Friday, January 29, 2010

Different dogs---different challenges

Dogs are sooo cool. I am glad they are not into the competition thing, or who is better or sitting and wondering why things are harder for one then the other. They just go out to do an activity and as long as their trainer will break things down to their level and work with them where they are at they are happy as little clams. It does not matter to them if they get it the first time or if they have to work ten times longer to get it then the next dog. It is all good and they just are happy in the moment. I love that.

We had a herding lesson yesterday and Liz AND Breeze each got a lesson. If these were two human teenagers I could totally see Breeze as the really pretty girl, the one that is a cheerleader and is the student council president. The teachers would all love her and she would pull straight A's while she put in minimal effort. At home her parents would say how cooperative and easy to live with she is, a little moody every once in awhile, a little hard on the not so popular kids once in a while, but generally a joy to her parent and teachers. Breeze just seems self sufficient-she is a work whore, she would do anything or work with anyone to get agility or sheep or what ever she would like to do. I know she loves me-and I love her and she is SUPER FUN but I never feel I am the center of her world-that is just who she is. And a lot of times knowing she is not dependant on me is a really cool thing.

Liz-the older sister- on the other hand would probably have her spiked hair and one day would come home with a pierced belly button and bright orange hair. She would work really hard but people would not notice as much and even though she tries really hard to be good she is always the one that comes up with some shenanigan that gets her in trouble. Sports and things that people are likely to watch just do not come as easy to her because she is always battling the voices in her head that tell her to run off or investigate the thing in the corner or because she just can not seem to try things the normal way so they just do not come off as easily as a dog that just does things the way most dogs do. Hard to explain. I ADORE my little rebel. I admire her spirit but it does not make training easier. Now when we do tricks or clicker training, wow, Lizzie is just awesome and is sooooo freaky smart-no one sees that and very few people really know that part of Liz, that is a little secret self that only I know. I am the center of Liz's world, she loves everyone but she is very centered on me and will work for others but she needs me for her stability or she has a hard time pulling herself together enough to do what she wants to do.

So what I am trying to say is that once again as with anything we have done,....I take Lizzie and it is always a long uphill road, a lot of challenges, a lot of weird bumps in the road that do not seem to happen with other dogs, and we make steady progress but it is always the type of progress you need to totally be watching and looking for the small steps. Breeze tries anything and she is the SUPER STAR. Boom right off the bat, instructors eyes light up and Breeze just totally follows the nice little path you would expect a dog to follow. She picks it all up and progresses really quickly. Not that she does not have her bumps along the road but she just gets the big picture. She is a super fun dog to be taking up any sport with.

Working with these two same breed, same sex dogs, very close to the same age has really taught me that all dogs are INDIVIDUALS. A lot of things are not training, or up bringing it is the individual dog. I think for the rest of my life I will be a lot less hard on myself about training realizing that and seeing it so clearly in action. Some of my dogs issues are similar and when you have the third or fourth dog with the same issue, LOL, yep that does point a glaring finger at what I might need work on, and all my dogs do some things really well....all of them so that makes me really see there are some things I think I train really well, so nice to get a balanced perspective of the good and the bad.

So in agility briefly Breeze is super good at tight work, collections, really reading my body language. I have had to work on her finding her own lines, feeling comfy working further away, control issues, the start line, contacts, etc... Liz on the other hand likes wide sweeping lines and lots of connection, amazingly she loves self control type behaviors-she loves tables, contacts, start lines-but she is prone to running away and totally not being able to seem to hear me and she is very prone to getting frustrated, stressed and over the top. Hard to train two totally opposite dogs.

Now we look at herding. YEP TWO TOTALLY OPPOSITE WORKING DOGS!!! Liz we are slowly working a step at a time. Liz is afraid to look at the sheep and does what ever she can to avoid it. Liz can be right up at the sheeps butts and they just mosey along, they do not worry a lot about her. Liz wants to circle and circle so she does not have to really deal with the sheep. Liz is terrific at her stays with the sheep moving and her downs and it is cool because the sheep do not move as much so I have a lot more time to think.

