December 31, 2008
December 26, 2008
Is there any worse time to be sick than when visiting family for Christmas? I think not. But since the day after I arrived, I've been laid up with a nasty cold that seemed to love my throat and nose. Not being able to talk (or breathe) without hurting is no fun. So until today, I've been mostly on the couch under a blanket.
December 20, 2008
December 18, 2008
Dazzle checking to see if I'm still at the computer or coming to play with him. He races to the doorway, slams on the breaks, checks on me, then goes back to playing. Usually he does this with a toy in his mouth.
He now knows "where's mom?" which Mike says when Dazzle is bugging him so he will come find me (and I give him a treat.) :-)
Playing in the corner of the yard
December 17, 2008
I think the allure of his dog food is losing it's magic. I have been having a hard time keeping his attention the past three days. Maybe he's lost some brains along with all his canine teeth :-) Yup, It's official, he has no more needle sharp teeth in the front, only baby molars left. He looks kind of like the Bumble after the dentist got him since the adult teeth have just barely broken the gums :-) He has a hard time keeping the racquette ball in his mouth too, it keeps "squirting" out! LOL
I have started using toys to work on stuff he knows and I get intense focus that way. Almost too intense, his hearing seems to shut off when I have a toy. :-) He stares intensely at me, but doesn't respond to cues right away. He's starting to get a much faster down now, but sit is still in slow motion as though he's a loaded spring and about to bolt at any moment. The raw food still keeps his attention too though. So it's just the kibble. Dang! I just realized I switched the flavor of the kibble three days ago! DUH!! I guess he likes the lamb and rice much better than the fish and sweet potato. Go figure. Well, at least that mystery is somewhat solved. I can't believe I didn't make that connection before just now.
When I do have his attention, he's doing well. But the frequent attention loss drives me nuts. It happened a lot at training class last night, but I think he was just bored. When we work at home, we are constantly working on something. In class, there's a LOT of talking time by the instructor and the down time between activities is hard for him (& me.) I was trying to keep him engaged last night by working on my own thing between exercises, but it wasn't working as well as I had hoped.
I tried a shorter traffic lead, but he was insistent on chewing on it. So much so that I had to switch back to the leather lead to get anything done and then he wanted to chew on the leather lead. Arggg. I was also trying new treats- 100% deydrated turkey bits. I don't think those were going over very well, so that was likely part of the problem too. Who knows, maybe his mouth is hurting and crunching the dried food hurts? I'll just have to keep playing around with it and pray the focus come back!
December 16, 2008
I added a slideshow and Dazzle's horoscope to the left side. I think that if you click on a photo in the slide show, you'll be taken to the Flickr site where you can see all the photos.
As far as training, this morning we spent nearly an hour working on several different things.
Lightswitch: He's doing great with the light switch, but he's not tall enough to reach a full height switch, so we'll set this training aside now till he gets taller. I don't want him to have to reach up with his paw, I want him to use only his nose. Otherwise I'll have major scratches on the walls!
Ladder: I had him go over the raised "ladder" and with me helping him, he did much better. I think it's finally "clicking" in his brain that he has to consciously place his back feet and not just hope they land on a rung. Not his favorite activity though. I'm guessing that once he masters it, it will be more fun for him. Right now it's just a lot of work for his brain and body.
Stay with distractions: I put him in a stay and tossed some tennis balls around (both sit and down stay.) THAT was hard for him! But he did it, even when I was tossing balls right past him. So I'll continue to work on that and add in other distractions.
Heel with distractions: I also had him heeling while I tossed tennis balls, but he couldn't handle that yet. So instead I would just drop them by my right side as we were heeling and he did that ok. His body was like a coiled spring though ready to pounce on the ball. We'll work up to my tossing a ball during heeling.
Tunnel: He is now flying through the tunnel on cue, so I started adding "right" and "left" cues as he enters the tunnel to indicate the direction I want him to turn when he exits. I'm using my movement (he can hear which way my voice goes) and then tossing the ball to the indicated side of the tunnel. So he wraps around the end of the tunnel and comes back toward me to get the ball. Not sure if he really has this yet or if he's just guessing correctly :-) I did a few standing still and his ratio of correct went down, so I think he was relying on my movement/voice. We have worked on directionals before, so that part isn't new, just the combination of tunnel and directional is new.
