Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I think today was a bit more to Sanity’s liking. We managed to get in 10 retrieve reps before our first and only student arrived this morning. Then it was off to the vet for the last shot. This time she marched right in, actually hopped up on the scale and sat before I had a chance to give the place command, much less the sit. Smug little B, ever so serious about what she was doing as she sat there looking up at me. Much praise and then I called her off.
Because I was paying way too much attention to her and not any attention to what the scale had to say, I missed how much she weighed. Funny thing, the vet and vet tech were paying way too much attention to what Sanity was doing and not a one of us saw what she weighed. So I got to turn her around and send her back to the scale. This time she let me “play” too and I got to give both the place command and a sit command. Sanity took the place command as if she had been doing so all her life. There was not a bit of hesitation to leave my side and travel the 3 feet to the scale, hop up on it, turn and sit when told. She just looked bored by the entire thing. Anyway, she now weighs 35.1 pounds. Not too shabby for a 4 month old.
Just as I did last week, we went to Petco after the vet appointment was finished. Where I walked around with just her last week, this week I added a cart. So not only was she working on dealing with all the new sights, sounds, smells, people and things, but she was having to deal with a big shopping cart. That took some doing on her part. Along the way I had stopped to allow her time to figure out how to get untangled and this man came up and wanted to know if he could pet her. So I had my first chance to start the “go say hello” command. What a bust!!! She took one look at him, announced he was just a plain ordinary human and most definitely NOT interesting. Mind you she could have cared less if he petted her or walked on by. It was one in the same as far as she was concerned. Actually it was pretty funny.
He says, “Pretty pup, is it ok if I pet her.”
I say to him, “sure, she is here to learn stuff.”
Then I say to Sanity, “go say hello as I use the place signal.”
She looked up at me, looked at my hand, walked up to the guy, took one sniff and then rather pointedly turned her back and headed for the display she had her eye on to begin with. The look on the poor guy’s face, well all I could do was say, “sorry, but you just aren’t very high up on her interesting things list.”
He seemed truly surprised that she wasn’t interested in him since and here I quote, “I have two dogs of my own and I was sure she would be interested in smelling them.” I wanted to say, “huh?” But I assured him that she meant no disrespect, it was just that he was no way near as interesting as the other stuff around us.
She really give it her all, cause by the time we got home she was pooped and actually headed for the bedroom and her bed. Will do one more retrieve session before we call it a day. That will make 20 more reps with my placing her in a sit/stay, opening her mouth, placing the dumbbell carefully, gently caging her jaws closed while I praise. I suspect other a bored look she will continue to go with the flow.
Note to self: Must try and take a few pictures tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Well today was the day, meaning I started teaching the formal retrieve today. Ten times, in two different sessions I placed the dumbbell in Sanity’s mouth with the command to “fetch”. While it rested in her mouth I stroked her head and softly told her what a good girl she was. She just acted as if this was another one of my strange ideas, but to make me happy she was willing to go with the program.
That tiny bit of retrieve work was all I had a chance to do and by evening I was dealing with a pup about to crawl out of her skin. Not enough activity to suit her tastes, that is for sure.
Teething is now a major issue and she is of the opinion that if it isn’t moving it is worth chewing on. If it is moving, then it needs to be stopped and chewed. I knew this was coming and out came a brand new serious chewing bone. Talk about grateful, she all but smiled as she settled down for some truly serious chewing.
Monday, August 29, 2005
What a totally strange day this was, just seemed as if no one could get anything right. The dogs all wandered around here like so many lost souls and other than some half-hearted digging in a forbidden area of the yard they pretty much slept all day. All my regularly scheduled students had to cancel for one reason or another and then came evening and the Monday evening class.
First hardly anyone showed up and those that did just couldn’t seem to keep their feet, hands and mouths in sync. Then I kept on calling out the wrong commands, not that it mattered all that much since hardly anyone was doing what I was calling anyway.
The one bright thing that happened was Sanity. After watching very closely for the past couple of weeks she figured out that the gloves were special and so decided to volunteer to fetch them to me. Never mind the fact they were someone else’s gloves and it wasn’t time for the glove exercise anyway. I called her, she came strutting up to me, proud as proud could be. The glove hanging from her mouth viewed as a major accomplishment. I told her to sit and she didn’t just sit, she sat straight and tall, back straight and eyes all a sparkle. “Good girl. Clever girl. Give.” With some reluctance she gave up the glove, accepted some more praise and before I could say “boo” she was off to retrieve? steal? a metal article from the pile being worked by another dog.
