a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: January 2002

Thursday, January 31, 2002

New Dog Day 10

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 Today I'm 46. I didn't feel old til a couple of days spent with Tika on a leash!

Now actually I'm thinking "it's good I'm getting her while I'm still young."

I gave her a bunch of big hugs for you & she turned to putty in my hands. She must really like you. :-)

I showed her to peggy clark last night at agilty class & peggy doesnt think she's a mix. Says maybe a working line or a puppy mill, but she doesn't offhand see that there's anything but all aussie--says there are some other tall thin aussies around & plenty of aussies with odd ears.

QUESTION for GINA: So now I'm curious when/how/who decided she was a mix?

Of course it would be against my principals to take a dog who wasn't a mix, so I guess she has to be a mix, no matter what peggy says. Or a cross. If she *is* a cross, she wouldn't be an Aussie, she'd be a Craussie, right?

Peggy says mixed breed dog club didn't used to take dogs that the AKC would IPL,and she's pretty sure I could IPL Tika, and I have no interest at all in having anything to do with the AKC, so that would be too bad.

QUESTION for GINA: I was trying to remember whether you told me what the deal was her first time at the shelter (at 4 mos); was she a stray? Or don't you know?

While she was out of the van last night at agility, she went ape-loco every time one of the agility dogs ran by--and we were standing about 5' away from the equipment, so it didn't surprise me. So I just did a lot of hanging on the way Rachel taught us to get her under my control at my side. Everyone came over & had to see the puppy. Peggy said "well, she sure does have drive!"

Actually all of that practice when other dogs were around for the last week made us the stars of our puppy class yesterday morning! She was SO good & settled SO quickly & comfortably against me. (This is still with hand under collar & arm over back, you understand, not loose.) So I guess we're both learning something.

Took her out to the park on a 20' line today to practice recalls and she did real good. Much better than Rem who, after several reluctant practices, took out over the fields & thru the woods & up a hill, chasing a squirrel or a gopher or a terrorist or something that went to earth in a cave in Afghanistan (or pretty close to that far away, anyway; some kind of hole under a rock) & made me walk a quarter mile to go get him & tell him what I thought about the whole thing. What a brat.

Anyway, it's much better walking her around in the open on a 20' lead than trying to walk around the block on a short lead. Problem is I don't have time to go to the park every day. Oh, well--Rachel says we might get around to walking on a leash next week.

My adjustable teeter base just arrived! Yay!

I think I might probably keep her. I think. Probably.

Backfill: May 6 2009: Tika's foster mom replied to this:

It sounds like Tiki or Tika (I like Tika) is settling in. She is learning that she isn't getting anywhere by being bad. Thank you for giving her a big hug for me. I think she is a wonderful and loving dog. As far as she is possibly being a mix. I had my Aussies breeder look at her, she has been into Aussies for 25 years. She felt she has something else in her. By the way her coat is and her long and narrow head we just kinda guessed smooth collie. I am not an expert but that is what we came up with. I have a friend that has a blue merle male that was also a rescue dog that she ended up keeping and she looks a lot like him except for the very short coat (he also has short coat but not as short as Savanna's) but she has a lot of white in her muzzle. I think most Aussie breeders would agree that she is a cross. As far as her past prior to 4 months. I asked the woman at the shelter if she was a surrender the first time or a stray. She wasn't able to provide me with that info. If you want I can ask Maureen (with Goose, Sonic, and Jitters) if she could find out if you would like? I really Am glad you are leaning towards keeping her. She is a wonderful dog and I am so glad she was given the opportunity to prove it. She is lucky that someone at the Shelter saw something in her to give her this chance. I think she is going to be an incredible agility dog that will never shut down on you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

New Dog Day 8

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 For 2 days now I've taken just the short .7-mile walk because I didn't want all that pulling. Of course I *know* that I shouldn't be walking her for long distances every day & allowing her to develop more bad habits before I spend time training her, but she sure needs the added energy-spending and I just don't have time to always do separate activities for her & the other dogs. That's part of the commitment, and actually would probably be even worse for a young puppy.

Today was better; she got excited when we walked past yards with other barking dogs but not frantic. We didn't pass dogs on the other side of the street, so I didn't have to deal with that.

I happened to be near the living room while she was wandering loose, and the mailman came. Jake started woofing, and she popped her front paws up on the windowsill and--just looked! I praised her like crazy, petted her, told her what a good girl she was the whole time the mailman was there & she was just looking. So there's hope-- If I can keep my dogs quieter, especially. (Actually this has been good because Rem & Jake have been barking more than I'd like before Tiki/Tika/Pika/Tikki came home, so I'm working harder on making them think about barking.

There wasn't much new today--I'm desperately trying to put in hours on a project so I didn't play quite as much with the dogs. Remington's feeling neglected, but Wed. is agility nite, so maybe he'll last until then. I left Tika out of her pen for 2 hours starting at 8pm while I concentrated real hard on the computer, and she was a very good girl--she got her rawhide bone that gina gave her & gnawed quietly on it almost the whole time.

She gets distracted from her toys pretty easily. Jake and Rem have always had their own toys that they preferred, but on many occasions (especially if they were new toys) they just lurked around waiting to steal the other dog's toy. Tika *always* wants what the other dog has. Doesn't matter if I give her a toy first and then Jake, or first Jake and then her, she wants Jake's. Doesn't matter if they're identical (e.g., tennis balls). She wants Jake's. Mostly she'll keep bringing back the toy I throw for her, but sometimes not & then I have to keep her away from the other dog while I go get her toy. As soon as I get it & throw it again, she comes back to it, so it's not like Remington was/is.