Then there is Breeze, YIKES. On her first lesson she is about four or five months AHEAD of Liz who has been working for a long time now, LOL. Liz I am trying to get her to move up on the sheep and I am happy when she chases them. Breeze I already have to keep her WAYYYYYYYY far behind the sheep because when she stares at them they take her seriously and when she is WAY far behind them walking they still feel a lot of pressure and are getting a move on. If Liz was that far back the sheep would be settling in to eat, LOL. So on our first lesson we worked on some things that are a few steps down the line for Liz, and Breeze moved to the bigger field. Did I say Breeze does terrific? LOL.

I had done a few lessons with Breeze a few years back and when I was puppy sitting I practiced with her a few times and when I herd with Breeze like I herd with Liz I end up with me and the sheep going in little tiny circles. No one has ever explained why that happens and I have been told just to shove the sheep and keep going in a straight line. Have you seen sheep, they are not small, and they do not shove so well when they really feel they need to go one way. So apparently all this time I just needed to get Breeze way far back, when I feel the sheep shoving me it means that they feel too much pressure from Breeze so I need to back her off and slow her down. Pretty easy to figure out where she needs to be once someone explained it to me like that!!!

It was really a rush to see my dog learn so much in one lesson and to see her learn how to stay out further and have the control to very slowly walk up on the sheep. I was dripping in sweat working her because I had to run out after her and be moving fast and reacting fast, but it was soooo much fun.

Makes me feel a little bad because Breeze just did so terrific and I found what we worked on with her easier then what I was working on with Liz so of course that is what comes to mind first about our lessons. Liz on the other hand did better then she ever has and she was working really nice, she has made some great progress....but like all things Lizzie it is baby step progress, LOL.

After my lessons there was a dog that I have really admired, a really young dog coming for his lessons-he was working ducks just for the second time and then there was a dog with a lesson that is a relative of Breeze's and seemed to have a lot of the same, exact things they were working on-so I got to hang out and watch their lessons which just helps me learn so much.

No video today, since I worked my own dogs ;-(, I really wish I had video of agility since they were setting up for a trial so I could not use the yard to practice....and no beach since I spent all afternoon watching the other lessons....but what a great afternoon. I am really starting to like herding.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

That Greener Grass!

These are some pictures of Chloe in her first trial, a CPE trial at Contact Point Ranch years ago. She looks happy and she looks fast,...who knew we did not come close to making time in five runs?

I was looking at some pictures and thinking I kid around and say that the reason I do trials is so I can get cool agility photos of my dogs going through the weaves, or perched on the end of a teeter, or doing a gorgeous leap over a jump. The pictures are definitely the coolest thing-because our dogs always look perfect and I imagine other people who look at them think that our agility journey is an easier one after all just look at that dog performing ;-).

In the pictures everything looks PERFECT. The wind is always going through the dog's hair and the dog is thinking so they have the coolest expressions, how could those pictures not be exciting and make us all feel like professionals!

From the pictures you see of agility dogs you could never guess that a dog is having trouble making time, or hates the dog walk, drops half the bars, think they need to leap over contacts or they are stressing at the start line.

When I started agility with my sheltie Chloe she had a combination of issues that we had to WORK through, and work like dogs! Chloe went through an autoimmune issues which affected her thyroid and we had a heck of a time. We spend many an agility class with Chloe barely walking around jumps, and looking blankly at the weave poles because when she was going through her illness she forgot how to weave, and me being so physically exhausted trying to cheer her up and have her try anything, whew... that was exhausting. I had to reteach her all the obstacles. We finally got her running, very precisely but slowly and our first trial was a CPE trial where Chloe got no faults in 5 runs-EXCEPT for time faults, and she got so many of those that there were no Q's. I think CPE is pretty generous on the amount of time they allow, so that was pretty sad! LOL.

I would be so exhausted running Chloe sometimes and people would complain about their high drive dogs and how they had to think so fast, how they had trouble with things like start lines, tables, what ever and I would think man I would deal with that any day rather then have to deal with my sad looking little dog, LOL. I did always try to make it happy for Chloe and she did have fun, there were no mistakes even when she would run AROUND every jump and miss every weave pole, it was all good.