“Oh shoot, Sanity come. Good girl, what a good girl you are. Now out of the ring with you. Your turn will come soon enough.”
Meanwhile, I really am getting the message and tomorrow we will begin the formal, working retrieve.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Not really much of anything to write about since we take the day off from all formal training. Just wish I could manage the day off for myself, but someone has to do the cleaning and the feeding and the picking up. Sanity spent most of the day sleeping or chewing on this toy or that bone.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
I started Sanity on canned pumpkin this morning to help give her some relief until we can get to the Vet. All the signs make me pretty positive that she has managed to pick up coccydisosis and needs to be on Albon for a time. Meanwhile, it is really knocking her for a loop. She managed one lesson and then headed back to the office to go back to bed.
I’m sure she was just as tired as I was since she had been asking to go out about every 4 hours all last evening and all night. This brings me to the business of housebreaking and what I really feel about it. I would rather put a working retrieve on a 150 killer dog than deal with the business of housebreaking a puppy. I keep hearing about how easy it is and I find it to be a royal pain. My solution is to keep them crated in the house or outside until they are staying clean and dry all night in the crate. The next step is to give the run of my office and just have screaming fits when they don’t go out the door, off the porch, down the ramp and across the parking lot to go. Once that seems to be working they get the hallway and bathroom added to the area they are responsible for keeping clean. Again, at some point I end up having “fits”. Next comes the very messy dining room and then the kitchen and finally the breakfast room off the kitchen. Each room added causes the same fits at least once. Last to be added is the living room and finally The Bedroom. By the time they have made it to The Bedroom they are pretty good about heading for that open door and the great outside.
The big step at four months or there abouts is getting to move into The Bedroom to sleep. Not loose mind you, but bench chained to the leg of the bed. A small dog bed and a special bed time toy are provided and pup, in this case Sanity, moves way up in the world. Being allowed in The Bedroom is a real privilege and all the dogs know and understand that it is an honor to be invited in. All this leads up to what happened during the night. Every single time Sanity needed to go out because of her diarrhea she was quick to give soft little whines and whimpers to let me know that she needed to go out. Each and every single time I made darn sure to get up, unhook the chain and go with her at least as far as the door. It rained all night and as anyone who knows Dobes knows, rain should never touch a Dobe body. Even so, without any help on my part, she trotted young self outside, across the parking lot and into the grass/dirt/gravel on the other side before letting fly. Mind you, I still don’t consider her to be fully housebroken, but she is definitely on her way.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Later in the day I started seeing some very nasty looking and smelling diarrhea around the yard. Humm...need to keep a close eye on everyone and figure out who is in trouble. First it is the culprit I suspected, to wit an older Dobe pup (8 months old to be exact) who has had a problem with diarrhea off and on all summer. I keep on saying there is something not right about her, but don't seem to be having much success in getting owner to listen. Then I found some diarrhea in spots where I know Sanity likes to go. Oh no!
Sure enough between dinner and bedtime she had to go out 3 times and each time it was that nasty stuff. You know it is bad when she is willing to trot right down that ramp, ignore the rain and do what she needs to do. She went to bed early and pretty much only got up to go potty. I will take a good look at the situation in the morning.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
When evening came around we headed off for class. Knowing that she was still pretty tired we did the group stays and then spent most of the rest of the class sleeping. She is holding a 3 minute sit/stay with me 6' away and while she still needs help on the down position itself she is holding a 5 minute stay with me 6' away. Course, since she fell asleep during the exercise I'm not sure it counts.
Toward the end of the class she woke up and we started fooling around with the play retrieve. Her friend Lilly was there and while she had also been asleep, Lilly did wake up to join in the fun. The two pups took turns running out to get one of those tiny tennis balls with the fake fur tails. And then class was over and we headed home.
At home another step was taken. Sanity moved out of the crate in the dining room and into a bed on the floor beside my bed. So she is now official as she has started sleeping in The Bedroom. That is a major step and I swear she knows it. Besides which, she goes to bed at night way too tired to wake up and get into any trouble. Tired pups are always good pups.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
We are practicing doing a down/stay under my chair. Now that means she is having to learn to sit with her back to me and positioned between my legs and then do a down and let me slide her back until she is under the chair. As time goes on she will learn how to creep backwards under the chair without my help. She is getting to practice her "place" command by getting up on the scales on command and then holding a sit so we check her weight. She is up to 35 pounds now and not an ounce of it is fat.
