Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy 1st birthday to Lola!!! Her "technical" DOB is 10/30/05, but she was the 8th puppy to be born at 1:34 am on the 31st. She's a Halloween baby!

As a teeny sprout...

At 5 weeks...

Kissing her brother good-bye...

Hanging out with her bestest friend in the whole wide world, Penny...

Little thing could barely keep her eyes open after the first 36 hours at her new home...

Sherman would only (partially) tolerate her when they were both sleeping (I can almost hear him growling in this shot)

All grown up!

Having a puppy was fun, stressful, joyous & tiresome. I wouldn't trade our first year for the world but can't say that I'd ever get another puppy.

Well...we'll see.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Penny & I started the Dynamic Dogs class at the WPHS on Monday. This class is to give TDI dogs & their owners some experience doing therapy work before they venture out on their own. I was thrilled that they started this class b/c I was a little unsure about how to get started. It's taught by Marsha Robbins, who is exceptionally gifted with people and dogs. Lola & I took her puppy class and it was stellar.

The first 2 classes are at the shelter and then she takes us into the community for the last 5. And the class is incredible. We started out with basic obedience stuff to get the dogs comfortable with each other. Penny did very well with the other two dogs in class. One was Cowboy, who she's been in 3 classes with & knows well. The other was Tasha, one of the puppies in Lola puppy class last February (who is now huge!).

Marsha really put us through our paces. This class is tough! She really tests the dogs skills to get an idea of how they will be in different situations. (brag on Penny…she held her sit stay when Tasha broke and ran around her play bowing! I was very proud!). We discussed what our dogs are comfortable with & what they are not & she is tailoring the visits to the class.

We loaded all 3 dogs into the elevator & they all did great. Penny glued herself to my leg, but managed not to panic (she hates the elevator).

Next week we go to Pitt to visit with homesick college freshman (how cool is that??!!). We're also going to the Joseph something-or-other bookstore on the Southside and to a group home.

Marsha also invited Penny & I to do a bite prevention workshop at the Children's Museum. She's gonna LOVE that! All those little kiddies to give kisses to...what could be better than that?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Penny had her last Rally class today. Man, could she be great at this! I'm the problem. I don't know my left from my right & can't remember if I do the exercises before or after the stations. I also have 2 left feet and can't walk in a straight line. Very frustrating. But Penny is great. She's so attentive and willing to work with me. We did 2 courses about 3 times each. I

The only thing we still struggle with are the finishes. Other than blatently luring her, she freezes. She's great at hand targeting & that doesn't even work. I looked up some traditional methods and tried lightly popping the leash in the direction I wanted her to go and it did work. I'd like to get away from that as well so we'll just keep practicing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Graduation Day for Lola at Animal Friends! Lola did surprisingly well and only barked at one dog going into the shelter. There were a couple of contests...one was a LLW relay race where we had to carry a glass of water. That went OK. We did timed Sits where Debby starts the clock and each person has to cue the dog to sit. Then we do it again w/o cueing, using only body language. Lola is stellar at this.

The best part was a contest between 2 dogs where they both have to sit while we put Leis over their head. They have to be sitting to get a lei. The one with the most leis wins. Lola ran away with this contest. The first one I put on her she kind of balked at and tried to eat. But then I slipped a treat in and she just sat their while I put 15 Leis on her. It was too cute.

We finished up w/ some agility stuff & she has no fear what-so-ever.

Sherman had CGC class today & I'm so proud of my grumpy boy. He's doing so very well & I don't have any fear about him passing. He did 2 great recalls, held his stays, heeled OK and didn't make a peep during a 2 1/2 minute supervised separation. We even did 2 dog to dog intros & he just sat by my side, wagged his tail & looked up at me with his famous Shermie grin. He's too darn cute!

Friday, October 27, 2006

It was a long day for Lola at Camp Bow Wow...

And a quiet peaceful evening for us....

The top picture, BTW, is on their home page. They really like Lola!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lola will be a year old next week. She was just a pipsqueak at 3 months...

Now she's keeping up with the big dogs...

My goodness...could the be any cuter?! Yes...I'm totally biased!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I call this Penny's Princess Leia impression

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lilian was kind enough to squeeze us into this sessions Feisty Fidos class. As I'm still concerned that Lola is indeed in a fear period, I'm keeping her walks to a minimum and doing stuff with her in the yard & house.

We haven't done much clicker stuff in a while...I have signed up for the ClickerExpo in March & thought it would be fun to see where Lola was & try to shape a behavior. We had done "go to mat" a long time ago (9 months or so) but I never really continued with it. It was the first time I'd really shaped anything from the beginning. Debby & I had just had a conversation in the last class about shaping & I told her I didn't really do it much. She seemed surprised and when I thought about it, I guess I do.

