Monday, May 30, 2011

the continuing adventures of an adorable Demonbaby

This week, we remember the other poor neglect cases in our training a bit more... in the face of "taking the puppy out every 15 minutes" and spending most of our time out socializing to every person/place/noise I can wrangle and/or playing, their training sessions have been um... well... kinda not... (On the other hand we've done several towns, heaps of people, footing surfaces, the vets 2x and are rocking the mobility aid socialization gig!)

So they are all remembering where they were in stands, Hope is recalling she has a bum and she needs to tuck it for her left about turns, Rin is practicing everything because she's Rin and does everything at warp speeds.

On the cute-adorable-all-kinds-of-wonderful puppybreath front...
 Skill-set stuff: mostly the same things but where we were working primarily in relatively non-distracting settings or where if the environment did have distractions they weren't immediate (as in under 1m) we're now starting to add some distractions for the behaviours she does at a decent duration
  • crinkling a wrapper (so HARD, she LOVES crinkle toys!)
  • rattling the food container, pieces on the ground one by one while she holds
  • small/brief movements with toys around her
  • me moving around - so stepping back/left/right 1 step, waving arms, shifting weight etc
  • asking for increasing duration near people getting a trolly at the shopping center or where the doors are opening and shutting as people walk in/out
  • while other dogs are walking around her at home and at club

    As she gets better at ignoring each they get progressively longer, louder and more attention grabbing. (wrapper 1 second in pocket, longer, 1 second out of pocket, longer, in moving hand, longer, with a flourish etc.  I've totally slacked off on stand, I just find it boring for some reason so that's currently our worst.  (Erm... same as the adults actually...)  Targeting I've started adding a tiny bit of 'you have to search for it' by placing a smidge around a corner.  The bite hold is stronger on tuggy, she is SUCH a little tug freak!  Retrieving has taken a bit of a dive - not unexpected as I was just grabbing a voluntary behaviour rather than teaching it properly - as she's determined she can keep it.  So voluntary object exchange will be played with a lot this week.  Restrained recalls, walking recalls and running recalls are all featuring heavily.  Manners stuff is just more of the same for now.

    Meanwhile I'm not the ONLY one teaching her things... Rin has been demonstrating the 101 Places Border Collies Don't Belong (But Go Anyway)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The past few days have been a bit of a blur.  "Cold" turned "chest infection" along with "totally lost my voice".  Poor Lily and Nic also had it as did La, so we all pretty well curled into balls, took ample amounts of  medicine and bonded over seeing who could hack up a lung first.

Unfortunately 7-8 week old puppies (age per the vets opinion) have little respect for wishing to quietly hide under the covers till the nasty bugs are gone so we've mainly been working on stuff at home.  We have gotten out to socialize some more today (finally!) and visited Paky and Gembrook as well as visited the vets to practice having a once over and standing on scales.  We've discovered the secret to socializing with men - go in the morning when all the tradies are getting their coffee!  GOBS of socialization to guys today! 

Our coolest socialization moment this week goes to this great big fella in full bikie kit - the jacket, the liberal use of chains, the tatts, headgear, sunglasses and massssivveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee beard, muttonchops and mustache.  He looked like someone you'd NOT want to meet in a dark alley but instead crouched down and cooed at her softly while asking to give some treats, telling me he'd just lost his dog this week and we'd made his day watching her be so clever and sweet.

She is becoming a lot more active and into everything, so the real fun begins!  She reminds me a lot of Cade actually - a bit of an old soul in that little fur jacket and similar traits.  Watching her as she checks out the cows echoed Cade's reactions to the young and curious horses we had around our place in Michigan.  When she is wild she is willlldddd and when she has had her fill of running she sits with me soft and serious-eyed as she considers the world.  She is a comfort seeker - give her a cozy blanket or a lap and she's curled up under your jacket.  She seems very paw oriented as well - loves to whack things, scuttle them and bat them before taking a massive pounce.  She seems deeply loathe of all things cold and wet and detests her poor princess paws getting wet.