Since I didn't have to rush home to teach a lesson, we took the opportunity to stop and shop at PetCo. This was Sanity's first visit. What a hoot. I do love the first shopping trip with a new pup. It always tells me so much about their character and how they are more than likely to grow out. In this case, Sanity hopped out of the car, trotted pretty much in heel position right through the door and then stopped dead in her tracks.
The eyes grew very large. The nose was going a mile a minute. The ears were standing as tall as she could stretch them and swiveling in two different directions at once. After pausing for a couple of minutes to allow her to gather her self, we started off on a tour of the entire store. Aisle by aisle we worked our way around the animal side. She needed to sniff, touch, taste just about everything within reach. Towards the end of the trip all took her down the rawhide chew aisle and let her pick a chew just for herself. The deal was, if she was to have said chew for herself she was going to have to carry it to the check out counter, give it up while I paid for it and then carry it all the way to the car. Trust me, that was really hard work.
The chew stayed in her mouth and she managed to carry it about 10 steps and then she just had to stop and take a bite. Then we managed maybe 20 steps and the drool coming from the sides of her mouth caused her to drop the chew and after licking her lips she had to take another bite. In this slow fashion we worked our way to the check out counter. The chew was greatly reduced in size by the time it made its way to the counter. After paying it went back to Sanity who was then faced with the struggle to get it to the car. Again, it was walk about 15 to 20 steps, stop to put chew down, lick lips, take a bite, pick chew back up and start walking again. By the time we finally got home the chew was long gone and I had a pup who was too tired to do anything other than go to bed for the rest of the afternoon.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
What is it? Both pups check out a rubber ball in the pool.
Check out the different styles. Lilly the Golden steps right in the water. Sanity, the rather picky Dobe manages to use her longer legs and long neck complete with long nose to great advatage and thereby stay OUT of the water.
Lilly now has all four feet in the water and is moving in on the ball. However, Sanity has managed to get her teeth in in without ever stepping foot in water.
Backing up a step or two, Lilly tries to paw the ball out of the water. Sanity is still certain that teeth are the answer.
Almost looks like the fearless water dog will win out over the serious land dog.
In the end the ball makes it out of the pool and the two go off in search of other things to do.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
The spot of fungus or whatever it is on the side of her muzzle appears to be responding to the medication and ointment so I remain hopeful that once cleared up, she will have some defenses again getting it again. I am pretty sure it is something that lives in the soil here. With all the serious excavation work she has been doing it is no wonder she finally managed to stick her nose into something she shouldn't.
8 a.m. and the Bulldog arrived for a lesson. Sanity was most definitely up to demo'ing the beginning of the down and the showed off her sit/stay all in the interest of helping out. Last on the list of new things was the figure 8 followed by the finish. Both were new for Sanity and both she managed to pull off as if she had already been doing them for months. The Bulldog was not so graceful or clever.
9 a.m. was a lecture lesson with no need for any demo'ing so Sanity practiced building her skills in patience. Bench chained to the end of the glider she in a moment of boredom made the mistake of chewing on the arm. ZZZZZZZ...The arm bit her. No more arm chewing on that glider.
10 a.m. and time to help teach come with great abandon from long distances at high speed, how to sit and just exactly what that position on the left side is called. Her thoughts about how slow and scared the Beagle was were pretty funny. However, I have been sworn to silence on the subject.
11 a.m. brings litter sister Leda for a lesson. There is about a 3 minute wild hello as the two greet each other, then Sanity settles down by my side, curls up and goes to sleep. Leda is crushed and looks around hoping to see someone else to engage in play. It doesn't happen since everyone is busy with something. After a time Leda finally takes the hint and settles down by her owner's left side. A second Dobe, one who is about 10 months old joins the group and he too has some difficulty settling down. All the while Sanity is busy catching a quick nap and showing the other two just how and what needs to be done. They both eventually get the message.
We plan out the day's lesson. A lesson that will become the foundation for the coming week's homework. Because Sanity and Leda are so young the goal is not so much to "train" them as it is to teach them how to learn, guiding and molding in behaviors that will serve them well in the months and years to come.
It turns out that both Leda and Chance are not up to level on several of the previously introduced exercises, so the decision is made to give some things an additional week's worth of practice before moving on. One thing can not be put off any longer and that is the down. Leda and Chance are both needing the lesson in subordination that is taught by placing the dog in a down position.
