Monday, February 28, 2011

Waaah....Sanity you brat!

Sanity is no fun! She simply ruins the "Ball Game" so dearly beloved by all the Applewoods dog pack! The "Ball Game" is when a dog brings a ball to a human, the human holds out its hand and the ball is put into its hand...the beloved ball is thrown and off go all the dogs running wildly and eagerly chasing the ball so they can bring it back to the human so the game can continue.
Enter Sanity...who refuses to play the "Ball Game" correctly and so stops the game completly. Last Friday afternoon....all the Applewoods dog pack were playing well together so I came outside to play the beloved "Ball Game" with the dogs. Everyone was having a ball (play on words here) and when Sanity came one would play with she ruins the game for everyone so now they ignore her.
So Sanity sat outside and wailed like a banshee for over 4 minutes just because no one who play with her. So what did Sanity do then? Why she sought to steal the ball away and tried to grab the ball away from Holly and then from Sugar. Well, Holly doesn't have the strength or backbone to hold onto the ball when Sanity is seeking to yank it from she gave the ball up. But when Sugar got the ball....he refused to let go....and Sanity and Sugar spum round and round and round in a very tight, eerie quiet circle.
For over 8 minutes Sanity and Sugar kept up this eerie quiet circling - each refusing to give in to the other - and so they spun and spun and spun around. The other dogs watched...and even tried to get into the 'dueling dynamic'.... but the two dogs gave no credence to the 'other dog' just kept spinning and spinning and spinning. Ultimately, Sanity got the ball, the game stopped completly and all the dogs dispersed to various parts of the yard. Sanity - you are such a brat!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow day - the training continues no matter what!

Snow days, like today, are when Margot sings her " HATE snow!" song. However, the 3 labs here are all part of our Lee 'dog' family. Crackers, the black lab is the eldest and at 11 years old is the grand matriach of this threesome. Red, the smaller yellow lab is the daughter of Crackers and the mother to the BIG dog in the front. Red is just now 6 years old. Sugar is still a young teenager and is the son of Red and grandson of Crackers...just now 15 months old.

Hey, these 3 are Labrador Retrievers and LOVE 'snow days' as they get to romp, run, and roll in the snow while playing. I LOVE snow days too as they get a ton of exercise while romping through the snow and snooze out quickly when we come inside where it's toasty warm.

But, snow days or no, dog training MUST continue so you also see Sugar helping me to 'Retrieve' the trash can lid back to our home. What I couldn't get a picture of was me requiring Red (who has learned the Formal Retrieve, but isn't yet as advanced as her son, Sugar, in being practical with everyday Retrieves) to hold the ball (why yes! we were playing Ball in the snow) as I heeled her about throughout the snow. She was a bit dismayed to find out that learning the Formal Retrieve NOW means she not only GETS to chase the ball, but is expected to HOLD it when I say so and for as long as I say.

Hum.....the dog training continues, snow or no!


PS: Gotta go bake some homemade bread or something like like this always makes me want to bake!

Snow Daze

It's snowing.  Prince George's Public Schools are closed.  So are we.  I HATE snow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Caught in the breeze!

It was WINDY today, and even though we could see smoke filled skies in the distance, it didn't stop us from training OR playing with the dogs.

Poor Truman couldn't even keep his ears down in the wind! Probably would have helped if he wasn't standing on TOP of the mulch pile, but then what would be the fun of demanding I come to him to play ball. It was a good tactic I suppose, because lets face it... who can resist this face?!


Rugby couldn't, and he tried convincing him to play before I did, but since Rugby couldn't throw the ball it didn't work out so well.

In the mean time, Gala and Phoenix tried reminding him of the rules of the Applewoods Retrieve Game by flaunting their thrown balls in his face.


aDSC_0166  aDSC_0142



As you can see, I gave in eventually.
Truman - 1 Sam - 0

1st you work, then you get Placed...while everyone else is playing? Huh?

