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."

I <3 :=":" crazy.="crazy." he="he" my="my" nbsp="nbsp" p="p" puppy.="puppy." s="s">

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... :)