October 31, 2008

Age Progression Photos

If you are looking for the heeling videos, scroll down on this page.

I weighed him at the pet store today and, just one day past his 13th week, the scale says he's 20.2 lbs and 16.5" tall! Coyote's height card says 18" so he's quickly catching up to him!

Happy Halloween!! We're staying home and don't expect any visitors, though he did handle the UPS guy's visit pretty well :-)

October 30, 2008

photos- 13 weeks

He's almost as tall as Coyote now!

The Herding group... (Dazzle, Buster in the center and Coyote)

Playing tug with Coyote. Their first real play session. It sounded fierce, but was play. I'm starting to see some challenges between Dazzle and Coyote though. Dazzle tried to get in my lap last night because he saw that Coyote wanted to get up there. I let Coyote get up with me. As long as Coyote sees I support him, I think fights will be minimal. But Dazzle loses his "puppy license" this month, so we'll see how things go when his hormones kick in.
What BIG paws you have...

His favorite play position...

He's definitely taller than Bear now. You can see by their shadows he isn't very far away from Bear.

13 weeks profile shot...

Videos- Heeling/Weaves 13 wks

Dazzle turned 13 weeks old today! We've been doing some training at meal times, but I've mostly been catching up on the stuff that needes to get done around here since I was away all of last week.

Here is a video I took today that shows how far his heeling has come in just 3 weeks. Actually, it's been this good for almost 2 weeks, but I haven't had a chance to video it. He has gotten heeling practice in just about every location we have been in, so it has a REALLY strong reward history and he LOVES heel position! I think it will actually be hard to get him to "front" :-)

This was taken in the back yard on the patio and I used the pipes as guides to be sure I wasn't "cheating" on the turns. My footwork, hips and shoulders aren't consistent though- I need to practice that.

Below is a video of his weave pole training. He's been doing weaves since he was 9.5 weeks old, so they are fairly solid. I use chicken wire guides so he CAN'T make mistakes. I did this with Coyote as a pup and his weaves are rock solid (& he seeks out weaves on an agility course.) At camp last year, he did the 60 weave pole challenge on the first try without having been through weave poles for a few years! I think it really helps the dog learn the pattern and keeps them going regardless of what the handler might be doing. You can see on the last pass that he's actually leading and gets to the end before I do. He's also bouncing, which will help his speed and rhythm as he gets taller. Hopefully as his legs get longer, he will switch to "paddling" through them. They are set at 20" apart (standard width.)

Video- Heeling at 10 weeks

I thought I had uploaded this one, but didn't see it on the blog. I'll need to do a new one because his heeling has gotten MUCH better! He was only 10 weeks old when this was filmed.

October 29, 2008


Lets hope my new (replacement) video camera uploads faster than the last one...

This is how Dazzle currently does stairs. I wanted to be sure to get it on video because I'm assuming he won't take them this way when his legs get longer :-)

This is video from the horse park. We were by the Dressage fields and he was watching and relaxing by the warm-up area. Near the end, a gas powered golf cart pulls up and he barely notices.

This was at a GSD Sch event at the Horse Park- Dazzle met a Dutch Shepherd puppy that was just 2 weeks older than him. They played for a long time! In this clip, it looks like he's always on the reciving end, but they did trade positions during the play.

This was at the same event as above. Dazzle met this young GSD handler and played for a bit. You can hear some of the chaos that was being created by the folks running around the conformation ring about 20' away trying to get their dog's attention (whistles, yelling, horns, etc.)

October 28, 2008

Day 9- Cleveland to home

Slept in a bit, Dazzle played all morning. Dad took him outside with two toys and Dazzle quickly taught him to fetch! LOL While waiting for the others to wake up we worked on sit, down, stand and eye contact.

After lunch, the drive home was uneventful but a bit rainy and cold. All the dogs seemed happy to see us, though a bit later Coyote had to give the very excited Dazzle a lesson in watching where he was running. He played till about 7 by himself and with Buster and Bear then I put him in his big crate in the office so I could catch up on email. He played quietly then went to sleep.

Day 8- another day in Cleveland

Slept till 8. My parents were getting ready for an open house at the big model home. Daz and I putzed around till grandma got up and ate breakfast. Then we made pierogi from scratch- YUM! After lunch and clean-up, we joined mom and dad at the open house. Dazzle slept in his crate in the van for awhile.

After the couple that was viewing the house had gone, I took Dazzle out for a walk around the very nice neighborhood- beautiful homes! Thankfully I brought an umbrella because it started to rain heavily when we were about as far from the house on our loop walk as possible. Dazzle didn't seem to mind other than occasional head shaking when rain got in his ears. I let him drag the leash and practiced recalls while he ran ahead and back and chased after the blowing leaves.

I dried him off and took him inside till we were ready to go. He went down the sprial staircase the same way he goes down the regular steps at my parents house- like Peppy LePew- boing, boing, boing. I got that on video, just need time to format and upload it. He did think that the adhesive plastic floor protection over the carpets felt funny under his feet. He sped up and raced around after he stepped on it, but after awhile he ignored it.

Back home he played and watched and got under foot as dinner was being prepared. My brother and his family (3 boys under nine years old and 1 infant girl) joined us for dinner. Dazzle played and napped in his crate right in the main area of the house with all the kiddie chaos. He watched them and wagged his tail when they got close or looked at him, but then he went to sleep, seemingly oblivious to the noise and activity level.

He played for awhile after they left then I put him back in the crate for a little bit while I worked on an important project in the office. When I came back in the room he was asleep. I thought that looked like a good plan so after a quick trip outside, we went to bed.

Day 7- Cleveland

Started the day just after 7am because my bladder wouldn't let me sleep and once I was up, so was Dazzle and he had to go downstairs to go out. So I got dressed and we started our day. I knew he wouldn't play quietly, just his running was loud, so we went for a pre-dawn walk. I can't recall the last time I did that, probably back when I was riding horses (15 years ago?) I didn't bother holding the leash because most other people were smart and still in BED! It was chilly, but not bad. As the sun came up, more people were out (joggers, lady with a mop on a leash, people getting in their cars to drive who knows where on a Saturday morning, etc.) Dazz just watched them go by.

When we got back, my dad was awake and we had breakfast while Dazzle played. Dazz and I took a short nap on the couch and then the whole family went to a consignment bazzar that was held to raise money for the PTA. Lots of clothes, kid's stuff and household stuff. Decent stuff since it was a nice area.

