Black Acorn Dogs

Monday, February 28, 2005

Poor Little Boy

Indie is really sick this week. He started vomiting on Friday night and he hasn't eaten since dinner Friday with diarrhea and vomiting continuing through the weekend. We've done X-rays on Saturday and today and we get another round of bloodwork back tomorrow. Blockage is mostly ruled out and we're looking at pancreatitis. In the meantime we have a poor little boy who either snuggles on the couch with us or goes in lays in his crate all by himself. Warm thoughts for our not-quite-so-little baby, please.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Haute Couture

I showed up to work this morning still wearing a bait bag (treat pouch). It's quite the fashion statement.

At least I was wearing a blue one that matched my sweater.

Friday, February 11, 2005

And So It Begins...

It appears that hormones are starting to kick in.

I took Indie in class this week because he was on the distracted side and Diane wasn't feeling too great. We did Puppy Greetings at the beginning of class, and Dundee, the border collie we were working with jumped on on me in greeting, and my dear sweet puppy growled, launched, and grabbed his neck. Well, okay... that was a surprise.

This is the second time he's shown jealousy or protectiveness like that. The other time was when I was petting another puppy in PetSmart. He'd been doing really well with the puppy, but he growled at it when I was giving it attention.

We worked through that one, although I think I could have done a better job dealing with the Dundee one. Instead of ignoring it and trying again, we disengaged and paused so that we could get feedback from the trainer. Oh well... lesson learned. Indie growled at Dundee any time we were near him the rest of the class. Yes, he's defending me from the big, mean border collie. ::sigh::

Since then he's been extremely determined to bark at neighborhood dogs. Yesterday he was barking at a pair of Goldens 50 feet away and nothing I could do could get his attention back, which is very unusual. Usually I can get him to disengage by calling him and running backward about 10 feet, but no such luck.

The good news is that his toy drive is coming into full maturation. My current toy of choice is a rope tug that is a circle. It's nice and light like the puppy-sized tugs, but unlike the puppy-sized tug, I can keep my grip on it. We'd moved up to a larger tug, but it's too bulky to carry around. The circle tug also throws nicely for fetch games. Anyway, I'm now getting serious intensity for the tug toy, and this
morning we were able to play tug while those big, scary Goldens walked by AND while the Beagle/JRT-mix from across the the street was near us. I feel good that this will probably be a short phase (one of many) if we can nip it but it certainly is an example of why I need those magical, glowing, happy class-times where everything clicks into place.

On the Ebby front, we had a few growl-and-lunges in class this week, but overall she was terrific. Her heeling was almost effortless, and that feels marvelous. As I explained to Diane, it probably *looked* the same this week as it did last week (which was a frustrating one), but the difference in the amount of energy and effort required from me was night and day. I was just glad one of the classes went well, because work has been extremely stressful, and by the end of the night, I need something to go easily!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Prey Drive

I'm really proud of Ebony. We walked past a cat last night, and she pulled on the leash, but she returned to me every single time I called her name (and she was treated for her efforts). I'm not sure I can express how much progress this is from where we were when we brought her home 9 1/2 months ago. Last April, or heck, any time last summer and maybe even last fall too, if she'd seen that cat from 20 feet away, there would have been nothing I could do to regain her attention. Nothing.

Heck, the first week we brought her home, she'd spend 20 minutes solid barking at a life-sized white ceramic cat we have in the living room.  I know it was 20 minutes because I timed it once while wondering how long she could possibly keep it up. It was pretty darn funny, although owning Ebony has taught me a significant lesson about why lots of rescue dogs are listed as "strictly not for homes with cats". If we integrate her with our own cats by the time she's 8, I'll be amazed (she's 4 now). We finally had to take away that ceramic cat when we realized that she might accidentally smash it in her barking glee. It's back on the floor now, but it was several weeks before we trusted her with it.

My goal is to be able to recall her from a running cat or rabbit. We're not there yet, of course, but it might just happen someday!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Dinah's Having Fun

Dinah's Having Fun

I just found this photo blog of a German Shepherd about a month older than Indie. I'm so jealous of the wonderful pictures they have. I really need to get a digital camera ones of these days.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Sock! Thief!

Bad Hamster's puppy Sky is a bad undergarment stealer. It makes me reminisce for the days when Katie used to be a vigilant sock stealer. And underwear. And sweatshirts. And... you get the picture. Socks were the worst, though. She'd take them right out of your hands while you were taking them off. She'd steal them from the hamper. She'd find them when they shouldn't even exist.

Katie doesn't steal socks anymore.

Crawl, Puppy, Crawl!

I introduced Crawl to Indie this week, and he's picking it up like a pro! I had a feeling that would be an easy and fun one. He's also getting Spin Left down pretty well too.

Last night I started Play Dead with Ebby. She was pretty uncomfortable with it. We'll just have to see how it goes in the next few sessions. I'm still working with her on differentiating Touch [wooden] Spoon and Touch Hand. She sort of kind of almost gets it. We'll keep working on it.

Nothing new or dramatic with Katie. Just stay practice and her favorite Step Lid with a bunch of other easy ones thrown in.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Class Report, Week 4

Class night! Not as stellar as the last two weeks, but if this is a bad night, I'll take it!

Diane did a great job with Indie and worked with him for the whole class. He was very distractable. One thing I noticed and suggested to her was that there were some opportunies where she could have clicked him for giving full attention. She also asked him for Speak a lot, which resulted in a lot of unrequested barking. Yuck. We decided that she should lay off Speak for class next week and click more for eye contact. Instead of surface work they played Musical Chairs, and they made it to about 6th place and got knocked out of the competition by Golden puppy Bailey and his young handler (8 yrs old?). It was a photo finish, but Indie was distracted by Bailey. It was fine with me though, because he was happy distracted rather than barking and fearful distracted. Homework for this week is a Leave It where you can leave a cookie on the floor in front of them.

Ebony, Ebony, Ebony. We had a full fledged "leap on everyone" night, although she still had very few chances to really try it and zero points where she got more than a foot or two away from me. There's one dog in particular who happens to be three-legged that she just wants to growl at all the time. It might be that he's three-legged that she reacts that way, but he also has a stare and a Presence, so I think it's a mix of things. I suspect the real issue this week was that she hasn't gotten enough excercise since we've had snow on the ground. Another cause may be that we didn't practice much this week, since Diane has mostly been walking her. Her heeling is still going very well. Class ran 15 minutes over (which means we ended at 10PM instead of 9:45PM), and I was counting the minutes! We went through 3 bait bags of treats that class.