Jake is getting additional play sessions a day beyond what he usually gets (although usually it's just him playing and now I'm splitting the time with Tikki), so overall I think he's pleased.

Rem has sniffed at her occasionally the last couple or 2 days without his lip rising, and he doesn't seem to mind when she follows him around the yard, but he still lands on her with a big snarl if she gets in the way at the wrong time, like pushing between him & me when I was putting food into the bowls. I've still seen no sign from her of pushing back on the boys, although she's still young. I just have wondered for a long time whether Jake has shaped Remington's understanding of how to interact with other dogs, and whether now my boys will shape her understanding in an unfavorable way. I just don't manage to get out with my agility friends & let the dogs socialize/play in a "normal" way.

Today--no running & whining along the fence by the dog, no barking (i can't remember any except just after I'd been gone for 5 hours, got home & let her out, and everyone was jumping & dancing around & she barked "wow!" a couple of times at me with a big grin. No shrieking about other dogs.

And she's going thru that tunnel in the yard so much now on her own, and leaping over the 12" jumps as she runs around.

In all, it was a good day.

I'm really realizing how helpful it is to have trained dogs around. She really does imitate them easily in places where they are well-behaved--like not rushing out thru an open door, or sitting while all the leashes are put on, or staying in place while the food bowls are put on the floor. She's smart & would learn on her own, but I'm positive she's picking up the behavior from the boys in lots of cases.

Still havne't firmed up a name and am still playing around with Pika/Tika/Tiki/Tikki. The latter as in Rikki Tikki Tavi--I think I thought of that as she was once again making the rounds of everything in the house. It's been 8 days and she still sticks her nose into every corner, onto every piece of paper, every crevice & crack, every edge & box & chair leg. And in the yard, when she's not playing like crazy, she's checking out every piece of grass, every leaf on the shrubs, every corner of concrete. So Rikki Tikki Tavi was a mongoose, but the descriptions seem apt--"It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a [mongoose], because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity....'There are more things to find out about in this house,' he said to himself, 'Than all my family could find out in all their lives.'... He spent all that day roaming over the house. He nearly drowned himself in the bath-tubs, put his nose into the ink on a writing table...and climbed up on the big man's lap to see how writing was done....Then Rikki-tikki went out into the garden to see what was to be seen....'This is a spendid hunting-ground," he said, and he scuttled up & down the garden, snuffing here & there..."

Anyway, enough, I'll settle on a name when I decide for sure, but today I'm thinking she's a good thing.

Monday, January 28, 2002

Day 7 cont'

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 I dunno, today was discouraging. On the walk, she tugged at the leash every step (this is *with* the Gentle Leader). She's not hauling at the leash like when she's just on a buckle collar, but she's figured out real quick that she can pull some. So it's pull her back an inch, relax, she tugs. Pull her back an inch, relax, she tugs. This is fixable, I know.

But then we passed dogs on the other side of the street twice during the walk. Yowch. She threw herself wildly at the end of the leash, screaming (it's the best I can describe it) and thrashing frantically. I dropped the other dogs into sits, let go of their leashes, praying that nothing untoward would happen, and just used her collar and my hands to settle her at my side facing away from the dogs across the street. And that was almost a real wrestling match, even using the technique that Rachel demonstrated (and I'm not sure that rachel intended it to be used for this sort of thing, but I didn'tknow what else to do). Then after the other dogs were out of sight (and I had to wait for that to happen), she really yanked at the leash over & over even though her head got pulled to the side each time for a block or more. This is on top of being pretty wild just walking past yards with barking dogs.

And she's starting to bark at lots of things in the house & yard now when I'm not watching her. I'm trying to leave her out of her crate as much as possible,and she seems to mostly settle down now along with the other dogs, but then just when I think she's napping on the floor behind me, there's a ferocious barking frenzy from in front of me where she's seen someone arrive at the neighbor's house. And that's without the other dogs instigating it, and they sometimes do a little of that when they're bored. I hate to think what it would be like if they were also barking & encouraging her.

And of course she knows she's not supposed to bark, because as soon as I head in her direction she skeedaddles as fast as she can go out of my way. Even if I could catch her, I'm not sure whether it's then too late to give her the bitter apple. Will check with rachel on that.

In the yard, she went into a barking tirade when some people started talking in the yard behind us. Same thing, trying to get my hands on her to control her, she zooms out of the way & keeps barking. So I've now dug out my old 20' training lead from Rem's puppy days & I'm going to have to keep her on that whenever she's out in the yard & we're not actively playing, which means for every potty--and it's FREEZING out there! I mean literally! So now I've got my long down coat by the door so that I can slip into that when I want her to go potty--

BUT it's complicated by the fact that now she thinks she's on a leash & she doesn't want to go potty, she wants to follow me around & act like she's going for a walk, so it takes 10x longer to go potty.

I know that this is temporary, just to try to keep her from starting up bad habits here until I get a plan for what to do & how, but all of the barking & screaming today had me pretty discouraged.

Also took her to the vet to have her ears looked at. Vet predicted he wouldn't be able to get the scope into her ears; I said I thought he would. he called in an assistant & all 3 of us kind of held her and she was a very good girl, which surprised him.

He had to try twice (without the assistant) to be able to look in her mouth, but he got it OK.

