Monday, December 26, 2005

Lola had her first Vet visit today. I took a bag of puppy kibble and dried liver w/ me to feed her while we were there. I always do this with Sherman & Penny. Sherman LOVES going to the Vet! Penny...not so much.

We need to wait a couple weeks for her to get her next set of boosters, but she got a good once over and our little girl is a happy, healthy puppy. She weighs 8.03 lbs, but growing fast.

Things are going OK w/ the other two dogs. They haven't been getting as much attention and Scott thinks Penny is a little depressed. She might be. I'm still concentrating on getting Sherman to ignore the puppy. I'm just afraid he might get in her face & really hurt her. But Lola LOVES Penny and Penny is SOoooo good w/ her. I

can't get over it. She is very patient w/ Lola and has been teaching her what is OK & what is not. And Lola listens to her. I think she drives Penny a little nuts at times b/c she's very nippy & likes to hang off Penny's collar and neck. When she's had enough, she pins her down w/ her paws or mouth and let's her know...chill out little dog.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day were nuts. Lots of people got to play w/ Lola & it gave me a chance to do stuff tend to stuff around the house. As easy as I tried to make things, there were lots of dishes to do and cleaning up. We did the families in shifts, so there was a constant inflow of people.

All in all, it was a nice couple of days, albiet a bit stressful having a new puppy.

Lola knonked out on her Uncle DJ

Our girls all tuckered out...

Chillin w/ Dad on Xmas morning...

Opening my first Xmas presents (which Sherman immediately claimed as his...)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lola's Homecoming!!

Scott & I had a beautiful day for the 1 1/2 hour drive to Home, PA to pick up our newest addition. When we got there, another couple was picking up their little guy, a flashy fawn named George. While I Oooed & Ahhed over George, Ken appeared from the whelping room w/ our beautiful little girl. I don't know what I was expecting, but she was SO little. Scott & I took turns holding her while we went over all of the particulars. Mama Jessie just laid at our feet, probably looking forward to the peace & quiet she would be getting soon.

We put Lola back in the whelping box w/ her other brother...the last one was a white boy w/ a brown ear, whose family was driving from NYC right after work to pick him up at 11. We went out into the barn to meet Roxy & Buster. Buster is Lola's Dad. I had met them during my previous trip, but wanted Scotty to see Buster's personality. Both dogs are gorgeous and Scott later made the comment that any doubts about Penny being mostly Boxer were squished when he met Ken's dogs.

We signed all the paperwork and decided to keep the kennel name in Lola's registration just in case I do decide to compete. Her official name is K & L's SteelCity Copacabana.

Scott took the wheel on the way home so I could hold Lola. She was very interested in all things going on outside and just sat up & took it all in for the first 15 minutes. The poor thing shivered the whole time as the whelping room was kept very warm. She finally adjusted and fell asleep for the remainder of the trip.

I woke her when we got home & snuck in the back door. Scott took Sherman & Penny around the block and I got settled in on the steps. The plan was to introduce each of them separately with me holding Lola. Penny was first...her greeting was typical Penny, hackles up, nubbin' wiggling. She was cautious but interested. When that meeting was uneventful, we decided it was time for King Sherman to have his introduction. Penny went in the other room & Sherman came barrelling in. He sniffed around a bit and tried to jump on I expected. Sherm can be a rough player. But I redirected his attention w/ liver treats and soon we were all in living room, getting acquainted.

Scott went to the Penguins game and I was left to fend for myself. It wasn't too bad...Lola was pretty tired and wasn't a very crazy puppy. I spent alot of time w/ Sherman rewarding him for ignoring her and redirecting his attention when he got the "look" in his eye. We all lounged on the couch till about 10 and then I took her upstairs for bed. I put her in the little crate and she screamed for 45 minutes. Then I did exactly what I'm NOT supposed to do...I pulled her in bed w/ me. ~sigh~ I was having my Mom, Carl, Kevin & Katie over for Xmas Eve the next day & needed some sleep.

Scott took her out when he got home from the game and put her back in her crate. She fussed a bit, but I put my hand over the door so she could smell me. That calmed her down & she slept till around 6:00 am.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lola comes home in less than a week!! I can't believe it. I feel like I've been waiting forever! If I'm not ready now...I'll never be! Her room is all ready & I've got lots of supplies:

3 crates in various sizes
puppy food for when she comes home (Puppy Chow)
puppy food for later (Chicken Soup)
a little pink collar w/ daisies on it & a bigger purple collar for later
a giant basket of chew toys (3 puppy kongs, a Premier chewie thing, 5-6 hollow marrow bones, 2 kong bones)
a lightweight leash, a 4' leather leash, a 6' leather leash, a 20 & 30 foot long line
a gallon of Nature's Miracle
a giant stack of newspapers & puppy piddle pads

We've scheduled a vet appt for the 26th and we should be in class by the 2nd or 3rd week of January.

