On the adventures and training of Cinnamon Snapdragon, a papillon destined for greatness.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The end.

As you probably deduced from the lack of updates to this blog, Dragon was never recovered. The last probable sighting was July 18th, and then the trail ended. I don't want to describe, yet again, the details of the search or my grieving process. What I would like to share is that three weeks ago, I brought home a Papillon puppy, who happens to be another tricolor male. He is 13 weeks old right now.

This is Chimera Monstra.

Of course, I made another blog for Chimera (AKA Cai), which you can find below:
I've been writing a lot about socializing him, since that's the most important thing at this age. Cai will also be trained in agility, obedience, and probably nosework and freestyle, with clicker training and other positive methods of course! Please join us on our journey.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dragon is missing.

I forgot to post a few weeks ago that I would be going on vacation and Dragon would be boarded. On July 2nd, while at an open off-leash space with a friend, he took off. There have been sightings but he is still lost.

I am utterly heartbroken, but there is a massive search and rescue effort being coordinated on FaceBook:

Please feel free to join the group to help (if you are in the East Bay Area of California) or just to follow along with the search effort. Please send good thoughts, prayers, cross your fingers, whatever you do when wishing for a beloved dog to return home.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Agility recap

I haven't been posting about our weekly agility classes lately. We just learned the serpentine, and we need to put in a lot more practice because Dragon tends to look forward and just keep running instead of looking at me and seeing that I'm giving the serp cue.

We also just started working on the chute/closed tunnel. Dragon was nervous about the fabric at first. I shaped him to step on it and then go on through the tunnel, and now he doesn't mind running through it while the fabric is held up. Slowly we're holding the fabric less open.

The teeter re-training looks good so far. Today Wendy and I called him back and forth across the teeter and Tiny Dog ran quickly back and forth while it dipped about six inches up and down. There were sandbags underneath to control the height and so that it wouldn't make much noise. We also did the classic bang game and he was happy to have me raise him up and let him ride it down. I'm continuing to give him treats every time another dog makes it bang.

Wendy set up a sequence of 11(!) obstacles, including sends, a 180, a front cross, and a serp. Dragon did it well, and I was so proud. We're getting to the point now that I'm learning some finer points of handling sequences, like stepping here or standing there for the front cross. Real agility stuff! Although the only obstacles we used were jumps and tunnels.

Still have a long way to go for reliable dog walk and a-frame running contacts. Haven't been practicing lately.

The crate training has taken a setback and he leaves it to wander around if he loses sight of me. Or if the door is closed, he whines super loud. So annoying.

2x2 weaves: sessions 15-17

Session 15 (classroom):
2 sets of poles! Whoo! He was confused. Did a short session with the poles open. Rewarded going through the first set a few times, and then both sets.

Session 16 (classroom):
Still confused. I moved them closer together and that helped him. Sometimes he would run right through both sets, and other times he would just take the second pair. Sometimes he didn't want to go out at all because he was confused and afraid of being wrong. If that happened I helped him by moving really close to the first pair.

Can't take any shortcuts. Need to do lots of rewards just for going through both sets when they are totally open.

Session 17 (agility field):
I set the two pairs closer together and this time Dragon understood that he should run through both sets. I did some straight on entries and then started working from 6 toward 3 o'clock. Here and there he had too much speed going in and couldn't slow down and collect well enough to go through the second pair. The 2x2 method shapes the dog to learn how to do so on his own, so we will just keep practicing until he figures it out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


If you haven't seen it, this is what the logo for my dog training business, Ruff Translation, looks like. (The background is yellow because that's straight from the webpage, which has a yellow background.)

I paid someone with an embroidery machine to make me a few patches with my logo on them. I just finished sewing them onto a new jacket for Dragon:

logo jacket

Now every time we go to the park or somewhere else to practice our training, he can advertise my services! The patches are open at the top so that they're actually pockets, held shut with blue velcro. Each pocket carries five business cards and two bright blue poop bags.

logo jacket

He's truly a working dog now.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2x2 weaves: ready for the next step!

Session 14 (classroom at work):
Worked all the way around the clock: from 1 o'clock sending from my left side, all the way to (for the first time!) 11 o'clock from my right side!! It looks like Dragon finally, totally understands the concept of the first pole always being on his left. The only time he didn't do the correct entry was a few times when he crossed in front of my feet to do an entry that would have been correct if the imaginary 12 poles had been extending in the other direction. I would resend him, making sure to extend my sending arm and leg more, and then he wouldn't cross in front of me and got the entrance correctly. Next session we will add the second set of 2 poles!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2x2 weave pole sessions 12-13

Session 12 (classroom at work):
Spent most of the session working off-side entries from 7-8 o'clock, with me running full speed. This was difficult for Dragon. He would repeatedly go around the first pole correctly but then put on speed and run past both poles. I would slow down for a few reps and then build back up, but again he would have trouble. We also did a few stationary sends from 9 o'clock, and he wasn't reliably doing the correct entry. Ended the session feeling like we still had a looong way to go. This session was right before my shift started at the daycare.

Session 13 (classroom):
This session was right after my shift, on the same day. I wanted to warm him up by doing on-side sends from 2 o'clock, from my left side. Twice in a row, Dragon cut across my front to do an off-side entry going in the opposite direction. I gave him some praise and petting, since it was partially correct, got a proper on-side entry, and then switched to off-side again.

He got it.

All of a sudden, Dragon could do off-side entries sent from 8, 9, even 10 o'clock! With me running! He confidently went around the first pole, slowed, collected, went through in the correct direction, and then blasted forward along the reward line.

We ended with me doing a little proofing of his independence, by doing funny things like jumping up and down and waving my arms, or "tripping" and falling. He looked at me but continued running. Wow!

Next session, I will review the clock again to solidify his understanding, and then we will be ready to add the second set of poles!