Anyway, ears are fine although there appear to be big chunks of dried wax down near the eardrums. I'll put drops in for a few days to see if we can float 'em loose.

BUT out in the waiting room when she heard the other dogs, there was that screaming & throwing herself around the leash & walls again. Embarassing, even though the receptionists knew it was a new foster dog. And exhausting, too. But she was a very good girl with the vet, although panting so hard that he had to hold her mouth shut to listen to her heartbeat. Says she's got a good heart.

And then we worked on Go To Bed again, and tricks again, and she's SO smart. As you said, Gina, if only *we'd* gotten her at 4 months instead of someone else. I'm just having doubts about how ingrained this is in her personality & habits & whether it'll ever improve--or heaven forfend get worse! Because she's noisier every day. Some of that is because she's getting used to us & the place. Will 2 weeks be enough to tell?

Tonight I started trying some food leading to get her to do Lefts and Rights. She mostly followed the food in a circle but her inclination is to sit down halfway through instead, so I have to keep moving myself to keep her on all 4 feet, 'cause I don't want her learning that Right & Left mean to turn halfway and sit!

BTW, I started with a clicker with her the first night, and I get the impression she's really figured it out.

She did really good this evening about sitting in place while I served up all the dinners. First time I think I haven't had to set her back into position at least once.

I tossed a ball into a corner (accidentally) where there were some PVC poles & hardware leaning on the walls, and when she dove for the ball, the stuff came down on her with a big crash. She tucked tail (tucked stub?) and ran the other way, but 30 seconds later was chasing a ball into the same corner (poles gone) without even thinkng about it. So she's got a sturdy constitution.

And of course she's zooming thru the tunnel & between the lines of weaves & over the jumps.

It's just a question of whether I can live with her aberrations long enough to fix 'em--and whether they really can be fixed

OK, that's it for tonight.

Still waffling over Pika or maybe Tiki. I kinda like Tiki, but I'd take that over Pika only because I don't want to bump agains the other PEEK dogs.

I'll send Gina the bill for the vet--I think it was about $45?

New Dog Day 7

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 She [Tika] got really restless at 4 a.m. again & woke me up. Let her out, she peed immediatey & immediately came back in & settled down. Guess it shouldn't surprise me--we had a really good play session about half an hour before bed & she drank a lot afterwards. That'll teach me. Actually Jake was delighted to go out & pee at the same time, and he drank a lot at about the same time.

Rem never plays that hard, and he never needs to get up in the middle of the night, either. It's kinda funny how I'm so aware of when Jake starts getting restless or jumps off the bed in the night--then I know that he's gotta go. None of my dogs (except my first one, Amber) have come up with the idea of nudging me or licking my face. Amber just sat on me. Sheba used to lick the doorframe. Rem & Jake are so used to the dog door that they never needed to figure out how to get my attention.

I have to put her in the pen while I'm eating breakfast. My dogs are trying to be good role models & snoozing with all their might while I eat, but she wanders & wanders & wanders, and because I'm trying to concentrate on reading the paper (a chore at the time of the morning), I'm surprised when I get up again & discover various random belongings of mine scattered around the house. I think she picks them up, decides they look better over *there*, and drops them accordingly. So far she's not really playing with any of them.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Day 6 continued

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 Good thing she settles down nicely in the x-pen because otherwise I'd never get anything done. I'm trying to judge her energy level compared to Jake's. Jake will play almost forever given half a chance, but he can get to the point where his tongue is rolled out so far that (if you can gte the ball out of his mouth) it drags about 20 feet on the ground. Pika (hey, how about Tiki? Just thought of that this morning. And why? Because I like the sound of it.), even when she plonks down on the floor after a bunch of chasing a toy like nutzo, keeps her toungue sedately only halfway out of her mouth. So I'm not sure whether she's not exerting herself as much as Jake or whether she just came with the microtongue option. Or whether I'm not exercising her as much as I thought I was.

The next big puzzle is how to integrate training time & play time so that I don't have to keep doing separate ones with my 2 boys and then with her. (Actually, since jake has decided it's safe to play fetch while she's around, he gets *2* play sessions in a row & boy is he a happy dude.)

So in the evening I pulled out one of the PVC dog beds (the one that's forming a wall between Rem's bed & Pika/Tiki's pen) & set it up in the living room near where we were going to practice tricks. I decided to see whether I could teach her "go to bed," which we learned in Pam hartley's class with Rem years ago & then I never used. Means go to your bed & don't leave it--you can do whatever you want *on* the bed. The bed with legs is a clearer delineation than a flat mat. Lo and behold, with one push back onto the bed, she stayed *very* well on the bed! Her front feet kept coming off & I'd push her back on, but her back feet left only maybe twice the whole time I was giving jake & rem treats & working on tricks & such with them, and mostly by the end of the time she was staying on completely. What a smart dog. The really tough part was keeping the other dogs off the bed while she was off it--they seem to think the bed is a really good idea! (Keep in mind that this bed has never been used by any of them before--it's practially new & has never been set up in a usable place.)

Of course I pushed my luck when trying the same thing with play time. When I got out the toys, she forgot about the bed and went into blitzkrieg mode. She would *not* focus on just the one toy I got out for her (I keep trying to remember that she's really still only a puppy, and a deprived one, at that). So once again I had to put her into her pen while I played with the other 2. The pattern is that she starts whining, then shrieking, then screaming like a banshee, then finally gets quiet. Rem gets bored after a while, which mostly coincides with her finally being quiet for a while, so I can go down & praise her & let her out & start playing with her.