We had lunch at home and after lunch dad took me to see his latest house. Dazzle rode by himself in the back seat of the extended cab truck in his seatbelt and went to sleep stretched out on the seat. I had been there once before back when the floors were not even poured yet and it was now just about ready for final inspection. Really beautiful old world feel with dark red wood, wide trim, wide crown molding and green color scheme. The new owners were there and really liked Dazzle (& it's clear they LOVE their new house!)

When we got back home, dad took Dazzle outside to play in the yard while I got cleaned up for dinner. Daz stayed home while we went out to eat with about 19 people to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. About half adults and half kids under 12. Thankfully they put us in a separate room near the back because the noise level was definitely high!

I got back about 6:30 and Dazzle was barking. But I don't know if it he had just started when he heard the garage door going up. I think that was the case because he had lots of energy and stayed awake till 11:30pm as though he had gotten a good nap. I didn't leave anything on to make noise so I know he heard the door.

He played and watched and "helped" while we prepared some of the food for the get-together tomorrow. A combo of several birthdays- my brother, his wife, their daughter and mine (which they missed last July). I got to bed about midnight.

Day 6- Albany to Cleveland

Slept in till 8:30 and was on the road by 10. We took a more scenic route home for part of the way (Rt. 20 instead of I-90) and took a short detour to the Historic Fort Museum.

The Fall colors were just past their prime, but still really beautiful.

Dazzle in front of the Fort Museum which was actually an old church that had been fortified during the war.

He first met a person working there in period clothes. He was really cranked up and wanted to eat and tug on this guys clothes, so I picked him up so he could say hi without damage.
Shortly after the above greeting, a group of kids came out of one of the buildings where they were getting a tour. Given his amped up state and the excitement level of the kids, I knew I had to hold him to prevent excited grabby teeth ripping someone's clothes or skin. His tail was going a mile a minute and he still managed to grab a kid's hair and play tug right after the photo.

This is the field behind the historic buildings that had been brought to the site. It was his first opportunity all week to run around (dragging his leash) and play at whatever speed he chose. He really enjoyed it (and needed it!) He was much more settled after his run.

He especially loved running and hopping though the taller grass- Mali-bunny!

Diving and rolling in the grass...

I realized he was one day past his 12th week, so I took a few profile photos. He is growing SO FAST! I swear you can almost see him growing if you watch closely.

We made a few stops at the combo restaurant/gas station places along I-90 for bathroom breaks, leg stretching and bordom busting. We got to my parents at 7:30pm. A LONG day! Dazzle was getting antsy and bored about 7pm and played in the house till 10pm. It was raining and dark, so he only went out for potty breaks.

Day 5- NJ back to Albany

Woke up late and managed to get dressed, get the pup out, feed him, pack-up my room and load it in the van in just 30 minutes! Drove from NJ to Albany and got back in the hotel there just in time to get changed, walk Dazz for about 15 minutes and go to my presentation. Even though he slept through the night, and slept most of the way on the drive, he still slept or played quietly through my presentation.

After I was done speaking, we went back to the hotel where I changed and ate a snack then we went back out. He was pretty cranked up by that point and was NOT interested in settling or sleeping. So we found a nearby Petco to look for a new leash (note to self- pack extra leashes!) We walked around the store till he was able to settle a bit. He met some mice through the glass of their tank and was a bit spooked at first, but then sat and watched them for several minutes. Petco's prices for leashes were too high so I used the GPS to find a Wal-mart. I got a leash and more clean-up bags. Then we went to the grocery store for more string cheese treats. By that time, I was hungry for dinner so we went to Burger King. It wasn't really "fast food" and he did great with the long wait in line. He settled next to me in the booth and lay down quietly while I ate.

Back at the hotel he played and trained till about 9:30. We worked on cue discrimination for sit, down and stand. He seemed to be getting it by the time I ran out of cheese.

Day 4- Manhatten

I woke up at 6:15 and just knew I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep. Dazzle didn't even stir till I put my shoes on even though he knew I was getting dressed. We took a walk around the block by the hotel and he handled the sights and sounds well: big buses going right by us, 747 airplanes flying right over us about to land at the Newark airport just behind the hotel, a jackhammer in the adjacent lot and several big rigs going by. I noticed there was a big mall within walking distance I somehow missed seeing on the drive in last night, but we didn't go over there. It was cold and windy, but we just kept going around the block.

I again kept him awake from 6:30 till 11:30 when I left. He had to stay at the hotel when I went to speak in Manhatten. The trip over was fine, I was amazed my GPS kept a signal through the holland tunnel under the river! But it was kind of spooky seeing my progress under the water. Finding a parking place was a 15 minute challenge. The trip home was a bit longer than planned because I had parking in a garage where the attendant parks and retrieves your car for you. So when he brought my van out, I HAD to get out of the way of the cars behind me. Of course there was no where to stop once I was out of the garage and my GPS was taking a long time to get a signal (go figure- it can keep the signal underground, but not get one when sky is visible?!)

I was near Wall Street and thought I knew which way was north, but I ended up at the point. So THEN I knew which way was north, or so I thought. The GPS wasn't much help because when it did have a signal, it would tell me to turn on streets that weren't there and it kept losing it's signal. I had some printed maps but they weren't much help either. I only got honked at once though and eventually saw a sign for the tunnel and got back on track.

Dazzle did great in the room. I left the loud fan, TV and a sound machine going so I was able to sneak in the room quietly and get my clothes changed before I let him know I was back. He was quietly talking to himself and playing with his toys. He was happy to see me and I carried him to the first floor since it had been just over 5 hours and he peed a river when I put him down on the grass.

I fed him dinner and had originally planned to go back to Manhatten with him. It was only a little over 10 miles, but the trip over there earlier took 30 minutes. Having already delt with the traffic, congestion, cacophony and stress of the big city and knowing it was cold and windy (so sitting at an outdoor cafe as planned wasn't going to be pleasant), I just didn't feel like going back.

So we went to the mall, walked around a bit, then found a place near the middle to sit and watch the foot traffic going by. It was a big, busy mall so there was plenty to watch. He watched for awhile, then lay down and relaxed. He was chewing and tugging on the leash a bit before he decided a nap would be a good idea. What I didn't realize was that he had almost completely chewed through the leash right at the snap! When we got back to the hotel, I let him drag his leash into the room. He immediatly lay down and chewed through it in two seconds while I was getting out of my coat and turning on the TV. I was able to tie it and make it work again though. He played in the room till 10pm.

