Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Hope post, photos at the end! ;-p

We had a nice day out yesterday at KCC, taking in a show. Hope wasn't entered but this was to help get her used to the sights and sounds. My main goal was wanting to see how she'd do in a large crowd of various dogs after her twice barking at dogs while on walks, my secondary goal to work on getting and keeping her focus in a distracting environment.

The first is due to the aforementioned times of barking at the Golden and Labrador/Poodle cross. Right now it's a normal part of puppy socialilzation. I reinforce the idea that weird stuff is likely to equal rewarding etc. This way when she's an adult, she's more likely to react less to novel stimuli, have a milder reaction to startling experiences, be better able to cope and be less likely to be traumatized by bad incidents etc.

At any rate, she did really well with that, walked around the shows without alarm and with only polite passing interest in the other dogs, giving me nice focus and attention several times. We visited some of the other Aussie's there and I FINALLY got to meet Amanda's new pup Kinta!!! She is gorgeous and sweet as sugar... if I didn't know better, I'd swear you were fibbing about her being shy that first day Amanda! LOL We also got to see several other liddle puplets, who were just gorgeous as well and made me wonder at how fast Hope has grown! It really wasn't that long ago she was that tiny!

Hope did illustrate that we DO need to work with her on food around other dogs by snarking at an older dog who got close to the food. Now I don't mind if my dogs use normal body language to fend off polite queries... that might look like a dog walking up with soft body language and giving an interested sniff, "Can I have some?", while the dog who has the food turns it's head or gives a look saying "No, I don't want to share!" which the other dog respects... possession is 10/10ths of the law for dogs and even the lowest ranking dog will not have something grabbed out of it's mouth. (Though they may be intimidated into giving it up if it's not important enough to quarl over.) But Hope is using more force than she needs to in order to say 'nope' and is doing it when it's not directly in her mouth but in my treat pouch - so it's inapprorpiate resource guarding. I *do* know how to deal with that and have known I needed to work on since she first gpt too pushy with Cade and Sierra. Unfortunately you wouldn't know it, as I haven't actually DONE anything, since I've been feeling so lousy these past few weeks that it's just been doing the bare minimum to get through the day and nothing more. (This is not just in regards to the dogs, my bills and files are in utter chaos, I have a mountain of laundry to do etc! *eeps*)

I *think* at this point I can comfortably say it was an infection from my tooth getting into the blood. I'd felt so lousy and exhausted and just couldn't remember anything... then when I got it out I was abnormally tired - I crashed the better part of 2.5 days. This morning was the first morning I've felt really decent and been able to think clearly in I don't know HOW long!!! At any rate, hoping it stays this way so we're back on the training wagon and all three dogs have been having a blast. Even Cade added a new trick to his bag - it's a hybrid twirl/leap/twist thing! Looks neat! Hope is also getting really nice and sharp with her twirl and leg weaving too! Such a blast seeing how much they love it and have missed training!

Then today, I took little Miss Hope to the Camberwell Open Air market. Lots of people and lots of dogs, lots of scents and weird looking things going on, street musicians etc. So we worked on loose-lead walking, walking-by-me-and-being-aware-but-not-looking-directly-at-me, auto sits, free-stacking, doing tricks in distracting environments and most importantly we worked on 1.) the more distracting the situation the more you should pay attention to me, 2.) other dogs approaching and being ignored pays off BIG time no matter where they sniff you or how rude they are. One guy got a little bit upset that while she sat to allow him pets no problems, she wasn't looking at them but staring straight at me and she didn't waver even when the guy made a sound and snapped his fingers to try and get her attention! Very proud mum here! (Not that I expect that regularly for a little while yet... she's still early in training but it was darn impressive seeing this scrap of a pup give such solid attention!!!)

Now for a few new pics of the imp!

This is a typical photo of her: 2" from the camera lense, practically sitting on my toes. She is constantly right next to me! LOL

This is the look I got upon asking her to back up and park it so I could get a shot.

Which perked up at the promise of walkies and bye-bye car-car.

Okay, now these next photos aren't here for their photographic merit so much as the body language they contain. There are two series, I clicked as the dogs were rough-housing. They are probably semi-boring for the non-doggy but I think most of the doggy-readers will probably find them more interesting! ;-) The first three are a series of Hope playing tug with one of her squeeky toys with Sierra. Watch the eyes, the angle of the head in these three.

Now this is a series of her playing with Cade, who has revoked her puppy liscence somewhat and is firmer anyhow. (For my non-doggy friends, this is wrestling, not a fight, honest!) At the start, Cade and Hope have been wrestling around and Cade has indicated she's getting too excited and he wants her to tone it down. She isn't interested in listening and continues to bounce and wrestle...

Neat deflection on Cade's part! Look at her eyes here.

Hope flipped herself here, which she is quite good at, in response to him. His mouth isn't actually on her leg but parallel to it. She is, despite having rolled herself, still being rather cheeky as you can see by her eyes, tilt of her head, mouth and general body language, though the lips are loose. She is not scared in the least. She doesn't want to start anything serious but doesn't want to give in totally either. Also notice Sierra in the background, laying down, ears slightly tucked, giving lots of calming signals and avoiding their eye contact, telling them she's not interested in being involved.

(Since she wasn't yielding, he holds her loosely - she could pull out if she tried - and vocalizes what I recognize from Cade to translate as, "Hey pup, listen to me! I wasn't kidding ya cheeky brat, so pay attention!" This is a trademark Cade move and vocalization! Cade is very good at using the correct body language and correct degree of it to get the message across, which is valuable for a pup learning to speak her native (body!) language! This started with a subtle 'okay, tone it down', which when ignored progressed up gradually until this stage where he's giving the message a bit louder that it's not just a token 'sorry' that worked as a little pup he's after - but compliance. She is, as you can see, still going to see if she can get away with it...)

("Enough!" A short sharp 'shout' from Cade convinces her he's not letting her get away with this one and she moves her head to the side and they relax to engage in a mutual grooming session afterwards.)

The interesting thing is that in the midst of all this, Laurent is right nearby them. (As am I!) All of the dogs in their games, no matter how wound up, will carefully avoid bumping into us or getting to close to them as an example of good body awareness!!! If he wades into the thick, they break up and stop and don't resume till he's moved past. (This is not to say everything isn't VERY closely supervised btw!!!)

Now unrelated...

This is my cheeky boy near the TV, after getting into the DVD/videogame players. The white patch you see is the "babyproofing" latch - neatly undone. I have heaps more Lala photos but some of them are nudey-bum and I've got to blur out his bits before I put them online for safety reasons. ;-)

1 comment:

aussienut said...

Gotta love the 'body language' shots. Sounds like Hope is turning into quite an 'imp'! LOL! She must be a *good* guarder though as Summer didn't even try to stand up to her (little BM pup).... she's normally ruling the roost too! Oh - and CDODC, come down to enrol on a wed nite between 7:30 - 8:30. I'll be enrolling this Wed coming.