Saturday, February 27, 2010

Plans? What Plans?

YAY For weekends where I don't have anything to do!

We had a nice 1.5 hr hike today. Rumor wore a backpack because I didn't feel like throwing any frisbees or balls. I had it weighted with partially filled water bottles. They all had fun. Even sans toys.

Actually, they played more *with* each other today!

Shot of the Day.

Zen says "Uhh, are you playing with me or should I be scared?"
Rumor says "Savor this moment, pup."

The wee man isn't so wee anymore! Is it just me or is he starting to grow into those ears?

I did some shaping tonight. I took video, but I think that can wait. Zen got to work on heel position, both right and left side. He worked on picking up a piece of PVC pipe. I'm trying to shape a "hold". It's going ok so far.

He ran through his tricks with my mom. The only two fully on command are "sit" and "down" everything else he needs help with. He shapes behaviors so easily, but isn't catching on to the command itself like I want him to. I think I try to do too much. I should work one thing at a time until he gets it down fully.

All three dogs did the "bounce" command.

Trying to teach Rumor a stop isn't coming easy. It's such a vague thing to shape, and I'm having a real problem. So we just do a few then take a break with something more fun and less challenging.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Late Birthday!

To Rumor! She turned 4 yesterday. We didn't really celebrate, although she did get extra hugs. Can't believe my baby girl is 4! Its been a long 4 years with lots of challenges, but I'm hoping for lots more.

We actually spent the night at Mike and Brenda's. It was their anniversary so they wanted to go to Shreveport. Zen played super hard with the aussies. He loves them! He liked the little maltese girls who were boarding there, but they weren't so sure of him. He was polite and he didn't trample them with his big ol' feet. :)

He fits into his big boy collar. I bought it before he was ever born. I saw it and it went with his name, so I got it. He can wear it now! Harley said it isn't very manly. It's black with rainbow peace signs on it. Oh well, who cares about manly.

I JUST sent my lens off today. I waited and waited because I thought shipping was going to be like $25 dollars, and I just didn't want to spend it. Well it cost $7.75 to ship with the $100 insurance. Wish I had known that sooner.

I have some random pics taken from my point and shoot, so enjoy.

Frogdog! He did this on his own, but I actually shaped and named this behavior. It's called "frog"

That's the TV remote. In the bathtub. You can tell by the footprints who did this. Zen likes the tub. He will get in there while I shower and just sit and lick the water.

Rumor doing the head twist. She puts herself in the crate sometimes. I was talking to her and she was just twisting her head like she was listening.

Carrie on the bed. This is her spot. She stares at me while I'm on the computer. Ask her why the sheets had to be washed. She thought it would be great to upchuck something gross onto the comforter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mat Work

I didn't edit out the sound, so ignore the fact that I'm talking to the camera.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Herding Lesson #3

Zen went herding for his third time yesterday. Linda says for his age and exposure level he's doing great. He's learning to get out around the sheep. He's getting pretty good. Since he is in a smaller pen he isn't splitting any off anymore. His down is almost non-existant in the presence of sheep. When we stop for me to get advice, or ask Linda a question he settles down and rests instead of constantly trying to get to the sheep. I think if I work just a little harder at getting downs from all angles and distances outside of herding that it will help. He is still trying to cut in a little, but Linda said she was pleased with his progress. We do really short sessions. We work one direction a little, then go the other way, then give him a break. If I ever buy another tripod, or if anyone ever goes with me maybe I can get more video.

Rumor did really really well. She got out around the sheep a few times and was actually beginning to bring them in to me. This is a big accomplishment and I can still see her giving stress signals when there is that much pressure on her. She kept at it though. Her speed picked up a little today, so that shows some more confidence. A couple of times when she was bringing the sheep to me she put too much pressure on them and one would split off. She took it upon herself to look at the larger group, then look back to the loner and turn and bring him back to the flock. Linda was super pleased with that. She said it shows that she's using her brain to say "Hey, this doesn't look right, how do I fix it." She wants me to train a solid stop on her so we can move to the next step. Rumor just doesn't down well under pressure. So if I can manage to get a stop that would be perfect. I thought she showed a little more eye yesterday as well. Overall her confidence is building.

