Orso has figured out that all good things happen when he walks out the front door of our house. These days, Orso spends a lot of time laying by all the doors of the house that lead outside, but most of all, the front door. He wants to make sure that no one goes out to have fun without him!
After we were done with class, Orso and I went to the Titanic Restaurant & Brewery in Coral Gables. Raquel and her dog, Dee and her husband & some of Dee’s friends met up with us there. The folks at Titanic were awesome, especially Emily who was our waitress, and moved a few tables outside so we could have dinner there with our dogs. They don’t normally have outside seating but completely hooked us up! Thanks! It was great to get to know Dee on a personal level and outside of the “training” environment. We were a good group of people and I enjoyed meeting Dee’s friends – who were very cool – and getting to know Raquel from our class better – also very cool. The highlight of the night, aside from Dee and her husband having their own mugs at the Titanic (seriously, they are engraved with their names!!!), was Dee singing karaoke.
Rally class today was a lot of fun! It was only two of us tonight – Raquel with her dog and us – so it almost felt like a private session with Dee from Applause Your Paws! She brought the AKC Rally guide to class that explains exactly what we are supposed to do at each sign. I helped her set up the course while Orso watched. For anyone who is following the blog and isn’t sure what Rally is, here is a short explanation from the AKC website:
“AKC Rally is the new dog sport that is taking the nation by storm, a successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good Citizen® program to the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition. A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.”
Back to class… Orso was very excited to work today! He must have smelled the yummy bait that I had just chopped up for him on the hood of our Jeep. As soon as we started class, Orso was ready to go! He was awesome today and did great during each of his tries at the course Dee had set up. She even ended up switching some of the commands to make it a little more difficult for us.
Below are a few pictures of Orso and me working together during class. Enjoy!
NOSE WORK – CLASS 3 OF 5 – 11.28.2010
After our trip to the dog park, we headed home to drop off Mouse & Luna, take showers, eat and let Orso recharge. Then we headed off to our Nose Work class at UM with Dee from Applause Your Paws. Dee stepped up the difficulty of the class by bringing more challenging items in which to detect where treats have been planted. She brought clothes, plastic shoe boxes, grocery bags, hampers and purses. These were all in addition to the cardboard boxes. She also added a height element to the training by stacking the boxes. It was a really cool class and I loved seeing how Orso this week was using his tracking skills instead of sight to identify the containers that had treats hidden inside. Below are a few video clips from class. Enjoy!
TROPICAL PARK’S DOG PARK – 11.28.2010
Today is Mouse’s birthday and we celebrated by taking all 3 dogs to a new dog park at Tropical Park. It is a really cool park with agility obstacles and tons of mature trees that come together to create a huge canopy of shade throughout the park. It was 2 acres in size and included access to a lake where dogs could go swimming. The park was separated into 2 areas – one for dogs under 35 pounds and one for dogs over 35 pounds – a planning concept that we totally agree with. We spent more than 2 hours there and had a wonderful time. Below are 2 short video clips of Orso doing some of the obstacles in the park. Enjoy!
If it’s fluffy, Orso loves it. This applies to pillows, cushions, couches, beds, towels, clean laundry, dirty laundry, body parts, he loves them all. The photos below show Orso on his favorite day bed. Enjoy!
This morning, my cell phone alarm went off unexpectedly. Early. Very early. At the crack of dawn early. Orso followed suit by bellowing his discontentment at having an empty belly; afterall, it had been a whole 10 hours since he ate dinner! God forbid he go longer without eating – he may disappear! LOL. Anyone who has seen this puppy will know that was a joke. Reluctantly, and quite grouchy, I drag myself out of bed and don’t even bother to dress. I grab a robe, let the 3 dogs out of their room and we all race down the stairs for pee-pee time. As I am standing in a bath robe clutching it shut with one hand, Orso’s leash in the other, it occurred to me that it was Thanksgiving morning. Folks, I am not too quick in the morning. I am downright stupid in the morning.
As soon as I realized it was Thanksgiving, I got this warm and fuzzy feeling all over. I brought Orso, Mouse & Luna back in the house and proceeded to start on making doggie breakfast. Wow, I thought to myself, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my health, a beautiful family – 2-legged & 4-legged, a home, a business that fulfills me and lots of good things coming my way. Not bad. Today, I want to give thanks for being blessed with my parents, my sister, her 3 boys, Orso, Mouse, Luna and everyone else who makes me light up everyday.
