Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Reunion

Rick and I flew back to Michigan from the 25th-30th to visit family and friends for the holidays.  It was a wonderful visit.

I left the pack in the trusted care of my mother-in-law and Irvine Pam.  Dolce and JoJo had a great time with MamaMarge, and Zenzi had a wonderful experience at Camp Pam.  Zenzi made friends with Penny, a miniature schnauzer!  Zenzi has not had the opportunity to make friends with other dogs, so this is extraordinary.  Pam reports Zenzi even roughhoused with Penny.  I'm so proud. :)

When we returned the dogs to each other for the first time in those 5 days, the greeting was so exuberant and loving I nearly teared up.  I finally have a pack of dogs who are really attached to each other, love each other, and express that affection beautifully.  It was a sight to behold.  I'm so grateful for the wonderful care my babies received in my absence.

Canine New Year Resolutions:

  • Finish Zenzi's house training.
  • Introduce Zenzi to agility basics.
  • Hike at least once a week with Dolce and Zenzi.
  • Walk JoJo by herself everyday.
  • The elusive CGC title for Dolce.
  • The CGC title for Zenzi.
  • Put an Expert Trick Dog title on Dolce so we can apply for Trick Dog Champion.
  • Put Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert Trick Dog titles on Zenzi so she can be a Trick Dog Champion, too.
  • Prepare Zenzi for the Public Access Test.
  • Get Zenzi certified as a Therapy Dog.
  • Earn any Novice Rally-O title with Zenzi.
  • Earn any Novice Obedience title with Zenzi.
  • More doing, less studying of dog training.
Personal Resolutions:
  • Daily yoga workout Monday-Friday.
  • Run or bike with Dolce a few times per week.
  • Wake up early (5:30am), go to bed early (10:00pm).
  • Read instead of watch TV to help myself fall asleep at night.
  • Look more polished (makeup & hair) for teaching.
  • Get to goal weight of 120lbs.
  • Less soda and eating out, more water and eating in.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zenzi's 10th Puppy Class & 2nd Obedience 1 Class

Well, I have to be quick, so sorry for lack of depth.

The puppy class was much bigger than usual today.  We had a total of 6 of us, and Zenzi was ADHD puppy in a "Let's work A LOT!!!" kind of way.  She was demand barking frequently, and needed to be in motion at all times.  We did some sit-to-greet a stranger practice, agility stretches and warmups, and puppy play time.  Zenzi was a champ for all of it, albeit too enthusiastic.

We spent the break at PetSmart to get a drink.  She was very brave.

The Obedience class was when her real brain kicked in.  We reviewed Touch, Name, Sit, and worked on Down, Watch Me, and...

STAY!  Yes, Zenzi learned to STAY! OMG.  Sue Ailsby's method is what did it for us, but we got to practice in class and she GOT IT!  We even worked up to a count of 10.

Zenzi was the demo pup for down.  She rocked it, of course, and everyone was like, "Holy crap!  She's smart and fast."

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Zenzi's getting bolder, Dolce is getting more confident. :D

My new plan, now that Zenzi has had a couple weeks for all her puppy shots to kick in, is to take her to a "people" indoorsy place once a week, and an outdoorsy park place once a week for socializing.  Really, these are outings I would like to do anyway, so the fact that I'm socializing her simultaneously is just a bonus. :)

We went to the Irvine Regional Park, as I mentioned last week, for the second time this week.  This time, I brought Dolce along.  He is getting so much better about reacting to strange dogs, I figured in a remote place like the park, he couldn't have too much of an influence on Zenzi in a negative way.  This would be a good bonding experience.

I was right.

Dolce and Zenzi both had a blast.  However, the hydrant monster struck again, except this time, Dolce was its victim.  He gave the monster some "I mean business!" growls, gave it a wide birth, and half-circled up to it cautiously.  When he realized it was just a hydrant with a black trash bag taped over it, he literally hung his head in shame at his silliness.  He did do Paws Up, but declined a photo op. ;)

We hit the trail again, and the two dogs had such a glorious time exploring the sights, smells, and sounds of the nature at the park.  Zenzi remembered the horses, and showed no shyness approaching their fence.  Dolce didn't react to them either, surprisingly.  Livestock to be herded should not be so tall, or so he thought previously.

Onto some pix!

The Hydrant Monster

Ready to embark on our hike!
Zenzi fits into Dolce's old Walkeez harness.

Sniffing the scents...

Hitting the trail.

Lookout spot!

Isn't the park beautiful?

Obligatory sexy Dolce photo op.  Look at those muscles!

Tired, cuddly puppies after an hour of hiking. :)

And then today, we went to Pet Supply to get more cans for JoJo.  Zenzi was still trepidacious entering the little shop.  I'm not sure why, but it took much less enticing and much less time to convince her going in wasn't such a bad idea, so that was good.  She wasn't exactly eager to greet the staff, but did offer hand touches, sits, high-fives, and even tolerated some petting.  Something about cramped spaces makes her so much more uncomfortable for greeting.  We followed this visit up with a trip to PetSmart, where she was MUCH better.  She met two dogs and lots of friendly people.  She offered hand touches, was much quicker to permit petting, and required far fewer treats.  She likes the bigger space better.

All in all, both Zenzi and Dolce are doing much better, and they're both doing very well together.  I'm very pleased, and excited for our many years ahead. :)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Zenzi is growing up!

Zenzi lost her first tooth a few days ago.  Then she lost her second one later that day.  The first was her upper right canine, the second was a lower-jaw front tooth.

Then yesterday, I found THREE other teeth that fell out in the rug!


I forgot to mention the other day that Zenzi also started "sad puppy face" trick in Puppy class on Saturday.  We successfully shaped putting her head down on her paw while she was lying down.  Super cute!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Puppy Class #9 & Obedience 1 Class #1

Puppy class was a really good one!  We "warmed up" with the Name Game and Touch.  Amanda was back to teach it.  Sherry and she must rotate every 4 weeks.  We had Dino the husky and the other husky in class.  The other husky is already dog-reactive.  It's pretty intense.  Zenzi was really tolerant for the first half-hour, but got snarky back after that.  I couldn't fault her.