I worked for a LONG time and eventually Chloe started to run, then she started to run very fast, and then she ran so fast that a lot of times she blows me off, LOL. We went from our issue being making time to a lot of off courses, but that always made me happier because she was happy and it was less exhausting to deal with those issues! We came in way under time every time in AKC and USDAA, but with other faults, we could have aced the CPE course times then if we had done more CPE.

A funny thing happened and when Chloe started leaving me in the dust because I was not used to running a fast dog, everything had changed, and we had off courses for the first time I started to think, hummm, this used to be so much easier when Chloe was always right there at my side and would never dream of going off course.

Another funny thing happened, about that time I got Breeze who is super high drive, really responsive, very fast and a girl from class came up to me and said I did not deserve a really great dog, I had not paid my dues and never had to go through a course pulling a slow dog along like she had-which was funny because the dog she was referring to was slow but always barely made time. WHAT?????? Like she had been in class with me many times over the years and had to see the painful moments of barely walking through a course and walking around jumps. How could she not remember how painful that had been?

Recently this same person was watching Breeze weave and she seemed very frustrated because she feels her dog does not weave fast enough. Breeze is gorgeous in her weaves, and sooooo smoking fast. This girl was complaining and wondering why her dog was not as good as Breeze. I pointed out, hey, your dog gets the entrances!!!! Our time ends up no faster and actually slower because we are going through a stage where Breeze is really not catching entries well, so usually we have to start over again, not a time saver at all. Which problem would you rather have? I don't know and we all get the problems we get. I think it is human nature to always think the grass is greener I think everyone elses problems always seem less frustrating and easier to solve then our own. I am the poster child for doing that, LOL, I know I have the toughest road out of everyone, hahahahahahahahaha, after all no one else is as slow as me- with dogs as fast as mine and no one else has as much trouble finding good instructors as I do in my area, I could go on and on, shall I go on? LOL. I don't really think these things except in some small moments where it all seems easier for everyone else! I just think it is funny, and I started thinking about all this after I was looking at all the pictures where all the dogs look perfect, who would think they could have training issues?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

RECALL CLASS REVIEWED-one more week to go!

We had week three of the recall class today for Cricket. WOW, what an awesome little girl. I can not tell you how much I am enjoying this little girl! At home she is just so cool, she follows me where ever I go in the house, she loves to play and loves to work. Little Cricket is a cuddle bug to boot. I do not think border collies are generally known for being cuddle bugs, so I am really loving having one. Our recall class meets at a different place each week and Cricket has done so good with all the distractions, new places and the other dogs and people. She is able to play and tug during class and even able to call of food. The rest of the dogs are adults, so it just seems to cute to me to see this little puppy doing her job so well, LOL. She does get distracted when other dogs are running right past her-the movement is really exciting, but she seems to lose her head for a split second then turn and come running back-so really pretty good for such a youngster.

The recall class is really a fun class and I feel like we are getting so much out of it. The first class is a bit slow, but then the fun and games begin. I figured I would sort of summarize what we have done in class so far.

First off training a great recall is a result of
Management-Planning ahead to set up for success
Relationship-Built on trust and cooperation
Training-modify behavior with positive reinforcement
and if you have a strong relationship and good management you are already well on your way.

First component of the program is making sure your dog gets plenty of off leash time. If they never get off leash then it is such a high value thing that it is tough to beat. Of course you need to find fenced in places, friends yards, where ever but our homework was to make sure to get the dogs out off leash as much as possible. If you really can not find an off leash place, you can make a drag line with knots in it so you can step on it and make sure the dog is safe but try to give the dog as much freedom as possible. While they were off leash we could NOT call the dog or try to get their attention, but wait and mark with a click or praise and treat each time they checked in or looked at us. The object was to get that as a default behavior where the dog kept track of us, and not us always taking responsibility for keeping track of the dog. Cindy called this game "who is paying attention to whom?" First week we did this behavior with the dogs just on six foot leashes, the second week we wandered out on the property with long lines, the third week we used really long lines and walked around a new place. Cricket does lovely at this exercise ;-), and very rarely even got to the end of her long line, or the second she did she came racing back.

