Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Behind again

So much going on, I’m way behind on updating the blog again. I have been updating his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DazzleDog) with more frequency, but some stuff I just post to my own facebook page.

So below is the happenings since September (LOTS of videos!):

I noticed I didn’t post his 5th birthday video before. I’m really happy with how it came out!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/71482054

We have recently done some landscaping out front (only took 10 years!) and Dazzle decided he wanted to help, so I let him dig a hole

9/12/a Helping with yardwork

He also helped with a project in the backyard:

VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/74055872

I recently got Dazzle new patches for his harness and they are really helping to keep people from bothering him and stopping me to ask questions. I appreciate that it’s not everyday that people see a service dog, but answering the same questions 50 times every time I go out gets a bit tedious and I don’t like to be rude.
9-28-13 New patches

Dazzle has some new playmates. When ever the neighbor dogs get bored, they come and bark at the fence to see if Dazzle will come out to play. 🙂 It doesn’t taken them long to get tired and then they trot back home and Dazzle looks at me like “that’s all?”
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76819404

These are a few photos I took for a new group I’m in called Treasure Hunt. Each month they post 20 things you have to find/depict that month. I captured all of them by the 21st! But most don’t have Dazzle in them, so these are the few that do:

View out my window:

View out the window

Ok, not Dazzle, but I love this shot of Splash about to pounce! It’s amazing how many members of the group have a black cat! And Splash is lookin’ good for 14 yrs old! Still playful as ever

Black Cat- ready to pounce

Forever Faithful

Forever faithful

Dazzle in costume

Dazzle in costume

Reading the paper

Newspaper- Treasure Hunt item 6

Heavenly light

Heavenly light

In the cemetery

In the cemetery

Fall colors weren’t cooperating yet, so I had to go with flowers

My muse

I did get a Fall colors shot I really love though:
Mauseleum

And I love the dew on these roses:
Morning dew

Maybe one of these days I’ll update the other “non-dog” blog too 🙂

New tree- I collected 20 seeds from the tree in the neighbors yard and grew them in cups just like I did as a kid. I didn’t try to sell them to the neighbors though 🙂 Only 1 of those 20 survived and it’s now big enough to plant in the yard:

10-16-13 New tree sm

I had to put up a better fence around it because Dazzle thinks it’s his job to keep it watered!

KingBest

On Oct. 1st, 14 yr old King had surgery to remove a lump on his lip. Unfortunately, it’s T-cell Lymphoma and that doesn’t respond well to treatment options. We have elected not to do any treatments other than switching to raw food and will help him be as comfortable as possible for whatever time he has left.

BARN HUNT!
Our newest obsession! I drove up to Marysville to try out this new sport. Any dog can compete and the goal is to find a rat in a tube hidden in hay bales- right up Dazzle’s alley! There is also an empty tube and a tube with only dirty bedding (no rat) that the dog can’t “hit” on. I wish Bear was still around and that Coyote could still see because both were excellent mousers and I think they really would have enjoyed this activity.

VIDEO: This was Dazzle’s first intro to the rat: https://vimeo.com/77405804

The instinct test is all three tubes visible and the dog has to indicate the one with the rat. Apparently the dirty bedding was REALLY stinky because many of the dogs were hitting on that tube.

Barn hunt!

VIDEO of the Instinct test: https://vimeo.com/77405806

Next we did a novice run and Dazzle found the rat!

“I’m ready mom!”

Barn hunt!

On the hunt:

Barn hunt!

Found it!!

Barn hunt!

“Gimmie that rat! It’s mine, I found it!”

Barn hunt!

VIDEO of his Novice run: https://vimeo.com/77405807

We’re going to be attending a trial in January if the weather cooperates (Keeping my fingers crossed!)

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Posted October 23, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

Nose work!

I have so many nose work videos to post, that I wanted to give this it’s own subject. The next post is my “catch up” post with all the other stuff that’s been going on.