Day 3- Albany to NJ

His first night in a hotel was great! No problems in my parent's house last night either. When I got up in the morning, I don't think he was ready to wake up yet. He stayed curled up till I put my shoes on and then took him out.

We went to the breakfast area of the hotel and he sat under the table while I ate. He intently watched the lady whose high heels clicked across the hardwood floor but he didn't move or bark. Then we went to the mall again. Much more quiet at this time of the morning (before most stores were open) but he still got loved on by several mall walkers.

Since it wasn't raining as predicted, we found a nature preserve to walk in near a beautiful lake with fall colors in the back ground. I'm glad I took an umbrella though because it did rain while we were out on the short trail. Dazzle wasn't bothered by the rain or the umbrella. The rain didn't last long though.

He was very interested in the many ducks on the lake. I did get some photos I think turned out really nice.

He kept sliding down the bank on his belly...

He tried to chase the ducks that swam fairly close to the shore, but soon found out the vegitation at the edge of the water was NOT solid, but actually leaves and pine needles floating on the water. He only got about half of his front legs wet, but was very surprized! I didn't get that on camera, but you can see the stuff on the water at the edge of the lake in the photo above and below. It really did look like it might be solid, not scummy like it looks in the photo.

Camo puppy...

He liked the tall grass, but did end up with one tick crawling on his fur. There were big signs in the park warning about the ticks, but I thought it had been cold enough in the area to kill them off or send them into hibernation or whatever.

After some time at the park we went back to the hotel so I could get ready. I kept him awake from 7:30am till 11:30 am when I was ready to leave for my presentation. I put him in his crate in the van and he immediately fell asleep. As I had hoped, he was tired enough to sleep in his crate through my whole 3 hour presentation. Then he got loved on by the host and some of the attendees.

We went back to the hotel so I could change out of business attire and I put on my back brace for the 3 hour drive to NJ. I found it really helps on the longer drives since I didn't want to be taking a lot of pain killers. Even though he had a long nap, he slept most of the trip. We got to the hotel around 7pm and he played in the room till 11 pm. Even though we were on the 3rd floor, he did great holding it for the walk/elevator ride downstairs for potty breaks. We played 2 toy fetch and I used a release cue when I knew he was about to let go of the toy. He was having a blast scooting around under the bed and growling quietly. Then he fell asleep under there.

He slept in a completely covered crate in prep for tomorrow.

Day 1 and 2 of our trip

I spent last night unloading the horse show stuff and packing the stuff we needed for the trip to NY. Our trip this morning started with a visit to the big Minges Pumpkin Festival in Harrison. I practiced his heel position (which is really strong now) while we walked through the crowds, large tents, around lots of people and strange noises, etc. He saw and heard lots of new things- he met people of all types/ages, a donkey (nose to nose), some curious piglets (through a fence), a goat, two officers in full uniform who really loved him, balloons tied to kids wrists, kids with painted faces, strollers, steam engine powered corn shuckers (making hissing and popping noises) and even cannon fire! They fire a few different civil war cannons on the hour in the mock civil war encampment. He lifted his head and looked, but otherwise had no reaction to it.

He did great relaxing and stretching out on the cool grass as I stopped to talk to various people or he would greet them briefly and then go right back to heel position.

I had to stop by the bank/store, so Dazzle went in with me. He tried to eat the shopping cart wheels as they were moving, but was easily distracted away from them and stopped trying to do that. He tried to go out the entry door as we passed by it, but I was on my way to the checkout. I should have listened to him because he had a wet accident by the registers. I had clean-up supplies with me and one of the employees gave me more paper towels with an understanding smile on her face.

Then we got on the road to Cleveland. He slept 90% of the way as I had hoped the long morning of walking would do (of course I was stiff as a board when I got out of the van thanks to all that walking.) When we arrived, he greeted everyone with tail going and body wiggling- even for my 91 yr old grandmother who thought he was adorable. He's always done well with greeting by keeping his paws on the floor and if anyone encourages him to put his feet up, I tell them he has to keep his paws on the floor.

After dinner, we went for a walk around the neighborhood by street light. He barked at some people (dark shapes) in the distance but was otherwise happy to tug on the leash and carry it as we went around the block. He found a large pile of shredded leaves and had a great time playing in it!

The next morning he went out on the frost covered grass but didn't show any signs of noticing that it had gotten stiff overnight :-) He really likes the cold, so I'm curious what he will do with the first snow (not that I want to see THAT anytime soon!)

After breakfast and a bit of play we hit the road for a 7 hour drive to Albany NY. He did GREAT! He slept in his seatbelt most of the way and when he was awake, he played quietly with his toys or chewed on a bully stick. We made several potty stops and he was quick with these.

After getting checked into the hotel, we went across the street to a large upscale mall. He was a bit spooked at first by the environment (high cielings, echos, noise, etc.) but quickly relaxed and was doing great heeling with eye contact. I ate dinner in the food court and he sat under the table while I ate and while 2 young kids screamed and yelled as they ran around the food court near us. He would wag his tail and look at them when they got close, but didn't move from his spot under the table where he was getting treats from me. When we were walking around the mall, he was facinated by the view from the second floor and kept stopping to look down at the activity below.

We played again back at the hotel till he was ready to sleep.

catching up on photos

As I started to edit the photos from our trip, I realized there were a few older ones I hadn't posted yet, so here they are...

Dazz greeting some kids at the GSD Sch event at the Horse Park in KY...
Playing with his new friend Bam, the Dutch Shepherd, who was only 2 weeks older than Dazz


Just some of the barns at the horse park, just below where our booth was located. There are just as many barns to the left side of the photo, but out of the view of the camera.
He has just about outgrown this crate. This was in our booth at the horse park with lots of traffic going by (people, horses, dogs, golf carts, trucks, etc.)

Back Home

We're back home and I spent a good deal of time getting caught up on email. Right now it's after midnight so I'm going to put off updating the blog about our travels last week till later today after I have gotten some sleep.