Before herding we were at an agility trial. Zen was awesome! He played frisbee offleash around other dogs and stuff. He kept with the game and didn't get distracted and go visit. He played with Debbie Spence's new puppy, Braedan. Lots of people petted and played with him and he stayed quiet in his crate. People still think he's a horse, but I'm reassured that Chris Ann said he wasn't going to be huge, just large-boned.

Going to breakfast now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A smattering of an update

At least, I think smattering is a word. In my mind it means, a mish-mash, or various grouping of items.

Things are going pretty good. Lately Rumor seems to be stressed. I'm wondering if Zen's hormones are kicking in a bit and she's feeding off that. It could be that I'm not getting much sleep and that puts everyone on edge. I seem to get lots of sleep but it never feels like enough. (By lots I mean usually 6-8 hrs a night) I'm trying to keep the dogs exercise levels up. We have been doing lots of frisbee, which Rumor just loves. The weather has been wacky. Snow and then beautiful sun, then windy and cloudy and FREEZING! The dogs don't seem fazed (phased?) but I hate biting cold wind.

I started running again! Ahh, its relaxing. lol. That sounds weird, but I love being able to clear my mind with a good run. I am only up to a mile, but that's not bad considering I was off for 2 months. I had only worked myself up to about 2.5 miles before I slacked off. My stamina stinks, but it's definitely better than when I very first started running.

I have lots of pictures and video to edit and post here. When will I find the time? I seriously thought about limiting myself to 1hr of computer time a day. I haven't had the guts to follow through yet, but its still being contemplated. I just really need to get back to doing clicker stuff with the other two girls. Not just Zen. Some relaxation stuff and group games wouldn't hurt either. I guess I'm one of those people that likes the idea of sticking to a schedule, but I really have problems with it.

Speaking of, I did clicker sessions tonight with each dog. I'm working on having them lift a rear leg near an object. It looks like a male dog marking something. I need to know what to name it though. Zen is at the point where I could start using the name. Rumor needs a little fine tuning. She's really good in one direction, but in the other she offers a handstand. Carrie is doing well, but not quite ready for a command. I was thinking of naming it "boy" so I could say "Are you a boy?" and they would lift their leg. But I remembered that now, one out of 3 dogs is a "Good Boy". That puts that word out of the running. I don't want to say "Pee" because sometimes I actually use that when they potty. Harley suggested "Fire" like "Put out the fire." Still debating on that one. Any suggestions?

Zen is doing great at puppy daycare! He comes home tired and happy. He's happy to go in the mornings and happy to see me when I come get him. My mom said that's a sign of a good day. lol She bases this on her experience dropping us off at daycare.

Anywho, I am going to bed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We have Snaggle-toofs!

He lost his first teeth today! When I looked at them one was out and in the process of taking this picture (about a 10min process) a couple of others were just hanging by threads.


How exciting! lol.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow? SNOW!
















More later.....

Friday, February 5, 2010

He Survived!

They said he had a great time! He looked happy, and happy to see me after work. They said he played a lot and should be tired tonight. Well he came home and did about an hour of zoomies with the girls. I think he was just excited, he had a good day and he was showing off. Then he's been cuddly and napping ever since.

I worried about the little dude all day. I had to refrain from calling up there to check on him. He does seem to enjoy it, so it's worth the money.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Pine Bluff all breed show to watch/help, plus socialize Zen. I'm wondering if Chris Ann will be there. It will be interesting to hear what she thinks of him. I'm also house/dog sitting for my Aunt and Uncle, so Zen and I will be spending quality time with Clyde the sheltie. He's an old guy so he doesn't play much, but we go on walk and stuff. Then Sunday I'm going to agility fun match followed by herding. YAY!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Baby goes to daycare!

OMG! He goes tomorrow! I hope he has fun and he isn't overwhelmed. I hope no little pipsqueak foo-foo puppies try to beat up on him!

Oh, I'm sure he will be fine. It's just that I realized, he has yet to stay with anyone other than myself or trusted family members since I got him. So I'm being a mom and worrying.