9-18-13 to 9-22-13 Montage of the first steps:
Because Dazzle is “scary smart” and because he’s had a bit of nosework practice before, we made amazing progress in just 3 days of training. This is a montage of about 40 sessions (2 min. or less each) over those 3 days (most were under 1 min.). I learned this method (Fenzi/Simek) by watching videos posted by the students of the nosework 101 class at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. I might have gotten some of this out of order but I think I got the gist of it.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/75286387 (3:58)

9-25-13 Search in the yard #1
This was his first search in our yard and first time searching objects other than boxes. He caught the odor very quickly and just as quickly narrowed it down to EXACTLY where the scented Q-tip in a straw was hiding!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/75458035 (:14 sec)

9-25-13 Search in the yard #2
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/75458036 (:20 sec)

9-25-13 Objects in the basement:
Dazzle found the odor quickly, but I wanted to work on his indication.As you’ll see, he gets creative and tries a few different things, but then remembers what worked previously. We had done a few quick rewards on previous searches just before this video, so I wanted him to do a better indication as we had worked on in previous steps (nose hold at source).
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/75458037 (:50 sec)

9-25-13 Higher level hide:
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/75458038 (1:05)

I joined an online nosework class and this was the first week’s homework
10-2-13 Week 1 of NW120 class:
This week the goal was to be sure the dog had no issue with a box search and sticking his head in a box. I think Dazzle shows he has no issue with it 🙂 I realized after I sent him that I didn’t have any rewards on me, so you can hear me walking away from him to go get a toy!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76014915 (:22 sec)

10-2-13 So Quick!
Dazzle is SO fast at finding the odor it makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong.
** I make sure he’s out of sight when I do each hide,
** I walk all around the area so my scent doesn’t lead him to the hide,
** I touch other boxes at least as much as I touch the target box,
** I move the hide after each find,
** I’m using the swabs that came with the kit so I don’t think they are “over-scented”,
** I make sure my body language doesn’t give it away (usually I just stand still, but did some moving around to add a distraction).
I know he understands the game and knows what he’s looking for, just need to work on the duration of the indication (freeze at the hide).
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76014916 (:18 sec)

10-2-13 Ooops, Retrieve instead of alert
He has no problem finding the scent, but I want him to do the alert (freeze at the source). He’s still having trouble with that and I have been avoiding boxes because I suspected he would do what he did here. I have mostly been trying to pick hiding places where retrieve is not an option. But even though he brought me the box, I still had him do the alert before paying it. 🙂
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76014917 (:29 sec)

10-2-13 Working on alert with boxes
After the alert fail, I wanted to see if he did any better. He didn’t retrieve and he got to the proper alert with help.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76014918 (:30 sec)

10-2-13 First vehicle search
Dazzle has done so well with the finds that I decided to test him a bit (and use a hide he can’t retrieve!). This is the first time I have ever asked him to search any vehicle. It’s also the first time he’s done a search on leash, which I didn’t expect would be an issue and it wasn’t.
I had him inside the van when I put the magnet container inside the hitch. I also bent down in other places around the van and found that my van has almost NO metal easily accessible near nose height! For future hides I’ll have to use a straw and tape. After putting the container in the hitch out of sight, I drove the van out of the garage (about 20′) and got him out for the search so it didn’t “stew” very long at all. Slight breeze from front to back on the van, so as soon as he got to the back he got it.
I was very pleased with his first vehicle search!
Tomorrow I’ll see if I can talk my husband into doing a hide or two for us so *I* don’t know where the scent is. But I suspect it won’t be any harder for Dazzle 🙂
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76014919 (:38 sec)

10-3-13 First hides placed by someone else (2 searches)
These are the first hides he’s ever done that were hidden by someone other than me (without me knowing where the odor was hidden). This is done to ensure that *I’m* not helping him find the odor in any way. I didn’t suspect that was the case and today’s 4 blind hides proves it 🙂
Good news is that my husband is now interested and even offered to do more hides for me! Yea!
And we learned that we need to fan the lingering odor out of the previous hiding places really well 🙂 None of these hides were in place more than 60 seconds or so before I sent him to find them.
These weren’t part of the homework, just something I’m doing to keep Dazzle challenged.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76096535 (2:03)

10-3-13 Two more hides placed by someone else:
More hides done by my husband without me looking. Dazzle found hide #3 in about 3 seconds! Hide #4 was harder. I think he was getting a bit tired and I think he might have gotten a bit of odor pooling from the hide near the plant.
My husband had fun trying to stump Dazzle. 🙂
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76096536 (2:08)

10-6-13 Big Box pile:
Rainy day- good for basement work. I used all the boxes I could find (including some that weren’t empty!) to create a box pile for Dazzle to search. First search, odor tin was accessible. Search 2 it was hidden inside a completely closed box for the first time so odor was faint. This threw him off a bit, but he learned that faint odor pays off! Third search was much better and he did a proper indication too (with help)!!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76284755 (2:41)

