Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Good Karma Trifecta

Today good things have come in three. A dog found me, I made some kids laugh and I received a free coffee. The free coffee was actually the most boring good thing!

The day started quite early at the Trackwest grounds, as there was a Track and Search trial on. I walked the predetermined track at about 9:30am and at 12pm Drift the lovely weimeraner set off to find me. The Judge deliberately has the end of the trail near a road so the track layer can leave and easily go back to the 'hide' rather staying at the end of the track contemplating the universe for several hours. So, good deed #1 - I helped a dog get closer to her Track and Search title.

Once Drift had found me, I rushed off to the Centre for Cerebral Palsy in Malaga - they do such a great job. Swan the Border Collie came with me to help with the high need client's therapy. Many of their clients are non-verbal and for some it can be very difficult to engage them. There was one particular high need patient that made everyone very excited today. For the first time at the Centre, the staff heard her laugh. Animal therapy is amazing. Good deed #2 - engaged a very special group of people in a very positive way

After spending just over an hour at the Centre, I headed home and stopped off at a drive thru coffee shop. I was buzzing after interacting with the CP kids and had a great chat with the Barista. So, he did a good deed by giving me a free coffee for my good deeds :)

Gotta love Karma.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sleepy Sunday

A big decision...

In the last fortnight, I've made a big decision to retrain Joc's contacts. For the uninitiated, a dog must touch both the up and down contact on the see-saw. dog walk and A frame. In the video, you will see the contact area painted white. If a dog leaps off the obstacle without touching the contact area, that is regarded as a fault.

I was doing running contacts with him with mixed results - mainly due to my sloppy training. When I say mainly, I actually mean entirely. Even with poor contacts we somehow managed to pass novice into excellent and when we got it right we did get some good results, but we would blow a course more often than not. While running contacts are faster on an agility course, they take much longer to train than the old "two on two off" (TOTO) position. I've decided that sacrificing a few seconds using TOTO is better than continuing to muddle along with my existing poor contacts and getting a DQ.

Before I made the big decision, I thought I would spend more time on his running contacts. I thought it was going fairly well at home, he was hitting the white contact a little higher than I would like, but it was acceptable. Then I went to the dog club, and his contacts were rubbish, despite all of the extra work I'd put in! We need to remember the necessity of proofing behaviours in different locations and scenarios, but I was hoping for something better than leaping off the top of the A frame.

So below you will find the retraining of Joc's contacts. I started the TOTO training last week and at the first session at the dog club, his contacts were looking much more promising, he was getting into the correct position consistently.

Then for a bit of fun with Buddy the Chihuahua and Gunny the Bengal.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Animal Actors

Animals in film can be quite a interesting challenge. I have three roles within this month alone, not bad considering how small the film and tv industry is in Perth! When choosing animals in film, temperment is of most importance. It is a very stressful situation for critters, so each individual needs to have very good coping skills and be great with a whole variety of people.

Gunny and Buddy lap sharing

Film and TV 1.

Today, Gunny (Mr Cat Fantastic) was shot as part of a television commercial (TVC) for our local Ikea store. My Bengal cat continues to amaze me, he couldn't have given me more if he tried. The director asked 'can he do this and that,' 'we'll give it a go' was my reply! We went on and over and through different pieces of furniture over and over again. How many cats can do that on short notice and off their turf?

This was a very short notice TVC. I was contacted on Wednesday, Gunny was approved by Friday and filmed on Sunday. Thankfully The Guz has a good skill set already in place.

Film and TV 2.

I am also producing my own short film, if nothing else it should be lots of fun. I wrote the script specifically to star a bunch of dogs. Six dogs and their owners are coming to my Movie Star class to train to the script and in six weeks, we shall film a short comedy.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the end product, I have a really good bunch of dogs and owners and I have a fabulous director on board, who (thankfully) is as mad as myself to take on this project! Never work with children or animals! Watch this space!

Film and TV 3.

Number three production is a student film, that will star Buddy the chihuahua. You may remember Buddy from TVCs such as Lotterywest Super Sleuth TVC. This one will be filmed at the end of the month.

I'm keeping fairly busy!