Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gentle Leader Training

Tugging while wearing the gentle leader

Running and playing

Finally - attaching the leash and walking with me - I don't let them drag the leash with the leader on though.
I have been getting Sunny used to the gentle leader for a couple weeks now.  I started by hanging it on her nose and giving her treats while I did that.  I did a couple small sessions each day.  Then I progressed to snapping it on and letting her wear it while we played out in the field and got her tugging while wearing the head halter.  I kept everything associated with it very positive.  Once Sunny got used to the halter I began the next step.  A couple days ago I attached a leash to the gentle leader and worked in very short sessions getting her used to walking with me.  Now, I have already been shaping Sunny's side walking (both sides) with a clicker and treats - with and without a leash attached to her collar - so the concept of staying with me is not new to her.  But I have also been letting her be a puppy and explore her world with a harness on, and not asking for focus on  me in distracting situations.  But the time has come to start getting more attention on me and the gentle leader is a fabulous tool for this!

I am a huge fan of the gentle leader - but you have to have understanding of the tool to use it well.  I use the gentle leader when I want the dog to focus on me and I am "working" with the dog.  I don't use it on a long line or flexi - ever!  And I will also work on fading the use of the gentle leader over time, so eventually I will be able to have the same amount of control on a flat collar.  Through adolescence the gentle leader is so helpful in keeping the pup's focus on me and it also helps to calm a dog in exciting and distracting situations.  Eventually the puppy will lose their "puppy license" and they need to learn to focus on their handler :-D  Over the next couple months there will be less emphasis on socializing and more time spent focusing on me in public and at trials.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sunny in Training

This is my first time uploading a video to the blog.  Sunny has been going through the tunnel, jump, tire and chute consistently and I have been showing everyone how smart she is.  So today  I asked Denise to come over and get a video of her.  Of course we had several blooper takes and Sunny just couldn't  show her  cool tricks on video - oh well!  You can see that she is having fun though and really, she can get that jump and tire in the sequence :-D

I started Sunny getting on the balance discs soon after I got her.  I added the step stools as she got stronger and more confident.

Exercises like these help the puppy learn to think about where their feet are.

Developing balance, strength and confidence.

Sunny loves to do stuff and where's the cookie? 

Doing a sit and then stand on the step stool. 

See, she can do the tire!  Thanks Denise for taking the pictures and video today!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunny at 16 Weeks

Sunny started losing her front teeth a few days ago - the shedding of those razor sharp teeth begins!!  HOORAY!  But poor Sunny - her mouth hurts.  She has been sleeping a little more - BTW this puppy never slept much.   I can tell she doesn't feel 100% right now.  She isn't tugging much, but she still will chase her toys and play with me.  Her appetite hasn't been as good the last couple days either.  So I will back off asking her to tug with me for a while, and just watch and see how she feels.

And she is also losing puppy fur, and growing her real coat in.  I noticed the puppy fur has gotten lighter and the hair coming in is dark - especially noticable on her back.  The cute little fluffy puppy is doesn't last long.  I have cherished every moment of the puppiness though.  Taken hundreds of pictures too.  I kind of hate to see her grow up so soon, but I won't miss the teeth :-)  

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Rainy Day Adventure

Sunny loves to plunder!

I think Sunny would be good at nose work.

Izzy and Sunny check out the toy isle.

Sunny is obsessed with what is under the shelves

I couldn't believe Sunny liked a small child flapping paper in her face!

A new bed would be nice.

I think we need a pair of these.

Checking out the kitty department.

Can we get an aquarium?

She shopped till she dropped!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Growing and Changing So Fast!

After going around the house trying to find a place to bury this rawhide, Sunny decided to chew on it instead.

She caught on really fast to the doorbell game!

What a poser!

Ears are definitely doing their own thing.  I took them out of wraps this morning and the left ear was not wanting to hang right, but during the day it got perfect and the right ear sprung back into the folding thing.  Back in tape tomorrow.  I had left them in tape all week and I guess I should have just left them that way.  