Well, Rem I think is jealous of all the play time with Piki/Tika, because he all of a sudden was fascinated with the various squeaky toys (he usually prefers soft toys, although there are a couple of squeakies that he sometimes likes). So then I had to get out his squeaky again, and had to put Piki/Tiki away again, and then Rem played for quite a long time. He seemed like he *wanted* to get bored but was afraid that if he did then I'd go back to the puppy. So I left him lying behind the coffe table with his squeaky in his mouth (VERY unusual for rem--he's not a hold-onto-things dog at all) & got her out & played with her AGAIN--so now Jake has had *4* play sessions. Sheesh!

I did actually get in about 6 hours of work on the computer today, what with all of the breaks & the extra play time(s) for the puppy and taking her out back a lot--after that first day when she figured out the doggie door, for some reason now she's decided not to use it. She sticks her nose thru to take a sniff, then goes back to pacing around impatiently. So that's probably still a good thing for the moment, because she so VERY much wants to whine & charge along the fence where that other dog is.

Lined up 2 sets of weaves about 3' apart today and just threw the ball down the center several times. I'll just move them in gradually til they're just shoulder width & then decide where to go from there.

She's been running thru the tunnel on her own today--it does block half the lawn, but there's plenty of room to go around it--and she'll also go over the jumps automatically if they happen to be in a straight line to where she's headed.

I've been throwing the ball *thru* the tunnel but near the end of the day lined her up & threw the ball *over* the tunnel, and she went right thru just like she had been, full speed. I have the tunnel out to about 6' long. Have *got* to get those extra shrubs, planters, & trees removed from the other half of the yard so I can get a 20' tunnel in and/or a jump after the 10-footer!

Dog Names

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 I think I'm leaning back towards Pika, even though I seem to be in a crowd of "Peek"s. It's short, sharp, and the EEEE sound is nice somehow. I tried "Agate" for a day, and it's not bad, but I just really like Pika. I tried saying "Kai" quite a bit, but it doesn't feel like quite the right thing to me after all. Can't put my finger on why.

I have a friend who for years had an ACD named Syd(ney), so I'd have trouble thinking of her as a Sydney.

I've actually gone thru lots more that I haven't mentioned because they were kinda short-lived. I've been calling her "Little girl" a lot because I wasn't sure what name I wanted to use. After saying it a few million times, it had shortened to "Litta girl," and then it occured to me that "Litta" was pretty quick and had that quick T or D-ish sound in the middle. But decided it wasn't right.

Thought about something around "puppy" for a while, because she seems to respond best to Gina's suggestion to say "puppy puppy puppy!" I Guess there's no reason one couldn't call a dog Pup or Puppy, but it sure sounds like I was lazy in picking a name. And couldn't come up wit something close enough--Poppy's not bad, or Peppy (but that sounded trite), and I just went thru various consonants like Putty and Tuppy and huppy and guppy and I don't know what all and then I gave up on that line of thought.

Anyway--I also waffle on whether I should be calling her something else if I haven't committed to keeping her yet.

Such choices!

New Dog Day 6

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 Remington finally did his happy-to-be-alive morning upsidedown-dog thing on the bed this morning, first time since she's been here.

This morning I ground down Rem's front toenails, combed jake, & combed her a little bit. The fur around her thighs is looking kinda clumpy like Sheba (my husky) used to get when she needed combing. Coat is definitely different from husky's, though--maybe harsher or wirier or stiffer or kinkier or something. Did get a bunch of fur out but she started getting restless so I waited for a settled moment, praised her, & played for a while. Actually she was very good about the whole thing. Clearly a dog who's been brushed & combed & knows mostly how to behave.

I've somehow broken 3 fingernails since she arrived Tuesday. Not even sure how, but it's always after I've spent time wth her. Today it was sometime during our walk.

At least I got my 1.3-mile loop walk in today. She tests the Gentle Leader constantly, so it's not exactly a relaxing stroll, but it's manageable.

She actually almost stayed in place the whole time I was handing out breakfasts this morning. Have to keep pushing her back when I'm in the food bin, though.

Now it's 11AM & time to get some work done.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

New Dog Day 5

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 I had a Bay Team meeting in Hayward at an IHOP, so I couldn't take the dogs. Realized I had never asked Gina how long Pika (I think I still like that the best, after trying Agate for a day & Kai/Coy for a while) could stay in the crate. She did #1 and #2 when I first got up, 6:30 a.m. Gave them breakfast just before I left at 8:15, and she did #1 again. I hope it'll be 45 mins to drive up, 1 hr board mtg, 1.5 hrs regular meeting, 45 minutes to drive back, half an hour to see Jim's new house, for 4.5 hours.

But the meetings aren't over til 12:10 (now 40 minutes behind schedule), and when I get to Jim's old place, he wanted to load up some stuff to move to his new place, and he has helped me so much in the last year that I didn't want to say no. By the time stuff was loaded, it was 2:15, so it's been 6 hrs already and 30 minute drive to my house still. So I went straight home--she was fine, but she peed within seconds after hitting the grass--a lot--and pooped shortly thereafter. So 6.5 hours is doable but probably not a kind thing & something I'd rather not do except under dire circumstances.

Took all 3 dogs with me back to Jim's new place. Because the van was filled with Jim's boxes, I put her in the front seat with an extra dog harness/seatbelt--and she was fine. Didn't fight it at all; mostly lay down on the seat, although she sat up & watched thru the window for a little while with rapt attention.