October 18, 2008

Horse Park- LONG

Dazzle rode in a doggie seatbelt on the 2 hour trip to the horse park and did fantastic! He tried to get to my lap a few times and I kept putting him back in his seat. After that, he laid down, chewed on his toys for a bit, then snuggled up to his snuggle puppy and went to sleep. Hopefully he will be that good for the 12 hours in the van on the trip to NY, by way of a stop in Cleveland. I'll have his crate set-up just in case :-)

I went down a day early to get him accustomed to everything before I needed to concentrate on work. When we got to the Horse Park, I parked at the dressage fields. He saw his first horses standing in a group about 15' from where he got out of the van. He was a bit unsure at first, but relaxed quickly and focused on me. I reached into the van to get my jacket when the group of riders decided to walk right by us. It really spooked him to have such huge, strange things come right at him and he started barking. Thankfully the horses ignored him. I moved us away from them as best I could around the van and once the van blocked his view of them, I was able to click him for eye contact. Not the start I had planned on!

Once I had all my stuff (and his) from the van we walked to the nearest bathroom. The stall was dark and he was still on edge from the horses and he refused to walk into the stall with me. I found out clicker training with a very full bladder is HARD! But I managed to get him to come in and be relaxed and he busied himself eating paper off the floor - EEWWW!

After the pit stop, we went away from the many horses at the dressage fields toward the more formal horse park area. There were horses, dogs and people on foot cutting through from the main barns to the dressage area. At first, Dazzle was barking at passing horses and dogs, but by the time we got to the big barns he was much more focused on me and ignoring the creatures passing us. There were nearly as many dogs at the show as horses! So thankfully the horses were not at all bothered by his barking and I kept our distance as much as space allowed between the path and fence.

We walked along "vendor row", did a little browsing while he schmoozed and wiggled his way onto a few laps and we stopped at the booth I'd be working at to say hi. Then we went out to the barns, past several horses and dogs, which he watched but didn't bark at. We went to the big indoor ring, past more vendors in there and met a young playful sheltie he wrestled with for a bit. He ran toward the applause from the crowd, but didn't bark.

I think he tends to rush at and bark at anything that makes him unsure- even though he looks fully confident and shows no signs of fear. So I have been treating his barking as a fear response and training accordingly. So far, it has been working really well and he has learned to accept many things he first barked at.

We went past the farrier and got a piece of hoof for him to chew on. He carried it back to the dressage rings and we sat on the grass while he chewed. I worked on being able to touch him, his mouth, the hoof and remove it to trade for cheese. At first, he wasn't having any part of it and actually growled a few times. I ignored it and tossed some cheese. He had to really work at convincing himself the hoof wouldn't magically dissapear if he let go of it, even though my hand wasn't near him at that point. I pet his head- click-cheese tossed. I pet his cheeks- click- cheese toss. I touched the hoof - click- cheese toss. By this time, I was able to offer cheese in my hand and he would drop the hoof to get it. In just a very short while, he was perfectly happy to let me hold the hoof while he chewed and even let me take it briefly, give him cheese and then give him the chew back. I knew he was content when he moved closer to me and my hand as he chewed instead of trying to move away with it.

After the break, we drove to the other end of the park to visit a big German Shepherd club event/show near the campground. A short distance into the event, we met a young man from GA and his imported Dutch Shepherd pup that was just two weeks older than Dazzle. After a careful introduction, they started playing and wrestling and became best buds. After they played for awhile, and I kept commenting on how I wished I had my camera, I forced a break and went to get it (when will I learn to just carry the darn thing!) While I did that, the dutchie's owner went to use the facilities.

While we were waiting for him to return, Dazzle met and played with several kids. He gave kisses, crawled in their laps, moved from one to the next sharing the love with his tail going the whole time. I did get some photos and video of that, but the cameras are already packed for our next trip tomorrow so I'll upload them when I get back. When Bam, the Dutch pup, came back, they played for awhile more and I got both photos and video.

During the play and greeting the kids, the GSD folks were running around the outside of the conformation rings making all kinds of wierd and crazy noises to try to get the attention of the dogs being judged (to get their ears up and get them to move with more motivation.) They were whistling, honking horns, clapping, yelling, and making other unidentifiable noises as they ran full speed about 15' away from us. Dazzle never even seemed to notice them!

While the pups were playing, one of the vendors gave each of them a new tug toy! They were lovin' them! I spoke with Bam's owner for quite awhile about dog training and it turns out he is a clicker trainer too! I did some practice of Dazzle's heel and stay and we discussed the heel training at length. While we were talking, Dazzle finally fell asleep. It only took 5 1/2 hours!! When we were done talking, I carried him back to the van because he wouldn't move. He went to sleep in my arms almost as soon as I picked him up. I was stopped by a few people on my way out that said "They DO sleep!" and "Wow! I need a photo, I've never seen a Malinois sleep" and one person jokingly accused me of drugging him.

We drove back to the booth where I'd be working (& where I would sleep in my van that night) and I parked in the shade. I got my bedroom set-up in the van, updated his training log book and read a book for awhile while he slept.

After his 3 hour nap I let him chase the fleece on a whip and we went for a short walk on the cross country course with him off leash (no horses allowed on course at that time.) A loose labrador, with owners walking the course, came charging up and Dazzle barked while I did my best to protect his body from any attack since I didn't know how friendly the lab was (he looked rather assertive.) Turns out he was a typical friendly, goofy lab and after a quick investigation of the barking puppy, he took off at the same run as he had approached. Dazzle kept barking and managed to squirm out of my hold. He took off after the lab, barking the whole way. That lasted till he got about 200' away and the lab turned around and came back toward him (still at a run.) Dazzle decided he wasn't really that tough, shut up, tucked his tail and came running back toward me. Unfortunately the lab was much faster than he was and reached him before I could. Thank GOD he only sniffed him when Dazzle realized the lab was going to get to him, rolled on his back (from a full out run) and yelped. After the quick sniff the lab listened when his owners called him- off he went at a run and Dazzle came to me. We continued our walk without incident while I was thanking God that it hadn't turned out badly.

Back at the van, we practiced his wearing of a muzzle (a good thing for all dogs to know.) He did GREAT! He first got treats for sticking his nose into the muzzle. He was doing that so well I clipped it onto him. He sat and ate treats like he wasn't even wearing it. Then I asked him to walk (lured with a treat) and it took a few seconds before he realized that yes, his feet do still work. He took the steps across my lap, got his treat and then pawed at it a bit and rolled a bit in the bed covers, but not frantically and only very briefly. I ignored that and when he stood up I gave him treats again. After that, he was able to walk, sit, get on and off the bed and move all around with no issues or pawing at it. I took it off and stopped feeding treats and put the muzzle on top of the crate. He sat there for a bit, then looked at the muzzle and looked at me. I picked it up and he tried to stuff his nose in it before I could even get it open!