What are you thankful for?
GROUP CONFORMATION CLASS – 11.23.2010
Tonight was an evening of realizations and reaffirmations for me. I took Orso to his first official group conformation class, hosted by the Herzon family, in the parking lot of a local utility company. My first realization is that Orso can trot, quite beautifully in fact – just not with me. My first reaffirmation is that neither Orso nor I have a clue what we are doing when it comes to conformation. We can likely rock a working event, but this whole conformation business is so utterly foreign to us that I felt like a complete idiot in class. My second realization is that out of sheer fairness to my puppy, I am seriously considering hiring a handler for the December show in Orlando. There is no way in the world that I will do this little four-legged man justice if I handle him. I had a few other realizations and reaffirmations throughout the night, including the fact that our first real AKC show for points is less than 4 weeks away, but I already listed the ones worth mentioning. Thankfully, the Herzon family seems to be very willing to help me with this project, specifically Jessie, who was kind enough to take Orso from me a couple of times and work with him during class. Jessie, you are hired!!!
Just like last week’s Nose Work class, we missed class 2 of Intermediate Obedience: Rally to go see Roger Waters in concert on November 14th, thanks to some last minute tickets that were given to us by a good friend. Thanks, Lewis!
Even though we missed the 2nd class, Orso did not seem to have fallen behind at all. He has such a great food drive that he will do anything for a few high value treats! I like to work off-leash with him, so I pretty much took the leash off of him for most of the class. We worked on keeping his heel nice and tight against my leg and focused on preventing him from swinging out with his hind end at the halt. We went through a rally course that Dee had set up with official Rally cones & signs (go Dee!!) a few times and Orso rocked it each time! That’s my boy! Again, I was there alone with him so there aren’t any photos from tonight’s class.
After class, we went to celebrate Thanksgiving early. Since my parents are gone for Thanksgiving, my sister (Yvette) and her boyfriend (Mike) hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner and kindly allowed Orso to come along to spend Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Thanks, Mike and Yvette, for inviting Orso!
NOSE WORK – CLASS 2 OF 5 – 11.21.2010
Yep, you read it correctly, class 2 of 5. The first class was on November 14th, but we missed it to go to the Roger Waters (Pink Floyd mastermind) concert. Sorry, Orso, you got bumped to go watch The Wall come down!
This was Orso’s first Nose Work class and it was pretty cool – definitely different. Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws is teaching it and it’s a totally different format from anything we’ve done with Orso so far. We enrolled in this class because we want to teach Orso how to use his nose to find things. This will help him in the tracking portion of his utility obedience work. In today’s class, Orso learned how to identify – using scent instead of sight – whether there is food hidden in a series of boxes. It’s a small class and each dog takes turns working with the boxes. It was a lot of fun, a nice change of pace from our usual obedience classes. By the end of the class, the boxes were closed with the food inside and Orso was already learning to signal to me that there was something inside the box. I was there alone with him, so no photos, but I did manage to get a few video clips of Orso in action. They are long – a few minutes each – but interesting. The first one is almost 5 minutes long and it is the entire footage of Orso’s first experience with Nose Work. The second one is only a couple of minutes long and is Orso’s 2nd go at searching. The 3rd and 4th tries were filmed but it was already too dark, so I am not uploading the footage. Enjoy!
Below is a description of the class from Dee’s website:
“Nose Work – 5 weeks, one hour a week – K9 Nose Work is an amazing new sport where you just get to do the fun part –‐ watch your dog excel at finding things with his or her nose. Join us for this fun class! This is an intro class, where we help you and your dog get the foundation skills to excel at this sport –‐ either in real competition or in your own backyard. Once we get enough dogs who are ready for the next level, we’ll offer more advanced classes in Miami. The cool part about Nose Work is that you and your dog can do it anywhere — on walks, in the yard, in the house, and there is not a lot of gear, as there is with agility, and it doesn’t take a lot of space, like tracking does. Nose Work is a blast! It’s great for older dogs, puppies that have finished kindergarten, dogs with joint problems that can no longer run agility, and even reactive dogs. It’s not just for particular breeds, either. No matter how big or small or smush—faced, your dog can do Nose Work! The dogs work one at a time, and your dog can be out in the car or crated during the times when s/he’s not working. That means you’ll need to bring a crate. All dogs will be kept away from the working area when it’s not their turn. That’s why K9 Nose Work is an ideal sport even for dogs that have issues.”