She was delighted to make Jim's acquaintance. The dogs explored all over the 2-story condo while I got the tour & jim unloaded his stuff. Jake & Rem kept jumping back into their seats in the car, maybe hoping we could make a quick getaway while the girl was still in the house somewhere. (But they love going places anyway, so maybe it was just coincidence--and the car isn't often in the garage where they can get at it easily.)

She picks up everything that's on the floor. I was concerned about that, of course, because I remember Remington picking up everything (gravel, fuzz, shoes, whatever) and right now I have stuff all over the place. And she's fast--I've been trying to let her wander loose while I'm doing stuff that doesn't require my rapt attention, and she's never out of my sight long and I can hear her moving around, but then I'll find a magazine or a ruler or something that was in one of my "still moving in" piles moved somewhere else. So I certainly can't leav her alone in the house unattended yet while I'm gone.

Measured her, she's roughly 22" at the shoulder. Still 2" shorter than Rem, but it's possible she could grow more.

I decided I'd start trying to teach her some tricks. Either someone has already taught her "shake" and "crawl," or she's one of the most annoyingly fast dogs I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Even Rem, who learned so fast it blew me away, wasn't this fast. I'll have to remember to ask Gina about tricks.

Whenever she wasn't in the crate the rest of the afternoon & evening, she never settled down, just walked around & around & picked things up & played with a toy or a bone for 20 seconds & went on to something else. I'm hoping that's only because she was in the crate for so long earlier in the day. I played with her til she looked like she wanted to quit at least 3 times. That's a lot of work for me! Jake will play forever, but he's always been primarily interested in chasing something & bringing it back, which requires time but not a lot of effort on my part. And when I'm not playing with him, he'll find a bone and chew on it for hours. (Or lick his paws obsessively--not something I encourage, but I suppose gnawing on a bone gets old after a while.) So maybe she's a little young to stay focused one one thing like that.

The first couple of days she'd go to her crate & get the big rawhide bone that Gina provided and gnaw on that for a while, but today she didn't seem that interested. Jake has been sneaking in while he thought none of us were looking & stealing it to gnaw on for a while himself. She'll still chew on it when she's confined.

Rem's the one who won't play when she's around. Two days ago he had his favorite giant squirrel out, and got tired of playing with it (typical) but was lying in the living room with his front feet kind of on it. Pika decided she wanted it and kept going in his direction & looking hopefully at it, despite that I kept pulling her away & trying to distract her with a furry crab. When she actually stuck her nose down in there, he snarled at her. I pulled her away again, but then Rem slunk away from the squirrel and he hasn't been willing to play with it since, whehter she's there or not. But he will play with other toys when she's in her crate (but not when she's loose, even if she's kept out of the room with a baby gate).

She's still occasionally shaking her head like an ear is bothering her. Can't tell which. I used ear cleaner Friday afternoon (or was it earlier today? things are starting to run together--), which she mostly sat still for, for which I'm grateful. But it doesn't seem to have helped. Now I have to wait til Monday to call my vet.

Friday, January 25, 2002

New Dog Day 4

Backfill: Nov 16 '03She figured out how to use the dog door. Dang. I let her wander loose while I was eating breakfast. She took every bone & all the toys (but none of the tennis balls--curious--) out of the toy basket, played with each a bit, wandered around & around, finally stuck her nose cautiously thru the dog door to sniff, smelled something interesting, and just walked thru. Coming back thru, she changed her mind halfway and got kinda caught, so I thought that might have scared her into not using it, but no such luck. So now I do have to keep her in her crate when I can't watch her to avoid developing bad habits in the back yard.

That first time out the door, I waited a minute or 2 to see whether she'd come back in. She didn't, but she did bark at something. When I dashed out to the backyard, in just that minute or 2 she had found a piece of foam rubber packing material & chewed it to tiny pieces on the lawn. Puppies! Yikes.

She really laid into the yard guys when they came in this morning. Pretty scary--she was barking with every ounce of energy & warning in her body, and they were understandably worried. I went right up to them, shook their hands, and fortunately they're friendly to dogs so she sniffed them cautiously at first, but then accepted that they were there. I need to remember this for Friday mornings, at least for a while-- I hadn't intended for her to be out--I left her in the house & went out with the other dogs when I heard them arrive--hadn't yet confirmed that she really understood the doggie door, but apparently she did because she was right behind me.

Still don't know what to do about a name. Thinking about Gina's comment about getting Sav. a tutu because of how she stands up on her hind legs, I started looking up ballet terms & people. "Tutu" is too froofy; "toot" seems just silly. Can't find any terms or names that are short & sharp. Found name of recent star ballerina, Lucia something, and a more italian-sounding LOOTCHah seemed good at first, but as the day wears on & I try it out more, I like it less and less. I don't even know how I'd spell it--Lucca? Lutcha? neh--

She's barking more at more things today. Aiks. Need to get a couple more small spray bottles for bitter apple so I've got one at hand in various places. Don't really want to carry one around in my pocket, although I might have to if it gets too bad.