Amanda then went on to have us practice greeting each other's puppies.  Zenzi adamantly opposed being attached and abandoned on the tie-down.  So Kenlin sat with her while I went off to work with other puppies.  Zenzi happily accepted treats from others when she sat to greet.  No petting was allowed for the shy puppies, although Zenzi did exuberantly greet Amanda and allow some brief pets.

We then got to do some amazing exercises to help strengthen and limber up sports dogs.  #1 was a simple spin by lure in either direction.  The next was paws up on your forearm.  Then standing up with paws on forearm.  Then walking around with paws on forearm.  Then walking backwards with paws on forearm.  Then sideways steps.  While the other 2 puppies did not get past putting their paws up on their owners' forearms and maybe standing up.  Zenzi was able to do all the steps in 5 minutes! :) She liked them, too, so we're totally incorporating these into our regimen.

Then we had puppy play time.  She interacted a little more today, and was more confident playing with her toy and being chased by other puppies.  Definitely progress!

After puppy class, we got to start our Obedience 1 class.  We've been permitted to start a month early because of her exceptional smarts, focus, and work ethic.  The first day was just review, but the class looks awesome!  It's a full house, and there's a gorgeous tri-colored merle Aussie shepherd.  Looking forward! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dog Parks - The Temptation

So now that Zenzi has had her final round of puppy shots, we went to the dog park for the first time together today.

I will begin by saying that she was a superstar.  She fetched her bumper obediently and happily, always brought right to my feet and/or hand, and waited relatively patiently for me to throw it again.  She even sat first.  She didn't mind any of the commotion, watched interestedly as a parti poodle fetched nearby, and was totally cool about everything.

The other dogs at the park, however, were either fine and minded their own business, or totally rude.  One young GSD mix came over and chased Zenzi around while she was fetching.  She didn't mind -- just ignored him, because don't you know, it's all about the game?  But he began to get frustrated with her playing hard to get.  I had to push him away several times before his owners, sitting on a bench not too far away, FINALLY got up and got their dog.

Then, at the other end of the park, a large GSD mix and a very large pit bull got into a gruesome fight.  While the pit bull's owners (who were NOT at fault) were cleaning the dog's wounds, the idiot GSD mix's owners came over to inquire about the pit bull's condition.  They brought the dog with them, and attempted to let the dogs meet again.  Of course, the GSD mix went off AGAIN, and the owners were told to leave the park by a friend of the pit bull's owners.  They refused, so the pit bull left just as Zenzi and I were calling it a day before it got too ugly.

I really think dog parks are an excellent idea, but the ones here are just nasty.  Every time I go, the park is pretty crowded, and the owners are clueless about their socially rude or even aggressive dogs.  It's such a temptation, because the principle is so great.  However, we will NOT be revisiting that park.  This is terribly sad, because it's literally five minutes up the road from where we live.  We'll have to drive the 20 minutes to the Laguna Beach Dog Park.  We've had much more success there during off-times.  Unfortunately, you have to pay for parking there.

So our first trip to the dog park was a bust for the principles of socializing a dog with other dogs, but a win for practicing fetch in a new, highly distracting environment.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

House Training

Zenzi has recently decided that she does not like to go on our patio.  WTF?

She pees quite often, and now she goes in the house!  She has also started pooping in the house! -_- I'm a little worried about a UTI, but other than this sudden lapse in house training, she seems fine.  There is no blood in her urine, it looks nicely concentrated, I can't see any debris, she's not licking it excessively.

Puppies.  Ugh.

Zenzi's 8th Puppy Class

Zenzi, Rick and I all got to go to puppy class this morning.  We didn't do a lot, but what we did was VERY good.


  • Conditioning to enjoy being handled by a stranger (or your owner, depending):  hand toward face, hand on head, hand on collar, collar grab.
  • Loose-leash walking (LLW)
  • Leave it + eye contact
  • Puppy Play Time (PPT)
The conditioning to enjoy being handled was VITAL for Zenzi.  She doesn't mind strange people, so long as they mind their own business.  While this is by no means a problem, I would like her to enjoy being petted by other people.  Sherry taught the class again, and worked with Zenzi for me.  Zenzi did make some progress.  Initially, she shied away from Sherry's outstretched hand, but with more reps Zenzi let Sherry touch her on the head.  Sherry did progress to a collar grab successfully, but that was not consistently allowed by Zenzi, so we ended that on a high note when Zenzi was okay with it again. Rick and I practiced, but Zenzi has no trouble with this exercise with either of us.  Much to our surprise, Zenzi did seem uncomfortable about the collar grab -- we helped her overcome that in short order.  Perhaps we did it to well, she would put her paws up in our laps and shove her neck into our hands. =P

Loose-leash walking was good practice.  I discovered that when we're working, Zenzi is favoring my right side instead of left.  We'll have to work on that.  I want her to be ambidextrous.  W&W teaches it by having you gain focus from your puppy in front of you, then take one step backwards, encouraging the puppy to follow you and when they do, C/T.  We are able to take several steps without an issue... or at least we used to!  Now Zenzi started to forge ahead of me by going to one side or the other.  She remembered how this game is played in short order, and we even progressed to practicing some heelwork.

Leave it is fine if it's within the structure of treats in my hand and she has to back away.  Zenzi's got that down.  She vehemently does not like adding in eye contact after backing away!  She offered everything under the sun except eye contact when I withheld the reward.  She did eventually give me a few good ones, so we called it a day.  We're going to make a project of this.

Puppy Play Time was really good today.  There was a huge puppy dog, Clifford, who must be some sort of Anatolian/Mastiff mix; Dino who is a husky mix; and Princess, the papillon again.  Zenzi allowed herself to be sniffed while she and I played fetch with her favorite toy.