I've read every book I can get my hands on:

BEFORE & AFTER you get your puppy - Ian Dunbar
Mother Knows Best - Carol Lea Benjamin
The Good Life - Uncle Matty & Mordecai Siegal
The Essential Boxer - Ian Dunbar
Good Dogs, Great Owners* & MetroDogs* - Brian Kilcommons
What all good dogs should know - Jack Volhard & Melissa Bartlett
The Culture Clash* - Jean Donaldson
Sirius Puppy Training (video) - Ian Dunbar (I watched this 4 times...Loved it!!)
Click for Joy* - Melissa Alexander
Bringing Light To Shadow: A Dog Trainer's Diary - Pamela Dennison

*Already have read...just a refresher.

I'm not real concerned about the training methods used in these books...I'm mainly interested in the puppy info. There are several different training approaches in all the books & while I'm not interested in using many of them...every book has something of benefit I will use. Kilcommons book is by far my favorite for puppy info & The Good Life was pretty helpful as well. I was thrilled w/ Dunbar's video...although it was shot in the late 80s & there's lots of bad hair, the content was spectacular. Too bad it was a loaner from the library. preparation for the new arrival, Sherman & Penny have been on a pretty tight NILIF schedule. It's been going quite well, actually & last night was the final step in my master plan...Dogs sleep on the floor - all night. As Sherman has been sleeping in our bed for 4 1/2 years, you can imagine how well he took this change in routine. Both dogs were tethered to their dog beds w/ a 5 ft leash. Poor Penny tried to jump on the bed a couple of times and was promptly flung back on the floor. I woke up @ 3:00 a.m. to Sherman at the end of his leash, laying on the floor smiling at me & wagging his tail. "Ok...enough of this Mom...I'm ready to get on the bed now". They'll adjust...and I had the best night sleep I've had in a long time.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My poor dogs have been so neglected. This time of year is so very crazy. Penny didn't go to class b/c I was teaching graduation. That was a lot of fun! I talked to a woman who takes her puppy (9 months) to Camp Bow Wow & just loves it. Lola will be going to day care once a week starting in February to keep her socialized w/ other dogs.

We did get a nice 45 minute walk wasn't too cold & the dogs just loved it.

I found this picture from Penny's first Xmas w/ us. She was so little! I tried to put that Santa suit on her the next year and it didn't even come close to fitting.

Notice Sherman Scrooge at the bottom!! He's such a turkey!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Annette had emailed me on Tuesday saying that she would not be at class and Jan would be teaching the class & I would assist. Annette's dog, Apache, is having some health issues...maybe serious. Maybe very serious. Poor Annette is just a wreck & I can't say I blame her.

(Get well soon Apache!)

Then, Jan calls me & she is not feeling well & can I teach class by myself? By myself??? Eeeekkkk!! Yes, I know more than the average dog owner...yes, I know how to work w/ my own dogs...yes, I know enough to get me through one class. But I don't have very much confidence in myself. And Annette's method is quite different than most of the classes I've taken. But sure...I'll teach.

The first class went OK. I was really nervous, mainly b/c I didn't have a lesson plan & couldn't remember what the 3rd week covered. So I figured I'd just wing it...and it actually went pretty well. Only 3 people came to each class. We worked on heeling, down, started stay & wait at the door. The second class was actually fun...I was more relaxed and felt a bit more confident. There were only 3 dogs in this class too so that helped.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Well all of the practicing stays w/ Sherman have paid off. I got two good pictures to use for our Xmas picture. We're going with the one w/ the bows:

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Penny continued her snark-fest in class today. It seems a lot of the dogs were feeling snarky. We just worked a lot on attention and it really helped. During the past week, we had done a lot of work on fronts & finishes. Shelley asked us to demo & I was so very proud of Miss Penny. Our practice really paid off. She was great. I've really been trying to phase out the lure for the finish. Slow &'s working.

I was also corrected for my flailing arms during Recall. Penny doesn't need all the fan-fare. Her recall is one of the best things she does. *I* need to work on eliminating the hand signals and just using a voice command. That's really all she needs. It's hard to see that when you're working by yourself...another benefit to group classes!!