Tried going to the park off Cottle this morning. Thought I'd toss the frisbee for jake, let Rem run, & practice with Sav. on her gentle leader with treats. Disaster. After trying to walk with her on the lead, giving her goodies, keep her from getting tangled or pulling, trying to pick up jake's frisbee & throw it, keep her away from jake & the frisbee---I ended up just standing still in one place. She leaped for the frisbee once when jake was bringing it back, and a very brief fight ensued--not sure whether she'd have backed off quicker if I hadn't been tangled in the leash & her with her Gentle Leader on-- Rem wasn't Coming at all until the 2nd or 3rd try--he's marginal, I know it, but this seemed espeically bad. She wanted to grab or chase the frisbee every time I tried throwing it for Jake, and Jake kept wandering off & dropping the frisbee in random places while I tried to get her untangled & give her some goodies & practice, so altogether it was not a good thing. So I guess if I do the park again, she'll just have to stay in the crate in the car, at least until she's got more training under her belt.

Can't practice rachel's recall very well until I've picked a name for her, 'cause it uses the dog's name heavily. Arg.

She's barking even more at things today.

Jake is willing to chase a squeaky almost all the time now, although he still gets turned off suddenly if she makes the wrong kind fo move. Actually plaed with both him & her simultaneously in the yard & in the house briefly today. Rem didn't attempt upsidedowndog this morning, but he seems to be relaxing more and more. Although both he & Jake have been sleeping really close to me at my desk rather than in their bed & chair (except in the a.m. while I'm having breakfast, Rem dozes in his bed, which is what he usually does, and doesn't seem too bothered that it's next to her x-pen (with the "wall" in-between)).

Tried some really simple agility during playtime today. Set the bars on a couple of jumps first at an angle at 8" on one side, and threw the ball over them. She did fine, so I set them evenly at 8". She knocked them maybe twice, but i was starting her really close to the jumps, too, so she might not have had room. She never even looked twice at them. (I've been throwing the ball thru the uprights with no bars for 3 days; don't know whether that made any difference.) Also squished one tunnel down to about 4' long, lined her up, threw the ball thru, and she went right after it. Never hesitated or tried to go around at all, and I must've had her at least a foot or 2 back from the opening to give me room to throw the ball. This could be good.

I've ordered that adjustable base for my teeter totter that I wanted originally when jim just ordered a standard base. So now I can work with her and remington at the same time with lowered teeter. That had been working well in the old yard with a board over a log for Rem; he was really starting to run and slam it down, but then I moved out & that was over a year ago, and he's just as slow now on the regular teeter as before.

It's now 4:30 PM and I've done 0 hours of billable work all day. Somehow her addition to the household sucks up hours every which way. Still waffling on whether to hang onto her. She is a big girl, but light boned. She's a cuddler, but oh that bark--

6:00 just talked to Gina. I've been thinking about "Agate" as a name or going back to Pika despite Gail & Derede. Had put "Coyote," or "Coy" (pronoounced Ki) for short, on my list of possibilities. Now Gina says (without me telling her about Coyote first) that she'd been thinking about Kai, which is Hawaiian for ocean, which would be good for a blue merle. Sounds just like "Coy" in coyote. Hm.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

New Dog Day 3

Backfill: BACKFILLDATEWalk was much easiER today, with the Gentle Leader, but I still wouldn't call it EASY--she tugs & stops, tugs & stops, all the way around. Plus she gets tangled in the leash & doesn't untangle easily, and gets tangled with other dogs. Fortunately they don't seem to mind her on a walk. Did just half a mile again. I really need to get the extra mileage in, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Don't think I can handle a mile or 2 like this.

Still doing the fence/frenzy/whining thing with the dog next door. Rachel said let her into the yard only under my control for now. At least as long as she's not using the doggie door, I'm there with her & can grab her & stop her. Tried Rachel's "defer" exercise when I pulled her away from the fence, and man what a struggle! but I was surprised how easily I managed to hang on & did finally get her to settle next to me, and the 2nd time she started it, it was much easier to get her to settle next to me.

She barked for the first time this afternoon--and WOW is that a loud bark! This is definitely not a bark I want to encourage. Maybe I should be concentrating on *never* barking--but this *is* an Aussie mix & I don't know whether subduing that completely is practical or a good thing.

Rem started to do upsidedown dog in the morning, but she jammed her face onto the bed & he stopped immediately. Jake has been doing upsidedown dog every morning, so for whatever reason he feels more comfortable at that time than Rem does. Of course he's on the opposite side of the bed from where she sleeps.

Been using the Big Blue Thing (an 8" rubber ball with a handle) with her in the yard, trying to keep her away from Jake's squeakies. Seems to know a little bit of Leave It, but that's good only for that one instance. Jake is starting to chase his squeaky while she's in the yard, but it's hard to keep her away from it or him, even when I'm throwing her big blue thing, and if she gets too close, he shuts down again.

Jake is hiding less, Rem is following me around less. Once while Sav. & I were just walking around the yard, he plonked down on his side on the wooden sidewalk in the sun & half snoozed for a short while, but when she stuck her nose right in his face he decided he wasn't going to relax that much again.

Still not sure what to do about a name. "PIka" doesn't feel as good as "PEEka", although it's a legit way to pronounce it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

New Dog Day 2

Backfill: Nov 16 '03Jake's still hiding, Rem's still following, although I see a little tiny bit more normal behavior. Rem didn't do upsidedown dog this morning on the bed, so he's not comfortable with her in the room. Jake did some.

Went for a half-mile walk in the morning, and that was a disaster. She has no manners on a leash at all. Gina told me she was much better with a pinch collar, but I want to try again with just a buckle collar--although walking simultaneously with my dogs, who'll pull somewhat given half a chance--was NOT the way to do it. I could give her a pop & she'd walk without pulling for about 3 steps & then throw herself at the end of the leash again. Among them, they had exhausted me & my shoulders were really tired by the time I got home--and that's not our usual 1.25 mile walk!? Not sure how I'm going to manage this...