This was a very exciting day for Orso! There will be several posts for today since he participated in several distinct activities throughout the day and evening. The first adventure of the day started at 3pm at Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove where Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws was administering the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. We almost got rained out when an unexpected storm came through (typical Miami weather) and had to hide under a tree for shelter. Determined to take the test with Orso, we stuck it out until the weather cleared. Orso did very well throughout the test but Dee told me that we need to work a little more on supervised separation. Unfortunately, I have no photos or video to share since I was the handler.
To learn more about AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, click here or go to http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm.
From the AKC website:
Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”).
COME LET GO! – 11.19.2010
Today was a long day for us. We had a bunch of appointments and had been out of the house for a lot longer than we usually are. We decided that even though it was a little chilly out, we would take Luna, Mouse & Orso to Grandpa Frank & Grandma Eva’s house for some beach fun. We headed out there late in the afternoon and the sun was already pretty low. The dogs played like a pack of crazy fools as they always do, but they weren’t in the water as much as usual. When Orso’s water toy drifted out and the only option was for me to reluctantly jump in after it, I IMMEDIATELY realized why none of the dogs wanted to be in the water – it was FREEZING! I felt like I had jumped into a bucket of ice water – it was horrible! Nonetheless, everyone had a great time and instead of taking the camera, we decided to take the video camera. Below is a compilation of the visit. It’s just over 6 minutes long and is set to “Come Let Go” by Xavier Rudd. Enjoy!
We are the Society in America for Cane Corso Italiano’s (SACCI) newest member! SACCI is the national Cane Corso breed club for the United Kennel Club, a registry (in addition to the Americal Kennel Club) with which Orso is registered. UKC recognizes AKC registered dogs and registering Orso with the UKC was important to me because they hold many working events that we want Orso to possibly participate in, such as “Dock Jump” or “Weight Pull” that the AKC does not sponsor.
Directly from the SACCI website:
“Welcome to our National breed club. As the first name of our organization implies we are not just a club but a Society joined together for the betterment of the breed. Where all members place the breed first and foremost without any personal motives or agendas. We openly invite any and all who share these same thoughts and values to participate with us. As a young organization built on this type of a foundation we have been able accomplish much for our breed in a relatively short time.
We presented the breed to the United Kennel Club and received full recognition in July of 2008. For over one hundred years the United Kennel Club has been an organization dedicated to preserving the true heritage and abilities of working breeds and thus an important and needed affiliation for our great breed. The official UKC breed standard is the exact same as the official breed standard used in Italy to help insure any separation or deviation in the breed here in the United Sates from its country of origin.
We have also formed an affiliation with the American Working Dog Federation. The AWDF is the only official FCI recognized working organization in North America. As a club we are able to offer all members many conformation and working opportunities with Championship titles and awards available. We have an annual National Specialty complete with working events along with regional specialty’s during the year. Our online news journal is second to none and our forum is always available for the Cane Corso Italiano community to use. We appreciate your visit and hope that if you are in agreement with our philosophies and direction that you will join with us to help along this path to preserve and better the Cane Corso Italiano.”
Visit the Society in America for Cane Corso Italiano by clicking here or go to http://www.sacciusa.org/. Visit the United Kennel Club by clicking here or go to http://www.ukcdogs.com.
Today is Orso’s 5 month birthday and he measures 24 inches at the withers! He’s so big, anyone would confuse him for a 5 YEAR old instead of a 5 MONTH old! Below is a short video clip of Mouse really wanting to play and Orso really wanting to sleep.
WHAT GAVE ME AWAY?!?! – 11.13.2010
It had been a long time since the toilet paper bandit had struck in our house, due in large part to our OCD about keeping the doors to all the bathrooms shut all the time. But today, while I was at the workshop at Sheila’s house, toilet paper disaster struck! As you will see in this 67 second video, the culprit – also know as “Orso THE TERROR Cane Corso” – tried very hard to look innocent and pin the deed on his brother and sister. Unfortunately, several things were working against him – can you pick out the most obvious piece of evidence? Also, Luna had no problem handing him up and Mouse wanted nothing to do with the whole situation!!! Enjoy!