Shelley & Rita are both away for the last class and they asked me to TEACH the graduation class. I got a little nervous at first, but then remembered...graduation is just a bunch of fun games & stuff. I can certainly handle that!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tonight was our first class w/ dogs. The first was a teen intervention class and the second was a Basic Adult. There were 5 dogs in the first class and the last to come in was a wild 7 mo pit/lab mix. His owner was visably uncomfortable and a bit shakey. The dog was flailing around, got out his collar & ran straight up to a pitX. Annette managaed to corral him and we took him out side to get him secure. The poor girl started crying and although she mentioned that she was upset over something else, the dog wasn't helping. I explained to her that she's upset & frustrated and those emotions were running right down the leash. She couldn't possibly have an effective class being so upset & gave her the option of hanging out outside & calming down or going home and coming back next week. She chose the latter. I really hope she comes back next week b/c she & the dog both need help.

It reminded me so much of my first class w/ Sherman. I had no idea what I was doing & he was SO bad. I just kept getting more & more frustrated and he kept being more & more of a punk. That was 3 years & at least a dozen classes ago. What a difference between then & now. He is far from perfect, but I'm able to work w/ him w/ out wanting to kill him now.

The next class had the guy who never gave his dog treats. OK...I'll admit it, I was wrong. He didn't use any treats, but he also didn't use any leash corrections either. He was calm, confident and clearly in charge. She adored him & worked just fine for praise. That's one of the greatest things about assisting in these classes...I'm learning every dog is different and there is no one way to train them. I've b/c more openminded and while I still prefer to work my dogs MY way, that's not the only way.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ken sent me some updated pictures of Lola...she is such beauty! I can't wait till she comes home. 3 of the longest weeks ever!!

Not much training done today...finished decorating the 2nd floor & put up the tree. Penny's not feeling real well and has been very sluggish. She's eating OK so it's possible she's till tired from yesterday. We'll have to take a trip back to Debby's soon!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I took the dogs over to my friend Debby's today to give them some play time. Both are in serious need of some socialization and I'm just too leary about the dog park to take them back. Debby has 3 dogs (Merlin, Kera & Siri) and one foster (Trent). Here's their Xmas picture:

(From left to right: Kera, Siri, Merlin)

Sherman & Penny know Debby's dogs well, but neither have met Trent. He's a pit/sharpei mix & is just a sweetheart. I knew he & Penny would get along great...and they did. He liked to chase her & she likes to be chased. A match made in heaven. But my little Sherman...he's such a punk. All he did was chase after Trent, growl at him & try to hump him. Sherman has MAJOR little man syndrome. He has no manners & insists on being the boss. Fortunately for Trent, Siri was playing guardian & kept body blocking Sherm and getting in his face telling him to Back Off!! I guess Siri's giant teeth were all he needed b/c Sherman listened to her. He did try to find ways around Siri...but my boy's kind of on the stocky side and has trouble cornering. So he didn't get much of a chance to play bully.

We stayed for a couple hours and they pups were exhausted when we got home. They slept all night!

A tired dog is a good dog, indeed!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Penny was particularly snarky in today's class. She had some kind of bug up her butt. But other than that she did very well. Her heeling in improving and I could tell the attention work we had done during the week really made a difference. The little bugger didn't take her eyes off me. We had some problems w/ the down stay (She does great till Shelley "knocks on the door"...then the watchdog kicks in!). She did the recall beautifully. I need to work on quarter turns and really stressing that heel is a *position*. We also need some work on finishes. I rely too much on luring. So that's what we'll work on this week.

In the evening I cleaned out the 2nd floor kitchen & set up the puppy room. It's going to work really well. Sherman decided he should be the one designated to test it out (keep in mind Sherman has never been crated.)

Penny was supervising.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The last few days have been uneventful. Ate too much over Thanksgiving & did a lot of slugging out. We didn't get the snow here as was called for and yesterday it was 67 degrees! A cold front is coming so I spent some extra time last night taking the dogs on a longer walk.

They were pretty bad, actually. Well, scratch that...they were bad the 2 times we passed another dog(s). It was mainly Penny (as usual) and once she flips out, she's hard to get back under control. I know I should be doing a lot more work w/ her on this. We do a lot of everyday basic manners stuff:

Waiting at doors
Waiting & staying before I put their food down
Stop & wait on walks
Stays in the house
Lots of sits
Drop it when playing
Out (as in Get out of the kitchen)
Off (as in get of the couch, bed, me)
Recalls from outside & all over the house
and probably lots of other stuff that's b/c it's so routine, I don't notice it.