Weaves: He really loves them, so I let him go through them a few times after a long break from not working on these at all. I don't think having him go through them a few times now and then will hurt.
Get it: He's doing well with getting stuff I drop. The other day he pushed Coyote out of the way to get a pencil I had dropped :-) We just worked on the leash during this training session, but in other sessions we have worked on various objects like my keys, paper, pens, etc. Yesterday in Biggs, he picked up my shopping list I had accidently dropped and got a jackpot of rewards.
Go outs: He LOVES go outs! I got a clear plastic target and started using that today in place of the DSA rubber jar opener. There were times he lost sight of it, but he would accidently step on it during his search and then drive his nose onto it :-) I also did a few where I had him sit after he nosed the target. He's able to go about 15' from me before he forgets what he was doing on his way to the target. LOL Still very much a puppy, but a darn smart one!
So it was a busy session and using toys as rewards for a few things helped extend the session past the amount of food I had for his meal. We're supposed to have class tonight, but I'm waiting to see the news to decide if I should drive to class tonight or if the snow/ice is too bad. We only have a dusting here so far, but no idea what the rest of the area looks like.
December 14, 2008
December 13, 2008
UPDATE: an estimated 650 dogs and about 3,000 people attended the parade. Here's a news article about it:
We started by meeting a few other troop members at a pub type restaurant, which had good food, but REALLY slow service. Thankfully we arrived there early to try to get a good parking spot and had some time to kill. Dazzle did a fantastic job of settling in and relaxing during our time there, even catching a nap, even though there were other dogs on the outside patio that were playing, barking and coming up to the floor to ceiling window right next to him. He also ignored the young kids who were literally running around and yelling/squealing right past our table. Though he did nicely greet the polite kids that came up to say hi.
After lunch, I put "hot hands" type heating pads on my knees and back, bundled up (it was still cold, just not frigid, and the sun was out) and we headed out to the parade site. I don't know how many hundred dogs were there, but it was a LOT of dogs! Most had some type of costume on and there were people in costume as well (wise men, santas, clifford the big red dog, snow princesses, etc.) Dazzle treated them all as if people and dogs wearing strange outfits was a normal thing he saw every day. :-)
I had his boots on him at first, which everyone seemed to really like. They were amazed he kept them on, but after our time at the TX camp with all the grass burrs, he doesn't mind wearing boots. But with the sun being out, and standing in a location that was protected from the wind, it was relatively warm. So I had him get up on a landscaping wall so I could take his boots off. I also took his cape off since he didn't need to wear it. So he watched the parade "naked."
We didn't walk in the parade because Mt. Adams isn't just on a hill, it IS a hill, steep hills that require parking brakes be set and I don't think there is any part of their roads that are level. The parade just went around a few of the blocks, but we took up a position along the sidewalk to watch. I should have gotten a picture down the hill of the huge crowd held back by barricades and the swarm of participants that filled the street from sidewalk to sidewalk, it was quite impressive!
I lasted long enough to watch all the participants go by, but then needed to sit. So we walked across the street to the steps of a church? and I put the blanket I had brought on the steps so I could rest. Dazzle climbed in my lap and started to fall asleep. But sitting out of the sun was cold, so I didn't stay there long. I waited till I saw the troop members come back and said our goodbyes. It was still early and I considered heading to the museum of art, but decided I'd prefer the natural history museum.
I borrowed a wheel chair and Dazzle did great staying beside me or going in front and backing up when space was tight. I was tempted to let him pull the few times he started to, especially UP the slopes, but I didn't have a harness on him so I discouraged him from pulling. We went through the bat cave and the glacial cave and wondered around the other exhibits. He was a bit spooked by the life-sized, realistic wolf sculpture that was directly on the floor beside the path that didn't smell right and didn't move. After I petted it, he relaxed and came up to sniff, then ignored it. We only spent two hours there, but I saw what I wanted to see and Dazzle was getting tired so we headed home. A very successful training day!
