a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Blasts from the Past

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blasts from the Past

SUMMARY: My faithful Dog Training Notebook, with fun recollections and tips from the experts.

At last Tuesday's session, I pulled out my old Dog Training Notebook that I always carry in my Dog Extras bag in my car--it's ALWAYS there. You can see how the top third is faded from where it sticks out of the bag's pocket.

Sometimes I forget that I even have it!  So, through the years, I've managed to take notes on many other media,  not always here. But there's a lot of good stuff inside anyway. Here's what's in it:

Notes from my January 22, 1996 second-ever private competitive obedience class with Remington. Back when I was still trying to fulfill my childhood dream of having an obedience champion dog. The following weekend, we did our first agility trial, the NADAC mudfest in San Martin. Heh.

Notes on the Jan 27-28, 1996 NADAC trial! I'd forgotten I had this!  Notes on my FIRST RUN EVER in competition, with Remington:
Novice A Gamblers - he was all over the place but paid just enough attention to qualify: 21 points (min 20) and 20-point gamble [which was a jump to a tunnel to a table]. He was wired, shaking, uncontrolled on leash until after run.

Then on to run #2:
Novice A Titling. Almost perfect 'til ran PAST final jump, therefore past finish line, for our only (and nonqualifying) fault. [Is it because I] relaxed and took it for granted? Not sure.
And so on, details about all my runs! How cool is that? Plus at the end--I should've kept this up every trial--
  • He was exhausted after 1st day--slept in car on way home, went straight to bed at home. 2nd day more normal.
  • After ugly #3 run 2nd day, before #4 I did some tricks with goodies and without (had been NO goodies most of weekend); practiced some close/attention obedience things; practiced some plain walking on leash to be sure he was paying attention. Maybe that helped.
  • Have to think more about handling turns.
  • Need to work on his attention; despite yelling COME on #2 two or three times, he still went ahead. Plus the 2 out of control runs.
  • Maybe need "NO" in my vocabulary--might have stopped him from going on wrong obstacles?
  • Remember to be upbeat  and give goodies at end of runs.
  • Use stopwatch to time/plan gambles.
My notes on my January 29th obedience session say, "Skipped 3 days [of practice] because of NADAC." Heh heh.

Continuing notes on obedience through July.

Notes on Aug 31-Sept 2 '96  "USDAA DAM and Standard event" (back in the days when there was only one DAM, one Grand Prix, and one Steeplechase a year in the whole area). Includes the comment:
"[Jumping 30", we're ] competing against the likes of Nancy Gyes with Scud and Winston, Jim Basic and Mick, Stuart Mah and Recce, Bill Newcomb and Flash, other experienced handlers like Ralph Frazier, Sharon Freilich, Rob Michalski, Candy Gaiser..."
Huh! How little things have changed in 15 years--

And for that DAM, Remington and I teamed with Karey and Inyo, and Pam and her cute little semidachshund Jake! (Yep, the same Jake who eventually came to live with me.)

A couple more notes in the fall  of 1996 on obedience lessons.

That January, I broke my foot and was in and out of agility for a year, and never went back to obedience.   Next entry:

Notes from Feb 28-Mar 2 1998 Stuart Mah seminar. (In capital letters: "STAND UP STRAIGHT! STOP SAYING GOOD DOG!")

Then a couple of pages of notes from agility classes, followed by:

Details on  April 1999, Gambler's Clinic, Jim Basic. ( "Key to success: PRACTICE!")

Details on November 5-6 1998 Stacy Peardot Seminar. Includes:
"At the top level [of competition], focus changes from dog/equipment to getting around the course efficiently. Historically, for a quite a while the Nationals winners were slow and steady because they could do the obstacles. Then it was the fast dogs [who won]. Now it's the HANDLER who wins." 
[Wow, lots of great notes and observations in this book. Maybe I'll post all these seminar notes. Someday. Later. Yeah, right.]

Then Greg Derrett ["Darret"] Seminar, July 2002:
"Do all these exercises over and over until you're pissed off at them, and then do them some more, because you don't want you or your dog to be *thinking* about these on course." He trains only 10 minutes a day per dog, every day.
 Next up, Clicker Training with Mo Strenfel, November 2002.

Suddenly I'm back in regular classes, with Rachel Sanders,  August-November 2003.

And another Jim Basic Gambler's Seminar, November 2, 2003.

Next: Puppy-stuff trip with Rachel Sanders, June 3, 2005 (boost and 4 other puppies drove to her new place near San Luis Obsipo)

And finally: August 18, 2010: Nany Gyes on Boost jumps, refusals, and tables. 

And that's it for the little book for now!  Only 12 blank pages left. What will those pages hold in the future? Who knew it would last me 14 years!?


  1. How fun. You've inspired me to dig out my old training manuals, from back in the day when I actually took notes. I'll bet there's some classic stuff.

  2. Wow, how cool. It must be fun and fascinating to read all about it now.

  3. Now that is COOL! Trip down memory lane, eh.