10-10-13 Odor inside a closed paint can!
This was the first search that I had my doubts about. I even had a box ready to toss in the pile if he was struggling too long 🙂 But he NAILED THIS! No hesitation! I’m blown away by his scenting ability. I had no idea paint cans let the odor escape!
Set up: I put 4 Q-tips in the vented tin inside the mini paint can and sealed it, then let it sit in place for 3 hours.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76651829 (:42 sec)

10-10-13 Paint can in new spot:
After the success of the first search, I re-hid the can, making it easier for the camera to see, and didn’t let it age in place at all. He found it right away, but struggled with knowing if it was the strongest scent until after he searched the rest of the pile. I think there was still a bit of lingering odor in the first hiding spot, but he ignored that.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76651830 (1:23)

Switched to nosework 140 class for more challenges
10-10-13 Week 1 homework: Food distractions
I held off on this because I couldn’t think of a container that would ensure that he couldn’t access the food! When I thought of the PVC tube with holes in it, I knew that would work. He was definitely interested in getting the beef jerky in the tube. This is one of his favorite treats. I have never paired a hide with food, so I didn’t expect him to have too much trouble with this. He’s much more toy motivated than food motivated, but he still wanted me to open the container for him. 🙂 Once he realized that the food wasn’t going to pay off, he ignored it and went back to work. We did 2 more sessions with the food tube today but he ignored it both times. He’s a very fast learner!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76651833 (1:18)

10-10-13 2nd Food distraction
Food was right next to the odor and he ignored it!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76651834 (:20 sec)

10-10-13 3rd food distraction
I put the food tube in an open container right next to the box with the odor. He gave the food tube a short inspection, but then moved on right away. He was going straight for the odor, so I also tossed in an intentional verbal/pointing misdirection near the start.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76651835 (:36)

10-10-13 First TOY distractions
I got all the toys he usually ignores and dumped them on the search area! We have done LOTS of practice of many skills like this (with toys everywhere) so I only did this because I was confident that he would ignore these. I’m less confident that he would ignore stuffed toys, tennis balls or ultra balls but I’m looking forward to seeing if he will prove me wrong 🙂 I think I’ll try those in an area search first.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76653166 (:55 sec)

Week 2 homework- inaccessible hides
10-13-13 Inside Drawer
This one was a single Q-tip in the tin inside a drawer aged about 4 min. Around the office I scattered several high value toys and 2 high value food distractions. He was drawn to the toys right away, but was able to go to work pretty quickly. He found both food distractions too, but didn’t stay on them long. In spite of the distractions, he still found the odor in less than 60 sec. Not sure why I kept saying “search” today instead of the usual cue “birch” but Dazzle didn’t seem to care. 🙂 I’m sure the eye covering is a bigger cue than the verbal.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76822991 (1:17)

10-13-13 Bathroom search
More distractions and not an easy hide (or so I thought). I taped a Q-tip in a straw behind the toilet lid. Aged about 5 min. He did a much better job of ignoring the distractions and got into odor very quickly. Didn’t take him long to narrow down the exact hiding place.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76823212 (1:14)

10-13-13 Second hide in office
He did much better and totally ignored the distractions this time. I wasn’t sure how the A/C vent blowing under the window would affect the odor of the tin hidden on the window sill. It was only in place about 30 sec. before I sent him to search. He didn’t have any problem with it.
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/76823213 (:30 sec)

10-16-13 Difficult- high hide with lots of distractions
There was about half a school’s worth of kids in the area I wanted to use, but I didn’t think that would really be too much of a distraction for him and I was right. The much harder part of this search was the fact that, because of the kids, I didn’t let the odor tin sit in place for more than a few minutes before starting the search.
The kids noticed me hiding it and I overheard comments that made me think they would come investigate if I left it too long. So I went directly to get Dazzle and brought him back. And once he was there he didn’t want to wait!! He will need to learn that lesson too (to wait), but I didn’t want him completely frustrated for this difficult hiding spot. I think if the tin had been able to sit there a few minutes longer, he would have found it much faster. But I’m still impressed with how well he did with it only in place for about 5 minutes!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/77093862 (3:44)

10-16-13 Very quick find!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/77093862 (:28 sec)

10-16-13 Park tables- low hide
VIDEO https://vimeo.com/77095777 (:51 sec)

