Monday, May 23, 2005

After the Weekend

Puppy Don't Need No Stinking Fencing: I've been using the x-pen at agility trials because Boost does exercise in in--at least, moves around and actively plays--at times during the day. Also sleeps a lot. Saturday evening, after everyone was gone for the day, I took Jake and Tika to the fenced exercise yard to play some frisbee, leaving Boost in the x-pen. I had just barely thrown the first frisbees, when a puppy appeared outside the fence.

I tied her to the fence with a leash so she wouldn't get to play (reward) for getting out, then took her back to our set-up area later. She's very fond of Tika but is also aware of both dogs' presence; I figured that if I took just one dog with me, she'd be fine; also figured that she got out in an attempt to go where Tika went. AND the dogs were excited because I had the frisbees out.

So the next morning, a couple of hours after our original pottying and various other activities, I took Jake on leash calmy, no toys, out to the nearby lawn area to potty. Boost started leaping up the side of the x-pen, almost got a foothold once, but fell back. I waited a bit to see whether I could catch her in the act of going over and put her back, but she seemed to give up. So I wandered out of sight with Jake. Sure enough, a minute or so later, here came a puppy dashing across the lawn.

So I started putting her in her crate before each run with my dogs. If your extra dog runs onto the field while you're running and screws you up, they don't usually let you redo the run (which they would if it were someone else's dog). I apparently forgot one run, because as we headed back to our set-up afterwards, a lady came towards us with the puppy in her arms. Apparently caught her in the act, so fortunately she didn't get out to ruin a very nice run.

Are puppies fun? OK, she's cute, she learns quickly, she's pretty sweet. But I'm spending all of the spare time that I already didn't have monitoring her. Now I have to worry about not only all the random things in the yard that she shouldn't be getting into but could, including occasional wild mushrooms and Jake's face, but now she has decided that Tika's fresh poop is the tastiest thing. I have to go find some hot pepper sauce and try that cure--I'm not convinced (in thinking about it) how well it'll work--if the puppy doesn't like the taste or smell of the hot pepper sauce, will that deter her from eating Tika's poop or only poop with hot pepper sauce on it?

She needs lots of exercise and attention and I don't have that much time and energy--and it's certainly detracting from my time and energy spent on the other dogs, which was never enough before.

She's not having a lot of potty accidents, but they do happen, and they're always inconvenient, some more than others. It's not too bad to toss a washable mat into the laundry, wipe up the floor, and wipe it down with Nature's Miracle enzyme cleaner, but it does take more time than not having accidents. It is very inconvenient when she, say, projectile vomits half-digested poop all over the carpet in my office. I do have the tools and chemicals for cleaning it up, but it's not pleasant anyway and it takes about half an hour to deal with.

I'm trying to teach her to lie peacefully around the house, maybe chewing on or playing with a toy. This means that I have to pay attention to her and praise her when she does that, and then try to ignore her when she's engaging in annoying or potentially destructive activities without letting them become truly destructive. So it takes me a long time to do anything when she's not in her crate--and even then, I have to kind of keep an eye out for restless activity that might indicate potty time, and otherwise make sure she gets out regulary for potty and exercise.

I think a mostly-grown rescue dog is easier... sometimes...

CPE agility weekend: Tika did very well this weekend. My biggest goal was to get her reliable contacts back. On the first contact of the weekend, she hit the bottom and left the contact, but stopped when I stopped. I made her lie down and do a nose touch. On every other contact for the weekend, she stopped, and I had her do one or more nose touches and attempted to release her only while her head was down (so she'll associate that activity with being able to go again). She did very well at that, although she slowed way down on a couple of the down contacts. What a balancing act.

Tika Qed 7 out of 8 runs and took 1st 8 out of 8--the 8th one I overhandled *twice* for offcourses, sigh. But it was good enough to be in fourth place for the high-in-trial award at Level 5. Also-Ran *again*. (And although those first places were earned--nice runs and fast, too--most of our 24-inch top-level competitors weren't there this weekend.)

Jake ran pretty fast and was very happy to be out doing agility. I'm still second-and-third-and-fourth guessing whether I should have tried to retire him. The other problem is that, despite my resolve, I *don't * pay as much attention to him when he's not running as I used to when he ran all the rounds--there's always so much to do (working at the trial, pottying dogs, whatever...).

And it was HOT, probably low 90s. But generally it was a good weekend.

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