But I don't spend a lot of time on specific behaviors/commands. Things I need to work more on:

Improve attention w/ distractions (Both)
LLW (Penny...I've been so lazy w/ this. She's got a great heel, but I use the Easy Walk and have never commited to the LLW. I know it's gonna be a battle now b/c she's gotten away w/ it for so long ).
Stay (Sherman)
Stand (Penny)
Finish (Penny)

New thing for the dogs too, will be not sleeping on the bed. We're starting this soon as 3 dogs in a quees sized bed won't fly. Sherman is gonna have a fit but he'll get over it.

Meanwhile...the Steelers lost :o(. I actually stayed up till 11 and then called it quits. The pups were all geared up for the game & everything!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I just caught some pics of the dogs "Guarding the neighborhood". They keep a close watch from the front deck.

I was sick Monday & Tuesday...I actually left work early on Monday & slept from 2-5:30. I'm feeling better today...just in time for Thanksgiving. Debby & I are supposed to go hiking on Friday, but I'm not sure if that's the best idea. I really want to go though. I've never been to Moraine State Park and it would be a blast.

We're having the first major snow fall today. We're supposed to get 3-6 inches by Friday. The ground is covered now. Snow is so much fun!

Here are some pics of the pups last year in the snow...

They love the snow. This winter will be particularly fun w/ a puppy in the mix!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Woke up Sunday feeling sick. Scotty must have given me his cold. I spent the morning running around like an idiot. Went to Sam's & got a new dog bed, some pig ears, rawhides & a big bag of cat food for Mom's feral colony. I know lots of people frown on pig ears & rawhides, but I give them sparingly & the dogs love 'em.

Got home from shopping & pretty much slugged out for the rest of the day. Steelers lost, so I was depressed after the game & took a nap. The pups very depressed too...Penny couldn't get out from under her terrible towel.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Penny missed class today b/c Shelley was at a show & they asked me to assist. It was a lot of fun and I got to work w/ a bunch of different dogs. There is so much to learn. I know what works for my dogs, but every dog is different. But I'm trying to surround myself w/ lots of trainers & observe lots of classes, b/c I learn something new in each one.

Friday, November 18, 2005

So I ordered a bunch of stuff from & it finally came today. I've been hearing a lot about these Cuz toys & how everyone's dogs are going nuts over them. So I ordered 6. Well the spoiled brats could care less. They did, however, love the giggly toys I bought (I got 6 of those too). 2 lions, 2 bears, 2 puppies.

Here they are playing with their new giggly lion:

I started looking around at my house & realized how many things these dogs had. Spoiled indeed!

Today's order (6 giggly toys, 6 Cuz toys, 6 Bully sticks, 6 Braided Bully sticks):

Here's their "downstairs" toy basket:

And their "upstairs" toy basket:

And I haven't even taken pictures of the Kong Basket...that will take a whole post in itself.

Why do we have such good stuff????

"Because we're very good puppies"!!

I just love these dogs!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Orientation tonight at the shelter. This is a new procedure where we are doing Dog Walkers Only. Even though I've resigned as Ambassador, I agreed to help w/ it.

Great idea…

The VC gave her two weeks on Tuesday and her heart wasn’t’ really in it. Which left me to do most of it. At least she showed up to do the P&P part b/c I have no experience w/ that section of orientation. I got through everything but these poor people are clueless as to what comes next. When can they walk dogs? When to they get their buttons? When are the forms due? Well *I* don’t know. The whole thing was kind of a disaster. Hopefully the next one will be a bit more organized. Ugh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I hate the full moon. Turns the dogs into little monsters. And turns people into dumb-asses. Actually, the people are probably always dumb-asses. The full moon just makes them worse ~sigh~.

Our walk was fine till we hit the main street in Avalon. It was pretty crowded and I saw a little SharPei before they did. I knew they’d flip so I moved them off to the side into a drive way. Made them Sit & Watch me, which worked for about 10 seconds. The guy walking the SharPei had it on a flexi and as the dog got closer, my dogs went nuts. And what did the guy do? He just let his dog run to the end of the flexi toward my dogs, as they are flipping out. IDIOT! I yell “Excuse Me!!!” and he comes back to earth, reels his dog in & gives me a dirty look. I tell him he’s rude & we go on our way. They were fine for the rest of the walk.

Guess I have more Attention work to do…

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's the last of the warm weather in Pittsburgh. It's supposed to go from 70 to 48! In one day! Fantastic Football weather. Not so good for our daily walks.