Sunny is having a good time with the door bells!  In and out she goes.  I really don't think she has to potty every time she goes out the door, but hey - she is not going in the house so I don't mind being a doorman LOL!  Sometimes she will go to the door and ring the bells soon after she comes in, and then look at me with a mischievous look on her face - the little stinker!

I got Sunny to run through the chute this week.  I am always working by myself so I rigged a jump at the end of the chute so the bar won't fall, and then I clipped the chute fabric on the bar so it is being held up.  It was pretty easy to get her to run through and chase her toy.  Once she did that a few times I removed the jump and she just pushed right through the fabric.  She loves doing stuff.  The other good thing is that I can switch from food to toys and back and forth in a training session and she doesn't hesitate to keep working for which ever one I have out.  Good Girl!

I have been bringing Sunny out to class at night too.  She was barking quite a bit when I would move away from her pen to help a student out in the field.  So I had one of the other student's squirt her with a bottle of water and she learned real quick - now she is quiet in her xpen during class.  She gets her turn when everyone is walking the course.  I usually have five or 6 sets during a class so she gets to come out and play tug with me and visit everyone.  I might have her do a tunnel or show off her side walking, but mostly she just gets to be out and visit.  One night she tried to do the dog walk several times and I had to run get her off.  Little smarty pants, she is very observant when the other dogs are running the course!

I hadn't had my DSLR out in a few days - I swore I had to get my taxes done first - and I did!  So tonight I got out the camera and played around a little with the flash.  I was amazed at Sunny and her posing.   She has figured out that modeling pays yummy treats and boy, was she ever co-operative.  I was amazed at how good she was for me!

And on the food thing - she is totally over the finicky thing now.  She works for all her morning kibble and never refuses it.  She eats her evening meal right away and has a hearty appetite.  I am feeding her two cups a day right now.  Seems like a lot but she isn't chubby - but she is growing fast.  I noticed in the pictures how much she has grown - seems just like in one week.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunny Goes Shopping

Exploring the toy isles

Bargain hunting

Leave no space unexplored

One of each please

This one is perfect

Sunny got to go to PetsMart for the first time today!  She marched into that store like she owned the place :-D  It was a lot of fun shopping, visiting with people and she even got to meet some children.  Sunny liked the kids and wanted them to play with her.  She is friendly to every person and dog she meets.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Socialization

After the trial I took Sunny and Flint for a walk around the race track.  It was a long hike for Sunny and I think she got tired <VBG>
Couldn't resist stopping to take a picture of these nectarine trees on the way home.  The valley is exploding with color!

 I went to an AKC trial this weekend and Sunny was there to get more socialization.  At 15 weeks I would say she has met at least 100  people already!  And probably even more dogs.  Going to agility trials is a big bonus for puppies :-) 

Sunny is learning how to hang out at trials too.  I walked her around quite a bit and I was so impressed when I stopped to chat with someone she would lie down and wait.  How smart is that :-)  She watched with interest dogs running agility, but she didn't act crazy about it.  She did a good job hanging out in her xpen and was mostly quiet.  Of course she did bark some - but not too bad.

Right now I still have a harness on Sunny and am not asking for attention on me when I am out at these events.  I am just letting her be a puppy and experience the big, exciting world around her.   Sunny is good at these events and is not barking or acting silly around other dogs and people.  IF she were acting like that I would not have her out in the middle of all that activity -  letting her get over stimulated.  IF she were overstimulated and acting crazy I would keep her further back from the activity until she got used to everything.  It may be that because I have socialized Sunny from the time I got her is why she is so good in these situations.  She is a high drive puppy and I know she can get overstimulated sometimes, and it may come up in the future as she matures.  My job is to keep up the socialization and exposure to many different situations for the next couple of years.  Did I say YEARS?  Yes!

I have started to put a gentle leader on her though and am getting her used to wearing it.  I put it on her and let her wear it while we tug and chase toys, and I also put it on her when I feed her.   I will do a lot more of that this week and plan to start using it soon.  I won't be letting her drag me around in her harness much longer :-D  I will write more about how I use a gentle leader in another post.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Door Bells

I realized most all the pictures I have posted of Sunny are of her on the move :-D  Of course I love those shots, but thought I should post some of her being still.  So here are some pictures of Sunny's serious side.