10-16-13 Q-tip in a hole in the ground
We also did a search in the cemetery and I found that dazzle was TOTALLY distracted by the presents that the deer and bunnies had left all over the place! He did, at one point, find the odor in a straw, picked it up briefly as he continued his search for the little prizes. I pulled him off the first search because he wasn’t searching for birch 🙂 I moved to another area of the cemetery (still lots of presents) but I pulled out a very high value reward! The Jolly ball ended up being almost TOO high a value reward because he had a hard time concentrating on the task at hand (kept picking his head up to check on the ball!) He was also distracted by the ornate headpiece on a grave marker/statue. But once he put his nose down and started sniffing, he found the odor quickly. I LOVE his reaction at 1:32- “SERIOUSLY?!”
I used a little metal post I found to make a small hole in the ground that I could drop a Q-tip into. I did this because I wanted it hidden and I didn’t want him to be able to retrieve it. Worked like a charm!
VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/77098471 (1:36)

Posted October 23, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Way too long gone

Here it is, September 1st now and I haven’t updated this blog since JUNE! Bad dog mommy! So here is a quick catch up post.

As far as photography, I have been using other things besides Dazzle as the subject, so not too many Dazzle photos to catch up on. I do have a BUNCH of non-dog photos to post on the other blog though!

This one was taken for the 12 Months for Dogs- Ambassador Challenge: Use the song “I hope you dance” and negative space.

7/12/a Dance like no one is watching

Tossed his ball up and he jumped up to catch it. Then I edited out the ball 🙂

For the Assignment 52 group- Motion Blur challenge:

Only had a few shots at getting this because it was so hot! I didn’t want to overheat Dazzle. I had to play around a bit with shutter speed and I’m really surprised at the level of focus with such a slow shutter! So I learned that focus/detail IS possible on a moving subject at slower shutter speeds by using panning. Makes me wonder what would happen at a river or creek or waterfall if the photographer panned the water 🙂 Don’t have any around here for me to try it.

I spent years working a video camera for a pro company at three-day eventing trials (horse jumping) and I think that really helped me with this assignment. Lots of prior practice at following and keeping a fast moving subject in the frame 🙂

A52- Motion blur

I was too busy at the July camp to take many photos. It was in the 90’s, no A/C, big camp and some issues to deal with that had me rather stressed. But it’s in the past now, thankfully! This was one of the only photos I took:

Reflection

After camp, I went on the kayak/canoe trip and tried a canoe with Dazzle on the beautiful Au Sable river in MI. I was surprised at how “tipsy”the canoe was compared to the kayak, but Dazzle did great! It’s such clear water on this river, even when the bottom is really deep it is still visible. I enjoy watching all the little (& not so little) fish as well as other wildlife. We saw a mink carrying her baby on the shore, ducks, lots of different kinds of birds, etc.

Dazzle was a bit excited at first and had a hard time sitting still, then he settled in and laid down to relax and watch the world float by. While I know my back can’t handle kayaking anymore, it was well worth the discomfort to try the canoe and be able to enjoy this river again (& to get Dazzle the canoeing badge) 🙂

7/12/b Dazzle canoeing the Au Sable

Taken for a 12 month’s challenge. The challenge required black & white, but I like this color version much better.

Tail Frame 2

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

8/12/a I won't be afraid

Taken for the 12 Months for Dogs monthly challenge. This month the challenge was to incorporate the song “Stand by me” and use a high ISO.

I should have held the flashlight so it was more visible, but I liked the beam of it in this position. I also like how the exposure captured some of the stars in the sky and what looked like a totally black sky came out with a hint of rust that highlights the distant trees. Taken on my driveway with a tripod and timer.

3 shots taken for an Assignment 52 challenge.

Dock jumping

Profile of Dazzle A-52

8/12/b Magic portal A-52

For the Assignment 52 group challenge- depict this common saying: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Meaning: that it is better to stick with something you already have, rather than pursuing something you may never get. Or in dog speak- Keep the ball you have because the others might just be a tease 🙂

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush- A52

HEY! That’s not a dog!

Chicken Training!

Yes, I can add “chicken trainer” to my resume 🙂 The purpose of this seminar was to improve the training skills of the humans. Chickens are FAST, so the human’s reactions and timing also has to be fast. They don’t tolerate “sloppy” mechanics. If you leave the treat cup accessible, they will take advantage. If you try to get too much from them too fast, they fly away. We named our chicken ‘Harvard” because she was a star!! In a very short amount of time, she learned to discriminate between 2 targets. She knew that only pecking the red target would pay off and to ignore the blue one, even if it was closer.