December 11, 2008
He still has his baby canine teeth, but the front teeth between them are all adult and look like they are almost all the way grown in. I'm sure it won't be long before he has adult canines; I'm checking them every day. :-) So far, I have only found the one baby tooth I collected and saved.
I'm thrilled with his training progress. Today we worked on go outs (which he loves!) and go around's using first a narrow/tall box, then the upended tunnel. He seems to like these also. I had him go across the raised ladder, but he's still not sure of where his feet are and he tries to rush across. He was starting to purposefully place his back feet when we called it quits this evening.
He has developed the bad habit of rushing through the basement door and flying down the steps. So this evening, I put his collar and leash on before we got down there and practiced waiting at the door till it was fully open and I went through. It was really hard for him to contain himself, but he did. It's similar to his getting out of the van. He wants to bolt out, but is learning he has to wait till I tell him he can get out. Self-control is so hard for a young dog, but he's doing really well!
He's also doing exceptionally well working with food all over the floor. He's completely ignoring it and even chose not to dive on a treat I was giving him that fell to the floor. He looked at it as it fell and hit, then looked right back to me. Big jackpot for that!
I had a meeting today in Indy and took him along. He was a perfect gentleman and stayed in a down next to me the whole 2 hr meeting. He slept through a large part of it, but I had to wake him up when he started barking quietly in his dream! He went right back to sleep and seemed to have dreams that didn't involve barking. :-)
December 10, 2008
Last night in the obedience class, Dazzle was acting like a beagle. There was a beginner class in there ahead of us and he wanted to help "clean" the floor. I did a lot of work during the class on "leave it" and an implied leave it. By the end of class, he was doing well ignoring the food he knew was there.
So I decided to work on that more at home. During the training session this morning, I dropped food all over the floor. After a few initial pulls on the leash, he understood the game and was able to do the whole session while walking over the food, doing sit and down stays inches from food he could reach and off-leash recalls past/over the food. I'll have to practice this more in public, but I think he'll understand pretty quickly. I also droped food (accidently and on purpose) and didn't let him get it.
I continued to work on getting him to pick-up dropped objects. We worked with his leash and a pen today. He is really coming along well, but still often needs encouragement and more than one try to get it to my hands. This will be a huge part of what I need him to do for me. While the doctors can't figure out exactly what is going on in my joints, they do know it's progressive and degenerative. The less bending and kneeling I do (while maintining the muscles through resistance and no-impact training), the longer the joints are likely to last. Around the house, Coyote is still the one I call to pick-up stuff I have dropped but Dazzle is watching closely and I don't think it will be long before he takes over that role. My Doctor loves Dazz and is happy I'm in a position to have a dog help me early on to help slow the progression. What worries me is I'm starting to feel it in my hands. I try to limit my typing, but it doesn't really happen. I do my best not to complain and try not to let it limit me. But it does, especially this time of year. Sorry, enough venting, back to training!
I left the food on the floor in the training area (with strict orders to my husband not to let the dogs down there :-), so we'll start with the leave-it's again in the session this evening. He's doing really well with all the obedience, so I think I'll pick something new to teach him this evening. Maybe we'll just work more on his go around's which we've only done a few times and teach him left and right. We'll see!
December 07, 2008
December 06, 2008
Nice focus in light of all the distractions.
December 04, 2008
UPDATE: I forgot to post after his vet visit on Friday, so I'll just add that info here. The vet was very impressed with him and had lots of compliments about his weight, training and temperament. He didn't feel anything wrong with his hips like the other vet thought she might have felt. But because he is growing so fast, he advised putting him on Canine Joint Support which I did and we'll continue that till he's at least 18 mo old. He now weighs 27.5 pounds! He's put on 10 pounds in the past month and still looks very lean. The vet said he's a perfect weight.
He also got a chiropractic adjustment and his rabies vaccination. Knock on wood, so far no ill effects or behavior changes since that vaccination. The vet said he could tell Dazzle plays hard. He was a bit out of alignment, but getting him adjusted every two months will help his growing body. I told him how he doesn't slow down coming through our hard plastic, heavy duty dog door, he just lowers his head and slams his way through at top speed. The vet said he could tell :-) So far, so good on his health!