The pups & I had a wonderful 40 minute walk around the neighborhood. They were very well behaved,for the most part...we did a lot of Stop & Wait. Also more SITs at the intersections than usual. Mainly b/c at the first stop...Sherman refused to Sit 4 times. So annoying b/c he knows SIT very well. Once he finally realized we weren't going anywhere till he did, he finally Sat & I made him wait for 30 seconds or so till we moved again. Penny sat the whole perfect Angel, at least for that night.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The breeder sent some pictures of Lola @ 2 weeks. She is so tiny! Her eyes are finally open.

I can't believe I have 6 more weeks till she comes home!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

It's a beautiful Indian Summer day here in Western PA...just got back from the park w/ S&P. They love the park...I really don't take them enough.

Penny & I had a great class this afternoon. She really has come a long way. We got to class late & jumped right into a heeling pattern. Penny went with the flow w/o a hitch. There was a choc. Lab next to us that looked so much like our former neighborhood bud, Sammy...Penny wanted SO much to play. But he was working & that was a good distraction for her.

She really impressed me when we did Sit & Down stays w/other dogs Heeling around us. Penny can get so distracted from another dog(s) Esp. when they stop & Sit right beside her. A quick glance & eyes back on me. She did so well. I think my giant grin may have been the only praise she needed. But the JACKPOT of liver she got after Staying next to a dog she really doesn't like, helped a lot!!!
Oooohhh. My first post. I don't know if this is the customary thing to do b/c this is my first blog. But I'd like to introduce myself, my best friend and my dogs.

Me: Jen, 32 yo, Aries. I live on Jackman Avenue in a suburb of Pittsburgh PA (USA) called Avalon. I share my life with Scotty, Sherman, Penny & (soon to be) Lola. We have a big, old 100+ yo house which we're in the process of renovating. I am an Executive Assistant and have worked for the same company for 8 years. We just recently moved our offices less than 10 minutes from my house. I may die at that company...for convenience sake alone. I have a younger brother (Kevin) and two loving parents. For the most part I'm pretty boring. I watch a lot of stupid TV and spend lots of time w/ my dogs.

Scotty: No...we're not getting married anytime soon. And no...we do not want kids. Scott & I met at work, fell in love & moved in together after 6 months of dating. He puts up w/ a lot from me. I'm big on Talking, Planning, more Talking, making plans & lots more talking. OK...there's more to the relationship than that, but after 5+ years, we still laugh everyday & although I'm a giant PITA...he somehow finds that charming.

Sherman: Our first dog. A Rotti/Aussi/Terrier/Basset Hound/Shepherd/husky mix, he burst into our lives in August 2001. We went to the BCHS looking for a Rotti & came home w/ Sherman. He was caged w/ another dog, much larger than him but he kept pushing his way towards the front to be seen. I wanted to look at his kennel mate (a beautiful yellow LabX) but Scott insisted on the little guy up front. Sherman walked right into the "Meet & Greet" room, fell to the floor & demanded belly rubs. Scott was smitten & so was I. He quickly became a Momma's Boy and was the perfect choice for two clueless kids wanting a dog. I love this dog w/ everything I have and he really changed my life forever. He's far from perfect, but he was a great starter dog...housetrained, OK to leave alone for 8 hours a day, good w/ people. Shermie has his quirks...he doesn't like most other male dogs, he's bossy, demanding & stubborn, he's food obsessed & he's a bed hog. But for all his faults, he's taught me so much & he'll always be my perfect little boy.

Penny: Sweet Penny w/ the floppy ears and stubby legs. A friend sent me pictures of Penny b/c she knew we wanted a companion for Sherman. I sent them to Scott & it was all over. Scott didn't want another dog, but was very taken by this skinny, doe-eyed little girl. Penny was at an Animal Control facility and I didn't even get to meet her before I signed the adoption forms. But when I picked her up...she was all I'd envisioned & more. Her world revolves around Scotty and she loves to wake him every day w/ 100 kisses. She's the biggest flirt ever & loves to strut her stuff for the men in her neighborhood. Penny had a very serious leash aggression problem that we've overcome from private lessons & LOTS of group obedience classes. Penny has earned her CGC & will someday be a great therapy dog (we just need to get through the Supervised Separation). She LOVES to learn & really makes me look good in class. She's so very smart & motivated & has taught me SO very much.

Lola: Much more to come on this little girl. I went to see her when she was 6 days old. Such a spunky little thing even then. She comes home on 12/23...which seems like forever!!!