Lucky Dog Training Center is located in Tyler, Texas, 1.5 hours east of Dallas. It's a privately owned training facility that hosts dog events and holds training classes.
Address: 15545 County Road 1134, Tyler, TX 75709
TIP: There is a wooded walking path at the end of this drive, to the left, just behind the house you see.
Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on Lucky Dog Training Center.
Watt Arena is in the Will Rogers Complex near downtown Fort Worth. It's primarily a horse facility, but does host many dog events, including the Fort Worth Kennel Club's All Breed Dog Show.
Address: 3401 W Lancaster Ave Fort Worth, TX 76107
Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on Watt Arena.
Sorry for being lax in posting, but life, dogs and showing interfered.
I've decided to use this blog to fill a need that I have personally, and can only assume that others have as well.
Travelling to other places to trial is part of the fun of agility. Meeting new people, exploring new sights, and showing under different judges is not only enjoyable, but helps keep showing from getting stale.
But if you're anything like me, you get a little anxious about what you'll find in the new facility.
I'll be showcasing a different facility in each post that will answer these questions. I also encourage anyone that visits these facilities to add tips you might about the facility.
Pug Dog Club of America's National Specialty and has come and gone, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on why I attend, and my observations of what happens there.
I attended my first National in 1998. I was not a member of the Pug Dog Club of America at the time, but had been showing in AKC obedience and agility for 8 years, so I was familiar with specialties and national events.
The National was in Oakland, about 2 hours from my house, so I entered in the obedience trial with my first Pug, Rudy. Agility wasn't offered yet, but I still competed in obedience with my pug, and had just finished our CD title. I wasn't really ready for Open, but Nationals is the perfect place to "compete if you're not quite ready".
I was one of two Open Pugs competing, and we busted every exercise but the heel free exercise and the long down. He did the drop on recall at my feet, kicked the dumbbell around with his front feet for quite some time on the retrieve on the flat, went around the jump on the way to the dumbbell on the retrieve of the high jump, walked over every board on the broad jump, and laid down on the long sit. His heeling was good enough to quality, although I had decided long before to emphasize "utmost in willingness" at the expense of precision. He was happy, prancing and bouncy. He was not, however, precise, and lost a lot of points for crooked sits and wide turns. He also nailed the long down, as apparently all of his shenanigans wore him out, and he was content to just rest during that exercise.
I knew he wasn't ready, so was not disappointed that we didn't qualify, but I loved showing at an event that was nothing but Pugs. There were Pug people at ringside, laughing at his antics, and oohing and ahhing when I took the leash off of him and he didn't run away.
Three months after showing at Nationals, I lost Rudy at the age of 5 during emergency surgery, and it really hit me how showing at Nationals had little to do with qualifying, and everything to do with celebrating this funny breed, surrounded by people that felt the same way that I did. I'm so happy that one of my last memories of showing him was there, a memory makes me smile to this day.
It's not cheap to attend, I have limited vacation to use during the year, and I hate to fly. So why do I attend Nationals?
I attend because of the people.
There is nowhere else in the dog showing world where you can be around people that have as much in common with yourself as at a National Specialty. I show in agility a lot, but as much as I have that sport in common with the other exhibitors, I don't have "showing a Pug" in common with them. The challenges of a small breed that doesn't work like a sheltie. The stubborn, quirky, gluttonous, random, unpredictability of the Pug. Only at Nationals can I watch run after run in agility, or performance in rally or obedience, and say to myself, "my dog does that". Or, "my dog would totally do that".
And it's not just in the performance rings that this commonality happens. The noises that come out of the Pug vocal cords, the commitment to keeping them cool at all costs, and the "my dog does that" thoughts happen everywhere at Nationals.
These are people I see once a year, but fall into conversations as easily as if I'd seen them the day before. These are people I've never met, but know of, and finally can put a name to a face. These are people that are committed to our breed, and work to show them off in the best possible light.
Each time I attend, I see people I haven't seen in years, and meet people I never knew existed. I always leave Nationals having made more friends than I started with.
I spend the whole week talking about Pugs. And more Pugs. And still more Pugs. Training Pugs, showing Pugs, grooming Pugs, the health of Pugs. I'm surrounded by people that have knowledge about these topics, and talking to them about Pugs expands my own understanding of the breed.
I just got back from attending my 10th National, and while I won't be able to make it next year, I will be there for the next 2 or 3, for sure. Because of the people.
Next time: Pug Nationals Thoughts Part 2: What exactly happens there?
The Pug Dog Club of America's Agility Trial closes today, and will happen in two weeks.
If you want to see Pugs showing off their agility skills, come out and watch us!
Wednesday, Oct 3, 2018
Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center
5750 Elmwood Ct. Indianapolis, Indiana 46203
Judging starts at 8:00 and will run into the afternoon.
Last count was about 125 runs, which didn't include the last minute entries.
Hope to see you there!!
This old friend isn't a dog. It isn't a person. It isn't even a living, breathing thing at all.
This old friend is a leash.
I've owned this leash for almost 20 years. A good friend had a dog supply booth, and carried this type of leash for a few years.
I bought one to try it out, then liked it so well that I bought another. One day, the whole pile of leashes were put in the closeout bin. Another friend and I bought the whole lot.