Dino was pretty reactive during class to Zenzi, which she tolerated admirably.  They were only a few feet away, and he was staring her down and barking/growling pretty impressively.  Zenzi looked at him as if to say, "Hey, chum, what did I ever do to you?" and never returned a bark, growl, snarl, or anything.  Great social skills, Zenzi!  During PPT, Dino sniffed Zenzi, and Zenzi sniffed him back slightly uneasily, but continued happily in the context of our fetch game.  She was pounced on by Princess, and followed around/sniffed by Clifford.  None of this was of much concern, because wow, fetch!  After a few good throws, Zenzi even sniffed out the other puppies from a slight distance.  Yay confidence... finally!  We had a few times of "Call your puppies, leash them up, ask them to sit, and release to play again."  I'm really glad Sherry includes this.

Then it was the end.  We had a really good class, and I got to talk to Sherry and Gretchen afterwards.  Gretchen assisted the class today, but didn't work with us, only the new large mix puppy.  Gretchen teaches agility classes, so it was good to meet her.  I liked her instantly, she radiates pleasantry, happiness, and calm wisdom.  Zenzi warmed up to her pretty quickly, too.  Both Sherry and Gretchen agreed, nose-hand touches in greetings are the absolute best thing for Zenzi right now.  She can determine her comfort level, and decide whether going to touch is okay or not.  So we're going to be doing a lot of that.

I've been fairly lax with her general training lately.  Time to step that back up again.  Sherry brought out a lab who has been in bootcamp at the facility for two weeks.  It was impressive, inspiring.  Off to work... :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Zenzi 16-week Birthday Profile Shots





Zenzi Conformation

Zenzi is 16-weeks-old today, and I was FINALLY able to enlist my husband to help me get pictures of her "stacked."  Why is it in quotes, you ask?  Well, because she cannot hold still long enough to truly be stacked!  ARgh!  So we did the best we could, took a million photos, and believe it or not, these are the best 4 we could get.

Remember, she's an Australian Cattle Dog (Red Heeler) x Border Collie puppy.





Monday, November 19, 2012

Zenzi's first outdoor fetching adventure

We discovered the joys of fetching outside, in a yard, at a nearby park.  It was glorious!

When we started, Zenzi would run like mad to get the toy, pick it up, but drop it halfway back.  No problem, I rewarded her effort, and made a point to slowly walk to pick it up and throw it again.

See Zenzi?  When you don't bring it back, play is slow-going.

After only a few repetitions of that, she was bringing it straight back to my feet and/or hand.  She played and played, we did dozens of retrieves before she finally looked at me, all smiles, and slumped into a down in the cool grass.  I gave her some good belly rubs, and we headed home.

She was on the 50-ft long line for the first time, and had no issues with it. She's still rather shy about having her harness put on.  I don't know why, and I always give her treats during/after the process.  Oy.  Girl drama.

This morning started out with breakfast at a local restaurant, Knowlwood.  We ate outside so Zenzi could accompany us and experience the comings and goings of strangers.  She was all "Stranger danger!" at first, but was much more relaxed after being jackpotted for every onlooker.  The other day, she actually barked in surprise at a woman who appeared out of nowhere, so we are making a point to expose her more to people now.  From there, we ran a quick errand to Ralph's (grocery store) and while my husband went in, we hung outside and flirted.  Zenzi is, strangely, much more confident meeting people when she's in my arms.  We had a nice greeting with a one-year-old boy and his mother that way, and she was brilliant.

Sorry no pix, I'm sick and didn't want to handle a puppy AND camera while doing all these activities. :(

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Zenzi's 7th Puppy Class

Today was a really good day for Zenzi's socialization experiences.  Here's what she was exposed to:

  • Someone walking
  • Someone walking while clapping
  • Someone walking with a walker
  • Someone limping on crutches
  • A shopping cart
  • A wobble board
  • A PVC ladder
  • Upside-down skateboard
  • A PVC obstacle course thingy
  • An agility tunnel of various lengths
  • 3 other puppies:  Princess (papillon), Dino (mini-schnauzer mix?), and Jameson (dachshund); and their owners
  • Puppy play time
  • Retrieve/fetch among distractions in a new location
  • Tug/chase the toy among distractions
She didn't mind the person walking, and looked at the clapping.

She was VERY worried about the person with a walker.  Is that a torture device?  Why is this human broken?  Mom, go fix it, NOW!  I keep getting treats for looking at this, so I'll look, but seriously, this person needs HELP.  When she was allowed to investigate the walker without the person, she was pretty fearless.  She walked right up to it, and readily did her "Paws Up" trick on its bars.  I use that trick to interact with things she's the least bit frightened of in a fun way.

She was also very worried about the person on crutches.  Why are they broken?  They need help!  Should I herd them to the hospital?  Again, completely fearless about interacting with the crutches -- she just wants to make sure this person is ok!

The shopping cart was no big deal.  She didn't like the sound its squeaky wheels made, but that was about it.  She put her paws up on it, no problem.

She's done the wobble board, PVC ladder, PVC obstacle course thingies, skateboard, and tunnel before.  She was all about showing what she knew there.

The other puppies were kind of a mix.  Princess and Dino she's met before, but Jameson was new to the class.  Zenzi greeted Dino, though Dino is shyer than Zenzi so that was as far as that went for Dino's sake.  Princess was rowdy, pushy, and growly as ever.  During puppy play time, Zenzi did interact with Princess and play briefly -- but true to her nature, Princess got over-the-top in short order what with jumping on, growling, barking and nipping at my poor puppy girl; but instead of shying away like before, guess what Zenzi did?  She growled right back and told Princess to cut that nonsense out!  I was so proud. :) We, of course, promptly split the puppies up at that point -- but Zenzi's getting tougher and more willing to interact rather than just run away.  It was a good social skills lesson for both puppies -- even trainer Sherry was impressed.