Skill-set stuff:
  • sit and down at about 30 seconds duration (assuming quiet area, that goes to about 15 seconds out and about reliably.... though I was very tickled when she offered +30 seconds holding while very intently watching a tempting fluttering candy wrapper in town today before I decided to mark it while the marking opportunity was still good!
  • stand at about 5 seconds reliably (without shifting feet or offering targeting behaviours)
  • touch - now includes 'hit' (feet targeting), nose-to-palm and touch plates.  Touch plates are on the floor and at a short distance pretty well! (1 meter) 
  • watch me - about 14 seconds, a bit more in a non-distracting setting
  • tuggy - bite is still wanting to be very regrippy when she's very excited... I think it's the size of the bite surface though - hard for her to get back into a good grip position so I'm looking for a thin but softly braided one.
  • picking up an item (keys, rubber kids toy, tiny ball)
  • bringing back a thrown item
  • polite release (let go when requested and pop yerself into a sit kid) even while highly excited (aka in feral SHARK PUPPY MODE... dundun dundun dun dunnnnnnn....)
Manners stuff:
  • zen work
  • jaw/tooth grip moderation (iow jaw-wrestle games, very softly with mums hand thanks!)
  • body handling - focusing on head (reaching down toward, tugging lightly on the collar, putting head through things like the collar or circled fingers and examining teeth/eyes/ears etc)
  • LAT on the kittens (wrestling mobs of kittens are just SO TEMPTING to join... and then sit and yap at when they fail to respond to play bows and offers of tuggy)
  • environmentally cued sits while walking on lead when mum stops (pretty good unless there is something fairly distracting)
  • environmentally cued sits when people reach down to pet (about 60% of the time un-cued so obviously still plenty of work to do - made harder by the fact I'm usually trying to keep tabs on a free-roving 2 year old while teaching this!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Indoor play for a rainy day...

Well since it was bucketing rain most of the day and my shoulder is still sore (although much better - bless my chiro!) I found the third set of clothing my 2 year old needed changing into courtesy of flinging herself in the mud enough we broke out our indoor goodies!  After hosing them off we had our ever faithful BOXES.  Boxes are wonderful things for amusing 2 year olds and puppies alike - you can crash them, tumble them, hop into them, push them over from the inside, bop at the flappy lid bits and doors cut into them, hide in them, use them as tunnels, bash your toys around in them and chew them to shreds without mum becoming the least bit upset.  (Somewhat abashed if you happen to have 2 feet instead of 4 but not upset!)  I am certain the nice people at Bunnings think we are a special brand of crazy with the amount we get from them every week but you just can't beat a box in the bun/dog/kittens/kids opinion!

When I was called to pick up La from school after he spectacularly crashed and burned hard enough to register even on his limited sense of pain (well, at least a bit... 3 hours later we're explaining to him he oughtn't bash about and jump out of trees on a strain... *sigh*) we also brought out the ball pit balls in the kiddie wading pool and our newest find -

Check it out!  TWELVE dollars at Bunnings!  It's a tunnel and a hidey hole and it ROLLS either when you stand on it like this or run amok inside like a giant not-quite-spherical hamster ball! They amused themselves with this for the better part of 2.5 hours before dinner!

I also finally uploaded a vid of her from her on her 3rd day here (so 6week-ish old) trying to find a free editor that works with mov formats to put the clips together.

Random funny out-take shot - Kiah does a Tasmanian Devil impression!

My puddin tats... big kittens now!

Pipsqueek - still our little motor mouth, if I didn't know better I'd swear he was part Siamese just for the sheer amount of chatter that comes out of his mouth!

Possom - has gone from the smallest to second largest and taken after Pipsqueek in terms of his chatter.  He is the first and now LOUDEST to greet me in the morning or evening or upon entering or exiting a room or or or...!  If his chat fails to make his point, he'll happily hoist himself onto your lap before repeating himself!

Punkin is proving himself the quiet cuddler... he is a little bit more cautious than his hell-bent-for-leather siblings and wants to look before leaping.  At night he is one of the ones who will quietly snuggle himself near me and settle in before looking at me like, "Well, no one was using that space where they?  You don't expect me to put up with those crazies really?"  (Punkin will be looking for a home after he is neutered, vaxed and microchipped.  The adoption fee will reflect only the cost of this vetting.  He would like a quieter home with snuggles by the fire-side and would be okay older/quiet dogs, gentle older children, other cats and kitty-friendly house-bunnies as he's been fine with Nilla here.)