So I brought out one of Lola's old puppy blankets & laid it down about 6 feet away from me. She started offering lots of previously highly reinforced behaviors...sit, down, stare holes in my head, Bang! Roll over, down, sit & so on...I decided to help her out & threw a treat on the mat and clicked when she stepped on it. I was following Sue Ailsby's method for Level 2 and within minutes she was throwing herself on the mat over & over. I moved it to a new place...same thing. I moved it again...same thing.

My good little girl...demonstrating "GoLayDown"

I Ssssoooo wish she wasn't having these issues b/c I would LOVE to take her with me in March. I don't think it's gonna happen this year :o(.

Monday, October 23, 2006

There has been a lot of talk on a lot of lists lately about tear staining. When Lola hit about 4 months, she started getting terrible tear stains in both eyes. I was wiping her eyes 3-4 times a day with a special solution called Eye Bright, and it really wasn't helping.

I posted about it on the WhiteBoxer list and several members made the recommendation of adding 2-3 TBS of pure pumpkin to her food w/ each meal and they should go away within a week. Only stipulation was it had to be with every meal or they would resurface & be twice as hard to clear up.

So, as pumpkin is something I feed my dogs anyway, I thought What The Heck! It sure ain't gonna hurt her. And wouldn't ya know it...within a week they were gone & have never resurfaced. I never wipe her eyes anymore (with the exception of the occasional morning eye booger that appears & just grosses me out).

Then (and this picture doesn't show how bad they really were):


I'm calling Pumpkin the new miracle food!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Penny & I had the best Rally Class yet. She was so wonderful. We did a couple new things that she & I had never done before. One was a moving down where you're heeling & when you stop, the dog has to go right into a down from a stand. It took 2-3 trys w/ me luring her and then she was just doing it on her own.

We also did Sit & Down Stays while you walk around the dog. Annette does this a ton in teaching stays and Penny knows it very well. We still need work on the finishes, but she's getting better. She did the slow pace station w/o sitting, which is a marked improvement. She sat a couple times on the 360 turn left. My turns were too tights. Once I made them bigger, she was fine.

Rally is lots of fun!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lola went to Camp today for the first time in a month. I talked to the manager when I dropped her off & told her about Lola's newfound reactivity. She promised to keep an eye on her & watch for any signs of aggression toward other dogs. I watched her on the camper cam for part of the day & she was just fine. She was having a blast.

Sherman & Penny and I went for a nice hike at the park. Toward the end of the walk, we rounded a corner and a jogger & her (very chubby) JRT were coming toward us. I high-tailed it the other way & we went up on the hill a bit. I asked the dogs to sit (they did ~gasp~) and told them to Leave It and they didn't make a peep (~double gasp!!~). But the JRT started barking at them and the girl started KICKING him down the trail! I yelled "HEY!" but she had headphones on & didn't hear me. She just kept going...kicking him everytime he turned around & barked.

I really do hate people.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now there is something you don't see every day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Scott took Sherman on his walk tonight as I really wanted to get some time in w/ Lola.

I tried to get into the Feisty Fido class at Animal Friend which is taught by my friend Lilian. It's already full (it doesn't even start till January) but she agreed to do some private lessons w/ us. She also offered me some suggestions in the meantime. First of all, do away w/ the Gentle Leader...Sure! I can always go back to it if it I need to. I fit Lola w/ Sherman's old Senseation harness, grabbed my clicker & some good stuff & we walked outside through the backyard. Might as well start out w/ something totally new. Of course, being that it was 5:30, the whole flipping neighborhood & their dogs were outside. Lola immediately started stressing & barking and I back up into the yard again & did some basic obedience stuff to get her attention. When she was calm, I walked back out into the front of the house. I made sure to maintain a very high rate of reinforcement with her so she didn't have a chance to stress (I read enough about this crap...I'm finally getting that I actually have to DO it to be successful). She actually managed to remain calm even with lots of people milling around & trying to talk to me. Ugh! It's great to have nice neighbors but I need a big sign to wear around my neck that says "WE'RE WORKING! PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE!". Anyway, then Scott & Sherman came out & got her all worked up. I just changed directions and let them go on their merry way. We'd walk two houses...she'd stress. I'd back up and c/t when she was focused on me...turn around and make it 5 houses. She'd hear a dog bark two towns away and stress...back up and continue to c/t for attention & calm reaction to things. It went on this way for a while...2 houses, 5 houses, 3 houses, 2 houses, 8 houses...all & all we were outside for about 20 minutes and she did really well considering all of the commotion. Until a dog walked past the house & then she freaked. She did a scary bark at my neighbor...who she LOVES. That's not a good sign. He's cool about everything though & when I explained what I was doing, he said "Hey, when I hear that clicker, I know I have to ignore her". Finally! I'm gonna use him to help me.

