a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Assorted Notes

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Assorted Notes

Ears at full alert: Merle ear is standing up somewhat and black ear is still floppy.
This isn't that grouchy old dog you're talking about??
Puppy's ears are trying to stand up a bit. Lopsidedly, of course. Dang, I don't want another dog with lopsided ears! The merle ear seems to be a bit more erect than the black one, which is still floppy. But only in certain very alert poses. Did I mention that one of her sisters (Bette) already had completely erect ears a month ago?

Jake's attitude has generally become very iffy. Maybe it's because he's deaf. Maybe it's because he's old. Maybe it's because he's just basically a grouch. He's actually very good around the puppy most of the time now, but--for example--the other day I went to get Boost from upstairs where she had wandered, and she dashed downstairs ahead of me, and Jake came from seemingly out of nowhere and landed on her again, and I had to drag him off. Did he think she was attacking him?

This morning, he was snoozing behind my desk chair. I didn't notice and backed up into him or over his tail or whatever--jerked him awake to his feet, looking for trouble (which he has always done). He saw me, didn't try to lunge at me (way back when we first got him, he'd lunge at our feet if we accidentally nudged him while he was asleep), but saw Tika standing on the other side of the chair and lunged at her, which is unusual. She was able to step aside and I yelled or grabbed at him or something, and he didn't actually make contact.

This is going to be challenging if his health holds up and he gets older, deafer, and grouchier.

Tika's first championship getting closer: I suspect that she'll earn her C-ATCH (CPE Agility Trial Champion) long before she makes it to her USDAA ADCH--we can't even get a single masters gamblers and masters jumpers leg to get her MAD in USDAA. In CPE, she needs 1 standard, 4 jumpers, and 4 colors for her C-ATCH--she already has enough Jackpot, Wildcard, Full House, and Snooker legs. There are NO jumpers or colors this coming weekend, but there are 4 standards. Think we can finish that one Standard leg?

The future champion telling the S-words what for.
Training falls apart: Here I was, thinking how great we were doing with Boost waiting after her crate or xpen is opened for a "break" command. I was up to about 10 seconds, walking away from the pen and coming back, putting on her leash, dropping food, stuff like that. And then--all of a sudden the last couple of days--she's not waiting any more! Did I progress too fast? Did I do something inconsistent that I didn't realize? Argh! I hate when this happens.

Walkies: Our new strategy for walkies is this. Jake and I go for a brisk walk around a long block (probably slightly over half a mile) and I can encourage him to once again pay attention to me and to tugs on the leash; we've completely ruined him trying to walk & train Tika at the same time. He's much better already.

Then I take Tika out with goodies and clickers and try to get her to walk alongside on a loose leash and to not totally freak out when walking past yards with barking dogs. Year 3 and counting... I thought I had made progress with seeing other dogs out on leashes, but then the other day once again she went completely nuts, slathering and throwing herself around and making such ferocious noises that I undoubtedly convinced yet another unknown neighbor of her aggressive tendencies. I just couldn't get her attention or get her to relax, even with the calming/holding techniques I learned. So--we keep working. I don't get much walking done with her--only down the street, usually,l and back, and that takes 10-15 minutes.

Then I do a little bit of leash work with Boost. I'm not spending enough time on that (or on anything) but I do think it's showing signs of taking.

Boost's leash: The Booster loves her leash. I do sometimes play tug-of-war with the handle just like any other dangly toy, but try to discourage her from grabbing other places on the leash and holding it at other times. I don't think this is inconsistent. But she does like to get it into her mouth when I'm just walking her around the yard waiting for her to potty. (Don't do this all the time, just when I want her under control for some reason.) I can't leave the leash on the floor next to her crate, because when she's out loose, she's liable to make off with it and dash around the yard cheerfully with it trailing behind. Last thing I need is a dog who chews through leashes; there are friends' dogs who do that far too often.

A circumpect puppy is a safe puppy. Or so the Boostie believes. She provides an interesting view of the world. I wouldn't classify her as a scaredy-dog, but she doesn't rush boldly into new situations. When her environment changes, she is hyperaware of it.

Some examples.

There was an empty 10" flowerpot sitting by a tree. Sat there for quite a while. One day, dogs rushing around knocked the pot over and it rolled onto its side about 4 feet away. The next morning, as Boost and I walked in that direction, she suddenly stopped, froze, went into the "what is that?" crouch and alternately stretched her neck, took tentative steps forward, tentative steps backwards, raised and lowered her head to get a better view. The Startled Cautious Dog. All for the same pot that had been there--but in a different spot--since she first came home.

One day while I was following her in her explorations around the yard, I discovered a largish rock (6" across?) that I had apparently unburied at some point in an obscure corner of the yard and left there. While she nosed around, I picked it up and later deposited it in a flower bed, mostly hidden among the taller plants. Sometime later, perhaps the next day, as we approached the flower bed together--the flower bed that I've attempted to discourage her from entering but with which she has had plenty of experience entering--suddenly The Startled Cautious Dog. It took me a moment to realize that that thang didn't used to be there!

I have these little wooden tables that have been folded up, leaning against the hot tub while Yard Construction goes on. Yesterday evening I unfolded one (in the same location it's been) to put drinks on. Later, she came out the sliding glass door--and became The Startled Cautious Dog. Once again, my over-generalizing adult human brain took a few seconds to catch up to her-- that thang didn't used to be there!

Your local tunnel flattening service.
Why are my tunnels getting mysterious flatter? I couldn't figure out why the cheaper one in the back corner was always half flat in the middle. (See yellow tunnel in background in previous photo.) Now I know.

1 comment:

  1. Well personally I love ears that point in all directions (ears akimbo).
    Ellen Clary