Overnight he slept soundly, dispite my tossing and turning and the van coming on with the heater blowing full blast (cold air at first though) thanks to the remote start. I had a quiet electric heater I usually use for overnight, but it decided that night was a good one to die. I got a new one the next day! I used the remote start several times during the night, but after the first 2 times, he didn't even stir when it came on or went off.

In the morning, which came too early (6:30), we pottied and he got breakfast, then went back in his crate to nap (which he did) till about 8 when I woke him up to walk him and then put him back in the crate with a chew. I found out it takes him 15 minutes to eat a lamb's ear. I'm sure it will take much less time in the future! I did more practice with him letting me touch him and hold the chew and remove it, etc. and he did great.

I moved his crate to the booth area when it had warmed up a bit and he barked at one horse and one dog, but was easily distracted away from them and back to me. After that, he was quiet and played or napped as the world went by. We were right next to a major access road, so there were LOTS of horses, people, dogs, cars, golf carts, mopeds, and diesel trucks going by. There was also music from the show jumping ring, announcers in the various rings and the speakers announcing messages to the folks in the barns, horses vocalizing and kicking their stalls nearby and the sounds of all the stuff going by.

That was pretty much how the rest of the days went too. I got home a bit ago, unloaded the van, then re-loaded it with all the stuff I'll need for the trip to NY. Not sure if I'll have computer access or not, so I might not have updates till I get back.

Stay tuned! I'll try to take some photos and video of him in Manhatten. :-)

October 12, 2008

Busy weekend!

It's been really busy here since Friday. I haven't been on the computer much since Thursday evening. I spent the whole day cleaning the house on Friday to prepare for the troop party. Dazzle didn't get much training other than important lessons like don't chase or eat the broom, mop, vaccum or cleaning rags :-) We were supposed to go to Columbus to do some tracking, but since I didn't get much cleaning done prior to Friday, I had to skip the tracking and finish what needed to get done.

Saturday was the party and Dazzle did REALLY well with all the other dogs! He saw the mix and the GSD pup he met at the art show, as well as meeting a Scotty, two Corgi's, a Husky, a Labradoodle, and two Weimeraners. Also at the party was the two beagle mixes we watch on a regular basis that he already met.

Dazzle chillin' in front, not bothered by any of the other dogs.

Some of the party guests enjoying the shade:Later in the day, Cynic, the young Malinois arrived. Dazzle was a bit overwhelmed by his desire to chase him though Cynic did great with all the other dogs! Dazzle was pretty tired, but fought the urge to sleep till he just couldn't hold his eyes open any longer. I was in the same boat by the time I went to bed.Today, we were up early and Mike watched the boys while Chad and Sarah and I went to the Schutzhund World Championships. We watched a few of the runs, which were impressive, but also did a lot of shopping at the vendors. I got a set of blinds for his training later. The nice thing is how light and portable they are. I'll be able to practice in just about any field large enough and it will be easy to set them up and take them down in the yard when we need to practice or mow the grass.

After Chad and Sarah (& Cynic) went home, we all took a nap. :-) Then I used Dazzle's dinner along with some additional chicken to work on his training. He is doing exceptionally well with understanding the heel position targeting. I started on the little stool, then transfered to a foam mat, then no mat. He was doing the behavior all over the basement! He is SO cute about it too. At one point, he missed my leg and did a full circle backwards in front of me. It was SO hard not to click that!! But I didn't want to confuse him. I know it will be easy enough to get that again later if I want to. I really need to get some video of it. I'm amazed at how fast he has picked up the concept and how aware he is of his back feet!

After working on the heeling, we did several passes through the weaves. He is starting to get a nice "hop" going through them at speed. I think the guides I have set up are really going to help him understand what that obstacle is about. I'm thinking of going through the "world class weaves" stuff with him while the guides are still on (once he is seeking the entry on his own.) He's already going over the A-frame every chance he gets (& through the tunnel.)

After working on the weaves, I put him up on the table (to stop him from working on the heel position, though he almost fell off the table trying it again) so we could work on eye contact with him in front of me (the start of "leave-it" training.) He's doing well with the eye contact too. It's clear his training is going to move really quickly if I can get myself in gear to train him! I've been so busy with other stuff that he's actually been getting his meals in a bowl! But I'll be trying hard to at least get in a little training session at each meal time.

He and Buster are playing really well new, and quite frequently. He's started snapping his jaws at him in frustration when he's not able to get close enough to actually grab him. It's a Malinois thing. After the party, Dazzle was playing with Bear and bit too hard and Bear was yelping, which caused Coyote to start fighting with Bear. No blood, but he must have grabbed him pretty hard because his neck is sore. He hasn't been wanting to play with Dazzle and when Sarah was scratching his neck he whined. I'm sure once his neck isn't so sore, he'll be back to playing with Dazzle. Thankfully he can direct his energy at Buster till then.
Today he went out the dog door, did his thing and came back inside all on his own and without help or prompting!! Yippee! I still praised him through the screen door for pottying outside, but didn't go out with him. He's been coming in on his own since Friday, and would go out if we encouraged or held it open just a crack, but it was very exciting to see him do it all on his own today!
I'll post more when I have time!

October 09, 2008

Did great at meeting

Today I spent most of the day away from home because of a meeting in Indianapolis. 2 hours over there, 2 hour meeting, 2 hours back. Dazzle went with me and did GREAT. I arrived a bit early and we went for a short walk in a busy part of town before going in to the meeting. He chewed on his nylabone for a bit, then slept through the rest of the meeting (after rolling over and getting wraped in his leash.) :-) On the way home, we stopped off to do two tracks. The first one, I had to shorten when I was laying the food because the water dried up too fast. He is starting to sniff the ground more, even when not tracking. I really need to do more work on "Leave it" and I'll be glad when he will fit into the harness I got him for tracking. That way it will be more clear when he is allowed to sniff and when he can't. He knows when there is food on the ground though and is starting to "crab" (walk sideways) because his rear end is going faster than his nose.

