November 29, 2008
Today I took him to an obedience trial at Queen City Dog Training Center. He's so used to hustle and bustle that the crowd and dogs were no problem. Though once he saw a dumbell thrown, he really wanted to get it! Then he wanted to get the little DOG that got the dumbell. He barked a few times in frustration at being restrained as I tried to get his attention, but I was able to get him looking back at me. He was also geeked up by the occasional applause, but only barked once. The other times there was applause, I was stuffing string cheese in his mouth :-) As this went on during the time we were there, he started taking the cheese more softly. At first he practically took my fingers with it because he was so amped up over the applause (he normally has a soft mouth and when there wasn't applause, he took treats really nicely.) After a few hours, I was getting really stiff and sore, and Dazzle was getting tired so we left. It was really nice seeing and talking with people I hadn't seen since I was training at Waggin Tails with Coyote about 6 years ago. I look forward to training with them again.
It seems his understanding of sit, down and stand has returned- WHEW! I gave him a break from training last night and just gave him his food in a bowl on the floor. What a novel idea! :-) I think we both needed the break. Our sessions aren't all that long, but there has probably been less than 10 times since I got him that he has eaten his entire meal right from the bowl without having to do anything for it. We are only in the 9th week of his training with me, so he is doing exceptionally well. Much better than I could have ever dreamed!
This morning I did a training session with him and he did really well with stay (sit and down), front (after a short chase of a treat away from me), heel, sit, stand and down (though I couldn't get him to do the latter two in heel position for some reason- he kept swinging away from me to lie down or stand. In the session this evening, I put his sledding harness on, attached him to the wall with a bungie leash and let him pull into it for about 5-6 different treats. Then I took that one off and put the tracking harness on and let him walk around in it. He wasn't too sure about the second strap around his mid-section, but was willing to walk, trot and sit while wearing. When that came off, we worked on all the cues from this morning again and all was back to normal. He is up to a 1 minute sit stay and a 2 minute down and allows me to walk behind him (to return to heel position.) It's clear that he has a hard time just doing "nothing" for that long. He stares at me for awhile, then his attention wanders and he starts looking around like a little kid trying to find something to get into :-) He still moves more often than not when I practice the stand for exam. I think I'll put him back up on the boards to help him understand I don't want his feet to move. :-)
I started him on some "voodoo remedy" :-) in anticipation of his rabies vaccination on Friday. I'm so worried he will be one of the dogs that gets aggressive from the shot and I'm praying it doesn't happen. My vet said the reaction of increased aggression after the shot is a form of vaccinosis and it's a reaction that causes minor symptoms of the disease. Severity of the symptoms has a wide range. Hopefully the fact that he's not getting the vaccine in conjunction with any others, his good genetics, good diet and the voodoo stuff will help stack the odds in our favor. My stress levels will go down after I see there's no reaction.
He also gets another chiropractic adjustment and I'll be interested to see what this vet says about his hips (the other vet in the office, on a previous visit, thought they felt loose.) I'm also curious to see how much he weighs now. It's already hard to recall how little he was when he arrived, just 9 weeks ago.