We did the name game. Say the dogs name and then click and treat. Week one we did that with the dogs in front of us. The second week Cindy the instructor stood about six feet from us and engaged the dogs then we would call and click and treat for the head turn. Third week they were at the end of long lines in a new place, Cindy was giving them as much attention as she thought they could handle and still come when called. You can also practice calling the dogs name when they are with other dogs and then let them back to play as a reward.

Treat Toss-first week we would have the dogs on leash and throw a treat just a few feet away, as the dog gets the treat and turns to come back to you, click and throw out another treat. Second class we threw out the treat and let them go further out on a long line, click and treat as they came back and the dogs that really got the game were able to have the "come" cue added as we knew they were coming back. Third week we added a lot more distractions and added the "come" command, and the dogs were at the end of a long line. Cricket being the super star got to add more to the game, so when she was coming back I would run away from her so she was chasing me, and then we took the treat and when she was coming back I threw the treat in between my legs so she would go in between my legs and keep running-a good start for nice fronts in obedience because the dog learns to not be shy about coming right up to me.

Grandma's Rule was a great game we started on week two. Cindy would stand about six feet from us and have a boring treat in her clenched fist. The treat was presented to the dog, and we would pound the ground, make sounds, anything we could to get our dog to come to us, we did not use the "come" signal because you really should not use it if you are not sure your dog will come. This game reminds me of Susan Garrett's Its Yer Choice where the dog has to learn to come away from a treat to get it. So when the dog comes back you feed, feed, feed, the dog and Cindy would come over and feed the dog what she had too. The third week they did this exercise at the end of a long line, and with some strangers in a new place and Cindy really let them nibble a bit at the treat. So next week the dogs are supposed to be able to be eating and be called-which is just huge if your dog feels coming to you is more rewarding then hanging out with food right there. Cricket had this one down today so well that she ran to Cindy, and just used her as a push off board and raced back to me. I need to practice that this week with other people, so the problem will be getting other people that will follow the instructions.

FOOD OFF THE BODY-so today on week three we address the whole what to do without food on our body. Unless we live with a bait bag on they have to learn that even if it does not look like we have food they can still come and chances are great they will get a reward. For this one we threw our bait bag on the ground and Cindy held our dogs next to the bait bag. We went to the end of the long line and then called the dogs. When the dogs came we grabbed them and ran all excited to the bait bag and then rewarded for at least 30 seconds. Over time we are supposed to hide food around the area we are going to be working in.

Chase Me-step on your line or long line, when the dog wanders off or is distracted call them and take off running, when they get up to you whip out food or some fun toys and have an exciting game.

Three times a day we can do our really reliable recall that is a special word to be used only in emergencies. You ONLY practice this THREE times a day-make sure the dog is going to come and then treat for a full ninety seconds, which is a long time. You use tiny treats given very slowly-they refer to it as fine dining, taking the time and relishing the food.

We can practice a regular recall as many times as we want but it should have a very rewarding reinforcement history so it should be richly rewarded with yummy things and try not to call the dog if you think they are not going to come. Of course start with low distractions and build.

Not training "come"
Adding distractions too soon
Punishing your dog for coming or doing unpleasant things
Failing to generalize the "come" cue-so your dog does not get lots practice in lots of places and situations
Failing to make "come" wonderfully fun and rewarding
Saying Come or the dogs name more then once, teaches them to disregard your cue and wait to see if you really want them to come.

It takes months and months of practicing and continuing to pay attention to your recall to make it really reliable, but truly worth it in terms of your relationship and the dogs safety! I do think you see some rewards and improvement is pretty quick, but to make it really awesome it takes lots of really great reinforcement history.

Anyway, I highly recommend and love the Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson-it is one of the most valuable DVDs that I have.

practicing retrieves-playing fetch is a great way to reinforce recalls with a toy or
Hide and Seek-throw a toy to distract your dog, then run and hide, call them and give
tons of praise and treats.
Round Robin-have a couple of people in a circle and one calls the dog, then another
calls the dog, etc...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

just contact stuff.....

