Today, Epic and I worked on some conformation basics. While my main goals with Epic involve sport venues, I am looking forward to giving the breed ring a try. I see it as another set of skills for us to learn and another adventure to share.
My friend Kathy brought me some puppy show leads to try out last night and had me start Epic with stands (already there) and then rewarding her for planting her back feet and moving her front feet forward. We have been practicing this on a grooming table in front of a mirror. Right now this is a pure luring but I have been clicking and offering a jackpot t0 Epic if she stays still or (in my uneducated eyes) holds herself especially nicely.
We have also been practicing trotting on leash. Right now Epic is either behind me, directly in front of me (she is going to trip me one day), or mouthing the lead so it’s taking a TON of clicking and rewarding to keep her moving away from my feet.
Aside from this, I am handling Epic’s ears, toes, tummy, girl parts, legs, neck, chin and teeth every day so that when it comes time for someone else to handle her, she will be familiar with the process.
11 weeks, 1 Day
Weight: 10.2 kilograms (~22.5lbs)
Today at Puppy Camp, Epic and Hudson’s adventures involved the automatic car wash and then the dog wash, a coin operated u-wash place for dogs.
The loud sounds of the jets and the drier are something that is new to most puppies. Some puppies whine, some bark, Epic raised her head when she heard the first jets go and then she laid it back down. Nothing she felt was worth worrying about.
At the dog wash, Epic sniffed the usual places; the drain spot, the floor squeegee, the corners. She did not, however react at all to the dog statue that resides there. She glanced at him and moved on.
Once she had her fill of sniffing, I placed a cookie trail up the ramp to the tub. It took her a few tries but eventually she was able to get onto the ramp and up into the tub on her own.
And then all the way out of the tub and down the ramp again.
After Puppy Camp, Epic and I went out to visit my friend Stephanie, her Rottweiler Quest, and her Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Astrid. Stephanie lives out in the country and has a huge field where the dogs can run/walk freely off leash.
Epic had a great time with Astrid and Quest and she managed to keep up with us on the walk. Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera, but we won’t be forgetting it next time.
11 weeks, 2 Days
Weekends are no longer the same with Epic in the house. Before Epic (BE) we rarely slept in past 9:00am but After Epic….we need to be up by 7:30am to let her out. Thankfully, she is happy to go back to bed for a few hours after a Pee and a breakfast.
Today however, Sean and I went out for breakfast so we left Epic and Bear crated in the house together. This is the first time we have left Epic at the house while we went out, and she appears to have survived.
After Breakfast, Bear and Epic played outside together. I think they have decided to get along, for now.
However , the photo below really bothered a friend (who is a trainer, behaviour consultant and someone whose opinion I value). What I saw as a moment in play, she does not.
A photo captures an instant in time and a cropped photo provides even less information. So, just to be on the safe side, we are going to meet this weekend to see if, my friend has the same concerns ‘in real life’ and we’ll proceed accordingly from there.
One of the things about being a trainer and daycare play supervisor is that I am always working with other people’s dogs. Sometimes I think a lot of trainers are blind to behaviours we see in our own dogs, or play them down or make excuses. Unfortunately making excuses does not make things better and this is the number one reason Epic and I have been going to puppy classes and will continue in classes for quite some time.
After a morning of playing and lunch, it was time to head to Kathy’s for (human) lunch and a bath for both dogs. Epic was not 100% thrilled about her first bath but she did tolerate it and she enjoyed some cookies between shampoos and rinses.
After bath time and more playing with Bear, Epic was very tired which made for the perfect opportunity to trim her toenails. I had her lay down beside me on the sofa and she let me pick up and trim one paw at a time. She earned a cookie after each paw and she didn’t struggle at all.
11 Weeks, 3 days
Today I decided that I would try to walk both dogs on leash.
At the same time.
I had Bear on the hands free leash and Epic on my 10 foot leash. It didn’t go half as bad as I thought.
Half way through I thought I might use the hands free leash as a splitter. After about 2 minutes of Bear practically dragging Epic along, I’ve decided to wait to use it again when Epic is a bit taller.
11 Weeks, 4 days
Today at work, I ran what I call “Tween Camp” for puppies that have been through Puppy Adventure Camp but that aren’t old enough for regular daycare (they must be 6 months).
Since Epic was at work with me, I let her out to play a bit with Cooper before the third puppy Darra came. I decided to use this opportunity to call her from play, reward her every time she came and then send her back to play. Teaching a recall this way, in this scenario, is teaching her 3 things.
- She is learning to leave something interesting (a playmate)
- She is learning that I will reward her for coming to me with a tasty treat
- She is learning that a recall does not always mean the fun is over, in fact a recall in this scenario almost always results in being allowed to go back to play.
Aside from being a potentially life saving behavior, a recall will be useful in rally, agility and herding later on down the road.
This evening we went to Epic’s second Puppy Play Group. She got to play a bit with Copper, the beagle, but her full body contact play style was a bit much for him. I spent a lot of time calling her away for rewards and a short cool off before sending her back to play.
During the class, the instructor brought out a stroller and a bicycle out for the puppies to see. Epic was curious and followed but did not get too close. She wasn’t 100% comfortable with them but was curious enough to approach in her own time.
1 Weeks, 5 days
This evening, I decided to once again attempt walking both dogs on leash. Just like before I had Bear on my hands free hipster and epic on the 10 foot leash but this time I put Bear’s back pack on. I had forgotten how much less he pulls with it on. Our trip around the “block” was less than 2 kilometers but I spent considerably less time untangling myself from leashes.
Best of all, Epic was ready for supper and then a bit of settle time in her crate, right at the time of day I like to sit down and relax.