December 03, 2008
The class tonight went well. All the practice we did during the week paid off. His stand for exam was great, his recall/front/finish was AWESOME and he did well with heel and response to the front, sit, down and stand cues. I was very proud of him and everyone was very impressed.
I hope it continues. I signed him up for an obedience match on January 18th. :-) He won't be 6 mo. old yet (2 weeks short), but since it's a non-sanctioned match it won't matter. If he does as well at the show as he did at class tonight, he'll do really well.
I plan to start working on Rally moves and "go outs" now.
December 01, 2008
Sorry, no photos in this post either. Scroll down the page to the previous posts for lots of photos :-)
We went to a CPE Agility trial this morning way on the other side of town to watch and socialize. I only knew a few people there, but enjoyed talking with them. Dazzle did great, keeping focus on me amidst dogs and people walking and running past us, dogs barking, dogs on course, dog's in crates barking, getting run over by a sheltie :-) and the general show noises. He was much better with applause today and by the end wasn't even tensing or reacting in any way. He met several nice dogs and people and did polite, proper greetings. Overall, a good association with a show as far as I could tell.
After the show, we went to Walmart so I could get a new belt clip for my phone. I put his new cape on him, but he didn't like it. He hardly had his ears up the whole time we were in there and he kept stopping to chew at it. I'll need to do some classical conditioning with it. The belly strap needed adjusting because it kept sliding backwards to the narrow part of his waist. I shortened the chest strap to bring it forward once he was back in the van and I could work on it without bending over. But I didn't walk him around to see if it fixed the problem or not. I hope it did.
I used his breakfast as treats during the show this morning, but did a training session with his dinner. I worked on stand for exam using cement blocks for him to stand on. He seemed to have a LOT of trouble getting into the stand position from a sit when he was on the block. I moved him off the block and tried it that way and he did much better. So I skipped the block idea.
I also had his collar and leash on him, which I don't usually do in the basement. But I was thinking of using the dropped leash as a stay signal (like ground tying a horse.) I just don't recall what happens with the leash in a novice stand for exam, so I don't know if that would be a useful signal. I'll have to look that up. Other than the rocky start, he did well in the session this evening. I also worked on heeling a bit and let him run through the weaves a couple times. We haven't done any weaves for awhile, but he remembered just what to do. He found a ball and wanted to play, so I threw it several times and had him practice "front" and a "hold till I take it" behavior before I would toss it again.
He fetches things with such enthusiasm I'm afraid he will hurt himself! He crashes into things, gets his legs going several different directions, it's scary to watch. I try really hard to throw it in a way that reduces the chances of him hurting himself, but somehow on an empty floor, he can manage to do something dangerous looking. I haven't been tugging with him because of him losing his puppy teeth, so fetch is a good exercise alternative- if he doesn't hurt himself. :-) He does seem to really like the small Orbee ball I got him yesterday. It surprized me to find that it is strongly mint scented, but he doesn't seem to mind.
Mike laid face down on the floor a few minutes ago to see what Dazzle would do. He was really curious. He tried to lick his hidden face, then went about trying to stand on him, paw at him, lay on him, tunnel under his hidden face, dig on the back of his legs... It was very cute because he was being gentle. His ears were back, tail wagging, whole body wagging and loose. He wanted to play, but wasn't sure what to do with the "big lump" that wasn't playing back :-) When Mike lifted his head, he gave him lots of kisses and tunneled under his chin and rolled on his back to wiggle around in front of him.
November 29, 2008
Today I took him to an obedience trial at Queen City Dog Training Center. He's so used to hustle and bustle that the crowd and dogs were no problem. Though once he saw a dumbell thrown, he really wanted to get it! Then he wanted to get the little DOG that got the dumbell. He barked a few times in frustration at being restrained as I tried to get his attention, but I was able to get him looking back at me. He was also geeked up by the occasional applause, but only barked once. The other times there was applause, I was stuffing string cheese in his mouth :-) As this went on during the time we were there, he started taking the cheese more softly. At first he practically took my fingers with it because he was so amped up over the applause (he normally has a soft mouth and when there wasn't applause, he took treats really nicely.) After a few hours, I was getting really stiff and sore, and Dazzle was getting tired so we left. It was really nice seeing and talking with people I hadn't seen since I was training at Waggin Tails with Coyote about 6 years ago. I look forward to training with them again.