Attended first day of Rachel Sanders' puppy obedience class. There's no one I recognize, although one other student had a power paws camp jacket. A couple of people with obvious dog experience, a couple of people with no clue (although one of them was worried about a straight sit on "come," which didn't seem to match with her dog-handling skills...).

Learning to hold the dog at your side to get her to defer to you, and to do beginnings of a recall, and -- oh-oh, I think there's a 3rd thing I'm supposed to practice & I don't recall what it was. Someone else needs recall training. :-)

Sav. started out the same, throwing herself at other dogs, I kept doing the same thing as yesterday, and after we'd been all standing in a circle for a few minutes, she was mostly very good, but every time we'd move closer to another dog (or they'd move closer to us), we'd go thru the same thing.

Rachel suggested a Gentle Leader for dogs who desperately pull at the leash all the time, not a pinch or choke. Stopped at Petco after class & bought one--$28 plus tax! Yikes! But it helps--she let me put it on her ok, although the first several times it stopped her, she pawed at it & tried to rub her head on the ground. Goodies & praise helped.

Rachel also demonstrated teaching a dog not to bark -- assuming that you want the dog to bark *sometimes*-- walk over, spray bitter apple in the mouth, say "quiet," walk away. Then walk over several times with the bottle when the dog's being good & just praise the dog (so they're not afraid of you or bottle). Wasn't sure at the time that I'd need that info...

Working on getting her to stay at the open door & crate & back of van. She must have had some training like this already, because she seems to understand it somewhat. Certainly don't trust her yet. At the door, Rem & Jake are helpful because they wait there automatically (well--most of the time--jake wants to step out to get away from her).

She's not very well behaved at dinner time. Seems to have had some training in sitting and waiting for the bowl, but she breaks over & over, & it's hard to get the other dogs' bowls down without her sticking her nose in. I think this'll come quickly, though.

Have been trying to think of a name. Came up with "Pika," pronounced PEEka, like the little rabbity things in yosemite that stand up on their hind legs, because she does that all the time. Then Rachel & Nancy separately pointed out that Derede's new dog (probably same height class) is Peak, and Gail's new puppy (lower height class) is Pic ("PEEK"). Not sure I want to replicate both of those--

Took them all to agility class. She stayed in her crate in the car, and I think she was quiet--thought I heard her barking over & over for a while, but when I finally walked out to the end of the parking lot, it was coming from someone else's car. So either they switched back & forth, or she was just being good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

New Dog Day 1

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 Met Gina at PowerPaws at 8:15 a.m.!?! to have Nancy take a look at "Savannah" (not a name I'll keep if I keep her). I had already met Sav. at an agility trial just after Gina got her in late nov or early dec, where she was barking like crazy at everything. Met her again this previous sunday at elk grove, where she wasn't barking at all. Gina used bark collar & I don't know what else--spray bottle and ??? She is *such* a lovely snuggly dog, and very cute--those collie ears that sometimes bend backwards at the top.

Sav. is maybe 10 months old. She was adopted from the North Bay Animal Shelter (?) at an estimated 4 mos. of age (no idea where she was before that); returned 4 months later because she had too much energy (or maybe because she barked too much), which is when Gina got her. Apparently had gotten some training but mostly spent all her time in a crate.

She's a little bigger than I wanted, maybe a little older than I wanted but not quite sure. I'd been saying something between rem & jake in size, and she's easily Rem's size (i haven't measured yet), and somewhere between puppy & 1 yr, so she's on the high end of that.

There's also the border collie puppy that Maureen Strenfield has available--Rachel & Nancy think it's a mix, but it sure looks awfully border collie to me, and I'm not sure I want to look quite so much like the pack, although I've always liked border collies despite that, and this one seems like a very good age--. Of course, Savannah looks a lot like an Aussie, although next to Aussies it's very clear she's a mix. Someone said she looks a bit like a coyote; two dog folks have said she looks like a collie x aussie. And she's blue merle with a tan undercoat--always wanted a blue merle, although her eyes are quite thoroughly brown.

Nancy said she definitely passes the trainable-for-agility test--ran over a board, went over a jump, and thru a chute barrel, all without a 2nd thought. But nancy asked whether I wanted a dog that big, with all that Aussie likely-to-bark problem, and that old already--and her build might not make her a superstar agility dog, but she could definitely do it. We of course have no clue about her hips. Nancy is good at pointing out both the downside & the upside of things, so that's helpful.

But at power paws Sav was throwing herself at the end of the leash every time she saw another dog or another dog moved. So we spent a bout 15 mins before we went home, me standing still & just tightening & relaxig the leash & giving her goodies when she came to me. When she'd get good, I'd move 5 feet closer to the agility class, and we'd start the whole thing over again. There's hope, but it'll take a lot of work.

First day home, Jake hid in the bedroom, wouldn't play squeaky even while Sav. was tied to the porch. Rem followed me around closely all day, wagging his tail a lot, ears back, doing his best to look like the sweetest dog on earth.

Tried to teach Sav. the doggie door. She didn't follow the other dogs in & out, so I did treats with her back & forth a couple of dozen times & she wasn't keen on the flap touching her back & I had to hold it all the way open for her or she wouldn't go thru.

