If At First You Don’t Succeed Try Try Again

The pups And again and again and again! Tonight’s class wasn’t a success or was it? The pups didn’t do what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it, so in that sense it wasn’t a success. Their people, at least Bonnie’s person (that would be me) got flustered and forgot simple commands that were learned several weeks ago. So that wasn’t a success. The treat bags got tangled up in the handy dandy pouches purchased specifically for class and could not be easily retrieved. They definitely weren’t a success.

There were a lot of distractions tonight, there were several meetings going on in the building and people were walking in and out while the class was going on.
Belle smelled something fascinating on the floor in her area and that held her attention for at least the first 15 minutes of class.
Bonnie was equally fascinated by all of the other dogs that were there and wanted to go and play with them.

When we got home Greg made the observation that we experienced a huge learning curve tonight. After thinking about it he was right and that’s what made it a success.
We learned that while the pups do pretty well consistently following commands here at home where it’s just us, them, Pete cat and Lucy kitty, they can still be easily distracted when away from their normal environment so we need to get them out and about more often.

We learned that we need to keep rereading the command instruction sheets so that the steps will be easily remembered at class and we will be less likely to confuse the pups.

We learned that the handy dandy pouches really don’t work as well as plain and simple pockets.

We learned that we can have a night where nothing goes right and that’s ok, we’ll just take a break and try try again until we get it.

On a lighter note, when we got home the girls relaxed with their peanut butter stuffed kongs. The pups rang the “gotta go outside” chime but they weren’t too sure about leaving the kong inside while they went out. I found myself saying to them as I took the kongs from ” You’re the ones who rang the bell and want to go out, I will put the kongs right here and you can have them as soon as you come back in.” They looked where I put them, seemed satisfied with what I told them and went outside. They then collected the kongs again as soon as they came back in the house.


Puppy Notes

Before I begin this blog entry I would like to make a few corrections on the Meet and Greet blog. Roxy is the name of Lanette’s golden retriever. Diesel is a hound mix. And Sunny kitty’s name is spelled Sonny. I apologise for the errors.

We started the continuing class this week. While the adolescent class focused on teaching us, the continuing class is going to focus on working with the pups on tasks we have been teaching them.

I think this class will be easier than the last set of classes simply because we will be working with the pups and practicing for most of the class time. The adolescent class was a bit of a challenge for me because I was trying to entertain Bonnie at the same time that I was learning a new task.

There are 10 dogs in the class, of varying ages, breeds and sizes.

The first thing that the girls had to do was to sit before they were allowed to go into the classroom. That should be an easy task unless you are a 8 month old golden retriever who is meeting several new dogs for the first time. According to Greg, he had to lean down and talk to Belle before she would sit. But she soon did and was able to go to her place.

Bonnie was so excited that she kept trying to jump up on the very nice young lady who was blocking the doorway waiting for Bonnie to sit. Bonnie finally heard my voice and did a hover sit just long enough to be allowed in the classroom. What you may ask is a hover sit? When the pups are so excited and wiggly that their hindends don’t quite touch the floor in a full sit but hover a few inches off the floor Greg and I call it a hover sit.

We practiced sit, stay and up. We did the wave and the pups did a good job keeping up. We worked on settle and massaged the pups when they were in the settle (laying on their side) position. Both girls enjoyed the settle so much that they each requested to have their tummy rubbed. Along with feeling good the massage is to get them used to their body being touched so that when they have to go to the vet for an exam or be groomed or have their toenails trimmed they will be used to it.

This week’s homework is to work on a 1 minute sit and a 1 minute down. Another task we will be working on is having the pups sit by us and not jump up when someone is walking towards us to greet us. When the pup stops sitting the person stops walking. When the pup sits down the person walks towards us again. The idea is to get the dogs to stay sitting and not jump. If anyone is in the neighborhood and would like to stop by and help us with this exercise you would be most welcome!

A few puppy notes from this week. This afternoon Bonnie was in the outside puppy pen and was barking to come in. Shortly after that I heard the “I gotta go out” chime ring. When I went out to the kitchen there was Belle ringing the bell. I opened the door to let her out when to my surprise she looked at her sister as if to say “come on in” and turned and walked back into the kitchen her job complete. She was letting me know that Bonnie wanted back in the house! Greg said that they have been doing that to him too.