Sometimes the toughest learning lessons don't involve doing anything but learning self-control. Such is the case with Murphy the yellow lab in the pictures here. He and his owner, Chris, are regular students at Applewoods Dog Training, but Friday was SUCH A BEAUTIFUL warm day that everyone was eager to be outside - Chris and the rest of us attending the class as well.
As is usual, Chris and Murphy worked on their heeling/sits, timing, and developing teamwork while moving together. Then, while all the other dogs ran around excitedly Chris played the yard game "Ball Retrieve--Who's Got the Ball?"
Murphy was told to "Place" on the step stool and required to maintain emotional self-control while he watched his fellow dogmates run exuberently about the yard playing with his owner!
And watch Murphy did...all the while maintaining his position on the step stool, but watching..ever watching the games all around him.
What's so interesting about Murphy's self -control in these pictures? He was just taught Place two short weeks ago here at Applewoods and of course, we've given him lots of time to practice. Guess it payed off well as Murphy demonstrated he understood what was required with the Place command. Atta boy, Murphy!
What a grand day it was playing in the February sunshine here at Applewoods Dog Training!

Margot alive and well:) Tks to everyone...

Just a quick update to show that Margot is alive, well, and functioning again. Yesterday was such a balmy, spring day, we insisted she come outside and soak up some healing warmth from the sunshine and being outside in Margot's Private Park. She was even able to do a smidge of training with Chris and Murphy.

And lo'n'behold! Who is that yellow lab lying beside her? Could it be my Red Dog? (Red usually avoides Margot like the plague!) Margot says Red is demonstrating that she is a 'nurse dog'. At some canine level, she understands Margot is ill, so volunteered (this is a 1st for Red) her concern by curling up next to Margot. Will wonders never cease?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Congrats to the graduates of the Elementary Group Class! 
Great Job!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We 3 trained and trained today...but were you playing hookey?

Three of the 'Applewoods Team' showed up today to work, but the chance was offered to go work elsewhere so we jumped on it and away we went. There are several dogs, Cabot (the small black one) and Sugar (BIG yellow dog) who needed practice for entering the ring. Cabot is on a countdown for his next ring entry in less than 30 new places to train is always a treat. Sugar isn't yet scheduled to enter the ring yet this year, but he will sometime late spring or mid-Summer. Caruso (the BIG black one) already has his 2nd AKC Obedience Title, a CDX (Companion Dog Excellent), but he came anyway and did some practice as well doing run thrus (a practice ring situation). Red (lying down in the background is Sugar's mother) also had a chance to do a Novice run-thru and practice her steadily increasing Retrieve skills

However, the most fun today was doing the scent discrimination work using articles. While Cabot, Caruso and Sugar are all at various stages with various amounts of articles...the training principles remain the same.
What a good time we 3 all had today. Where was everyone else? Playing hookey in the balmy spring weather:)
Roxanne, Pam & Elice -today's photographer

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Not so today at Applewoods's supposed to be Valentine's Day? Why there's nothing, nada, zero, zip, zilch going on much today at Applewoods. These 3 yellow dogs played so hard with themselves....they just gave it all up in the late afternoon and settled into a quiet, restful, snooze on the ramp. It's been really quiet here today, but hey, while the sun was shining this afternoon the air felt like spring and so these 3 dogs played the Place game on tree stumps with Roxanne and practiced their gate/door/ manners as well. Sugar had time to practice the Broad Jump, the Retrieve on the Flat and the Retrieve over the High Jump.....all in the soft mud. Now that was fun, but oh what a mess it made!

All in was a very quiet day today at Applewoods:)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tis a yellow February doggone day at Applewoods

Today was truly a "yellow doggone day" at Applewoods. Here we have Melissa (in yellow) working Holly, a yellow lab while to Melissa's right is Sandy, a yellow Golden Retriever. In front of Sandy, is Murphy, a yellow lab...visiting again here at Applewoods for a couple of days, then standing is my dog, Sugar, a yellow lab and in the front seat is his mother, Red dog, another yellow dog. Had to laugh as while we were working these 'yellow' dogs, another student came to stay a couple of days with us....Ben, another yellow Golden Retriever! What a yellow day it was today at Applewoods! FYI...all the dogs here are on Place tables and they stayed there while we worked one and sometimes two dogs around and around and around the dogs on Place command...then we'd rotate a dog, or two, and do it all over again!