It seems his understanding of sit, down and stand has returned- WHEW! I gave him a break from training last night and just gave him his food in a bowl on the floor. What a novel idea! :-) I think we both needed the break. Our sessions aren't all that long, but there has probably been less than 10 times since I got him that he has eaten his entire meal right from the bowl without having to do anything for it. We are only in the 9th week of his training with me, so he is doing exceptionally well. Much better than I could have ever dreamed!
This morning I did a training session with him and he did really well with stay (sit and down), front (after a short chase of a treat away from me), heel, sit, stand and down (though I couldn't get him to do the latter two in heel position for some reason- he kept swinging away from me to lie down or stand. In the session this evening, I put his sledding harness on, attached him to the wall with a bungie leash and let him pull into it for about 5-6 different treats. Then I took that one off and put the tracking harness on and let him walk around in it. He wasn't too sure about the second strap around his mid-section, but was willing to walk, trot and sit while wearing. When that came off, we worked on all the cues from this morning again and all was back to normal. He is up to a 1 minute sit stay and a 2 minute down and allows me to walk behind him (to return to heel position.) It's clear that he has a hard time just doing "nothing" for that long. He stares at me for awhile, then his attention wanders and he starts looking around like a little kid trying to find something to get into :-) He still moves more often than not when I practice the stand for exam. I think I'll put him back up on the boards to help him understand I don't want his feet to move. :-)
I started him on some "voodoo remedy" :-) in anticipation of his rabies vaccination on Friday. I'm so worried he will be one of the dogs that gets aggressive from the shot and I'm praying it doesn't happen. My vet said the reaction of increased aggression after the shot is a form of vaccinosis and it's a reaction that causes minor symptoms of the disease. Severity of the symptoms has a wide range. Hopefully the fact that he's not getting the vaccine in conjunction with any others, his good genetics, good diet and the voodoo stuff will help stack the odds in our favor. My stress levels will go down after I see there's no reaction.
He also gets another chiropractic adjustment and I'll be interested to see what this vet says about his hips (the other vet in the office, on a previous visit, thought they felt loose.) I'm also curious to see how much he weighs now. It's already hard to recall how little he was when he arrived, just 9 weeks ago.
If I'm up to it, tomorrow we'll be going to Clermont Co. DTC to watch CPE agility. I was looking at Infodog.com last night for upcoming shows and I'm already looking at deadlines for Rally entries for shows in March when he turns 6mo. old. :-) I figure that just about the time I put out money for a show entry, he'll go through the "brainless puppy" stage where he forgets everything he has learned. :-) I better get more on video to prove "he really does know it" (famous last words of compeditors everywhere) LOL
Bass Pro Shop was having free photos with Santa today. While dogs are allowed in the store, Dazzle was the only one I saw in there today. I found out about the Santa photos from Kim, who took her dog there the day before and found out Santa LIKES the dog photos. And we must have gotten the same Santa. When we were done he took a few minutes to talk to me about him and thanked me from bringing him and giving him "a break" (said with a knowing look.) I think he liked the dog better than the kids :-) Can't say I blame him since the three kids that sat on his lap before Dazzle were all screamers. Ahhh, memories... "And this is when we traumatized little Billy..." :-)
I was fully ready to say "forget it" and walk away if Dazzle was afraid or bothered by the suit, set-up, noises, screaming kids, etc. But he did even better than I expected. He didn't even try to eat all the fake snow on the ground!! Yeah! But he did want to eat the pointy lights along the sides of the line we were in. Other than trying to taste a few lights, he waited politely in line, accepted petting and attention from several people and a few kids who couldn't resist. When it was his turn, he walked right up to Santa and sniffed him. He was wagging his tail because Santa was talking to him sweetly. He said "well, I wonder if YOU would like to sit on my lap?" I patted his knee and Dazzle put his front feet up and inspected his beard. A bit more encouragement and he was in his lap, tail wagging. He couldn't figure out how to kiss him through the "fur" though :-)
His focus turned to me as I moved out of the photo. But he stayed put (it helped that Santa was holding him) and a really cute shot was captured forever. I had to scan the printed photo, so it's not the best quality. I should have snapped a photo with my own camera, but I thought of that too late. I'm guessing this might be the only year he is all the way on Santa's lap (unless he continues to think he's a lap dog like my 120 lb Rottie did.) :-)
Now that I know he won't be bothered by it, I might go get in line for a photo I'd have to pay for (& I'd use my own camera!)