I couldn’t find one of my remotes this afternoon and after searching for it the next thing I knew Belle was bringing it to me,this happened not once but twice. Yep, I kept misplacing it or did I?

The pups are starting to obey the leave it command. This command works well when we want them to stop going after something. It even works when they are ganging up on Pete cat much to his relief!

Puppies Meet and Greet

The pups did well when they went to meet Lanette and her family.   They were respectful of their elders which included the resident dogs Rosie, Diesel, and resident kitty Sunny. as well as Charlie and Peanut dogs who were boarders and will be there the same weekend the girls will be.  It was interesting watching the pups with the other dogs, they looked like youngsters that they really are. Lanette is one of the instructors for our Know Your Dog class and we had a mini lesson on dog behavior while we were there. It was interesting and it felt good to have someone watch our pups and give a professional opinion on their behavior.

  They had fun playing with Diseal a cattle dog(?) and Charlie the chocolate lab, Peanut the dachshund who was 15 stayed out of the rambunctious play and simply enjoyed watching the activity going on all around her. Rosie the golden retriever is the head of the household and the girls respected her as such.  She enjoyed playing with her tennis ball and kept bringing it to Greg and I to throw for her.

The girls showed me their green eyes when one of the other dogs came up for some loving, it wasn’t long before one of our girls was standing by my other side asking to be loved as well.  I found myself explaining to our pups that there was enough love for everyone.

Sunny kitty is a Pete cat look alike and more than held his own when Belle got a little too active for his tastes. Belle was respectful of the paw swipe even though Sunny has been declawed and went to the door and looked at us as if to say, “ok, it’s been fun but I am ready to go home now”

In addition to boarding them there when needed, we are considering also having them go occasionally for a playtime. Even though they have each other it would be good for them to be with other dogs.

They Passed!

pups certificatesTonight’s class was the last one in the adolescent/beginning class. All the dogs received a certificate stating that they passed the beginning class. Good job girls! I will admit there were some days that I was wondering if we would actually pass this class the first time around.

Tonight went well, both pups (and their humans) are getting the hang of what they are supposed to do. We signed up tonight for the continuing class where we will continue to work on the skills that were introduced in the beginning class. So while at first I was hesistant to start another class right away I am glad that we are as it will help reinforce the tasks for the pups.

Tonight we practiced walking the right way with leashes, we walked from chair to chair and all of the dogs were very interested in the chairs and belonging of the other participants. All the dogs without fail also took advantage to grab a drink from the water bowl that was by one of the chairs. Which brought a chuckle from everyone.

We also practiced sit/stay and down/stay and after a bit the girls got the hang of it and were pretty good at it. This week we will be practicing both walking on a leash and the stay command.

Earlier this week we attended the first of four sessions of “Know Your Dog”. The first class was interesting and we are learning to read our dogs, tails, ears, stance, and eye shape.

Saturday the girls have a meet and greet with Lanette of Mid-Day Play and her 2 dogs as well as 2 of the dogs that are boarding with her. I am really hoping it goes well as we really like the idea of them being in that kind of an environment when we are away and need to board them.
Of course I am realizing that I have to explain that Bonnie plays her bark alarm at 5 AM even on weekends, that the pups like to steal pens, shoes, paper and dish towels, so it might be a no go until they are older and those things aren’t as appealing, but we’ll see.

Until next time…

The Pups 1st Trip to Rural King

The pups went on their first visit to Rural King today. We are working on leash training and Greg thought it would be a good idea to take the pups out in public.

Bonnie still seems concerned when riding in the van so I sat in the seat next to her softly petting her and talking to her. Towards the end of the drive there she seemed to relax. Belle on the other hand enjoyed the ride, She was fascinated by the back window wiper and followed the motion with her nose on the glass. She also barked at the cars that were following behind us. I would love to know what she thinks they are and what she is saying to them.

The pups did well for their first time in the store considering it was also one of their first lessons walking on a leash the correct way.

Bonnie didn’t know what to think about the automatic doors and wasn’t too sure she wanted to go through them, and of course we had two sets to go through to get into the store. with lots of “good girl, it’s fine, you can do it” reassurances we made it through both of the doors.

