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.