a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Day 6 continued

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!

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