Sanity, with much grace and poise folded easily and gently into a down. Best believe my thank you was from the depth of my soul, since by this point in the morning my knees and back are really hating every single move I have to make. So Sanity is already covering up for my stiff, creaky joints. Then came Leda. No way was she having any of it. Put an arm over her shoulders and reach for her front legs and she squirted out the other side. After the third try, I could see that things were starting to spiral down into the black hole. This being the case, rather than let things get any worse I stepped in and had some pretty strong words to say to Leda. Once it became clear that acting like a jackass was not a welcome behavior the down became easy for her as well.
Sanity watched both Leda and Chance practice and then it was her turn again. This time after she let me place her in the down position she decided to roll over on her side and do a "dead dog". I love it. Best believe I was quick to name it and praise since I have all sorts of plans for the dead dog position.
After each pup had done several repeats a short rest was called and then we worked on the sit/stay. Both Leda and Chance need lots more work at the close distances before they move on. Another rest and it was time to play show dog. Off come the training collars, on go the show collars and out come the treats. Today we practiced gaiting in a straight line, complete with courtesy turn before the "judge" and a free stack at the return. Sanity was a little puzzled by my strange way of moving and though at first it meant she should leap and bound about. After a couple of trys she got things sorted out and started to really prance. Free stacking is coming along really well. Leda needs more work, but she is coming along as well.
I think at this point it is important to note that not one single session lasts more than a total of 10 minutes and during that time both pups or all three pups are taking turns working. At this age, short is best.
All lessons over all the dogs were free to play or dig, or chase or sleep. Sanity lasted in the play/chase game for a short time and 1 p.m. just up and went inside to bed. With Sanity gone the other decided to leave as well. Thus ended the busy part of our Saturday.
The rest of the afternoon was spent napping in a bed in the living room, followed by dinner and right now she is resting under the desk while it write this. Soon it will be off to bed for the both of us.
We are approaching the one month mark and Sanity will be 4 months old on the 28th. At this point she is running with the big dogs, doing her level best to be the yard boss and not doing a half bad job at that. Any time I hear her shrill puppy bark I know I need to check out what is going on, because sure enough two of the older dogs will be doing something they shouldn't. Yes, I do believe I have a new yard boss in training here.
As for what else she is able to do, well at this point she is about 99% reliable on come. Sit is at about 50%, place is 99% at 6 feet, she is starting to stand on command and is actually holding still for 15 seconds. Her play retrieve is really coming along, although she is only good for 2 to 3 short 20' retrieves before she is off to do something else.
Acting as the demo puppy for the morning lessons seems to please her and she is most likely getting as much of her training in that manner as anything else. Leading to play sessions. In watching her very closely I really don't see any play at all. To me it appears as if each activity she engages in is very purposeful and all geared toward work. After watching how Wrap greets the day care dogs as they arrive, as of this morning darn if Sanity wasn't trying to do exactly the same thing. She really isn't tall enough nor does she have the physical presence to pull it off, but with Wrap as her back-up she sure is giving it her best attempt. Oh, and she is succeeding in that the other dogs, all much older, are starting to include her in their activities rather than telling her to "get lost".
She is not the least bit interested in playing with any of the other puppies in her age range. Seems to see them as "things good to practice on". Interesting how it is playing out. She sure does have a strong, dominate personality without being unpleasant or nasty or even overtly pushy about it. I had almost forgotten just how much that thing called "presence" is either there or it isn't. If there, it is apparent from the very beginning, it not then you will never be able to put it there. I just hope I can manage to be a good enough trainer to get her raised to adulthood without too many goofs.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
And now on to the pictures.
This is a test. How many dogs do you see in this picture? And where's my Sanity?
In this next one you get to see Apollo and Sanity conferring about some secret or another and not letting me in on it.
Calling the pack to work as a group.
The one thing I think I need to note here is that the only dog in any of these pictures that belongs to me is Sanity.
Monday, August 08, 2005
I have a full house and by the time the last dog checked in this morning there were 17, super active, large dogs literally buzzing around the yard with Miss Sanity in hot pursuit. Nice for her to get exercise. Bad for her when it came time to do some training. The 10 a.m. lesson started with a pup way too tired to be of any use. This meant no training for her. Bad owner. She isn't anyways near able to help out with the 11 a.m. student and by 12 noon she was still too tired to do much.
So I figured I'd just get in some training time in conjunction with the Monday evening class. It was just not to be. The rain rolled in and the class had to be cancelled. Ah well, Sanity doesn't seem to mind and is fast asleep. Tomorrow is another day.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
To bring things up to date, Sanity now has a wonderful recall. She will actually fight to get past all sort of distractions, from other dogs intent on stopping her to a sea of legs all belonging to strangers. Food offered, toys tossed, nothing stops her head-long flight as arrow straight as a 14 week old pup is capable of, she hurdles in my direction once she hears the magic words "Sanity, Come."