I got a kick out of some of the names people had for their chickens: Patty, Nugget, Kung Pow and Popcorn are a few I remember 🙂

It’s not just dog trainers who take this course. Anyone who has to do any kind of training can benefit from this seminar! It is frequently attended around the world by groups like the FBI and even the types of fishermen you see on the reality TV show “Deadliest Catch”.
I took several videos, but haven’t yet had the time or energy to compile them and get them uploaded. Standard phrase these days seems to be “maybe tomorrow”.

That’s all I have for now. Like I said, I haven’t taken many photos of him these past few months.

Posted September 1, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

Pro photo shoot photos

These were from the “action” shoot in a studio a couple months ago.
I LOVE how they came out!! All photos below are taken by Brian Steege
http://www.shootwithsteege.com
http://www.briansteegephotography.com
And one of Dazzle’s photos is/was on his home page, so I think he was happy with how they came out too! The originals are much sharper in focus than these small downloaded versions.

83097_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83098_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83099_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83101_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83108_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83114_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

83123_Belgian_Malinois_Dazzle_2013_original

Posted July 6, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

Camp 1

The June camp was a lot of fun!! It was a great group of people and dogs and wonderful weather. I didn’t have my camera out much, but did manage a few photos.

My favorite portrait of the session

Dazzle portrait

Dazzle in profile

Dazzle profile

On the dock

Dazzle on the dock

Running to the lake- pure joy!

Joy

And of course LURE COURSING!

Anticipation…

Lure Coursing - anticipation

Dazzle Lure Coursing

Dazzle Lure Coursing

Dazzle Lure Coursing

Lure Coursing - Intensity

Got it!!

Lure Coursing - the catch

And his costume for the costume contest that took first place!
The rare, curly tailed equine. I thought he would be a bit more stressed by the wraps, saddle, muzzle, etc. and have his tail down, but he took it all in stride and had his tail in it’s happy position 🙂 I started on the construction of the saddle LAST year but didn’t get it done, so I finally got it finished for this year.

12 Curly Tail horse

Photos by the camp photographers:

Dazzle “helping” me with a presentation. I think he felt a belly rub was more important than whatever I was talking about 🙂

5 Dazzle relaxing while I talk

Working on the Search and Rescue Urban Agility badge. Barrels are no problem

4 No prob with barrels

Also no problem jumping over a 42″ gap (& he nailed the landing as deftly as a cat)

3 SAR Agility Levels

He’s a great demo dog! Here he is helping me demo how to teach “heel” position

2 Demo heel

Now I’m prepping for the July camp!

Posted July 6, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

Water fun!

What else do we do on a 90+ degree day? And the Assignment 52 challenge is “Water in motion”. Used a 1/3200 shutter to get these in focus.

A52 Water challenge 1

A52 Water Challenge 2

A52 Water Challenge 3

Water Fun

I’m sensing a theme 🙂

I try not to let him bite the water because I don’t want him to swallow too much. So I try my best to time it so that he bites air instead. Here you can see a typical miss.

“Missed it by THAT much”

Missed it by THAT much

Strong storms expected this evening/tonight, but tomorrow is supposed to be a bit cooler. Hoping I can get the grass mowed before I leave for Dog Scout camp on Friday.

Posted June 12, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized

“I can’t help but fall in love with you”

That’s the song for the June challenge- along with the challenge to get the shot you want “SOOC” (Straight Out Of the Camera) NO editing. Plus one additional technical aspect of your choice (I chose tripod/timer use).

6/12/a For the love of Dazzle- SOOC

It looks like such a simple shot, but this “simple shot” took WAY more tries than I care to count! I don’t have a remote shutter, so the framing, his ears up, him looking at me, me smiling, him smiling, etc. all had to come together in the same shot! And when the timer went off and the shutter clicked. In the first few shots, my hair was flying all over the place because of the wind, so I had to go get a hat. But I’m often in a ball cap, so this is more true to life. I would have preferred more of a profile for me, but that was the one thing missing from this shot and I’m ok with that! 🙂

This was my second set-up. The first was an action shot and I just could NOT get the focus/timing to work so I abandoned that idea because taking photos is supposed to be fun, not so frustrating I want to kill something! 🙂

If I have time, I might try something different, but I have way more on the “to-do” side of my task board than on the finished side and only 6 working days before I leave for camp again. So I don’t know.

Posted June 7, 2013 by dazzlesmom in Uncategorized