They are all the same martingale style, in different colors and patterns. It's soft on necks, not too thin or thick, and easy to tuck into a pocket.
It doesn't get loose when they're wearing it, but slips on and off easily. I've never had a stitch come out, and I have used the heck out of them through the years. It's the perfect leash.
Each dog has their own pattern, and there have been enough different patterns that this is the first repeat. This leash, that Kimchi wears now, was worn for years by Snap, my Boxer.
I've bought other leashes over the years, but always come back to these leashes. They're like an old friend, full of memories.
Memories of the dogs that have worn them. Memories of the friends that I've competed with. Memories of the rings I've run in. Memories of handing the leash to the leash runner as we stepped towards the line. Memories of reaching for the leash at the end of the run, hurrying to get the reward. Memories of tucking the leash away when the decision is made to retire a dog. And memories of slipping the leash over the head of my newest dog, ready to start all over again.
We've spent weeks rewarding the dogwalk. Now she gets right on it and runs over. But lots of reps throwing the toy at the end caused flyoff issues. At our last trial she got on every dogwalk, but missed every contact.
So we've spent weeks working the contact. Now she runs through the contact.
We're going to our first trial since fixing the contact. Fingers crossed that it will all come together. And if it doesn't, it will show us what we need to work on.
You don't win or lose, you win or learn.
Not a Q, but that's OK.
Not a blue ribbon, but that's OK.
Not MACH points, but that's OK.
We did it. We identified the problem, we worked on a solution, we trained, we tested, we succeeded.
Kimchi did the dogwalk at the trial last weekend.
First time. Every time. No hesitation. Full steam ahead. To add the success, she also did her teeter. First time. Every time. No hesitation. Full steam ahead.
I wouldn't call it "solid" quite yet. We still have work to do. We still have reinforcing to do.
But we're on our way.
Dog training primarily involves Operant Conditioning. Operant Conditioning is when behavior is controlled by consequences. Behavior occurs, reward is given. When that happens over and over, the behavior becomes a habit, and is now "learned". It requires timing, a concrete idea of what the final behavior should look like, and lots of repetitions.
Classical Conditioning on the other hand occurs when an association is created between an environment or situation, and a reward. The dog gets a reward whenever they are in a certain environment or situation, and eventually that environment or situation becomes a positive one. It requires lots of reward, and a conscious effort to reward no matter what the dog is "doing".
Kimchi has been improving in agility, slowly but surely learning the game, and getting better at reading my cues and handling.
But while our "running" has improved, she has hit a roadblock with the teeter and dogwalk. She's always had trouble with them, not because of fear, but out of confusion. She LOVES the teeter, and drives to the end. But sometimes she would hit the "tip" point on the dogwalk, get panicked, and jump off. We suspect it's her eyesight, and her inability to "know" which obstacle she's getting on. It was always worse in new locations and on new equipment. So I decided to babysit the entry to the teeter and dogwalk, until she became more confident on those obstacles.
The opposite happened, and she started to avoid both obstacles. She would run up to the obstacle, then run past it at the last minute. When called back, she would get right back on, and complete the obstacle just fine. It was worse on the dogwalk, but it would happen on the teeter when there were lots of bags anchoring the base underneath.
My instructor suggested going back to "baby dog" steps, and while Kimchi was out of sight, loaded the upside of the dogwalk with visible treats on every slat and a few on the flat. Then we walked Kimchi towards the dogwalk and let her "find" it on her own. Remember, no behavior being learned, but rather an association being created.
Being a Pug, she spotted the treats quickly, and followed the treats up and over the obstacle. We spent about 15 minutes doing nothing but letting her find treats on the upboard, over and over and over.
By the end of the session, we couldn't keep her off the dogwalk. She broke away from me a few times, to run over and run up the board and get her treats.
A few days later I took her to another location, kept her in crate while I loaded the dogwalk, then just walked her out on the course. She made a beeline to the dogwalk immediately and ran up and over. I had the space reserved for 30 minutes, and it became 30 minutes of Kimchi running from every corner of the room to run up and over the dogwalk. I literally couldn't keep her off of it.
Which is perfectly fine with me. If we get to the next trial and she takes off from the startline to get on the dogwalk, I will be delighted. I know, with time, she'll get back to doing her job. But for now, having her like the dogwalk, and willingly get on the board the first time, is the priority.
Thank you to Stacy Bols for helping me figure this Pug out!!!
There's a Facebook page for hiking pugs, and it inspired me to scan some photos of my hiking pugs through the years.
Don't do much hiking here in Texas, but have always had hiking Pugs!
1994 with my first Pug, Rudy, in Bryce Canyon.
1994 - Rudy at the Tetons
Big Stick, Little Stick
1994 in Bryce Canyon with Rudy and his Boxer brother, Gunther.
1994 - Rudy and Gunther resting after a day of hiking in Utah.
1997 - Rudy and his Boxer Brother, Tango, in the Desolation Wilderness.
1998 - Tango and my rescue Pug Mix, Puck, in the Desolation Wilderness.
1999 - Levi, my second Pug, Tango and Puck on the Washington coast.
2002 - My rescue Pug, Beth, on the California coast.
We got her a backpack to travel in, thinking she couldn't keep up (she was around 10 or 11 years old).
HA! She spent the entire day hiking in one direction, then the other, while we played in the waves with the younger dogs.