Then later discovered she wants to whine shrilly & run insanely alongside the neighbor's fence where their dog--who's been no prob at all with Rem & Jake--kind of barks & encourages it a little bit (not a real lot). So maybe her not knowing the doggie door would be OK.

hauled the crate I borrowed from Gina from the car into the house & back out and decided I wasn't going to do that again, so I have the x-pen set up in the house next to Rem's bed, with the unused small bed between them like a wall. She goes in very nicely.

Took them all in the car with me to my ESI EGM meeting & left them there for the meeting. A bunch came out to see the new dog afterwards. Karen Ehrenfelt suggested "Agate" as a name. It has potential.

Gina said she'd had Sav. in a crate in her bedroom. I'm out of crates, so at night I just put a mat in the corner behind my bedside table & with the corner closet door open. She'd like down quickly but get up & start wandering as soon as I lay down, so I got the extra baby gate from the garage and set it across the gap between the chest & the table, & she settled right in.

She got restless about 2 am; let her out & she peed. Really restless--finding things to nibble on--about 4 am; let her out & she immeidately did #2. I'd wondered whether I was going to have a problem, since she hadn't done either for quite a while before bed time. so it didn't surprise me. And she settled in good immediately each time.

Monday, January 21, 2002

More on the Possible Dog

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 Response from a friend:
okay I had a look - she sounds really nice! Being a "she" will be a nice change, I think you'll find, getting-along-wise. I don't know what to say if it isn't love at first sight. You've been looking at an awful lot of dogs, and, like houses, I think you know what's out there and how often it comes around, and what you like. I'd say if you like her, then it's a good choice. Anyway now I think you're a different persom, a more choosy person with specific goals (performance and around-the-house), so that you'll never be doubt free like you used to be when picking Rem. Not that Rem was a hasty or ill-thought-out choice - it's just that when you got Rem, you knew he would be doing obed and tricks, you didn't know about agility and that brings a whole nother dimension to the choice. The fact that you're making this decision without consulting a partner might also leave you more subject to doubt. But trust yourself: you have a very good instinct when it comes to dogs!

I can't wait to hear - this _is_ very exciting - a PUPPY omigosh!

Ellen continues:

I called Rachel earlier, because I had talked to her a few months back about advice for getting a new dog. She strongly suggested a real puppy (not a mostly grown one) if I wanted to raise a truly awesome agility dog--but she also understands I want a mixed breed. (Really weird--I just don't see many ads for mixes in the paper. I wonder where all those half-grown mixed breed dogs come from? All the friends & neighbors take the puppies because they're cute, and then somewhere down the road they realize they're not what they want? I dunno--)

ANYway, she said kinda the same thing that you just did (see, you're as much of an expert! :-) ), which is that with Rem I didn't have these grand expectations, and now I do, and so it'll be harder. She talked about the levels of choices she went thru with her various dogs & how high her expectations for herself & her dogs--and how hard it has gotten making a choice--have become over time. That was kinda reassuring.....I think.

I've left a message for Gina to say let's take the next step.

I just went thru my online journal of when I got remington, & it's both funny & scary. My quote back then was something about being torn between Gee This Is Great and What Have I Done????

I'm really starting to think now about the comfortable life we've got--the long off-leash walks we take in the park, and leaving the dogs alone & free-range during the day in the house & yard, and snuggling on the couch with one on either side, and...

Yeah, things'll be different. And, as I discovered with Rem, fixing some of the challenges with a large dog is a lot harder than with a very young, small pup.

And actually I didn't know I was going to be doing tricks when I got Rem--he just kinda forced me into it!

Possible New Dog

Backfill: Nov 16 '03
I've looked at this dog that Gina C. has had for about 2 months--adopted out of shelter at 4 months & returned 4 months later because she had too much energy, although apparently got some obedience training. 10 month old Aussie mix--blue merle like I always wanted but built a little more like Rem than like an Aussie (not quite that lanky, but maybe halfway in between). She's a real lovie/snuggly dog. Look at the photo on http://www.northbay-canine.org--description is under Savannah. (I don't care for the name much--)

(Posted the photo and text here: https://dogblog.finchester.org/2002/01/from-north-bay-rescue-site-nov-01-jan.html because it won't be on their site any more.)

This is so exciting and so scary. I want the *right* dog and now that it's a close thing I'm wondering whether this is really it! (There have been some that I've just turned down outright.) And now someone else has told Gina that they're interested in the dog (not an agility person), but Gina says I've got dibs since I spent some time with them in november or december looking at this dog.

And then I think, if I'm taking this long to make up my mind, maybe it's not the right dog, but then I think maybe it is--

One of the things in my mind is that, before I saw Rem & adopted him on the spot, I thought I was going to get myself a blue merle Aussie--

Sunday, January 20, 2002

From the North Bay Rescue Site, Nov '01-Jan '02

Backfill: Nov 16 '03
is a spayed female 9 month Aussie mix. She weighs 42 lbs, is crate trained, housebroken and loves to ride in the car. Savanna loves to play with other dogs and is especially good with small puppies. She is good around cats but wants to play with them and might get a little too rough. Savanna only barks when she wants to play with other dogs or cats that happen to walk by and is being worked with to correct the behavior. She would be a great obedience dog candidate and possibly a good agility dog. Savanna is very intelligent and is very eager to please. She is a wonderful dog and needs to be with a family or a person that is active and will spend time with her. Savanna loves everyone and is good with children and would fit well into just about any situation where she will get a lot of attention and exercise.