Since Zenzi has no use for puppy play time with the other puppies, we tried our fetch games with their toys and you know what?  Zenzi retrieve like a pro!  I was so proud.  Having a ball-dog is so much fun!  Since the training room is much bigger than our little apartment, we got to run more, and Zenzi enjoyed that aspect very much.  If another puppy approached (Jameson likes to steal toys, and Princess wants in on all action) Zenzi immediately dropped her ball for them and came to sit in front of me for her treat.  No worries, just a slight change in plan. ;)

When class was over, it was announced that in observance of Thanksgiving, there is no class next week. :( As we left the facility, I offered to have Zenzi go "Say bye" to Sherry.  She approached, but had no interest in Sherry's outstretched hand, and followed me eagerly out into the parking lot... where she promptly pooped.  She held it the whole class!  Wow!  By the way, this week, Zenzi had her first 2 days in a row of no accidents in the house... We're getting there!  Having a first floor with a decent patio and potty patch has made house-training so much easier.

Today marks 9 weeks we've had her, and she turns 15 weeks old on Monday.  She weighed in at 14.4 pounds yesterday when we had our first outing to PetsMart.  It's funny to think back to how little she was when we first brought her home -- how wobbly and uncoordinated, how sleepy and calm.  Now she's a world class snuggler, she sleeps in bed with us at night (spoiled, I know, but I like it and so does she!), knows dozens of cues, is always looking to work with me, and does a million and one things for 1 piece of kibble.  She's the greatest puppy ever, and I'm so blessed to have her.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Zenzi's 6th Puppy Class

I'm not really in a blogging mood because I'm terribly hungry and we need to paint, but here's a recap...


  • Auntie Pam came along, and was again AMAZED by Zenzi's focus, attention span, drive, speed, intelligence, adorableness -- you get the idea.
  • Sherry taught again
  • Zenzi remembered Sherry and was instantly fine with offering hand touches for treats and wiggled her little tutu butt.
  • Zenzi was curious about the new members of class:  husky, mini-schnauzer, gordon setter
  • She was also okay with Princess (the papillon) so long as Princess wasn't making contact.
  • Zenzi aced every exercise we did today:  exploring a wooden plank (easy, boring), big books stacked in a staircase, balance balls, speed bumps, and contact guides set 6 in a row to make a tunnel of sorts that the dogs had to walk over the lower beams to get through.
  • Sherry used Zenzi as an example for Leave it -- this girl has the MOST food drive EVER.  She caught on quickly, even though it was a new person, different food, and slightly different method (Zenzi had to leave the treat hand AND give eye contact).
  • Puppy play time was better, though Zenzi was still rather shy and overwhelmed.  She played tug amidst the fray, and even sniffed the shy mini-schnauzer's bum politely.
The new neighborhood walk.

They went from this...

To this...

And finally to this. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Zenzi's 5th Puppy Class + Moving

Zenzi was MUCH braver entering the training facility at Wags & Wiggles this time.  Auntie Pam came along to help and watch.  That was fun!  I enjoyed having a training partner who isn't the trainer for once.  My poor husband always has to work during the classes.

We had a new trainer, Sherry, so Zenzi was cautious.  Sherry was very respectful of Zenzi's shyness, and asked the other members of the class to respect it as well.  This I appreciated very much.  Amanda didn't do this, and everybody tried to treat her like a labrador retriever; this only made her more insecure.  This class allowed Zenzi to really come out of her shell with people, and I was really glad to see it!

We did some name game, recalls, loose-leash walking, heeling intro, and the Puppy-Go-Round game.  Zenzi was a super star for all of it, and all Pam kept saying was, "Wow!  I wish my adult dogs were this attentive, responsive, and focused."  I gleamed with pride.

Sherry kept asking things like, "Do you plan to do dog sports with her?" and "Are you interested in agility?" and "I bet Laurie [head trainer] could take her into the puppy sports class early..." Which is how I discovered there was such a thing.  That's definitely on the agenda once the move is over.

The puppy-go-round game was really good.  Zenzi caught onto the game really quickly:  get treat from Mom for sitting and looking at her cutely, move on to the next person to her right, repeat, get treat, and continue around the circle.  Knowing the structure gave her confidence to walk right up to people (the other 2 people in class own Princes, a papillon, and they were TOTALLY gothic people with black hair, dark baggy clothes, piercings everywhere, and the girl had green highlights in her hair.

*     *     *     *     *

This post is late because of the move (sorry guys!), which is in its final stages.  We have to paint, but all the stuff is here, and we're mostly unpacked.  The dogs really like it here, and we had this moment already...

Dolce & Zenzi snuggle for the first time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zenzi's 4th Puppy Class

I'm sorry this is late.  It's been really busy!

Zenzi had her 4th puppy class yesterday.  She was still pretty cautious going into the facility.  While we waited in the parking lot, she decided a steel trash bucket for the nearby poop station was scary.  So we did lots of "Go see!" and she got over it.

In class, we did a lot more socializing, this time with strange objects, Halloween decorations in particular.

  • motorized hand wrapped in gauze
  • mechanical walking/yapping small puppy dog
  • Frankenstein head
  • black witch's hat with a feathery brim
  • bubble wrap strip
  • umbrella
  • two dome-shaped exercise ball things that are very small, hand-sized
She was a champ about ALL of these objects!  She nose touched, pawed, and knocked over the hand right away.  I was shocked, you could hear the gears, see the fingers twitching.  She thought the puppy dog was a great toy and had no problems knocking it down, putting a paw on it, and trying to wrestle with it.  The Frankenstein head was no threat, either.  She even tried to tug the string it would hang from.  I got her to put her entire snout IN the witch's hat with no hesitation right from the get-go.  She walked on the bubble wrap, and barely flinched when I popped some of the bubbles.  She had so much fun walking on it, she actually AIMED for it!  The umbrella was awesome, too.  She actually ended up POUNCING on it while it was open!  Open, close, back and forth quickly -- no problem.  The true genius of my puppy showed when she learned to put both front paws up, one on each of the dome-shaped nubby ball things.  And Amanda said it might take some time... Yeah, try 3 minutes tops. :)

Then we had puppy play time.  Zenzi just DOES NOT want to have anything to do with hyper, overactive puppies.  She even growled a meaningful, low, brief growl at them when they tried to gang up on her.  I got her out of there and we went off and played on our own.