And then there is Princess Peachie Pie... don't let those sweet eyes fool you, this one is an adventure princess who is the first into everything!  If there is a stalking-pouncing-chasing game she is sure to be in the middle of it but also is happy to curl up in your arms and doze half the night once she's had run play.  (Peachie will be looking for a home after she is spayed, vaxed and microchipped. The adoption fee will reflect only the cost of this vetting.  She would enjoy older/quiet dogs, children and other cats but may enjoy pouncing type games a bit much to be an ideal companion for a house bunny although she's never bothered Nilla here.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday and Sunday quickies

Saturday was rather boring as I've got a nice cold going and played narcoleptic half the day - waking up basically enough to feed and water everyone and ensure the kids weren't running too feral.  We did do some basic training with Kiah (yep - it has a name!) and Rin but other than that not much.

we loaded up on cold meds, loaded up the dogs and went to training.  So the girls got their runs in flyball and obedience and Kiah had an absolute blast - she got to meet some of her future flyball team-mates (Collie, Sheltie, Poodle, ShihTzu, Lab, JRT, Border Collie, Golden, various mixes), see the flyball box (ohhh... that is COOL!) and chase a ball and play tugs.  I managed to injure my shoulder (thanks Rin!) but still got through stepping in to teach an intermediate class and Hope's flyball before going home.  Really, really pleased that Hope was pulling some very close crosses with Maddie flawlessly and Rin was handling crosses, position changes and dual lanes like a pro!  Should make September start with a bang!

At home with Kiah did a few quick-bursts of the same stuff we'd started working on manners wise a few days ago, some restrained toy fetching and worked up her tuggy as well.  She got SO revved up with the tuggy which has little 'flappy' bits she went into zoomy mode and just ran in great laps for about 20 mins before flopping over.  Then we did some cardboard box games - we had a flat piece of cardboard she 'surfed' on while I pulled it around the floor - I'm thinking that'll be a favorite game, a 'tunnel' to be sent through/recall through and a small box to bop around the house with her paws like a hockey puck.  I also used an old computer keyboard and some bubble wrap as "weird surfaces it's fun to walk over" and had her jumping on and walking around on them, sits, drops etc.  She is a funny little nutter!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On her second day after school drop off she spent the early morning toddling around after us.
She met:
  •  the kittens more fully and learned that 4:1 are not odds in her favor with curious kittens.  Whichever she was sniffing the other two or three would be patting her tail.
  • the sheep and our neighbors visiting cows and jumped up for a better sniff but without being over the top excited.
  • gardeners with linetrimmers, leaf blowers and pruning sheers as well as hard-hats and protective goggles
  • various people at he hardware store, grocery and a park, cafe
  • plastic door strips on a shop that was closed, with Lily flipping them about and making all sorts of ruckus while I encouraged her to push them with her nose and investigate.

We had several tuggy sessions and introduced the idea of running out to a thrown toy (small rope bone and plastic baby teether) and bringing it back, again with polite releasing. More work on basic sits and downs, touching etc.  We also worked a bit on bite inhibition (aka YOUCH! needle teeth hurt!) playing very gentle mouth games with my fingers.

Friday after school drop off she met:
  • various people at Coles, the shopping strip and neighborhood in Pakenham and in Gembrook - not many men unfortunately.   
  • a community van which is equipped with automated lowering and raising ramps for wheelchair users which they were very nice in letting us go up to and have a meet-n-greet.
  • the 7-9's class at La's school as well.
    Manners wise we continued with sits and downs, making them downs from sits and sits from downs as well as continuing with targeting introducing a target plate.  We continued with retrieving thrown toys (soft tuggies and plastic teething rings) as well as tuggy. We introduced the idea that if she wants to get out or into her pen she needs to sit and be polite.  We introduced a bit of doggy zen, object trading, some basic body handling (light 'pinches' on the webbing between toes, feet, ears, lips, collar holding/tugging etc), some short and light restrained recalls and eye contact.  She's been absolute gold with her house training, not a single accident and only one time using the newspapers provided in her pen - which was really my fault as I had the choice between taking her out when I saw her looking fidgety and chasing the naked-wet-soapy 2 year old who was streaking through the house on her way to merry mayhem, so puppy got ploinked in her pen till I caught and nappied the 2 year old!
 As you can see a busy puppy is well behaved by default...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

 Quick puddins pics!  I missed the 5th weeks due to being ill and have the 6th weeks but my computer ran into some *cough* minor problems due to certain small cute people holding their sippy near it just as it's lid popped off.  Turns out computers don't swim well and it's having royal fits.  In the meantime I am having to use my laptop which doesn't have photo programs on it so it requires loading the whole files to photobucket and then resizing which is a pain! LOL

Rin 2.0

Over the past few months we'd been considering either bringing another working dog like Rin into our family because she is such a little treasure and so fun to work with or else a smaller dog as I miss having a littler dog around.  We eventually decided that it was probably better to put off a small dog for several more years (3rd in line after 2 more Aussies) and get the working dog now because a little dog would be more likely to get run into in the wild play my girls enjoy just because of the size difference and it would be nice for Rin to have someone around her age (not quite 2 yrs now) to play with given Hope (4.5) and Sierra (10) are past the puppy/teenage sillies and want to lay down after a good play instead of imitating an energizer bunny.  After looking at several dogs, I found a litter of Border x Kelpies who needed homes and looked very much like Rin and a week later went to visit with the girls.  This little cutiepie is who we all chose.