Because it’s what we do, we had a game plan and were armed with the pups favorite treats… hotdogs (I don’t ever think I will think of Oscar Meyer hot dogs in quite the same way again.) We walked into the store and started by walking down the main aisle as it was one of the widest in the store.

Belle and Greg took the lead and headed down the aisle, Belle discovered a rolled up throw that seemed interesting and when she knocked it off the shelf Greg picked it up and put it back on the shelf without missing a step.

Bonnie was more interested in what was on the floor than the shelves and gave up a candy wrapper when I asked for it.

When we rounded the corner what should we hear but cheep, cheep, cheep yep, they had baby chicks. It was the first time the girls had ever seen chicks and they REALLY liked them. Bonnie went almost nose to beak with a chick that was just as curious about the pups. I was glad that the girls didn’t bark as it doesn’t take much to scare them.

Our next stop was the dog food aisle where without thinking I asked Bonnie to sit and lay, She looked at me as if to say “are you crazy?!” looking down I noticed that a bag of food at one time had split open and along with all kinds of scrumptious smells there were a few nuggets of food. Of course she wasn’t interested in hot dogs or obeying commands. We managed to leave the aisle without her sampling the food. She did however do a good job obeying the sit and lay commands when we tried it several times in less interesting aisles.

Belle did such a good job walking with Greg that he was able to stop and pick out a couple of his favorite shirts. She perused the dog bones but didn’t find one to her liking.

Because it was a first time and we are still working on not jumping we kept contact with people to a minimum. Although we saw lots of smiles and heard several positive comments about the girls.

When we were ready to check out one of the employees asked if she could pet the pups, we said yes and Greg asked her if she would be willing to help with the polite greeting exercise. She readily agreed and Belle did very well. When the lady came to pet Bonnie it was all I could do to keep Bonnie from jumping on her and I didn’t ask her to do the exercise with us, So I lost a teachable moment, but that’s ok The lady knew to turn her back on Bonnie so she ended up losing the desire to jump. It turns out she has a golden retriever german shepherd mix so she totally understood.

The pups were pretty worn out and snoozed most of the way home. I was stinking proud of the girls, while it wasn’t perfect We thought it went very well for a first time.


A sleepy Bonnie and her fox

A sleepy Bonnie and her fox

Belle practicing her "sit"

Belle practicing her “sit”

So Bonnie pup’s inner alarm still went off at 5:00am even though it’s Saturday.
I went in to curl up on the couch with my coffee and a book and suddenly had a lap full of big puppy. Bonnie ended up beside me snuggled in close to me as she could. A few minutes later Pete cat came up looking for a spot to curl up in as well. I wish I would have had my camera as Pete and Bonnie were ear to ear cuddled together. Let me tell you I was nice and warm on this winter morning!

The past couple of weeks have been spent changing the pups over to their new corn and wheat free dog food. Their tummies aren’t liking it so we are slowly changing their food from a 2/3- 1/3 mix to all new dog food.

We picked up a couple of new toys that are Bonnie and Belle approved. the first is JW Treat Pods it’s a set of three rubbery pods connected by a rope that you put treats in. This is very much a favorite. The other one is a Skinneeez Stuffingless Dog Toy, the girls love the foxes, they play tug a war with them,throw them up in the air and just cuddle with them.

The pups keep trying to take their toys outside when they go so I have to do a sweep as they walk out the door. Trust me sometimes you have to be quick as they are really determined to take them outside. I’m not sure if they just want them outside with them or if they want to make sure that Lucy kitty and Pete cat don’t play with them while they are gone!

Going to work on “leave it”, “settle”, and start practicing polite leash walking today. Then just might have to end the day with some additional cuddle time while watching a movie.

Greg just came in with the girls and said that they had enjoyed chasing some birds half way across the field. Because chasing the birds was way more exciting than listening to him he got to chase after them as they raced across the field. He didn’t enjoy his run quite as much. But brave man that he is he decided to take the girls for a ride in the truck into town to pick up some gas. The girls were tail wagging excited to go with their Greg. I am guessing that’s going to be a story that’s just waiting to be written.