Dismayed by her dislike of the hyper puppies, I called up Irvine Pam for a play date.  Technically she'd been to Auntie Pam's before; we took her there the day we brought her home to have Pam help introduce her to Dolce.  But it was night time, and we were only there for 10 minutes.  Anyway... We went out to Pam's place that afternoon, and Zenzi met Bella and Lily, a havanese and a maltese, plus Pam's friend, Marileen's dog, Bailey, a peek-a-pom.  The greetings with Bella and Lily went swimmingly (both young adult dogs, 4 and 3 years old), and Zenzi loved on them both instantly.  I was relieved.  The greeting with Bailey was not quite so smooth.  I had tried using a treat to break the ice (as I like to do), but unbenounced to me, Bailey is a food-guarder, and ended up snapping at Zenzi.  Zenzi, to my chagrin, was slightly affronted, but let it roll off as no big deal.  From there on out, Zenzi and Bailey were completely fine with each other.

Pam got her skateboard, and I demonstrated Zenzi's brilliance wheeling it around, and tolerating being hoisted up while I press down on the end with my foot, then crashing it back down (teeter practice, anyone?) and her scampering off only to get back on and look at me as if to say, "That was fun!  Let's do it again, ready Mom?"  We practiced tricks, did a nosework course with some cardboard boxes, and even a little agility jump box work.  Zenzi, of course, did not jump anything at her young age, but enjoyed going over a pole in the grass all the same.  Her nosework was amazing, too.  She found the treat fastest, and had never played the game before.  Pam even put the tray with the treat in a box, then another box over 2/3 of that box.  No problem, Zenzi stuck her snout right in there, bumped the top box off, and ate the treat.

I was amazed by Zenzi's boldness in this interaction at Auntie Pam's.  I had Dolce along, and thought perhaps that gave her some extra confidence.  Though, I really think the environment at Wags & Wiggles, with the daycare right beyond the training room, intimidates her.  Oh, Auntie Pam got out her Ikea tunnel when we were practicing agility, and Zenzi was SUCKED IN right away!  I could believe it!  She waltzed right up to it, then ran through at top speed, turned around to look at me with a big smile on her face before going through it the other way.

Pam keeps saying she's met a lot of smart dogs -- she's raised GSDs all her life, met several of her trainer friends' border collies... Zenzi is the smartest dog she's ever met.

Did I mention Zenzi pooped in class?  She also peed and pooped while playing outside at Auntie Pam's?  She pooped on the pack walk, and peed during IDOGS today, too. What a good girl!  Peeing and pooping in new places, outside, on-leash.  YES.

I got a new camera, and Zenzi LOVES JoJo.
JoJo has actually instigated play a few times with Zenzi. O.o

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zenzi's 3rd Puppy Class

Today was sort of a repeat of stuff we've already done/been doing at home.  Zenzi is 10 weeks, 5 days old.



Upon first entering, I was surprised how off-put she seemed by the environment.  You'd think that for her 3rd class, she'd be used to it all by now.  Not yet, anyway.

We first explored an object with wheels... a baby skateboard.  At first, Zenzi was skeptical of this new, strange thing.  But when the kibble came out, oh man!  She was all in.  She touched it, stood on it, walked over it, pushed it herself, let me bounce her a bit with my foot on the bottom.  Then we graduated to the bigger skateboard with smoother wheels... good times!

Second, we played bendy around a standard orange cone.  I took it a step further, and got her to weave between my legs and then the cone (3 weaves total).  No problem.

Third, we explored sits, stands, and down on a blow-up egg-shaped exercise ball.  Also, easy peesy.

Fourth, recalls.  She was 100% the whole time.  Love this girl.  I had to do was say her name, then make a kissy noise when her head whipped around to look at me, and she'd come scampering to my feet for her piece of kibble.

I would like to note that any time we took a break -- because you know, puppy attention spans and all that -- Zenzi whined for more work.

Fifth, we worked on Leave It.  Zenzi is already pretty much an old hat, but we were asked to incorporate a Look at Me, which took a little bit of doing.  We got the job done, though, and faster than anyone else, AND progressed to open hand temptations.

Finally, we did get to have puppy play time at the end of class today.  Zenzi was much bolder, especially at first, but still cautious and a little worried.  She never did do any actual playing; got greeted by two over-exuberant puppies and said "Nope! No thank you, you're just too much for little ol' me." She ran away, tail tucked a little, and hid behind me or trainer, Amanda.  She recovered quickly, and happily played with toys alongside the other puppies who were rough-housing.  Honestly, a new papillon puppy was in the mix, play-growling up a storm, and the new maltese puppy was right in there with her.  We also had a brindle pit mix of some sort, who was bigger, and so it really was quite intimidating for a youngster like Zenzi.  Certainly not out of her depth with Dolce, but she knows and trusts him already.

When we're on Zenzi's turf, she's much more confident.  I can't wait for her final round of shots to really 'let her loose.' She's brilliant with my adult students who come to the house, or my MIL and her friend who visited briefly this week.  We'll just keep at it, and when she gets her 3rd round of shots November 2nd, we'll go to town (literally) on socializing in new places.  She'll still have 4 weeks left of "critical socialization period" after those shots.

I've been planning to get her enrolled in PetSmart & PetCo puppy classes once she gets her final vaccinations, too.  More new places, more new trainers, more new puppies... but I think I might just take her to the pet stores when the classes are going on and let her see everything and just stick with classes at Wags & Wiggles.  Not sure yet, but I really don't think she needs more training, just exposure.  We can do that on our own.

Still need to set up play dates with Irvine Pam's doggies.  Lily wasn't too receptive at IDOGS last week, but I'm not surprised.  She was pretty upset already by the 3 newcomers Pam was pet-sitting, so it probably had nothing to do with Zenzi.  Bella, of course, was great with Zenzi -- not overwhelming, and just peaceful.  And Zenzi did meet Coco (the pom puppy from my GWK9 class) and they got along swimmingly.