When I got home, I focused on house cleaning to get ready for the party on Saturday. So he kept busy while I kept one eye on him and the other on what I was doing. Not easy!

Tomorrow will likely be more of the same. I need to mow the lawn, vaccum, clean the bathrooms, hang the new gate I made Wednesday, etc, etc.

I did get some photos of him today though since he is now 10 weeks old!

Mike's sister and mom came by for a visit and it was a melee at the fence.

Dazzle is playing a lot more with Buster and played for the first time today with Bear. Not that Bear had much choice after Dazzle tackled him! But both were playing nicely. This photo was snapped just before Dazzle took off to get Buster to chase him.

October 08, 2008

Can't load videos

For some reason, the videos I took Sunday and Monday are not loading. They keep getting stuck in the "processing" stage. I waited over an hour and it still wouldn't finish so I guess you just aren't meant to see them. :-( I'll take more of him, no doubt. Hopefully it was just a "bad batch" or something?

Today has been a lazy rainy day. He played inside most of the morning after taking a long time to finally empty himself in the drizzle. We worked on his training in the basement to feed him his lunch, but didn't bother with the camera. We worked on heeling (both moving and stationary "bowl" work- which he did REALLY well with.) I'm amazed at how much he is aware of his back feet! We also went through the weaves several more times. He was actually starting to bounce back and forth a bit on his way through! He chose to go through the tunnel a few times. He likes to play in it. And went over the A-frame practicing the "two on/ two off" at the end. Finally we did some recall/fronts and a few retrieves. Then I was out of chicken :-)

I noticed today he is getting taller and leaner. When he arrived last week, he was smaller than Bear, now he is just a tiny bit taller than him! He had gained a full pound in one week based on the vet's scale and he's eating a lot! I have taken him off the Orijen and put him on Nature's Variety Raw- I chose Rabbit for this bag. He seems to be doing well on it. He's eating 3 medallions in the morning and 3 for dinner with lots of cooked chicken for lunch as training treats.

October 07, 2008

more videos

Dazzle is trying to play with the other dogs more each day. In this clip, he is joining in on a race around the yard. The beagle mix (Lilly) and Cattle Dog mix (Gracie) are two dogs we were watching for the weekend. They are like family.

Yard Race:

Dazzle found a way to play with Buster so he can't get to him. :-)

Wrestling with the cardboard box- he is SO funny! He likes to try to "combine" toys- playing with two at once.

Hard to keep up!

Dazzle is sleeping a LOT less now, so it's hard to keep up with the stuff I need to do during his naps. :-) He got into major "zoom mode" last night and was going till 1am! I can feel the effects of getting less sleep in my moodiness. Of course Mike says he doesn't notice because I'm always moody! But that's not the word he used. LOL

Yesterday evening, I got some of his training on video but video editing and uploading takes forever! I'll get them up as soon as I can. I got some of his "zoom mode" too where he was wrestling with a cardboard box. It's REALLY funny! He has started a new game where he takes a toy and runs from the dining room, past me and into the laundry room and back. He slows down when he gets near me as though to "tease" and I scritch his butt as he goes by saying "I'm gonna get ya!" He will also bring me the toy when I call him, so I'm not too worried about teaching him to play "keep away." All my dogs do it, but will stop and bring the toy when told.

He's initiating play with the other dogs more often. Buster is still the one returning play the most, though Bear was in zoom mode trying hard to get Dazzle to chase him last night while we were outside and it was so out of character from what Dazzle has seen of him he wasn't sure what to make of it.

Our vet appointment went well and he's now in chiropractic alignment. He wasn't quite sure what to make of all the handling and manipulating by the vet but handled it well. I'm starting to work on restraints and mouth work with him using the clicker and it's going really well.

This morning I had to get an oil change, so of course he went with me. We played out in the parking lot while the sounds of compressors, impact wrenches and banging/clanging went on in the back ground. He stopped a few times to watch and listen, but mostly ignored it and wanted to eat pebbles he found on the ground. He really seems to like to carry little pebbles around. Thankfully, as far as I can tell, he doesn't eat them (or the sticks, leaves, nuts, and whatever else he finds to pick up and carry.) I don't think teaching him a retrieve will be an issue!

After the oil change, we went to Bass Pro shop and wandered around in there for awhile. He rode his first elevator (twice) and didn't seem to even notice it was moving or that the scenery had changed when the doors opened. :-) He is walking really well on the leash connected to his harness. He does occasionally pull though and when I tried to have the leash attached to his collar, he did a lot of coughing. So it has stayed attached to his harness. I actually WANT him to pull in the harness and I'll teach him to walk without pulling using Shirley Chong's method or Brenda Aloff's method of moving with pressure on the collar to teach him not to pull when the leash is attached to the collar.

When we got home, we both took a nap out back in the shade of the privacy fence. I took a pillow out to the Adirondack chair and Dazzle slept under the chair. All the other dogs came out to nap as well. Taking advantage of the nice temperatures while I can!

I brought in one of the kid's toys Chad and Sarah gave him (a triangle frame with cloth on two sides that has holes for some sort of tossing game) and he played and played with it. He was wrestling with it, dragging it around, rolling it on top of him and putting his body through as many of the openings as possible, usually all at once. I got a short video I'll share at some point. He was also chewing on it and eventually shredded it to the point that I had to remove the cloth. He did have one last victory lap around the house with just the cloth flying behind him though! The plastic frame doesn't seem to be nearly as interesting as the cloth with holes was though.

I really need to get outside and do another tracking session before it gets completely dark, but I don't know if I'll get to that. He's napping right now so I don't really want to wake him up! Maybe we'll find a lighted parking lot when he gets his night time energy burst. :-)

I did two short tracks with him yesterday and he did great! Even after a car drove through the area where I was about to lay a track. Completely deserted lot of a tiny abandoned school on the edge of a town that only has one police officer, sometimes on duty, and the car has to drive through it?! The next tracks, I'll space the food a bit farther apart and make them a bit longer. I was scoping out possible lots today on my way home.

Well, that gets you up to date. I'm going to go back to video editing so I can maybe upload some before I get too far behind!

