ball carrying training. After a full weekend of him carrying his ball the whole time, I decided it is time to step up the training. So far, I have been sending him, running up to the start line, call him when he hits the box, then facing the lanes, back up a few steps, right hand held out and low in a fist, and yell "Touch" to him. Once he touches my hand with the ball, he gets his tug.

This works fine, obviously, but I want to get back to the normal pattern of flyball. The normal handler pattern goes something more like this: Release dog, run to start line, call dog when dog hits box, turn and run veering to the right, tug held out dangling in left hand, dog hits tug.

So, the first thing I did was put Pallo's tug into my closed right hand. I'm trying not to change the picture too much all at once, so everything else I did in the pattern was the same except for the tug placement (so, facing the lane, right hand outstretched with tug).

He did that successfully a few times, so I upped the ante by then turning and sticking out my left hand with the tug held in my closed fist (so, facing away from lanes, left hand outstretched with tug). He dropped a few feet early the first time, but nailed it the next few times. Over the next few practices, we will hopefully build up to me being able to be running away with the tug dangling and not have to worry about Pallo carrying his ball. I think we will get there without too many problems.

On the front of Koira's box turns, I think we made a decent amount of progress. Instead of using a PVC prop in front of the box, we are now using a single gutter and a triple gutter. These are basically exactly what they sound like, being plastic gutters from the hardware store, cut to be 4' long. The triple is just three of them stacked up, two on the bottom with one centered on top of that (I'll get a picture as soon as I get to the hardware store to make my own for practice at home). Using the triple gutter right in front of the box and the single a few inches out from the triple, Koira's turns are high, tight, and fast. And, she seems to be having a great time.

We will work her with this set up for a while, then slowly fade out the triple so she just has a single gutter in front of the box, then eventually fade that to a white slat laid flat on the ground, then nothing. Hopefully, if we do this over a long enough period of time and take it nice and slow, with lots of pull-out-prop for one hit, put it back in, etc, we will build a beautiful turn that stays high and safe even when at a tournament.

Martha had to come investigate while I was shooting photos of the collars.

I think she was jealous of the dog's getting new bling when she didn't get anything, so she decided to eat Koira's new collar.

As a last little note, I am LOVING my new indoor photo shoot setup. Doesn't it look nice, clean, well-lit, like I have a pro back drop and everything? I picked up two pieces of poster board in white, taped them together, and set it up in front of my window (which is covered in tissue paper so people can't see in, but which acts as a diffuser preventing harsh glares). With winter coming on, its nice to find a way to take indoor pictures that don't totally suck.


  1. The collars are beautiful! We will have to try the poster board trick; our inside pics are dreadful!

  2. Love the collars! The colors are great. I need to learn how to make my own collars :-)

    Glad to hear training is going well. I may need to try the gutter approach with Sophie. Thanks for the explanation.

  3. Ooo very nice collars! Thanks for the novel in my comments section, it was really helpful. I have found that Skye has done better on kibbles that don't include chicken... should that make me wary of starting a raw diet on chicken, or is it unlikely to transfer when she's eating the real deal? Thanks for your help!

  4. I love those collars! I have been looking into getting a new style for the Newfs!

  5. Those collars are pretty! I wish I had enough confidence in my sewing ability to make collars, but I worry my stitching would unravel and then what?! Great job!

  6. The collars are gorgeous and they really suit Koira and Pallo, not so sure about Martha though:)

    Glad your training is going well and I'm impressed with your indoor photo set up. I never think of doing anything like that!

  7. I love the collars you made! Very talented you are. I also slip out of collars so I'm usually on a harness but maybe I should try this kind also. As for the photo setup, it looks GREAT! Very professional look!

  8. Nice collars! Cute blog! Happy pet blogging!

  9. Haven't tried tissue on the window - might have to give that a go.

    I'm guessing your pair are well under the height of golden, as poster board wouldn't be tall enough for the boys. I'm currently using two tri-fold cardboard (think science fair backboard) butterfly clipped together to give me an extra foot of height.

  10. your skull tee is so pawesome! mom laughed at the collapsed witch, she said it looked like you melted! i told her that's not very nice,that costume is a torture device!

    ♥ yuki and rocket

  11. Oh, how nice! Brocade collars are very fashionable. I actually have one for my dog, which I only put on him when we go walking. :D And I think he enjoys parading it every time. The colors are always stylish. Your dogs look great and graceful on them! :)