Come is understood to mean find my toes and look at my face. Yesterday while demonstrating the location of come, Sanity unerringly aligned herself with her large, front puppy toes touching my toes and her rocking back into a sit so she could see my smile. Twice students ended up saying, "Oh, I didn't realize THAT was what come meant."
It is sometimes so hard to not respond with, "What? You mean you thought your dog was supposed to fly to the moon when you said come?"
I actually started teaching the sit last Saturday. At this point she will sit every single time as long as she is: a) no more than 4 feet from me; and b) she isn't over tired. (Note to self: Don't expect even 50% compliance when she is helping out with the third lesson of the morning.)
Last Monday (8/1) she was introduced to the placeboard and demonstrated the beginning of a place command. By Saturday (8/6) she was not only demonstrated the beginning stages of the place command, but had moved on to demonstrating the change from placeboard to negative space and leaving handler's side to travel 4' to the negative space when the "Place" command is given. Staying in said space for more than a couple of minutes or so is still in the works.
Yesterday, (8/6) was the day I started introducing the stand. Of course, this also gives me a chance to work on heel and sit with the addition of the "Exercise Finished" movements. It has been some time since I last taught a pup to do a formal stand. I am finding that my back may not be up to it, so looks as if I will be taking a side road at this point. I will continue to place her in a stand each day. I just don't plan on focusing on it the way I have in the past.
Instead I will add the baiting and free-stack training that will give me a pup/young dog who looks good in the show ring and at the same time will still learn the fundamentals of the stand enough so that when the time is right I will be able to turn that just for pretty stand into a useful working stand and brace.
Choices. The door is standing open. The yard is full of boarders all doing all sorts of interesting things. Where does Sanity chose to be? Stretched out on the floor right beside me. I get up to go do something in another room and she gets up and trots along behind me. This sort of interest is at once both flattering and worrisome. Will I have enough foresight to make sure she has no chance to be come over-dependent on me?
Now I am back at the computer typing away. She is laying on top of my feet. Squeak! Crackle! Crunch! Under the desk while the Sanity puppy body is resting comfortably on top of my feet the Sanity mouth, full of sharp puppy teeth is testing out the possibilities of chewing on a portfolio laying on the floor.
Almost forgot the Thursday evening classes.
The first Thursday class after only having been with me a week was not only educational for her but also for the entire class. I used the time before the class started to just stroll around the training room and give her a chance to check the place out. Every so often I would *T* and simultaneously say "Sanity, Come". This would be followed with smiles, voice praise and some small guidance via the use of the longe line to help her come to me. Since I wasn't actually teaching the class it meant I was able to sort of play around with her along the edges. She was the distraction for all the other dogs during the stays. She chased and generally got in the way of the others during the time recalls were being practiced. Finally she helped me demonstrate how you can "hide" in a crowd and teach a puppy to actively seek you out by checking each and every single person until they find you. She went home a very tired pup.
The second Thursday it was my turn to teach and so Sanity ended up tied to my waist while I taught. She helped demo the start of the distance sit command and showed off what her new recall now looks like. It's a good thing she doesn't weigh very much yet, because she wants to travel in a straight line when responding to my call. This means she will crash into or run over anything that gets in her way. Sure does make my lecture on straight line training take on a new meaning to most of the students present.
And least I forget, she thinks she is without a doubt quite the loveliest Doberman pup in the world. How does she know? The classroom training floor has one wall covered with mirrors. Sanity discovered the pup in the mirror and didn't really want to do much of anything other than preen and pose in front of that image. Again she went home very tired.
So in the two weeks since she first arrived she has learned to come and to see me as a person of great interest. She is learning the rules of the yard and the house and how to move around and about a great number of dogs, all sizes, all ages and some with most unpleasant temperaments.
For days I tried to find something that would interest her in a play retrieve game with me. No luck. Now I know she was play retrieving before she got here, so it is just a matter of my finding the right item. With that in mind, I ordered a few toys when I had to place an order for some other kennel supplies. Yeah! I guessed right and now I am able to get at least 3 or 4 nice retrieves each evening. That is all I am asking for at this time. Just enough to keep the retrieve "brain pathway" open and ready for learning when the time comes for more serious training.
What were the toys? See the pictures.