He looks so tiny in this photo. Not sure why. Oh, the elf reminds me, he was facinated by the moving elves beside the line we were waiting in. Too cute! It was a really elaborate set-up for free photos. They had the real (stuffed) reindeer in the back, rippled plastic with moving blue lights behind it creating walls that looked like ice, lots of trees and shrubs covered in snow, a full "workshop" for the kids to make little art projects, several animated elves, sound effects and several adults dressed as elves, which reminded me of "The Christmas Story" (especially as the kids were screaming on Santa's lap. :-)
November 28, 2008
You can see how much he has grown in just 7 weeks! I added the line because it's hard to tell just where the top of the ball is in relation to their size without it. Obviously it's not Dazzle on the left, but I used Bear in the photo to show what Dazzle's height was at 10 weeks old when he and Bear were the same size.
Pretty trot... (He's not fully extended here, but you get the idea. I'm glad I'm not trying to show him in conformation- I'd have to run full out to keep up with him!)
He is quite the boxer with his ball
Na Na Ne Na Na, You can't catch me. (If you look closely, you can see Dazzle has his tongue sticking out :-) Jaw Breaker (Malinois size)
What happend to the water? Even though it looks warm and sunny in the photos, it was still pretty cold. The herding group, almost all the same size now. Buster is actually a bit taller than Coyote. He must have been crouching down or something.
Big size difference now. I couldn't get them to stand side by side, but you can still clearly see how tall Dazzle has gotten.
Chasin' my bro...
Bear back ride... get it? Ha ha!
Coyote's official height card says 18". My best ability to measure Dazzle puts him at 18.5"
Once he understood what I wanted on the boards, I removed the cement blocks from under them and placed the boards right on the floor, same pattern. He had a bit of trouble, since now he could sit crooked and not fall off. But with practice he understood and got good at that. Then I removed the boards and tried to get him to repeat it. If I faced the spot where a board had been, he was great. If I turned to where a board hadn't been, he tried to line up with where it was! Too smart for his own damn good!
I put the boards back down, but moved them around to practice in different places. That helped him understand and when I removed the boards, he had it. All this took 5 training sessions. This morning he was still doing well with sitting in front position. Too well.
It seems he has no memory of the cues for stand and down now. All he was willing to offer without help was front and if I waited, he would lie down. Arggg. I did several tries of prompting and luring, but I've done so much "leave it" work, a lure generates focused eye contact. Moving my hand makes him think I'm trying to distract him from the eye contact and it only makes that stronger.
I was getting really frustrated, so I quit the training session. I'm still not sure how to remind him of the sit and down cues. I did very little luring when I taught it and he picked them up pretty quickly. He has responded correctly to them in many different places (every hotel room, my parent's kitchen, malls, etc.), so I'm not sure why the understanding is failing in the place we have trained the most when there are no distractions. I tried using a toy as a reward, but he is too intensely focused to think when a toy is in my hand and might be thrown or offered for tug.
I need to work on his stand for exam. Once I was able to get him into a stand, he still has the implied stay. I think this evening I'll place him into the stand and focus on the walk away and approach (stand stay) and just work on the cues to get him into position later.
On another note, I got some photos of his teeth. They aren't the best because in order to stop the motion, I had to use the flash, which reflected off his teeth. But you can see that the new teeth are significantly larger than his baby teeth and he has big gaps in the front where he lost his baby teeth and the adult teeth haven't come in yet. I did find one tiny baby tooth on the couch last night, so I saved it. :-) Hopefully I will find more.
You can see where he lost the most recent tooth
.Baby canine teeth and adult front teeth except for the one on the far left of the photo (right side of his mouth)
Would you believe I taught him to move his tongue out of the way so I can see his teeth? Just kidding. I caught him mid-lip lick/yawn. :-)