Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Monthly Mendel: 5 Months

 Yaaaayyyy!  It's picture day!

Let's start by getting soaking wet and running around the house like our pants are on fire!

Then, we'll move on to grooming table time.  With only enough power to run one motor without tripping the breaker, a guy has plenty of time to discover cool things around the room.....

Like that handsome dog over there in the mirror!

 Time to get down to business with the pictures!

Sadly, I did a terrible job of getting him stacked this time.  I think we're going to have to start doing pictures on the floor pretty soon.

Much better stack, at least.

We did some shots that I'll use for advertising my grooming table aprons and covers.

Hehe!  He looks like such a puppy here!  Love it!

You can really see the biscuit on his ears here.

One of these days I'm going to have to bring Lilly to do pictures with him.  I wouldn't even dream of ever making Bailey do this again - he HATES it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stacking Blocks

We've been busy.  Mostly busy having fun (which is why I haven't even started looking for a second job) but we've been working on having fun with show stuff, too.

I think that's the very definition of awesome - when the WORK part is even primarily focused on having fun! 
I love it!

This past weekend we took a trip to Minnesota to drop off Whitey and we had lots of fun.  Mendel and I stayed at my friend / his breeder's house so he got to hang out with his mom, half brother and sister, and their grumpy big brother (who's a lot like Mendel's grumpy big brother, only white).  :)  He thinks his half brother is REALLY cool, and was following him around paying attention to what a guy is supposed to do at that house.  It was pretty cute.  I can't believe I didn't take pictures.  :o\

We got some video of Mr. Mendel.

I still feel like he's not reaching in front as much as he should, but tonight at work a great idea came to me.  I'm in the process of working things out in that department.

Now, the main point of this post.

See, Mendel is better at this whole stacking thing than I am.  As you can see in the video, he knows how to stack.  It's me that's the problem sometimes.  My timing is bad on rewarding him when he stacks sometimes b/c it takes me too long to "check" that all his feet are in the right place.  Then, I still move too much and wind up pulling him out of it or I reward him for a poor stack by mistake.  I'm a mess, what can I say?  :)

So, I found these on a website somewhere:

Now, the reality is that a dog who is built right structurally should not need help putting his legs in the right place, the right place should be where the dog puts them naturally and where they will be most comfortable for him.  I like these for ME, to help me more consistently reward my dog for a correct stack and learn better what things will look like form my perspective when he is in the right place.  But I'm NOT even going to consider paying $200 for them.  That's just crazy.

Another reason I like these is because I find that the concept of "muscle memory" is very valid.  I do see where this might help us as a team.

So, of course, I decided to "MacGyver it" instead of emptying my wallet.

Step one, hit up the grocery store.

I chose cans of something I actually use so if I decide I don't need these in a month they won't go to waste.  This is one of the big wide cans, about the size of my palm on top.  

Step two, pick up some of that rubbery place mat stuff to use as a non-slip surface.

 I traced the cans and cut one ring for each can slightly smaller than the trace mark and one slightly larger.  The smaller for use on the top and the larger for use on the bottom to make the can nice and grippy.   

 Then, I used double sided tape to adhere the pieces to the can.

Here's Mendel's second time up on his "stilts".

This is a great example of why it's awesome to have great breeders/mentors.  The first thing I did was send a link to the video off for advice on how to do it better next time.  I've already made some improvements (like holding his collar and baiting him better to get him to pull up more over his front and setting the cans further apart) and our quick session when we got home from work was even better than the one in the video.