Well, we did not float away and had a break in the weather so the water did not end up in the house, it was close....but we got lucky. Most of it has soaked into the ground, except a little lake out the sliding glass door, where the dogs potty of course. The whole town was half flooded, I have never seen this much water. There is a LOT of mud, which is making its way into my house, LOL. On the bright side it seems to have leveled right where I set up most of the agility sequences, it was getting some dips, but it seems pretty level now.

I thought I would post a short video of some of the contact practice I have been doing-or planning to do since the weather was not cooperating this last week. I like to find ways to practice contacts without having to do a ton of Aframes-since I do think they are hard on a dogs body. I do a lot of work inside on a contact board, I have one contact board that is the size of my dogs from shoulder to end of their bum to really reward the position and to make that a very high value position, I saw that at an Elicia Calhoun seminar, and the thing is with the shorter board they have to really position their body correctly so they learn a lot of body awareness. I have a four foot long board where I can either prop one side of the board up and practice running into position and we can just hop on and hop off into position. As far as some things we can practice on the actual obstacles I will just twirl the dog around with me between the dog and the obstacle and have them hop into position off the side. I try to feed for their head down which discourages leaping if you can keep them focusing low, and a straight body position and I spent a lot of time clicking and treating for the dogs to rock their weight backwards. Then we sometimes put a table next to the Aframe and the object is to just pop into position, and then I put a jump at the side of the aframe or the dog walk and have the dog learn to jump onto the obstacle and into position.

To get independent contacts I try to back up a few feet if I have gone to the dog to reward the contact position, then I try to sometimes release before I get to the dog if there is a jump afterwards, reward when my body is even with the dog and reward after I pass the dog. I try to make sure not to do anything with my body to cue release this is one release I want just to be verbal. To start off you can walk past them on the contact, then jog, then run, practice front crosses after the contact, pushes, pulls, just getting the dog to understand to hold position until the release cue is given. I try to pop my dogs onto the contact and throw balls, tug as long as their feet remain in position and stop as soon as they move, anything to make that a fun place to be and highly rewarded. I do try to get more excitement into practice so I can try to more closely replicate what happens at trials.

So those are the big things I try to do, but watching my tape, yikes, I did sometimes reward Liz with her head in the air, I noticed when I did it, but that is not a good thing. I was taking my time and I should get moving a little faster, I sure was not training excitement this morning, LOL, and YIKES, it is a Saturday morning, I am doing laundry and it is cold, so I look like heck but, that is what the neighbors have to deal with after all it is my back yard so sometimes I forget to dress up when I am playing with the dogs, LOL.

So not trying to say we have perfect contacts or any huge answers, just thought I would post a few things that we are doing and trying to keep in mind-always seems to be room for improvement with our contacts anyway!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

still raining........

wow, the spots in the back of the yard without water are now under at least two inches. The front yard is 3/4 under water, and still the rain continues. Our dog club meeting got cancelled last night, the big trials are cancelled for this weekend and still it rains. I am having to keep Cricket tethered to me and then walk her down the street aways to find a place she can pee that is not under water. Hopefully this storm will pass and give us a little rest for the water to soak in before we get much more...... On the bright side the dogs can almost swim through he weaves, LOL.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RAIN and more rain!

Southern California is getting hit with a lot of rain, it is supposed to keep raining the rest of the week, it is just day 2 and my back yard is really flooded. Cricket rings the bells to go out, gets wet and muddy and comes running in, she rings the bells to go out, gets wet and muddy and then comes in, a never ending cycle, LOL. Poor Cricket has had a couple of accidents in the house before I realized there were no dry spots in the back yard. Poor dog has pooped on this green plastic toddler toy that is the only dry spot right now. I think it is going to be a very long week. There are tornado warnings for Long Beach a few hours from here and severe thunderstorm warnings for our area and it was just snowing a few minuetes ago and the freeway through Cajon pass that leads to our house is closed except for vehicles being escorted by hiway patrol. We do not handle rain well in Southern California, especially in the desert!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adventures in puppy sitting /our week at the ranch/Crickets NEW ears!

For the longest time Cricket had one ear or the other that would stand up, and one that would hang down pointed forward. So what a suprise last week all of a sudden we had a new ear set, and I have a feeling this one is here to stay???? It is very cute on her, the ears sort of stay straight and point out sideways, a flying nun look, but it looks adorable on her. It has stayed that way all week.