Last night I decided to put  bells on the door and teach Sunny to ring them to go outside.  She is doing pretty good on her potty training when I am on top of it and let her out - but she hasn't figured out how to let me know.  I have just been watching for the signs.  So I put the bells on the door - they are a Christmas set with a big ring that goes over the door knob and 3 large jingle bells on a leather strap.  With clicker in hand I brought Sunny over to the door and showed her the bells and encouraged her to touch them.  When she did I clicked and treated.  I did that about five or six times in a row and then I opened the door and let her outside.  Sunny does know how to let me know when she wants in LOL!!!  I figured in a few days she would catch on to ringing the bells to go outside.

This morning I got her out of her crate and was heading to the door to let her out. Well, Sunny beat me to the door and rang the bells!  Holy cow!!  I gave her a treat and then let her outside and threw a couple more treats out the door for her to pick up.  Could she have figured that out in ONE session?

I was gone all day to a trial and had Sunny with me, so I didn't get to practice door bells.  When we came home I was fixing dinner and heard the bells jingle.  OMG - that puppy went and rang those bells to get outside.  Unbelieveable!  Tonight she went to the door several times and rang the bells to go outside.  Each time I would open the door and toss a couple treats on the doorstep.  Because she had been confined most of the day in an xpen at the trial, she was really racing around the house and playing.  I thought the bell ringing might just have been an attention getter to get some treats - but each time she also went potty.  WOW is about all I can say.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Little Red Stinker ( :-D

I took Flint and Sunny to a park in Visalia toady.  That is Flint under the tree.  I got to practice with my new PnS camera - handy little thing I can carry in my purse :-)
I couldn't believe she held still for this - she does not know stay yet! 
Sunny is a pretty good retriever already!  Of course all these were taken at home where she can run free.  That would not be happening in any park right now LOL!!!

Hard to believe that Sunny is 15 weeks old already!  In the six weeks she has been here she has doubled in size - weighed 20.5 pounds when I took her in for her third vaccination on Tuesday.  She is starting to sprout legs but seems to be growing pretty evenly - at least for now. 

Sunny loves to be with me and this week when I built new agility courses she was my chore dog.  Let's see......she heeled the weave poles as I drug them across the field.  Helped me carry jumps - apparently pvc feels good in the mouth.  Oh, tried to help me drag a tunnel across the field but I put a stop to that - don't need teeth holes in the tunnels.  So she followed along beside the tunnel and made sure it didn't get out of line.  She carried around tunnel snuggler straps for me - problem was I had to round them all up again.  Supervised the staking of the tunnels....I developed a new style of holding down the strap with my foot to keep puppy from making off with the strap before I got a stake in it.  She was out with me for hours and I thought that a puppy should be tired by now - but she wasn't.  But I was finished building and had to number the courses, and she is not good at that - in fact - she moves all cones from their appointed obstacles.  So I put her in the back yard and let another one of my dogs, Vino, come to hang out with me for a while.  Well, Sunny was not happy about that arrangement at all and threw a little screaming fit in the yard.  I tried to ignore her.  I did ignore her until she showed up out in the field.  Little bugger figured out how to get through the fence.  There is about a 6 inch gap between a 3 ft. tall no climb fence and a fence board.  So much for the no climb fence.   

Now Vino does not like puppies - you could say he hates puppies.  So when the escapee Sunny came running out to see me,  I was a little panicked but tried to stay clam.  She knows Vino through a fence only.  I figured I would quietly try to corral the little stinker and get her put in an xpen.  Of course Sunny saw Vino and made a bee line for him.  I remained calm.  Apparently Sunny is good at reading dogs because she did not leap on him with her mouth wide open, grab fur and hang on like a tick.  That is her usual M O around the other dogs.  Nope - Sunny slows down and just casually walks by Vino... and Vino ignored her!  I was stunned.  So I let her stay out in the field and she was very respectful of the Vino man and did not once attempt to do anything puppish around him.  Smart girl!  I think I will let her hang out with Vino more often - she definitely could use the structured time around a dog she can't maul LOL!!!

