Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cookin' with the Team-A weave pole cooking primer

OK. We haven't had a cooking show in a while. Today we're going to slice up some raw hot dogs!

Did you know I don't even really eat meat? Haven't had a cow or a pig or a fowl since high school. I do like my sushi and anything I shoot myself. And I HAVE been thinking about becoming a cattle rancher in Marfa. But for dog training, I am busting out the meat. I got some hot dogs made out of joyful and grateful chickens that apparently threw themselves right into the grinder at the moment before their natural death from healthy old age on their luxury chicken farm in Petaluma.

Ya slice 'em up real small if you have real small dogs. Gustavo is today's chicken eater, and he is my smallest dog. He will jump 12" and he weighs in at a puny, yet still teeter tipping, 12 lbs.

I put 'em in a teensy tupperware that you can get at Ikea. A whole set of a million for like $5.

Don't forget to put the rest away so no one gets salmonella or is tempted to attack the counter or so you can get a snack.

Allright. Here's the thing. You know what a bad dog trainer I am. I fall asleep during the dog training DVD's. I may not always use approved methods. My biography does not start out, "Laura Hartwick was a top notch obedience competitor for 20 years." I think it starts out, "Laura Hartwick's favorite shoes since kindergarten are navy blue slip-on Vans." So I kind of screwed up on all my dogs on getting them to do everything for tugging.

They all like to play. Otterpop is primarily all about the frisbee, although she definitely enjoys her treats. Ruby will tug but what really gets her fired up is a chunk of chicken inside her little thing she tugs on. Gustavo, he will tug and go crazy before and after training, but what he really, really likes for the top dog reward are some chopped up hot dogs in a tupperware.

I know. Some day, I will be fired from dog agility. I am sorry Susan Garrett. This is why I'm not on any world teams and you are. I know you are not REALLY a witch, we just all have our things we are better at. I bet I draw horses way better than you do. And that's ok.

But see, his weave poles have gotten super way faster and more accurate since I started using dead chicken chunks in Ikeaware as a target out at the end of the poles.

I have the wires off, and the channels open about an inch and a half or so.

I can send him to the poles and he drives all the way through on his own, or with me on either side. So I'm already letting him find his own entries and rear crossing his poles. I can also just stand there and then when he's through, run down to meet him at the target. Let him snarf some dog chunks. Next step, doing this with poles at the practice field! If the thunderbolts of the Tugging Not Food Commandment don't strike me down first.

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Blogger Elf said...

Oh, this is much better than Project Runway, which I don't even know what it is and someone explained it to me so that I could better enjoy your blog. Which didn't quite make my eyes glaze over, but merely putting the word "television" into a sentence can have that effect on me. All my television I get on YouTube any more. Before that, I just didn't get television. So there you have my shameful secret.

I have comments about your fine recipe that I'll have to post on my own blog.


March 11, 2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Elayne said...

I think the idea that tugging is better than food is silly. But I have no big fancy championship titles on my dog so you can take my opinion for what it's worth. Luckily I've always had instructors who said give the dog what it wants most. I did have some former World Team member who's seminar I was at chastise me for throwing a ball for Lola as a reward instead of having her tug. And to make it worse he quoted someone else, 'Well, so and so sez you shouldn't throw a toy because the dog gets the reward away from you rather than right from you as in tugging'. I may not be a World Team member but I do have plenty of experience dealing with dogs with motivation issues and I'm sorry but that was one of the silliest pieces of advice I've ever gotten.

March 11, 2008 2:46 PM  
Blogger team small dog said...

Yep. I hear all that. I teach agility too, and I let my students do whatever the heck it is that makes their dogs go super fast. I do try to get them all to teach them to like toys enough to chase them, but some dogs just go ga-ga over food and if we are not Susan Garrett, I think it's OK too.

I think I have a complex because Ruby used to run against DeCaff in occasional things before I moved her down to performance and we never did win a Grand Prix or Steeplechase against DeCaff. Who only tugs on a fly swatter. And Ruby actually tugs. But she also REALLY wants a treat.

TV is not for everyone! Just like tugging for the best reward! I like tv and food!

March 11, 2008 7:12 PM  
Blogger Pacco de Mongrel said...

yeah yeah... my dog do tug, but she tug for a treat...coz whenever she tug with me, i'll reward her a piece of treat...

same goes to her chasing after ball, catching the frisbee n etc.... all done in exchange for treats...

luckily she's not obese...

March 12, 2008 1:07 AM  
Blogger manymuddypaws said...

What works for one, doesn't work for another. There is nothing wrong with using just food as a reward...I have dogs who tug, and dogs who don't...

anyway- great blog by the way...just stumbled upon it this morning...

March 13, 2008 6:19 AM  
Blogger Simba said...

OMG! Officially addicted to your blog!! (got the link from Agility Nerd btw).

I'm sure you don't give yourself enough credit..but I know the feeling...I was at a practice yesterday, and some trainer had her 12 week old BC pup doing full barrel races and jumping to her tug at the end....sheesh..put us all to shame!!

For the record. Simba LOVEs a good piece of chicken over a tug any day.

March 17, 2008 11:13 AM  

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