Well, we were gone puppy sitting from Monday-Friday at the Contact Point Ranch. Fame had pups by Batman we were puppysitting-Batman is a litter mater to Zing who some of you know and he is a litter mate to my Breezie-and half brother. Batman is owned and does agility with Kristie Netzer. They have four gorgeous puppies that were super easy to take care of. Fame is a super good mama. Euro was expecting pups by planned csection so I got to take care of getting her there and taking care of her youngsters the first few days. Euro was such a trooper and did terrific and delivered 5 girls by Csection on Wednesday afternoon. The pups are from Euro/Zing cross, Zing is a littermate to Breezie and Batman, and is Breezes half brother. Zing is owned and does agility with Gabrielle Blackburn. Should be really interesting to see how these pups turn out. Euro is a real live wire, a really tiny girl, and Zing is gorgeous and a tug monster and a wonderful agility dog.

Karen has let me hang around during the birth of a few of her litters the last few months-being a labor and delivery nurse for the human type newborns I find that all very interesting, and Karen has really taught me a lot about taking care of moms/pups, so it was fun to fly solo and put what I have learned to work, LOL. The part that made me the most nervous was keeping the pup cam up and running. I would forget it was going and would be cleaning the whelping box and I am sure stuck my butt in the camera more times then anyone could count, so if anyone saw that, I am truly sorry to put something so scary out on the internet.

Free TV : Ustream

Mama and pups right after the csection when they brought in the first batch of pups to get started nursing.

We got to do some herding practice at the ranch while we were there. This is the path to the herding pen.

First you go past the milk goat and this sheep on your left

Then you go down this path. How could someone not feel peaceful walking down this path?

Duck pen on the right

some more orange trees on the left

The garden and then you see the round pen where Liz/Breeze practice herding

The sheep-there are lots of little lambs right now

This particular morning it was raining-I put Liz and Breeze into one crate that was full of water, whoops, and I told them they needed to cowgirl up and be tough, if they want to be sheep herding dogs they have to be tough, LOL.

I put all the dogs in some big pretty yards with trees and toys, in some smaller kennels, where ever they went Breeze and Liz just wanted to sit at the door waiting for me to come and get them. Poor Cricket kept trying to get them to run around and play, but when they wouldn't she would end up sitting by the door for hours staring. You can tell my dogs are not used to being kenneled, at all! By the last day Liz was HORRIBLE, she barked constantly no matter what I did or where I tried to put her. She was AWEFUL, and I am sure everyone on the ranch was happy to see her go, LOL.

Cricket spent some time playing with 2 pups that are 2 months older then her, but it was puppy play power. Fleur is a Nel/Zing pup and Glee is a Reddy/Bluff pup.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lots of little training going on....

Well, I have been scratching my head about Breeze's weaves. She was doing so terrifically on them until lately, and now she seemed like she could not get any entrances-she would get into the entrance and not be able to turn to catch the next poles. She was doing really nicely on them with my 24 inch poles at home so I was really concerned she was having back troubles and I might have to just trial her in AKC because they have the 24 inch poles in the trials in my area. USDAA has the 21 inch poles. I took Breeze to Karen's at Contact Point Agility and went to work on the poles there and she was PERFECT and those are 21 in poles, she got some pretty difficult entries. So now I am narrowing this down and I think it is just the weaves at Deanna's class that are causing her trouble. Their base is different and where the feet are on the weaves is sort of funky and now I am thinking that is what is bothering Breeze??? Looking back most of the work I was doing with weaves was with those poles.

Breeze has been doing TONS and TONS of games with the 2o20 position at the end of the dog walk and she is such a champ, I can not get her to mess up, but no matter how many times I back chain, by the time I add in the whole dog walk she is right back to the 4 on the floor. I am about ready to just take it. She is totally doing 4 on the floor with the Aframe and I am VERY happy with it, I feel like it takes a lot of the pressure off her back and hips-which is important because she has dysplasia and I do not want to put a lot of pressure on her shoulders when she already has physical challenges ;-). CONTACTS-(I am throwing my hands in the air as I yell CONTACTS, hahahahaha).