Penny & I went for a walk next & this whole LLW thing is really sinking in. The first 1/2 a block is tough...she needs a lot of reminders. Then it's smooth sailing. I've been using primarily Be A Tree w/ her but am going to start doing Penalty Yards for the first part of the walk. She's a smart cookie. It won't take long. Then we need to move on to really distracting places to practice. By spring...we should be cookin'!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I had really nice walks w/ Sherman & Penny, despite the miserable weather. Penny pulled a bit at the beginning but by the end of our walk, she was perfect. I've been working on changing the length of the leash so she gets that it doesn't matter how long the leash is, it still has to be loose.

The stress from Lola's vet visit yesterday carried over to today & she was completely unnerved today. I didn't push her and kept our walk to about 2 minutes...literally. She was that freaked out. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lola started having issues with her hind end over the weekend. She was licking constantly & by Sunday night, the whole area was red & swollen. I had been putting Bag Balm on the underside of her tail b/c it was so irritated and it appears to have made the problem worse.

I took her to the Vet to have her anal glands expressed and the whole experience was really tramautic for her. We started off in the waiting room w/ a woman & her two cats. Lola was fine with that I did attention stuff to keep her focused on me. The woman commented that she was doing very well and insisted that I "must watch the Dog Whisperer because I knew how to show my dog who was in charge". Hmmm...don't know where she got that. But I just ignored the comment.

As we were going into the exam room, a GSD came into the waiting room & she flipped. I got her into the back and managed to have them weigh her (she's 42 lbs) and then they put her up on the table. Dr. Moore spun her around when he was expressing her glands & she couldn't see me & started to flip out. I moved in front of her & she calmed a bit but by the time the whole thing was done she was very stressed. They let us sneak out the back door after I paid b/c the waiting room was full. Once outside, she calmed down a bit and was fine once we got home.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Both Lola & Sherman had very good classes today.

Lola did very well w/ not reacting to other dogs (she did playbow a couple of times to a LabX puppy but Leave it works well to get her attention). Debby had us demo LLW & wouldn't ya know it...she did great! They also set up some agility equipment and she did everything w/o issue. Hopped over 2 jumps (set at about 12"), went through the tire, jumped up on the pause table, ran right up a mini A frame and right through the tunnel. Fun stuff!

Sherman decided that today he likes other dogs. He played w/ a Spinone Italiano pup (about 8 months, male and intact...amazing for Sherman!) and only snarked a yellow lab once. He sat 2 feet from Cheyenne the entire class and it was like she wasn't even there. Good boy!

I wish I knew what was in the air today so I could bottle it!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

She's such a little diva dog...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The last 2 days have been very good dog days. I'm taking each dog on their own walk and really working on getting all of our little issues worked out.

Sherman has been working on heeling, attention and recalls. Both of these are fine at home (everyone's dog is perfect at home!) but we really haven't worked a lot around distractions. What more distracting than an entire neighborhood that needs peed on! I've been using treats & Go Sniff (aka Go Pee) as his reward. He gives me 10 good steps of heeling w/ attention & he gets several minutes of sniffing & peeing. (Sounds strange, but Sherman is a marking fool!) Then we do it again and he'll get a treat. We're having a blast! And...he now has an automatic sit at intersections and is sitting a lot faster when we move aside to let someone pass on the sidewalk.

Penny's continues to work on LLW and we are about 90% of the way there. I'm very proud of her. We also continue to work on her reactivity to other dogs on leash & she's doing very, very well with that. As long as they don't get too close to her, I can ask her to sit and give me attention & she does.