October 05, 2008

outdoor art show

Today we got up early and drove to the east side to visit with friends at an outdoor art show. We started by meeting them at a restaurant and letting the dogs greet, then we went to the rather large show which took up several blocks of the town square. Lots of nice stuff!
I carried Dazzle most of the way because there were a LOT of people and dogs at the event. I won't be able to do THAT much more! My back is REALLY feeling it!) He's still not moving very fast on a leash and probably would have gotten stepped on if he was walking on his own. He did really well with the crowds, many greetings, decorated booths and other dogs of all shapes and sizes, but the heat bothered him. When it started getting warmer, he wanted out of my arms to find shade to lay in.
We took a break at the farmer's market and he slept a bit in my arms, then we went to an outdoor cafe. A passerby was willing to take our photo as we waited for our table. Dazzle curled up on a chair and slept through lunch.

After lunch, we went to visit a doggie boutique, Hyde Bark. Dazzle saw a plush model and had to check it out. :-)

We went to the center part of the park where it was grassy and less crowded and he walked around a bit, past many people, greeted by kids and past a large fountain. When we found that the ice cream store had a line out the door, we decided to skip that.

Playing "jungle puppy" in the tall grass :-)

Dazzle and I went to the house of one of my friends (Dianne and Copper) and Dazzle slept for awhile in my arms and then played in her yard while we enjoyed his antics.

It was a long day and I got limited sleep last night (because yesterday ended around 2am and today started at 7:30 am.) After Dazzle slept for the hour ride home, he was ready to go again. He played for several hours and came very close to playing with the other dogs a few times. He raced around the "pool" (watering trough) playing with Buster. He got a little rough, but Dazzle started play fighting with him and barking at him from under the stairs near the pool.

I also worked on continuing to slowly introduce him to water so he can learn to love to swim. In the past few days, I have put him in the empty pool with only half the sloped bottom covered with a bit less than an inch of water. I gave him treats for walking in it. At first he didn't want to get his back feet wet, but eventually he was fine with walking right into the water. Today, I added more water slowly while he was in the pool. I continued to feed him treats for entering the deeper area. There was about 2" of water when I turned off the hose. Then, Mike tossed in a tennis ball and he played with that and splashed around with no problem. Between the treats and ball, Coyote and Bear also jumped in and walked around in the water with him. He seems just fine with the water up to his ankles now.

I haven't had a chance to upload the video taken today, but I will soon.

Tomorrow we have a 3pm Chiropractic appointment. I'm sure we'll find other fun things to do too!

October 04, 2008

First tracks and junk agility

As of this morning, we have fully solid poops! Yea!
Yesterday evening I got some video of Dazzle playing with his new ball. He really LOVES it!

Today we went to Columbus and met with several new friends to start the Steve White tracking method. All the dogs did great! We laid the tracks on sealed blacktop using water and food. The food keeps the dogs attention directly on the track and the water helps the skin cells (scent) stick to the pavement. The food will be faded relatively quickly and the dogs will then just follow the water, which also gets faded before starting over on a new surface (unsealed blacktop.) Right now, the dogs were simply learning to walk smoothly with their nose down along the scented track and to stay focused.

Dazzle did 2 tracks. The first one he was slow and methodical when he was on the track, but got distracted a few times by leaves and nut hulls. There was a lot of debris on the parking lot, but it worked well to teach the dogs to ignore everything but what is on the track. He only left 7 treats behind while he was distracted.

Track 1:

His second track, he was moving faster and did some crab walking and more "inch worming" (when his center of his back rises and falls with each step.) Still very good, he only left 4 treats behind out of many! He will get better at walking smoothly (flat back) with two feet on each side of the track with more practice.

Track 2:

I'll be doing more tracks for him during the week, but we'll also be meeting again next Friday in Columbus if the weather is nice. It will be my reward to myself for cleaning the house to prepare for the party here the next day. :-)

After we finished tracking, I followed Chad and Sarah to their house and we played around in their yard and on the "junk agility" they have set-up for their pup Cynic, who is a bit older. Dazzle LOVED the challenges and did really well. He did conqure the barrels on one pass, hopping from one to the next, but wouldn't repeat the performance. He also did the wobble board on the cement block in the background like it was no big deal. He got spooked by Sarah carrying the pool noodles we used to block the spaces between the barrels, but recovered quickly. He also wasn't too sure what to do when she crouched down with her head near the ground, but then he went up and kissed her face. :-) He had lots of fun popping through the patch of tall grass they have as though he was a little fox pouncing on a mouse. The dogs next door barked and he stared, but didn't bark. As it was getting dark, they pulled out a few kids toys that he just LOVED! He was biting them, pulling them around, and rolling around pulling them on top of him. Since Cynic was past being able to use them, they let me take them home for Dazzle. I'll get some video of him wrestling with them.

Junk Agilty:

We have been dog-sitting two dogs for a couple days that we consider part of the family. That means 7 dogs in the house (5 boys and 2 girls.) Everyone did GREAT with the pup! Lilly got into "zoom mode" (with Buster and Bear) racing around the yard at top speed and Dazzle was facinated watching them. :-) But they were careful not to run him over. They all are pretty much ignoring him. If he gets close, they just move away. It's actually helping his confidence because they aren't growling or biting at him or playing too rough.

Tonight when I carried him in the door, there was a swarm of dogs around my legs and he was wagging his tail at them. It's the first time he has handled that mob with that amount of confidence.

Tomorrow is a big day too. We're going to an outdoor art show and outdoor market.

quick update

While he's eating breakfast... :-) All went well at the vet's yesterday. No major illnesses. The vet did switch his antibiotic and recommend a few doses of Keopectate to calm his system. Still on the Fortiflora for the month to help keep the levels of good bacteria in his system high. He's getting more and more energy, giving me more opportunities to train.

I got him a huge hard plastic ball that he LOVES- got video I'll post later. And we're off to tracking in Columbus today. Well, he's done with breakfast and ready to GO!

October 03, 2008

Day 5 and more videos

We're going back to the vet today at 1:45 because he's still really loose. All others factors seem normal though- still eating (a lot!), drinking and playing. Sleeping times have gotten shorter too. I'm going to have them do bloodwork (if he doesn't suggest it) and I saved what I could of his "pile" this morning to do another stool check.

Last night, he woke me up with whining at 3:30 and 6:30- I put him out the dog door and thankfully he prefers the gravel right outside the door, so it's easy to watch him and give him praise/treats through the door. He peed and at 6:30 also left the very loose pile. I didn't want to reward him by "waking up" (moving) while he was whining, so I waited for several seconds of silence before I moved and opened the crate. I like that he whines to let me know, but I don't want him to get the idea that whining gets him out of the crate.