I've decided when she gets her 3rd round of shots, crackdown on house-training will commence.  Until then, she just gets to spend unsupervised time in her crate/ex-pen/potty patch room.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zenzi's List of Accomplishments Already


  • Youngest pup to ever get a Novice Trick Dog title.
  • Learned how to go up stairs in 2 tries.
  • Was brave socializing with Coco, the 8 month old pomeranian puppy girl from my Granted Wishes Super K9 class today.
  • Peed outside on-leash on her second walk ever.
  • Only barks to demand something -- isn't reactive to anything or fearful of much.
  • Overcomes shyness quickly, and is becoming bolder and bolder.
  • Has excellent social manners with people and dogs.
  • Has an "all work is play" attitude regardless of distractions and location.  Her attention span is unstoppable and incredible.
  • Zenzi and I did my class' graduation "rally course" in 1 minute, 30 seconds -- the fastest time by far, half the time of the winner today. :)  It goes like this:  begin at start cone 1, loose-leash walk to cone 2; perform sit, down, stand, and loose-leash walk to 3; then front and finish before walking to 4; perform get it, give it or drop it, and leave it for 3 seconds before going to cone 5; the dog must sit or down-stay while the owner walks over the finish; the owner then recalls the dog to perform a go-to-mat.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Second Puppy Class for Zenzi

Here's quick summary:

  • Review touch and name recognition
  • Sit to greet a friendly stranger (and me!)
  • Off (which turned into on/off for us)
  • Explore an agility target loopy thing
  • Explore a workout blow up bean-shaped ball thingy
  • Explore a PVC ladder (laid upside down)
  • Explore an agility tunnel
  • Calming massage
She was much bolder about seeing other puppies, greeting people, etc. today.  She was a little overwhelmed right at first, but overcame it much faster.  The trainer's dog was working on a down-stay on a tie down on the other end of the room, but started barking frustratedly shortly thereafter, and it put all the puppies on edge, so that was the end of that.

When we reviewed touch and name, it was super easy.  Zenzi doesn't mind distractions AT ALL if you possess treats and praise and a happy attitude.

When we did sit to greet with me, she was superb instantly.  I haven't formally worked on greeting, but her auto-sit kicked in and she knew the game right away.  Then we all traded puppies (there was a total of 4 of us today).  Zenzi was a little anxious about me leaving and playing with another puppy, but cheered right up when the strangers had clicks and treats and happy faces.  When I could sneak a glance, she was very happily engaged with whomever was working with her. :) The other puppies were, of course, adorable, smart, and fun for me to work with.  I did notice that there was a child in the room, who was not allowed to greet the puppies out of safety for the child, and Zenzi really wanted to go visit the little girl.  I'm glad of that, and can't wait til her 3rd round of shots to go to pet stores and meet kids lots and lots.

Off was so interesting.  Zenzi only lured her front paws up onto the chair maybe 3x before figuring out I was just going to ask her to get off and wouldn't lure up anymore.  We used another novel treat, but that only lasted twice.  So I taught her On first, then Off.  After three reps of that, she offered On, Off, then looked at me for her treat.  Our classmates looked over in awe and amazement.  One lady actually poked her husband while we were doing it and she said, "Honey, watch this!" and pointed in my direction.

Going through the target loop for agility was a piece of cake.  She loved having praise/pets parties afterward, and would offer to go through it at that point.

Getting up onto the bean was impossible for little Zenzi, so I had her do On from both sides before lifting her up from that position and onto the bean.  She was wobbly, but curious, and smelled and walked around on it before offering sits and downs.  When she was about to jump off, I hoisted her up and placed her on the ground to practice On again.

When we got to the ladder, she loved that thing.  Very first exposure to it, she walked all up in it and around the legs.  Running through it was a breeze with luring, and we got to the point where she would actually run through it if I just pointed her at it and ran alongside.

The tunnel was a little scary at first, but she came right to me.  Amanda, our trainer, called her back through to the other side, and that was it.  Zenzi knew the name of this game.  She ran through to Amanda, ran back to me, turned right back around to go through the tunnel again to Amanda, repeat.

We didn't get any actual puppy playtime today, but that's fine.  She worked around other puppies, and throughout the activities of the class, actually pulled to go greet a few of them.  Definitely more confident in that department, so it's nice to leave her wanting way more interaction for next time. :)

The massage was HILARIOUS for Zenzi.  All the puppies were really hyped from doing the exploring of equipment, so it was hard for everyone else's puppy to calm down.  I say everyone else, because Zenzi took literally 3 strokes from me while she was hyper/happy, and laid down frog-leg style to snooze with her chin on her front paws.

It was a really good class.  I'm so proud of Zenzi's progress already!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dolce & Zenzi Play Photoshoot

I can't wait til I can get photos of them OUTSIDE. Ugh.  Vaccines, would you PLEASE hurry up?

Seriously, though, she IS growing up quickly.  Can you tell?




Derp.


Dolce is an EXCEPTIONAL big brother.  I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am with him.


I never EVER would have imagined he'd roll over for her, especially not as a puppy.  But clearly, he loves her.


They wrestle incessantly.  It's adorable and sometimes annoying, but SO GOOD for both of them!


He's very careful with her... for the most part.


For the first time ever in my house, there is the "bitey face" game! :)


So fierce...


But there are also hugs.


...and kisses.


There is also tugging.  Much tugging.

I am just so happy with the new pack, and so happy it's going this well so soon.  Dolce is the rough n tumble guy, JoJo is the rules enforcer -- a great combination for raising a puppy.  


I love watching her grow up everyday.  It's always a fun adventure for her, and so it is for me, too.  I can't wait to see what she's like grown up, but I'm also really enjoying these adorable puppy days.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Zenzi's First Puppy Class!

We went to Wags & Wiggles for Zenzi's first ever puppy class this morning.  We dropped off her paperwork for shots and clean stools, and headed off to the training room.  Once in the room, Zenzi observed from my lap, and took in the sights, sounds, and smells.  She was very thoughtful, though not quite overwhelmed.  Amanda taught the class, along with another lady whose name I didn't catch.  Both are very nice.