If I'm up to it, tomorrow we'll be going to Clermont Co. DTC to watch CPE agility. I was looking at Infodog.com last night for upcoming shows and I'm already looking at deadlines for Rally entries for shows in March when he turns 6mo. old. :-) I figure that just about the time I put out money for a show entry, he'll go through the "brainless puppy" stage where he forgets everything he has learned. :-) I better get more on video to prove "he really does know it" (famous last words of compeditors everywhere) LOL
Bass Pro Shop was having free photos with Santa today. While dogs are allowed in the store, Dazzle was the only one I saw in there today. I found out about the Santa photos from Kim, who took her dog there the day before and found out Santa LIKES the dog photos. And we must have gotten the same Santa. When we were done he took a few minutes to talk to me about him and thanked me from bringing him and giving him "a break" (said with a knowing look.) I think he liked the dog better than the kids :-) Can't say I blame him since the three kids that sat on his lap before Dazzle were all screamers. Ahhh, memories... "And this is when we traumatized little Billy..." :-)
I was fully ready to say "forget it" and walk away if Dazzle was afraid or bothered by the suit, set-up, noises, screaming kids, etc. But he did even better than I expected. He didn't even try to eat all the fake snow on the ground!! Yeah! But he did want to eat the pointy lights along the sides of the line we were in. Other than trying to taste a few lights, he waited politely in line, accepted petting and attention from several people and a few kids who couldn't resist. When it was his turn, he walked right up to Santa and sniffed him. He was wagging his tail because Santa was talking to him sweetly. He said "well, I wonder if YOU would like to sit on my lap?" I patted his knee and Dazzle put his front feet up and inspected his beard. A bit more encouragement and he was in his lap, tail wagging. He couldn't figure out how to kiss him through the "fur" though :-)
His focus turned to me as I moved out of the photo. But he stayed put (it helped that Santa was holding him) and a really cute shot was captured forever. I had to scan the printed photo, so it's not the best quality. I should have snapped a photo with my own camera, but I thought of that too late. I'm guessing this might be the only year he is all the way on Santa's lap (unless he continues to think he's a lap dog like my 120 lb Rottie did.) :-)
Now that I know he won't be bothered by it, I might go get in line for a photo I'd have to pay for (& I'd use my own camera!)
He looks so tiny in this photo. Not sure why. Oh, the elf reminds me, he was facinated by the moving elves beside the line we were waiting in. Too cute! It was a really elaborate set-up for free photos. They had the real (stuffed) reindeer in the back, rippled plastic with moving blue lights behind it creating walls that looked like ice, lots of trees and shrubs covered in snow, a full "workshop" for the kids to make little art projects, several animated elves, sound effects and several adults dressed as elves, which reminded me of "The Christmas Story" (especially as the kids were screaming on Santa's lap. :-)
November 28, 2008
You can see how much he has grown in just 7 weeks! I added the line because it's hard to tell just where the top of the ball is in relation to their size without it. Obviously it's not Dazzle on the left, but I used Bear in the photo to show what Dazzle's height was at 10 weeks old when he and Bear were the same size.
Pretty trot... (He's not fully extended here, but you get the idea. I'm glad I'm not trying to show him in conformation- I'd have to run full out to keep up with him!)
He is quite the boxer with his ball
Na Na Ne Na Na, You can't catch me. (If you look closely, you can see Dazzle has his tongue sticking out :-) Jaw Breaker (Malinois size)
What happend to the water? Even though it looks warm and sunny in the photos, it was still pretty cold. The herding group, almost all the same size now. Buster is actually a bit taller than Coyote. He must have been crouching down or something.
Big size difference now. I couldn't get them to stand side by side, but you can still clearly see how tall Dazzle has gotten.
Chasin' my bro...
Bear back ride... get it? Ha ha!
Coyote's official height card says 18". My best ability to measure Dazzle puts him at 18.5"
Once he understood what I wanted on the boards, I removed the cement blocks from under them and placed the boards right on the floor, same pattern. He had a bit of trouble, since now he could sit crooked and not fall off. But with practice he understood and got good at that. Then I removed the boards and tried to get him to repeat it. If I faced the spot where a board had been, he was great. If I turned to where a board hadn't been, he tried to line up with where it was! Too smart for his own damn good!
I put the boards back down, but moved them around to practice in different places. That helped him understand and when I removed the boards, he had it. All this took 5 training sessions. This morning he was still doing well with sitting in front position. Too well.
It seems he has no memory of the cues for stand and down now. All he was willing to offer without help was front and if I waited, he would lie down. Arggg. I did several tries of prompting and luring, but I've done so much "leave it" work, a lure generates focused eye contact. Moving my hand makes him think I'm trying to distract him from the eye contact and it only makes that stronger.
I was getting really frustrated, so I quit the training session. I'm still not sure how to remind him of the sit and down cues. I did very little luring when I taught it and he picked them up pretty quickly. He has responded correctly to them in many different places (every hotel room, my parent's kitchen, malls, etc.), so I'm not sure why the understanding is failing in the place we have trained the most when there are no distractions. I tried using a toy as a reward, but he is too intensely focused to think when a toy is in my hand and might be thrown or offered for tug.