She's not named yet but her nickname is Demonbaby... anyone want to guess why???  (That's midsnarl with the tuggy. LOL)

She is super clever and in her first day home had about 200x reps in which she picked up the basics of a sit and down with about 15 seconds duration (reliably, occasionally a bit more) as well as targeting with a target wand with two bumps.  She's been started on building tuggy value and learning to take it only when told, with a nice balanced bite and letting go politely when told.  She met her collar and the leash and discovered she could walk politely.  Not bad for 8 weeks old and 24 hours home after not being off a farm before!

In her first full day home she went to: school 2x, pet store, nursery and on a walk around the grocery store
She met well over her "10 new people a day" and included little kids/older kids/older teens with hats/elderly people and using prams, a trolly, a zimmer frame, a pair of crutches, a cast on the leg without crutches and two mobility scooters which she made one ladies day by jumping up unafraid into her lap when she was called.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

a rather perfect (somewhat soggy) mothers day

Mothers Day started here with me sneaking out with the three girls for training for "mommy time" while the kids got their surprise ready.  Nothing better in the world than time with my girls and coming home to the kidlets and a warm (and DRY) house!  :)

After flyball we started the girls on obedience.  We're trying to get back into practice as I'd intended last year to start trialing in obedience with them before we got totally sucked in by flyball. (To be fair we achieved FD, FD-X, FDCh and AFDCh so it's not as if we weren't having fun. *G*)

Initially a few weeks back I was told Rin would have to wait a few months for an opening in foundation (intended to teach novices how to train) because of recent structure changes made her considered "new".  Likewise Hope would have to test in on the next test day because of our extended break.  I said I'd just test both in at competition level classes instead.

When I came back last week we were thankfully able to bypass that all together and both did well where I popped them in and garnered a lot of comments... such clever girlies. :) This week we had small numbers, basically instructors only (read: few people are mental enough to think training in the rain on mothers day seems like rockin' good fun) so after flyball we had the option of running in higher levels than I've trained for at home or going home.  Naturally we decided there were a few centimeters of fabric yet to be totally saturated and stayed!  Rin was bumped 2 levels up from where I thought she should be and surprised me by getting compliments in everything but a blown stand-stay! (Poor dog, she loves to catch raindrops from the air so that was tough ask when those raindrops were just TAUNTING her by falling all over!) Hope got bumped up to CD level and did pretty well if not perfectly polished in everything except not tucking her bum neatly in left-about-turns.  They even gave us a taste of some more advanced exercises I gather are for higher levels - a broadjump and return (I thought she'd be confused but she did it very nice) and a send out to a box the dog must sit in before coming back out over a jump to you. (pretty nice but I'd not want to push it more than the meter and a bit I was sending from atm)  But I still get all melty when I present them with something they've never seen and they manage to fool everyone into thinking we know what we're doing!  Such clever, clever little poppets!

When I got home the kids were bursting with tea, cards, flowers, a love-heart La had decorated with 'lots of jewels and diamonds and sparklies', a new set of framed handprints (we do this every year, so I have a little collection of growing kidlet prints) and a big beautiful plant for my rainbow garden.  Between the kids and dogs (oh dear, those needed DRYING too...) I got clambered all over by the littlest members as well... little puddins have helped write this by batting at my fingers on the keyboard with their little purr motors going for the first time!  Isn't it just fantastic?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Nice try Pointyblackdog...

While training with Sierra, both Rin and Hope were outside.  I could see Hope near the door staring at it and attempting to beam the message into my head to let her back in or at least notice she was doing the behaviours very, very nicely and merited some rewarding.  Rin, noticing that standing at the doorway was not working any better this time than the previous attempts, took a slightly different tactic.  When I gave the cue to Sierra I heard a ruckus of scrambling sounds and a thunkity-whump near the kitchen window.  Perched neatly and determined not to be ignored (surely if I saw how wonderful she was I'd relent and play obedience tricks with her instead of the red dog!) stood Rin with her rear feet on the bin and her front paws on the window ledge.  You guessed it - the cue we've been working on tweaking this week is "stand".