In other news, my 50 mm lens bit the dust. I went to get it out of the bag and it came out in 2 pieces. Yay canon for making it cheaper by manufacturing the casing out of plastic! Good news is that it's still under warranty. I have it all packed up and ready to ship out to Canon ASAP. So, no indoor pictures unless I take them with the P&S that I recently acquired. My 70-200 lens doesn't allow me to be close enough to the dogs indoors to get any decent shots. It has a minimum focal distance of 5ft and that can be a problem inside the house.

We did more shaping tonight. He has a "wave" with his left paw and a "bye-bye" with his right paw. They aren't totally under command/stimulus control yet, but its CUTE! So, he isn't surpassing Rumor with her crazy ability to understand English! That girl can get a command in very few repetitions.

I really do feel like I have taught him very little, but at the same time I feel like I have run out of things to shape. I NEED to start getting him proficient on the names of the behaviors. Then I will feel more accomplished.

He got all 4 feet on the bucket tonight! Finally!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RIP Sunshine

I had to put my cat down today. She was 16 yrs old and has been in kidney failure for some time. A good friend of mine had her cat die recently from not eating/drinking. April's death made me rethink Sunshine's quality of life. She was drinking water non-stop and rarely eating. She hasn't been grooming herself lately and doesn't always make it to the litter box. It was time. I said goodbye to her today at the vet's office. It was sad, and I shed a few tears, but I know she is no longer suffering.

That's her about 6 yrs ago. RIP Sunshine.

Zen came with me as he needed his last set of shots. I was glad to have him there. You can't cry too hard when you have a puppy. He weighs about 28 lbs. He is going to be huge. Someone said for a medium sized dog, double their weight at 4 months and that's about what they will weigh when full grown. I'm looking at a possibly 60 lb dog. I was hoping he'd be around 50lbs. Deidra and I measured him with her wicket over the weekend and he was like 16-16.5 inches tall. Maybe I need to quit feeding him so well.

Busy Busy, and 1 weird behavior.

Well, its been hectic around here. Zen is still going to work with me and waiting in the car. I come out about 4 times a day to potty him and let him stretch his legs. The only days he is in there a full 8 hrs are Mondays and Fridays. That's about to change. I went and talked to the people at the dog daycare yesterday. They normally don't take dogs under 6 months but said they would take him. Zen is going to go to Doggie Daycare on Mondays and Fridays so he doesn't have to stay crated so long. Well, as long as he likes it there and it works out ok. I hope he will like it because I feel a little guilty keeping him cooped up that many hours, at least while he is young. My other dogs stay crated no problem, but I know they can hold it all day. Plus, while he sees plenty of people out walking in the parking lot during the day, its really a minimal amount of socialization compared to playing with other dogs.

I have been really working on shaping behaviors lately. I NEED to start naming them. It's just so overwhelming. We are working on a back up, frog, crawl, wave, beg, back foot awareness, spin left or right, get the newspaper, doggy yoga, baby cavaletti stuff for more awareness of his feet, all four feet on something. I want to add duration to his down. His sit is pretty good. I never taught Rumor a formal "wait" or "stay" like I did with Carrie. Sit means sit until I say ok. Might be a little useful. I want to improve his mat work and transfer that to a chair also. Plus more crate games. He is fine crated in the car or van, but he barks in the crate in my room when I go shower in the morning, or if I just leave him in there and walk out. The crate games have helped some, and I have really done a minimal of work with them, so I need to get on it. I feel like he has so much to learn and I have so little time sometimes. I want him to learn everything fully and be able to put it to use with distractions etc.

His weird behavior is barking at people while we are out at night. I'm not exactly sure why. Some of it is probably that we don't have much foot traffic in our neighborhood. I always walk after the sun goes down or before it comes up. We almost never see anyone on our walks, which I kind of like, but then when we do see someone he will bark. Right now I'm treating it as a fear behavior and asking for attention before he has time to react then rewarding. I'm going to work on this by taking him out to the park around dusk and doing some walking out there. I don't know if it will transfer to our neighborhood, but it can't hurt. Also, on nice nights taking him up to Starbucks to sit around.