I need to work on his stand for exam. Once I was able to get him into a stand, he still has the implied stay. I think this evening I'll place him into the stand and focus on the walk away and approach (stand stay) and just work on the cues to get him into position later.
On another note, I got some photos of his teeth. They aren't the best because in order to stop the motion, I had to use the flash, which reflected off his teeth. But you can see that the new teeth are significantly larger than his baby teeth and he has big gaps in the front where he lost his baby teeth and the adult teeth haven't come in yet. I did find one tiny baby tooth on the couch last night, so I saved it. :-) Hopefully I will find more.
You can see where he lost the most recent tooth
.Baby canine teeth and adult front teeth except for the one on the far left of the photo (right side of his mouth)
Would you believe I taught him to move his tongue out of the way so I can see his teeth? Just kidding. I caught him mid-lip lick/yawn. :-)
November 27, 2008
November 26, 2008
I went to Kuliga this evening to attend the orientation for a basic obedience class, but ended up staying and joining the Intermediate class that followed it. The clubs website says they promote positive training, but I think they are still a good bit short of that. But since I'm just attending the class to work Dazzle around other dogs and distractions, I can ignore their corrections. I'm hoping to lead by example.
Dazzle did really well sitting quietly playing the eye contact game through the lecture of the basic class. Not all the young dogs in that class were able to sit as quietly as he did. Then in the intermediate class, he did great. I realize in hindsight I asked him for more than he was ready a few times (like a 1 minute stay when we have only been working on about 30 second stays) but he did well and I know what to work on during the week.
He did great at heeling around/through the other people and dogs and kept close focus on me. Actually his "heel" was too strong because I had a hard time getting him into "front" position. I'll also be working on that this week. I was holding my left leg out as a barrier to keep him from swinging into heel position! :-)
For his first "stand for exam" I cued him into a stand, stepped right in front and fed him the whole time the instructor approached and touched him briefly. He did well with that considering he had not ever had anyone approach during a stand stay.
I was very pleased with him and have stuff to work on this week. He slept on the way home, but then he was ready to play till about midnight. Since he's finally ready to sleep, I'm going to bed!
November 24, 2008
Who you lookin at?
November 14, 2008
November 12, 2008
November 11, 2008
Camp is almost over :-( We didn't go on the trails today but played in the ball field instead. On one of the returns, he ran out of his way to a directional control base and stayed on it till I got there. :-) I think he will really like the directional control work.
After breakfast we worked on his musical instrument playing. We tried a few different pianos, looking for one that didn't take much pressure to play. He prefers to use his chin to play, but Mart and Cindy wanted to see him using his nose. We ended up with a toy, shaped like a drum, meant for a paby that made percussion sounds when the buttons were pressed. The raised edge made it harder for him to use his chin, so he started using his nose. But he was literally falling asleep as he played, so we took a break and he slept in his crate while I cleaned up the room and started packing up.
I let him sleep while I went to help with Directional Control, then brought him to lunch where he slept more. After lunch he was ready to go again. After doing repeated button pressing on a single cue, he earned his Band badge! I also got Lonnie to check him off for his Travel Safety badge. He had to wait till cued to exit the van when the door is opened, always ride in a crate or seatbelt, go to a "stranger" that doesn't know his name with me out of sight (to simulate a dog escaping after a crash) and ride in the vehicle quietly. He did really well, though he passed the stranger the first time and had to do a U-turn to go to him.
Then it was "free time" the rest of the day for him till he played in the "all dog band" right before the awards ceremony. After dinner/awards, he slept in the room while I walked around him and packed. We planned to leave before dawn, so I got as much packed in the van as possible.
I'm very proud of him!
I noticed while I was playing with him this morning that he had lost one of his little bottom front teeth (bottom center) and that the tiny tooth next to it was really loose. By the time we got back to the room both were gone. He looks like he's ready for the Christmas song: "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth..." :-)
Our room at the Dog Scout camp where you can see the matresses I put on the floor instead of my cot (under the dark blue sleeping bag) and his crate right next to my bed.