At 6:30, he was ready to play, but I got him back inside and put him back in the crate. A bit of quiet fussing and flopping and he went back to sleep till I got up at almost 9.

Yesterday we did a lot of training practice in short bursts. Some in the yard, some in the main house (with the others "helping") and some in the basement training room. I got a little bit of video from the basement session. The obedience video was our last session and he was getting tired, but I pushed his limits and got a few more behaviors. I was kind of all over the map on what I was clicking: recall, eye contact, sit, sit-up, etc. The thumping sounds near the end is Mike tossing carrots to the other dogs upstairs. I LOVE the front paws up during the sit-up. I plan to focus on getting that and putting it on a "gun hand" cue so I can call it "stick em" up" or "you're under arrest."

I also found out he won't have any trouble putting metal in his mouth! See the video about him helping me clean the yard below.

I also uploaded some video of him at the K-9 event.

Here's the obedience video:

We also did some work with the "A-frame" he didn't want to get on before. I had already gotten him over it once the day before with a trail of treats and it took a bit of cautious investigating. This time, he went right over it, several times!


I introduced him to the "wiggle ball" and he loved it! I don't think it will be long before I wouldn't be able to let him play with it because it would get destroyed in two seconds flat! But at this age, it's a cool new thing to explore.

Wiggle Ball. It's set to music (pizzicato canon)...

Here he is at the K-9 demo. Much better reaction to applause this time than during his first exposure at the TV studio. He did bark once, but then gave me eye contact, which I rewarded. I think you can see, when I pan to the left, the helicopter on the field that landed and took off while we were there. The police car parade, including sirens, went by at the base of the hill to our right. He watched it the same way, cocking his head at the sirens, but I didn't get it on video.

K-9 demo applause:

Short video clip of his first walk, set to music:

2 clips that follow: I think he wants to learn how to clean up the yard! No problem with metal or over-sized objects in his mouth. Before I went to get to get the camera, he actually carried it most of the way across the yard! He had it right in the middle and it was well balanced in his mouth.

Metal Mouth 1:

Metal mouth 2:

Stay tuned for more!

October 02, 2008

last night

He went to sleep easy enough, but was awake at 4am. I took him out and he wanted to play. I put him in his pen in the office and got on the computer for a bit while he entertained himself with the toys in his pen and about a 1/2 hour later, he was ready to sleep again. So back to the crate in the bedroom and he slept till 8am. I LOVE that he will play quietly in his crate when he wakes up instead of barking and whining!

We're just going to take it easy today and play at home, work on his basic training, etc. I'll get some video clips if I can.

October 01, 2008

Afternoon and eve activities

This afternoon, after his nap, we went to a nearby park for a walk in the woods. Dazzle had a great time! We didn't walk too long, but long enough to wear him out a bit. I think he was still recovering a bit because later in the evening it took a long time to wear him out! We hung out near a bench at the end of the walk and he had fun playing with natural toys and rolling down the hill. He also liked walking through the sand of the vollyball court.

I LOVE this one! He's 9 weeks old tomorrow.

This one came out really nice too

Hiking ahead...I found some burrs mom

Just chillin' after the walk

Rolling down the hill
Shhh, I'm hunting leaves!
He took another short nap (& so did I) then we went to the police K-9 demo in Lawrenceburg. It was a huge event! There were 34 dog/handler teams (9 of them had Mals :-) and they showed many aspects of police work after the helicopter landed and the equine drill team rode in with the flags for the national anthem.

Dazzle did exceptionally well with all the commotion. When I first arrived, they were playing rock music over the speakers and when I went to where the grand stands were, it was clearly too much for him. So we backed off and went out to the grass in the center of the parking lot for a potty and play break where we could still hear the music, but it wasn't as loud. After a short time, he was doing much better and started to play. I thought I would have to miss seeing the demo, but noticed there was a hill off to the side.

We went up on the hill, spread out my towel and plopped down to watch. From that distance, he did REALLY WELL with the loud music, announcer, crowds, kids yelling/crying/running, a helicopter flying over then landing (very little reaction to this really loud noise!), then the police cars and motorcycles made a procession that went right by the base of the hill with sirens going. He was facinated by that and moved closer to them to watch and cock his head. Several of the K-9's were barking and as they went by his ears would go back to that, but he wasn't overly spooked.

After they started the program, the AirCare helicopter had to respond to a call, so it fired up and took off. Still no reaction from Dazzle, but I was feeding him the whole time any way. A little bit later, another helicopter landed. Shortly before that, they had gotten to the part of the demo in which gun shots were fired (they warned the crowd.) I kept the treats flowing, but I don't think I would have needed them. The gun shots were way more quiet than the helicopters! And I know he has been exposed to gunfire already by the breeder.

Through this whole thing, he spent most of his time stalking/pouncing/carrying/shaking leaves, twigs, chestnut husks, acorns, etc. Between doing that, he was flopping down, rolling around and falling asleep. We also got in a bit of work on eye contact, sit and down.

We left right after the second helicopter landed, even though the demo wasn't over, I felt he had plenty of exposure and excelled. He was starting to sleep, so I knew he was ready to go back to the crate. He walked well on the leash down the hill to the van and went right to the door to go in, waiting for me to open it. Once in the crate, he curled up in the back and went to sleep. Just before we got home, he rolled onto his back -still sound asleep- and I had to get a photo. :-)

He slept till we got back home (about 1/2 hour) and when he came in he ran to Mike's chair and jumped in his lap giving him hugs and kisses and puppy wiggles. Then he was in "zoom mode" for nearly an hour, racing around, grabbing and pouncing on one toy after another. The boys were doing a good job listening to us when we told them to ignore him (and not bite him as he ran past) but when he tried to steal the toy out of Coyote's mouth, he got a lesson. As I expected, no injury just increased respect/manners. Coyote, for all his barking and bluster is actually a good teacher of manners. Every once in while, I'd let Dazzle outside to cool off and do his business. He's now on Flagyl (antibiotic), but still really loose. Definitely feeling more perky though!

Till tonight, I was only using his dog food as treats so I didn't risk upsetting his system. But I needed higher value treats for the police thing, so I fed him slivers of some "Carvers" real-meat treats.

More tomorrow.