Today over lunch I decided to play some games with Epic using both a fleece tug and cookies as rewards. I rewarded her for offering stand and downs, for walking beside me and for coming to find me if I hid out of sight while she was distracted. I am making a very conscious effort with Epic to pair the click with food and toys so I use them both as rewards in the same session.
The other thing I practiced was letting Epic “win” the tug game, encouraging her to bring it back for another round and then doing the same thing all over again. I am hoping in the long run that she finds playing tug with me more fun than whipping the tug around on her own…we’ll have to wait and see about that.
This evening Epic came with me when I drove to Portage la Prairie to teach an out of town class. As usual she was a princess in the car and since we had some time when we got there before class started we took a short walk around the block and then went into the training facility to say hi.
She went down some dark stairs, said “hi” to old friends and new, and she was able and willing to play tug with me for a while. I took her back out to the crate in the car while I taught class but plan to try her in her crate in the building while I teach next week.
13 Weeks, 1 Day
Weight: 13.2 kg (~29lbs)
Well, Epic can now help herself onto the furniture now, without taking a flying, leaping, running start. She’s growing like a weed, but not all at once. First her back legs seem long, then her front legs catch up. At the moment she most closely resembles a linebacker because she appears to have lost her neck. I hope she finds it again someday.
13 weeks, 2 days
This afternoon, my partner Sean left to work in Cyprus for a month so I’ll be flying solo with two dogs for the first time. Since I work long days this means both dogs will be coming to work with me during the week and there’ll be no one around to entertain Epic in the evening when I am tired and most likely to have any regrets about getting a puppy. I’m armed with a lot of food puzzle toys for those moments . We’ll miss him terribly but I am thrilled he got the opportunity to travel overseas, without having to go into a conflict zone.
This evening, Epic and I went to my friend Renee’s birthday party. Renee has a Westie puppy, Darra, who is about 6 weeks older than Epic but right now they are perfectly matched in size and play style. Much of the evening was spent watching puppies play. They chased each other around and around and around the furniture until Epic could barely walk. During dinner we put the puppies in their crates and Epic settled in quietly with a few kibbles in a Kong. This is the first time she has been in her crate outside of work or home and I was pleased she was able to settle down. After dinner the puppies chased each other around some more! We got home at about 11pm, I had to drag Epic out of the car and I didn’t hear a peep from her until 8:00am the next morning.
13 weeks, 4 days
Today we got a lovely gift from Perri & Andrew (Epic’s breeders).
A lovely pink bowl (she was the pink collared girl in her litter) handmade by Andrew. It made me burst into tears. I was feeling tired and a little lonely with Sean leaving so receiving such a thoughtful gift put me over the edge and brightened my day at the same time.
13 Weeks 5 Days
Today I cleaned out the Sherpa bag I brought Epic home in. She was such a tiny fuzzy puppy and she has doubled her weight since.
For memory’s sake, I took a picture of her beside the bag and there is no way I could even try to stuff her into it now.
13 Weeks 6 Days
One of the ways I have been making time to work on certain things with Epic is to attach them to certain events throughout the day. This week, after every potty break at work, Epic and I have been working on mouth handling or as I call it Operation-teach-Epic-not-to-flail-like-a-dying-fish! We started with a click/reward for chin touch (to my hand), graduated to longer chin/hand contact, then chin/hand contact with fingers under lips and on gums. We are also working on rewarding her for staying still when I place my fingers over her muzzle, which seems to be the part that really sets her off. We’ve been practicing this on a grooming table for now so to avoid the whole element of me leaning over her into the mix.
Epic goes out to pee a gazillion times a day, so I figure if I can work on this 10 repetitions at a time, a gazillion times a day, then we should have it sorted out quickly. Since 10 repetitions of this lasts about a minute, we can make a lot of training happening in a short period of time without carving out hours to do it and that suits me just fine!