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.