Last night, while he was leashed to his crate, he spent most of the night sprawled out on the cool concrete, but at some point he got on the bed and was stretched out next to my legs. I woke up several times during the night. I think I was sleeping lightly to stay aware of what he was doing, hoping he wouldn't chew through his leash :-) About 4:30 he was trying to get me up by licking my face and laying on my head. I put him in his crate and he slept till 6:30. He acted like it was urget that he get out so I put on my robe and took him out. He promptly peed a river even though he had gone right before bed last night. Too much lake water I guess :-)
I took him to the play yard after I was dressed and ready to be seen in public :-) My neck and knees were extra sore but a few extra pain killers helped. In the pay yard, he played with Sugar (a Border Collie), Buttercup (a yellow lab) and Harley (a black lab.) Truffles (a mix) came in for awhile too.
Here's a shot showing his ground covering trot. If it was taken from the side, his butt wouldn't look so big :-) Then we went to breakfast. All the food served for camp was excellent! After breakfast we started the hike with the group, but turned back pretty early because my knees couldn't take the hills and distance.
This is the view back down to the beach from the start of the hill I had to turn around on.
Dazzle on the hike:
On the way back we stopped to practice his stays and got some really nice photos over looking the lake.
A cool tree too:
I let him play in the water on the way back too. He found some water toys :-)
Then while the rest of camp was finishing the hike or doing other things we went to the agility field. About the time we did that, a few others had the same idea but it wasn't too distracting and I was able to get Karen to take some video of Dazzle's first trip across the teeter:
After a few practice runs, he was even more confident:
The teeter was way off center, so the dogs had to run pretty far past the center to get it to drop and then it dropped fast. He didn't seem to mind a bit, but I only let him do it about 8 times. He also went across the dog walk like he had been doing it all his life, but I didn't get video of that. I held onto his harness so if he took a mis-step I could keep him from falling.
By that time, I really needed to sit awhile so we went back to the room and he napped while I updated the notes I was taking for this blog.
We went to help with the Directional Control class and Dazzle watched with facination as Gracie (the Search and Rescue pro) did the bases from about 100' away. It was really cool to see Bob direct her from place to place from such a distance.
After lunch I checked off Lonnie's dog for her fundraising badge and then took Dazzle to do a second painting. I was going for red, white and blue but ended up with a lot of purple :-) I titled it "Texas Twister"
Then it was time for swimming. The waves had picked up again so I didn't bother getting dressed to go in but he had fun running and playing with the other dogs.
Look out Dazzle!
A good perch to watch the action, you can see how high the waves were!:
Had to get a shot of one of the many paw prints on the beach:
He slept through the next presentation till the end where I needed him to demonstrate how I taught him to heel. Then he joined in on one of the games, but didn't last long before he was "out." The dog needed to respond to a single verbal cue, no body language. He got the "sit" but when I said down, he got distracted by a butterfly and since I couldn't give him another cue, he was out of that game. He wouldn't have been able to do the "bow" that followed anyway because he hasn't learned that yet.
I put him in his crate for a nap during dinner and even with roommates going in and out I think he got a good nap. He also stayed there through arts and crafts and the "free time" that followed it in which I was finishing up my craft. After 3 hours of sleeping he was jazzed and ready to play! It was time for the costume contest. He just wanted to play with any other dog within reach, his toys, his blanket, his leash, me, etc. The costume I bought said "cookie monster" which I thought would be a really cute costume for him. But it turns out I didn't read it right and it was actually Elmo. I just saw fuzzy with big eyes and it's been too long since I have seen Seasame Street to remember cookie monster is blue, not red. Maybe I can dye it blue :-) He humored me and wore it long enough to parade in front of the other campers, then I took it off before he could eat it. There were LOTS of adorable costumes so he didn't win but it was still fun. The winner was a Pirate Labrador and his parrot (a chihuahua covered in feathers.) I tried to get some photos, but it was too dark inside for my camera. I'm hoping the professional camp photographer got some good ones for the photo CD.
Cookie Monster or Elmo?
After the contest, he was still wanting to play, so two of his roommates indulged him for awhile, then he laid in the middle of the room chewing on a bully stick. Thankfully the other dogs didn't mind. He wasn't ready for bed, but I sure was!
This one looks like Kozi was trying to tell him to be quiet!