We had a little talk about the basics of training, housetraining, play, socialization, etc.  They wanted to make sure we were up to snuff with the basic training and methods, which we are, of course.  We demonstrated name recognition, sit, down, go-to-mat, and touch.  We were then allowed to participate in the curriculum with the rest of the class.

We worked on loose leash walking.  Their method is to walk backwards, and C/T the puppy for giving in to the pressure and walking to you.  It's not my method, but hey, it was fun and Zenzi did really well in a very distracting environment.  She was all about the treats and working. :) There was a small raccoon stuffy, but she wanted nothing to do with it.  Seems like she'll be more treat motivated than toy motivated in stimulating environments, unfortunately.  Hopefully, we can turn that around at least a little bit so they're even.

We then got to interact with 3 different types of exercise balls.  There were 2 smaller ones with a base, and one that was pretty large and sort of oval shaped.  Zenzi was fearless.  Interacted with those like a super star.  Walked on, over, whatever -- just gimme that treat!

When we had recess to play with other puppies, she got shy.  There was a papillon puppy and a beagle puppy in the class, who evidently already knew each other.  The beagle puppy and Zenzi never actually met, but the papillon walked right up to her and they sniffed politely.  That wasn't so bad.  But then the papillon did what toy breeds do, and put his two front paws up in the air and booped her.  That was quite rude, and Zenzi wanted nothing to do with her anymore.  She was a little scared after that, to the point that she tried to go and hide behind our chair, so I held her in my arms and let her observe the papillon and beagle playing.  That wasn't so bad, and quickly she wanted to be down on the ground to observe instead.  We ended the class with a pass the puppy game (she went to each member of the class to be given treats and hugs and pets) in a small-ish circle.  Zenzi felt it was stupid to leave me, and wasn't sure why all these other people were so interested in her, but she got treats; so hey, that's pretty nifty.  To cool down, everyone gave their puppies a massage, and that was it.  We ended class with Zenzi not being worried about being in close proximity to the other puppies at least.

Given how roughly she can play with Dolce, and how confidently, I think she just needs time to get used to this whole other breeds, other puppies, how to greet thing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Introducing Zenzi!

She's the one in the lower left corner, looking up at the camera.

When Kibeth passed, routine things were really hard.  I had already planned on getting my border collie puppy next Spring, but I was stunned how hard it was to only walk 2 dogs, only feed 2 dogs, only kiss 2 dogs goodnight.  So I decided to soothe my broken heart by looking at dogs available for rescue.  I figured I was safe -- there literally are NO purebred border collie pups available for rescue (nor breeders), and I don't have the stash yet for the $1,500 super puppy I was planning to get.  Her passing also made me want to rescue more than get a "super" puppy.

I found some Australian cattle dog girls I liked a lot.  They were under a year old, pretty close to me, and seemed to have good biographies.  I sent out an adoption application, but was rejected due to my living in an apartment, despite my active lifestyle and heavy duty training plans.

And then someone on livejournal said, "I don't know if this is your thing, and it can be super shady, but have you tried Craigslist?"

Well, I've listed ads on Craigslist for violin lessons and dog training.  I think I've gotten one successful client that way -- the rest were spammers.  But I thought I'd give it a go anyway.  Doesn't hurt to look, right?

So then I found an ad for an oops litter born August 6 out of a beautiful Australian cattle dog mama and a border collie dad.  There were 9 puppies in total, 6 females, 3 males, all of whom just dewormed, but too young for shots.  A rescue said they'd take 4 of the puppies, 4 were up for adoption, and the family planned to keep one of the puppies.  The proceeds from the four puppies who couldn't go to rescue were going to go toward spaying/neutering the parents, and training them more formally for herding work.  The family lived on a small farm in Coachella, CA -- about 2 hours away from me.

I hemmed and hawed.  An oops litter?  How irresponsible are these people?!  I didn't want to take a puppy that young.  They were coming up on 6-weeks old.  They should stay with the Mom at least until they are 8-weeks old.  That's vital to good socialization -- and I didn't want to go through another Dolce situation for my performance dog.

I emailed the owner, Linda, hoping she'd keep the puppies until 8 weeks.  She explained that the reason she had to get them in homes now was because her kids were back to school, she had work, and couldn't care for the puppies anymore.  It was pick a puppy now, or lose her forever.  Linda did say that the mama had already weaned the litter.

I took another look at the photos.

Mom

Dad

And I thought about it long and hard all day.  I do have a lot of time to socialize the puppy.  I do have 2 excellent dogs to socialize her with -- Dolce is super playful and JoJo is the best Mama dog I could hope for.  I do have the resources to do remedial socialization puppy classes. I've heard several success stories of puppies rescued too young and turning out beautifully with extra work.

I talked to Rick about it.  He said it was up to me, but it sounded like fate.  How many things fell into place for this litter?  How uncertain are their futures if their prospective parents don't understand the extra work involved in a puppy so young?  I can't save them all, but I might be able to for one.  I decided to drive out there, meet the parents of the litter for myself to assess their health and temperament, and then evaluate the puppies.

Well, when I got there, the Mom was in her crate beside the welping box.  They were expecting someone else to pick a puppy at any time, and they didn't want the Mom to get run over.  I met with her, she was very friendly, and tolerated my interacting with her puppies without a fuss.  They called the Dad over for me to greet.  He was extremely polite, very gentle, super soft attitude.  He was a little suspicious of Rick at first, but warmed up quickly and had no further issues.  He was built pretty well, though a little short-legged for my taste.  Both mom and dad were very healthy -- clean, good eyes, good coat, the dad moved very well, and the mom's conformation was excellent.  So I met with the puppies.


They all let me do whatever I wanted.  They were hot, it was 90ยบ outside, but they were awake and aware.  The owner's daughters and their friends also interacted and held each of the puppies -- the puppies just loved it.  I could poke, prod, grab feet, tickle gums, touch teeth, pull ears, tickle bellies, hold tilted upside-down, hold with them on their backs, and anything else.  I squeaked toys, made weird sounds, moved suddenly, clapped, etc. and tried to assess their startle personalities.  None of them were phased, but a few were mildly curious.  The owner had said she mostly kept the welping box in the house (huge plus), so I'm not surprised they were so good about sounds.