On the plus side of Breeze with her agility....I was trying to put her in the car in her crate at the Contact Point ranch, quite away from the agility yard, but Breeze ran away from me....she would not listen to me at all, she was running for the agility yard! Guess she wanted to play agility! After I did some training with her she ran right to the car and got in her crate by herself, she just was not going to leave without getting her turn to play agility! Guess I have made it fun for her, that makes me happy.

Liz got to practice some herding, and either I have messed her up practicing on my own....highly possible, or she is just not getting the idea of herding, she was pretty distracted the last practice, so it will be good to see what Robin thinks we need to do at our next lesson on Monday. Karen from CP suggested letting Lizzie watch some dogs who are good at herding, which is genius, so I am going to have to find some times that I can get her out to watch dogs.

Cricket got to look at the sheep and she thought that herding sounded marvelous when she was watching Lizzie and me out there, but when she got close to the sheep she was not so sure, LOL. They are big after all. So little Crickie just got a few minuets to check the sheep out, she did not show anything fantastic as far as instinct, but she is very young and she might not be ready to move a flock to and from the fields, LOL, but she did OK.

Ok Naughty Cricket is not the same dog that peered out from that crate at the airport a few months ago. LOL. Have to say that the tiny puppies just sit and stare at you and wonder what can they do to please. Little angel Cricket would never think of blowing me off, or it would never enter her head she might not do what I want. Angel Cricket would get out of her ex-pen and jump wildly at the other dogs, a few things like that but she definitely was an angel.

Sixteen weeks hit and angel puppy left for short priods of time and there is a new pup in her place. This one still follows me most of the time, and she comes barreling when I say COME-but only because I am being very careful when I use that word...Little devil Cricket sometimes looks at me when I want her to do something and weighs her options, hummm, are there treats around?, are there other things that look more fun to do? can I dart in and grab something by mom then dart out? She is very cute, but a little more challenging now. She has lost 4 teeth and is getting some new adult teeth in. So now there are LOTS of containers of treats all over the house-I NEED to convince her I am magic and you never know when I will find treats-you never know when it will pay to listen and she got a cool new drag line for when I know she might choose to not listen, LOL. I can not wait to start her recall class on Sunday which is a great relationship building class working on lots of fun games with recalls.

Sweet Cricket still cuddles with me in the evenings and when there is not better game in town follows me looking like I am the coolest thing on earth and goodness this dog is not at all noise sensitive, and definitely not height sensitive and getting so good at shaping I can put anything down and she just starts trying to figure out how she could make it work. She might not be an angel all the time but she is still so super cute!

One thing we have been doing is lots of interacting and shaping with objects, especially things that might make big noises or do unexpected things. I know this will help her with the teeter and just being comfortable in regular life. I did a video of her playing with a few of her toys.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

border collie play, ears..etc..

I let Cricket play outside while I ran to throw in some laundry and when I got back, she was playing in the water. YIKES, I was worried about her not liking water. She was bobbing and diving and digging, I wish I had the camera, it took me a few minutes to go and get it but she was still playing. I had the video so cute with Splish Splash for the music, but you tube muted it, I uploaded it straight onto blogger and it kept failing, so today we get to hear the dogs playing and no music!

Can you believe the holidays are almost over? How did another year go by? I am a little sad that here in this house we all go back to our "normal" schedules tomorrow.

I have another new obsession, CRICKET EAR WATCHING. She is teething and lost her first two baby teeth-time is marching on isn't it? I would have put money her ears would be low and look a lot like Breeze's ears-then awhile ago the ear set started drifting slowly higher on her head....but they tipped very low, then a few days ago when she would shake her head and get some air...they would look prick for a couple of seconds,...and now she is wandering around for sort periods of time with one ear up and one ear down and the tip point is getting higher and higher, sometimes both ears are prick for a few seconds, and sometimes they both look like they are hanging at the sides of her head for a few seconds..WHAT WILL CRICKETS EARS END UP LIKE???? No one knows...but you know I will be watching, LOL.

I am pretty biased but I think she looks so cute what ever is happening with those ears!