Playing on the hills:
I thought about putting him in his crate for a nap, but he was still wound up so I took him with me to the Directional Control class. He laid down and watched the other dogs closely. He must have been paying attention because at the end of class I did a bit of practice with him and was able to send him between 2 "bases" about 20' apart. That's exceptional for the first time he has seen these targets to go to and get on.
He slept through lunch, and when we walked out of the cafeteria he found a patch of shady grass, laid down and refused to move. So we went to the room for a 1 hr nap. I decided to lay down with him and we both slept. Lonnie snapped a photo with my camera. I had my hat over my face to block out the light.
We woke up in time for water class. I was hoping to get the Puppy Paddler badge but it wasn't happening. I even went into the ice cold water and called him and lured him with cheese, but the waves were as tall as he was and when a wave hit him in the face, it was all over. He refused to get back in past his knees. I was numb from the waist down after just 10 minutes so we went back to the room. I found it's hard to walk when you can't feel your feet! But he did try really hard and I think if the water had been as calm as it was this morning, he would have swam no problem. He did run and play on the beach with other dogs between attempts so over all he had a good time. I think getting him to swim in calm water will be easy to do.
After I dried off, thawed out and changed clothes we went shopping for more vet wrap. I found an old feed store and bought out their supply (and sold some of the extras to others in camp.) Dazzle slept the whole drive out and back. I let him sleep in the van while I went in and got the wrap too.
We had an hour before dinner when we got back, so we practiced his piano and then he did his very first painting using his newly learned painting skills (pawing the board on cue.)
His first painting:
After dinner, Mart finished checking him off for the rest of the behaviors needed for the Dog Scout test (heel, leave it with an animal (fake bird), recall and good with people and dogs.) He PASSED!! He is the youngest dog to get the Dog Scout title!
Right after he passed, Judy came in and was willing to check him off on the First Aid badge, which he passed with flying colors (letting me wrap his leg in a bandage, wear a muzzle, get picked up and carried, be restrained, etc.)
Then it was time for games. We did recalls with distractions and 2 out of 3 times he flew right by Mart who was tempting him with food. On his second pass, he had to stop and sniff, but was easily called away. Fun and games continued outside with a game involving 2-liter pop bottles with a bit of water in them set-up in a grid. The object was to see how many bottles the dog could knock down in 15 seconds. Dazzle got 8, mostly with his dragging leash :-) but the winner got almost all 20 of them! He was getting too jazzed up by the other dogs and people running/calling so we called it a night. I leashed him to his crate so he had the option of being on my bed.
Biting the waves...
Running on the beach:
On the way back from the lake, I put on his new boots. He had ZERO reaction to them, no high stepping, no chewing, nothing! It was like he wasn't even wearing them. I was very surprized. I guess there was just too much to see and do to worry about boots on his feet. Later, if we were sitting in one place for awhile, he would fuss with them a bit but was easily distracted. I found that they got pretty hot on his feet though, so later we switched to vet wrap to protect his feet, which he also didn't mind unless there was a burr that poked all the way through.
Who is that?... Who cares, I have LEAVES!
The 2nd half of the free time hour was spent in the room- him napping and me updating my notes for this blog. During the backpacking orientation and safety class we went for a short hike with the group and he did great in his empty pack. I did add the items for a little bit and let him walk around for about 5 minutes, but that was the end of his pack wearing during camp. I didn't want to stress his back or joints, I just wanted to get him acclimated to wearing the pack and I accomplished that.
At dinner, he won two new toys from the prize drawing and spent most of the meal ripping the tags off the one I gave him. I tried to put him in his crate for a nap during the next class, but he was figiting and complaining so I waited for him to settle and be quiet, then I lt him out and took him with me to the class. He took a short nap next to me, but then he was clearly wide awake, so we worked on the target stick and then paw raises which turned into multiple strokes on a piece of cardboard (the start of his painting behavior.) I had his boots back in the room because I knew were we just going to be in the rec hall so I couldn't have him practice while wearing a bootie.
When he started playing with Kozi, we did a few more swipes then quit. He slept through the last session of the day and was ready to go again when I was ready for bed. He chewed on his bully stick for awhile as I got ready for bed, called Mike and updated the blog notes. It was an hour behind, so while the clock says 9:30, it feels like 10:30 and I was ready for bed!