How can a puppy so young be so darned smart?  She got out of the back yard fence again this evening.  I had put all the elder dogs in the dog room and was getting their food.  I left Sunny in the back yard while I got the bowls ready.  I looked out the kitchen window and she was out in the agility field!  Little stinker climbed through the fence again - only she really wanted back in because no one was out there.  I let her sweat it out for a while before I went and got her.  Crap!  Well, when she gets bigger she won't fit through that space.  I hope she doesn't learn to jump the 5 ft fence that is back there.  Flint did that trick for a while.

Let's see, what else did she do this week.  She can now go tire - tunnel for a thrown toy.  I even got jump - tunnel - tire today!  Of course jump bar is on the ground as is the tire - no jumping for puppies.  I am not really wanting to teach her to sequence already - she just does it.  She wants to work :-)  So I just find more things for her to do.  Outside this puppy is a dream to train, work and play with.  Inside this puppy, well, inside the house this puppy is mostly confined.  She will not be content to play quietly with a toy or chew on something.  No.  She constantly harasses Flint, runs from room to room, bites Sam, jumps from chairs to tables - she is a wild child.  I LOVE IT!!  So she gets crated a lot in the house.  Then she will chew on her bully stick or sleep.

Yes, all that drive is a wonderful thing - well - mostly.  I had to rearrange the dog room.  I had her xpen in a place right by the door and when the other dogs came in to get in their crates,  Sunny was starting to act like a maniacal tiger in a cage - bouncing - running back and forth - hitting the sides of the xpen, barking  and going crazy.  Not that nice.  So I decided she really didn't need that xpen anymore.  I took the xpen down and put her in a small wire crate away from where dogs come into the room.  Then tonight before I let the other dogs in,  I gave her something to chew on and covered her crate.  Worked like a charm - no bouncing, screaming puppy.   MANAGEMENT.  It works.

Sunny has been learning what the word NO means.  She has been pretty testy about several things lately so I have had to set her straight.  And she listens!  Well, maybe not the first time, but definitely by the second time she does show respect.  Oh, I do love my Sunny girl!  She definitely keeps me on my toes and thinking all the time.  She is just so much fun!  Before I got Sunny, Cathy and I joked about me getting a little red stinker ........cuz that is what I asked for :-D  Thanks Cathy!!  Sunny is awesome!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunny Can Do.......
Sunny loves to run - she is smiling in almost every picture :-)
Sunny getting to know Jappie - I keep working at socialization!
A rare moment - Sunny standing still.  I love that butt!
So many things!!  The past few days Sunny's training has really stepped up.  She totally wants to be doing something with me :-)  I started using food for training again and she is readily taking kibble as a reward now.  I have been using the clicker and shaping some behaviors.  I started with 101 things to do with a box (I use a medium sized rubber feed tub for horses.)  Sunny caught on real fast and was inside the tub in no time.  I even got her to get only the back feet in the tub.  Turning the tub over she will jump on the top of it and I am working on getting her to do a sit and then a stand.  I like teaching the stand on top of something - that way they learn to stand by thrusting the back end up and not stepping forward into a stand.

The balance cushion work has progressed to a line of "obstacles" and getting her to negotiate over them.    I use small step stools in between the cushions.  She will carefully go from one to the other using her back end and thinking about foot placement.  Sunny loves doing this stuff.  I need to get Denise to come out and take pictures of Sunny doing all her new tricks!

I have a tire that is just the "tire" part  and I strap it to two stick in the ground posts that hold it upright while the tire rests on the ground. I started with the clicker and rewarded her going through the tire with food.  As soon as she figured it out I started using a thrown toy as a reward.  She thinks she is hot stuff when she does this.

Sunny walked through a  tunnel the first day she was here, while  going on her exploration walk.  That progressed to running through tunnels just for fun.  A couple days ago I took her toy and got her to run through the tunnel and then threw the toy as a reward.  Now she will go tunnel when I ask and chase her toy as a reward.

I started shaping side walking on both sides this week also.  Gosh, she is such a smart pup!  She is figuring out real fast where she needs to be to earn a treat.  She figured out the clicker super fast.  I also started teaching her hand touches today.  Although I have been shaping the folding down and the sit I have not added any cues yet and am treating those behaviors as just tricks.