Murphy wasn't quite used to this level of mental intensity as he really had to work HARD to keep himself on the Place table AND I worked him for over 20 straight minutes doing Figure 8's, weaving in/around the other place tables, focusing on him maintaining a correct heel position and giving me straight, tight sits each and every time. Then I send him to the bed and told him to "Place" which he did with complete delight. He was relieved that I was done working him! I laughed out loud and so did Melissa as within 4 minutes, Murphy gave a big sigh, closed his eyes and was snoring SO LOUD we all heard him. I guess today being a 'yellow doggone day' at Applewoods just plain tucked him out. Happy dreams, Murphy. See ya tomorrow:)


Friday, February 4, 2011

Birthday Party

Last night was Brandy's birthday so we could not resist taking a little time from our (very productive) Continued Education class to celebrate with her! She was nice enough to bring birthday hats for everyone to wear so we got them all dressed and assembled them for a group shot.


The little dogs had some trouble keeping their hats on since they didn't have enough of a head to fill them with! Cabot decided after the 100th time Ellie's hat fell that he should just help her take it off instead of fixing it again and again.


Rugby couldn't figure out why he spent so much time helping Ellie with her hat when clearly, HE was the one who could not see!


The hats stayed on the big dogs much better than the little dogs, although they didn't all enjoy them quite as much as Caruso did!


Happy Birthday, Brandy! Thanks for celebrating with us!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mud Heaven

Amazing what a few extra degrees can do to a pile of frozen snow! Why instead of a mountain of snow and slippery ice.....we had a miny lake for the dogs to romp, paw, splash and twirl about excitedly.

What fun today was for the BIG dogs, but hey, what about the little dogs like Brisbane? Poor Brisbane was completly calm as he waded through the lake (up to his elbows in the water) searching high'n'low for a place to do his business. We were laughing so hard watching him there was no time to grab a picture of him. But the BIG dogs were happy to provide photo opportunities.
OH MY should see how muddy they all were! Now we ALL understand why Margot named her book, Mud Heaven, as today at Applewoods really is a mud heaven!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Apple Pile

This month's edition of the Apple Pile newsletter is now available.  If you aren't already on our mailing list, just give a shout via email ( and we will be happy to add you to the list.

As a teaser:

2010 New Title holders

Who are these people and dogs, why are they standing in line with big smiles on their faces?  Find out by reading the Apple Pile.

Distractions are training friends:)

Monday the weather was shifting and getting colder. The dogs had romped'n'played for some time in the snow, so were brought inside to get warm and rest. I wanted to work Sugar doing scent discrimination on his articles as well as working on Figure 8's.

However, there was no one available to help or be my posts....but hey I thought...we have lots of well trained dogs here at Applewoods. I decided to get creative by combining dogs, commands, and training into a great training opportunity for all the dogs in the picture.

While Sugar did indeed get his opportunity to work on articles, Sandy stared longingly at 'whatever those things were on the ground in front of my nose' and hoped she'd be invited to play with them. She wasn't invited, but she did hold her Stay position on the Place table while I worked articles and then did Figure 8's with Sugar.

Then it was time to trade places and put Sugar on command on the Place table as I worked Pete, off-leash doing Figure 8's. Finally, Sandy had watched and seen how her two 'yard mates' did this new Figure 8 game and she was ready for her turn. Pete was put on the Place table as I worked Sandy around the two watching dogs.

It was an outstanding moment for ALL the dogs involved as the 'peer pressure' enabled Sandy to see what was being done and how to do it correctly. Who needs humans to help you train when there are other training distractions like this? Distractions sure are great for training, arent' they?