Lola is also doing a lot better w/ not reacting to dogs and the GL has completely stopped her pulling. Right now, I've suspended a great deal of the LLW training and am focusing on her issues on leash. Monday night we had zero issues & a truly lovely walk. Tonight, we saw 3 dogs and I was lucky to have plenty of room to move her about 75 feet away from them and ask her to sit. She did Woof once but it was a "Hey! I see you!". At the end of the walk, we did see a neighbor & her dog approaching and they were about 50 feet away. I thought they were going into their house so I asked her to sit (she did) and praised her for not freaking out (I had run out of treats), but then they made a dash across the street & ended up about 20 feet away. Lola threw a full out tantrum and I said tried to run away from them as fast as I could. She did follow & settled down quickly, but I was annoyed. I would have turned & walked away from them if I knew they were coming our way to avoid a freak out. I still can't determine if this is a frustration thing (I want you to come play with me) or an avoidance/fear thing (stay away from me). But we'll just continue to work on it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lola has revisited an old habit of hiding under the bed. If I'm looking around for her & can't find her, usually I just have to look down & I'll see this:

Problem is, she really doesn't fit. When I pull up the dust ruffle, her little body is so smooshed in there...it can't possibly be comfortable. But apparently it is b/c she's under the bed constantly.

Annette bought Lola a bungee Boxer toy. While she does get to play with it some, guess who has decided it should be his???

When Sherman has it, there is no playing. He just "holds" it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Penny & I went to Rally class today & had a great time. She was pretty snarky w/ one of the dogs there (full moon fever), but is really good about focusing on me when I ask her. This class is really fun & even if I never actually try it out in competion, it gives us some fun rainy day things to do. Her finishes are still pretty bad, but that's b/c I didn't work on them one single day last week. But her heeling was decent, her automatic sits are perfect & her fronts are pretty good too (I need to work on getting her to come in closer to me.)

We walked the course that they had set up & she did surprisingly well. I used very little food (only for finishes) and she was pretty good about followingly my lead. Problem with this whole Rally thing is my 2 left feet. Penny's staring at me and not watching where were going & I run her right into the cones. I tend to make my circles around the cones too tight & she ends up knocking them over. Considering this is only our second time attempting anything like this, we're doing pretty well.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lola had class today and is really doing much better. I'm still putting aside my feelings for the GL & keeping it on her as it really seems to calm her down. It's not forever...just till we get over the hump. Debby has this thing she does in class for barking dogs. When they start barking, she has the owner walk the dog around their chairs (there are usually 2 or 3 in a group) and refocus. While Lola rarely barks anymore, she does get bored (and frustrated). She will calmly lay down sometimes, but other times she walks to the end of the leash, sits to faces me & pulls backward on her leash (stubborn little turkey!). I do hand targeting w/ her to get her back to me, but have found this also works to refocus her attention on me. It also helps us work on heeling & sitting in the right position (she's on the inside closest to the chairs).

She did show off her BANG! trick & roll-over but she wouldn't jump up on a pause table for handling (it was covered in astroturf...maybe that was it).

Sherman & I skipped class & I took him & Penny on a long neighborhood walk together. As the EW harness is no longer effective for her, I put her on the GL b/c I was feeling lazy & just wanted to get some exercise.

Debby & I then went to the PetExpo. I was a little disappointed that there weren't more vendors, but I did get Lola a pretty pink & purple coat for winter...that is too small :o(.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

While I doubt Sherman will ever like Lola, he is much more tolerant of her. She trys to get him to play with her every single day & he just doesn't appreciate her exhuberant play style. He usually ends up snarking in her face (which she just view as an additional invite to play).

She can, now, lay next to him without him chasing her off the bed or giving her the Lion's Roar he's so famous for.

They can even chew next to each other peacefully.

He still likes her best when she's sleeping...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wow...what a slacker I am!!! I won't let it go this long w/o blogging again. Not that we've been slacking at home. Lola graduated from Annette's Teen class & started Debby's Manners class, Sherman started Shelley's CGC class & Penny started Rally class.

Lola continues to be a nightmare outside on leash...very reactive & barky...lunging at every dog she sees. I finally realized that on our nightly neighborhood walks she gets particularly stressed & anxious the further we get from the house. This isn't a problem in the car & she is definately not as freaked out once we reach our destination, usually daycare or class (will have to revisit the park soon to see if that has changed). This is a new thing (last 2 months) & she was walked plenty in the neighborhood as a puppy w/o incident. So, I'm working on gradually walking her greater distances and not pushing her. We'll get there.

Sherman is just a flip out in class...his heeling is a mess and the sight of food sends him into a frenzy. I never work on heeling with him b/c he rarely pulls on lead and it wasn's something I felt I needed to invest time in. It would help to have that behavior in tight class environment. A new challenge for us. It should be an interesting 7 weeks.

Penny is a bit rusty as all we've really worked on in the last couple months are her leash manners. I'm only working her a couple times a week & really need to up the anty. By the end of class she was back in the groove. She could be pretty good at this Rally thing if I could commit to a solid daily training schedule for her. I'm gonna drop into Annette's Advanced class a few times so that should help too.

There just aren't enough hours in the day!