Saturday, July 24, 2010

First week...

It's been a busy one but a great one!

We (and by this I mean I...) still haven't quite named her. The current short list includes: Rin, Rime, Wink, Jenna/Gem/ma and Jess.

Madam has started a lot of her foundation training for various things.

House training for one. ;)

That-Humans-Find-It-Disconcerting-When-Dogs-Materialize-On-Counters for another. She doesn't jump, I swear... you just blink and all the sudden there's a dog on the counter feeling as pleased with herself as the Cheshire cat. So we're working on a "mother may I?" She's worked out very quickly that the best way to get what she wants is NOT jumping but politely ploinking her furry bum down and waiting. I'm happy to share but I do insist on a polite request! If I can't give them a bit of whatever they've asked for (ex. chocolate - which aside from being bad for dogs is something mumma just ain't into sharing kiddies...) they get something they can have instead.

She's pretty much got the dinner time routine down - which is that my picking up bowls is a cue for get your bums to your mats, ploink and wait till all the food dishes are filled, distributed and you're given permission to eat, then lay down beside your bowls till everyone is finished, they're picked up and you are released.

For obedience we're working on sit, down, come, eye contact and targeting both a touch-stick and a spot on my knee which will be the base for heel work. Come being especially important!

For agility we're doing some of the same stuff we started with Si - circle work, tuggy*, going after toys when they're thrown, driving out to a touch plate, plus a stretch. *While her tug drive and focus is super duper awesome with awesome sauce, she's needing to learn to take it only when invited and release on cue as well as to take it properly in her mouth and not to re-grip mid-session.

She's had two sessions of flyball introduction training and worked on driving over a hurdle to a target, targeting the box and triggering the ball release. She got some calm focus practice in with Hopie as well.

With herding we're working on calm focus - so practicing being able to look at sheep but still listen and look when requested. That mainly means walking around with me while we do chores - feeding and watering them and practicing having to sit or down and wait there when I had to trim the fluff above the heads, clean up legs and bums.

She is a cheeky minx - when I left her on the other side of the gait she stuck her nose under it and started to wriggle under. I told her no and she stopped and backed out. Then that little brain started turning ideas over... maybe I didn't really mean for her to stay in the middle yard... maybe I just didn't want her going under the gate? Perhaps OVER it would work? I looked back up and saw her perched, all four paws neatly balanced, on the fence post waiting to hop down. After pausing for a moment to admire her cleverness I had to say, "Molly, uh uh. Get down." She was the picture of dejection as she hopped back down, flopped into a down and whined.

She's settling in well overall. She's discovered a number of wonderful games and while it was a toss up as to whom would tire out first - her or La - La won! She is as tolerant and gentle with the kids as the girls and a genuine sweetheart.

She is a chewer - big time - and a shredder! She gets this lovely blissed out, dreamy look going while doing so. We prefer the object of her bliss to be a chewie though rather than sticks, decking, books and chairs. though. Good thing we order dog chewies in wholesale boxes! :)

She is a cuddler and a snuggler - she loves to be picked up and cuddled in my lap and will fall asleep held in my arms. She loves beds - particularly snuggling up in them and comfy chairs. The whole house-dog gig agrees with her it seems!

The only 'problem' behaviour we've really discovered is that she hates being confined. Which is not unforeseen considering her history. In a crate, in a room (regardless of size or if there are crates, crates in an ex pen etc) or the car - regardless of if we're there or she's with another dog, she balks, starts barking and digging frantically and trying to escape. It doesn't take a huge imagination to gather why - 12 months of experience tells her being caught by the collar meant she was about to put isolated for endless hours of boredom and nothingness. The thought of it after a taste of freedom must be terrifically upsetting. So we're working on a lot of rewards for going into crate, special stuffed/frozen nomliscious Kongs and such that only appear when she has to be confined, playing crate games, desensitizing her collar being grabbed into a fun game etc. (oh.... MUM moves toward/touches/grabs/lightly tugs my collar and cheese/vitamin paste/peanut butter squirts into my mouth!) She is better than the first few days already so I suspect that this sort of work, along with experience that confinement isn't a predictor for being alone and bored for hours will go a long way to settling that. All in all though she is an awesome little girlie and a real treasure!

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