Also on her list of "can do" is teaching eye contact.  Again, Sunny caught on real fast if she looks at my eyes she gets a click and treat.   I love the balance of thoughtfulness and drive in this puppy.  She is a wild child in so many ways, but she will also stop and think a situation out without spilling drive all over the place.

Her toy drive when she is playing with me is really good and tugging is holding steady despite teething.  She is still tugging pretty strong, although some days I notice that tugging isn't as vigorous as other days.  Ears went wacko again (after a week out of the tape) and today I got a friend to hold her while I put her ears back in tape.  Still using the taco method as that is working good.  Sunny is growing so fast.  She is eating about 1 1/2 cups of food a day right now, plus she gets a few biscuits for going in crates and pens. 

This morning I was working with Sunny before people got here for class.  Lois and Rachel came early so I wanted to show them all the things Sunny was doing.  I didn't know if Sunny would work with the distraction of other people around (she is really a friendly pup and loves people.)  I was shocked and amazed when she ran over to her balance cushions to offer behaviors and show off for them!   Lois and Rachel were pretty impressed too!

Gosh, I sure love my puppy :-)  Sunny loves to show me all the things she can do!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Road Trip

Sunny at 12 1/2 weeks old
Sunny and Flint

Seaweed is fascinating stuff!

Sunny coming around for another dive at Flint


Sunny and her friend Gracie

Sparing Partners
 I headed out to the San Martin ASCA trial a day early so that I would have time to go to the beach and visit a friend.  Sunny is a great traveler and pretty much thinks the world is hers :-)  The beach is a long ways from where I live, so we won't get to go there often, but Sunny thought it was just perfect for her.  Of course she would rather be running free - but NO WAY LOL!!!  I am sure she would just keep running and never come back at this point.  She liked the water, the sand, other dogs, seaweed and all the people walking on the beach.  Absolutely no fear.  It was cloudy and dark at the beach because a storm was moving in.  Not the best for picture taking.  Plus, I was holding that big camera and lens in one hand and Sunny attached to the flexi leash in the other hand - a photographic challenge to be sure!

We stayed with friends in Carmel Valley and Sunny got to play with Gracie, that cute little terrier mix - cutest thing I have ever seen and so photogenic.  Gracie is 9 months old and so quick and agile, she kept Sunny moving.  They played so good together.  A tired puppy is a good thing.

At the ASCA trial Sunny got to play with several other puppies too.  Her sister Halle was there and they played all day on Saturday.  We set up two xpens under my canopy for the puppies play area.  There was another pup that was born on the same day as Halle and Sunny.  They played so good together and it was so much fun to watch them.  On Sunday they had a play session in the morning and after that I felt Sunny had had enough.  She was just getting "out there."  So she hung out in her crate in the van or in the xpen WITH A LID on it.  Yes, she can jump out of a 36 inch tall pen if left by herself!

And the little dickens will take off.  On Saturday I was going to take her out for a walk  - potty time!  I was getting her harness on and she slipped out of it and got away from me.  She made a bee-line to the covered arena where the dogs were running agility.  Yikes!!  I took off after her and when she saw I was coming,  she ran even faster AWAY from me OMG!  She ran up to a Corgi and then up to a dog at the practice jump.  Fortunately both the dog and the handler were very friendly and I caught up with her there.  WHEW!!  Everyone was laughing at the puppy antics - even me.  But......Note to self.  Before putting on the harness attach the leash to the collar!

Overall, Sunny was very good at the trial site.  She met some nice big dogs, lots of people and took in all the sights and sounds of an agility trial.  I was so proud of my girl!  Both she and Halle have such good temperments.  They are both friendly and outgoing puppies.

I regret that I did not get any pictures of the sisters together.  Between me running Flint, working classes, the rain and taking care of Sunny I just didn't feel like getting out my camera.  I love my DSLR, but it is big and I have to think to use it.  I am thinking about getting a good pocket camera to fill in on those occasions when the big canon is just too much effort.