Every puppy was adorable and had wonderful temperaments, but there were only 3 black and white girls left.  The brown and whites weren't as cute to me, so I eliminated them on looks.  One puppy looked a bit long-backed, one puppy felt a little thinner, and then there's the girl above.  She was a happy medium, and so I tried to get her to play.  She wanted absolutely nothing to do with my zillions of toys I'd purchased (just in case, you know), but lit up for the towel they'd been using.  She had also just dived into the food tray -- clearly food is a very good thing.  She was the one, so we took care of business and set off for home.  This was Saturday, September 15; exactly one week to the day that Kibeth crossed the rainbow bridge.

The car ride home, which I was secretly dreading for fear of the adverse reaction to being away from her littermates so soon, was uneventful.  She just slept in my lap, enjoying the cool air from the A/C.




Our first stop was at the McDonald's close to our place.  We planned to get something to eat for Rick, who was kind enough to drive me home and let puppy snooze in my lap the whole way back.



I let her out to pee if she wanted in some out of the way wood chips.  Sure enough, first try, she peed.  Good puppy!  Oh yeah, and played with my pant legs, a soon-to-be no-no.


She's a little panda bear!

When Rick finished eating, we went home to grab Dolce.  We planned to do introductions via a good friend of ours, Pam.  Dolce is accustomed to meeting dogs with Pam, and those greetings have always gone well.  We especially wanted the same result with the new puppy, and sure enough, he took to her in Pam's arms without a problem.  When she came home, he was totally fine with her.


She has to live in the Zenzi Room until she gets her first shots at the end of this week.  No interacting with dogs, no walks outside.  However, we have been taking her for car rides, and we bought a front pack so she can tag along for walks with JoJo and Dolce.  She's been to Pet Supply, the vet (who gave her a clean bill of health, thank God), and met people who have come over to the house.  She has been an exceptional puppy.  Barely cries, sleeps a lot, and now likes dog toys.  She automatically figured out to pee and poo on the pads, so potty training at this stage is going well.  Her poops turned to mush on Taste of the Wild, so we got Canidae ALS so her diet wasn't so rich.  Her poops are back to normal now.  Even the vet says she's an exceptionally good puppy, and also on the bigger side for her age.  Who knows what she'll grow up to look like.

She nips a lot.  It's expected, but unacceptable.  Playing with her toys, I make them squeak if she gets too rough, and she lets them go.  Good puppy!



With me, though... Yelping doesn't work.  She thinks it's fun.  What works?  Oh man, if I leave, it's over.  "Mom... MOM!  I promise no teeth.  I'm sorry!" We play again, and she's usually way better for much longer.  Still, we repeat everyday.  She's catching on.  I kind of use her puppy KONG when she's extra mouthy for handling exercises as a binky.  Works great!  If she goes for hands, toes, or clothes, though, play time is over.  Boohoo on you, girly.


But when she's had some time to think about what she's done wrong for latent learning to set in, we go at it again.  We play, she sleeps.  She eats 4x a day, and pees and poops a lot.  That's pretty much our routine right now.  Nights are fairly easy, I'm surprised to say.  She woke us up 4 times the first night to pee and/or poo, 3 times the next night, and once the last 2 nights.

Can't wait for shots and immunity to diseases to really get into the world!

The plan is to start puppy class at 8 weeks, then a second one at 10 weeks.  We'll pick one after those two finish, and stay in them until she's booted out for being too old.  I'm hoping that will be enough, combined with all the training and playdates we have planned.  So far, she seems like a very balanced, happy-go-lucky, healthy puppy who is on the whole, exceptionally well behaved.

Oh, and of course, she loves music.

Stay tuned... :)












Monday, September 10, 2012

Training Levels Session with Dolce - 1 & 2, Zenzi

We worked on Sue Ailsby's Training Levels tonight for Dolce's dinner.  I think I'm going to switch his meals up a bit, and give him a raw chicken wing or leg when I don't have time to train, and kibble when I do have time.

We did the following from Level 1 (which is all of the exercises from that level)

  • Zen - dog moves off a treat in your hand while you are seated, dog stays off a treat in your closed fist for 5 seconds, dog stays away from your open hand for 5 seconds, dog moves away from a treat in a dog dish held in your hand.
  • Target - dog touches your hand with her nose, dog reaches high and low to touch your hand with her nose, dog takes 3 steps to touch your hand, dog touches your hand twice to get 1 click, move the dog with your hand target.
  • Sit - Dog sits with leash off, dog sits with hand signal only, dog sits with leash on, dog sits by an open door, dog works with no treats on trainer.
  • Come - Dog looks for dropped treats at your feet, dog runs from person to person (in this case from a stay) 10' apart, dog plays come game between 2 people 10' apart, dog plays come game between two people 20' apart. (We've done this before, but I couldn't do the games tonight as I'm alone.)  Play hide and seek -- Dolce LOVES this game!
  • Down - dog downs with leash off, dog downs on a hand signal only, change your position (turn away, kneel, stand on couch), dog downs with leash on, dog downs to earn a different desired reward.
And this from Level 2 before running out of meal
  • Zen - dog moves off uncovered treat on floor, dog stays off treat on floor for 10 seconds, dog stays off treat on floor for 30 seconds, dog stays off a dropping treat and gets a different treat, use "find it" to get the treat.
  • Focus - Dog finds your eyes, dog holds eye contact for 2 seconds, then 6 seconds, then 10 seconds, use the cue before doing something else <--- This was genius!
There's a bit more detail to it than that, but that's the basic summary of the first official training sessions. We used her handy dandy flash cards (scroll down to the bottom, they're free) having read the how-to in her ebook.  I am seriously hooked.  This is the best training book/how-to/regimen EVER.  It's already helping Dolce's reactivity since we're focusing more.

I literally can't wait to get future border collie puppy and start it with her. :) Her name will be Zenzi, which is German, and means to grow and thrive.  I'm probably going to be getting her from this future litter.  Her mama will be Ann Croft's dog, Kit.