Monday, January 31, 2011

Tug tug tug

Today, West decided he might like to play "finger tug". I've taught this to most of my dogs, partly to encourage maintenance of fantastic bite inhibition, and partly because it has proven a very handy reinforcer (heh. pun) on occasion. West is still not sure about playing with toys with humans, so when he showed an interest in tugging with my finger, I took it as a good sign.

I got him tugging quite enthusiastically (and gently!! good boy!) and added a very quiet "grrrr." He immediately spat out my hand and looked at me. Ok. Can't tug while human is making weird noises. I tried a quiet "good" which he knows as praise. Nope, still quit. I got him tugging again, and this time, added a REALLY quiet "gr". He maintained the tug quite well. I did this about 10 times, and he kept tugging about 6 of them.

Then, I got distracted reading something and he started to mouth my hand, hard, with his molars! I removed my hand, and he repeated. I thought, okay, let's teach him out! So, I got him tugging and looked at him and quietly said "Out". And, he didn't let go. He kept tugging. Weirdo dog. "Give" got the same "stop and look at me" as the other words did. I guess he'll learn "give" not "out" :)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Sorry, I was so tired after class last night, I couldn't bear to write!
West did very VERY well. I crated him (covered, in the back room) inside the centre for the hour I was helping teach, so he was already adjusted to the noise by the time I brought him out. I opened our barrier a bit so he could look at a man sitting in a chair. He barked once when Mary came too close, but that was all. There was a heeling exercise up and back, so we sat at one end and he got cookies for "stranger coming closer" and no cookies for "stranger leaving".. Basic open/closed bar stuff. He was totally good with this. I went early, hoping he could meet Mary, but the basic class students started arriving TWENTY MINUTES early! Sheesh!
No car sickness at all either. What a good boy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We got second place in the photo contest, so Premier is sending out some goodies! Thanks everyone!! (more on west after class tonight!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

100 posts and a birthday

So today is West's honorary Birthday. I will find a way to give him a cake and get a picture of it for you guys!
I hit the 100 post mark last post, I didn't even realize till I came to post today. Hm. Anyway.

No posts for a couple days. Archie's been quite sick after he got into a bunch of kitchen scraps and has really bad diarrhea. He's feeling better today, but we've all just kind of chilled out. West has class again on Thursday. He loves fish more than chicken. He's mostly quit chasing the chickens. He loves eating and rolling in the snow. and we really need to do some serious training!

I've lost his red Gentle Leader (that is actually Gypsy's, but he's borrowing it). I had it ready to go to class on Thursday, and I'm fairly sure I brought it to the car. When I arrived at the centre, I couldn't find it, and it's totally gone. I will have to look hard for it tomorrow.

West needs a couple of items, and we need to pick a colour! Here's the colour options:

Any thoughts or votes? Archie is Blaze Orange, and gypsy is deep red. Candy is purple and Ben is green. Sheela is hot pink. It's ideal for the dogs to have different colours. I'm leaning toward a navy blue...

And speaking of premier, there's only one more day to vote for the photo so we can win FREE TOYS FOR WEST. Here's the info: Instructions here

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A quiet day

As West recovers from his very busy Thursday, today was a quiet day for him. I was gone teaching all morning, so he got a romp this afternoon and then just spent some time napping/cuddling with me. He was up a few times last night, but he was doing his excessive-water-drinking thing thursday, so I'm not too surprised. He saw mom out by the car yesterday and was willing to approach her even though she was carrying groceries and looking funny! He's come so far, really.

Still hoping for a few more votes for the toys. I only need twenty more to tie the current leader! And it's almost West's designated Birthday! I ought to make him a cake for you guys to see, eh?

Tomorrow is Helter Skelter fun run at 5 Star, but maybe I can get West out for a good run and some PHOTOS tomorrow!


Friday, January 21, 2011

West's new hobby

First of all, thank you to those of you who did vote. As some of you already know, I'm entered in a photo contest to win some Premier toys. I need about 15 more votes to have a chance, so I'd REALLY appreciate it if you have facebook and could take a minute to vote :D
You need to like this page: Premier's Facebook Page
Then comment the word 'vote' under the picture here
Photo Link if you'd like to vote..
Thanks!! West is a bit of a toy destroyer, so I can use all the toys I can get! :)

So West has discovered a new hobby. I left him out in the yard for a minute this afternoon while I went in to get supper. I came back out and there was no West to be seen. I called him and he didn't come. Then, I heard SQUAWKING!! Apparently he's been reading about WooTwoo's adventures and decided to take on some chickens of his own!
I called him from partway down the driveway, and he came running up. I don't think he managed to hurt any of the birds, nor do I think he was even trying to. I think Archie has taught him this lovely habit. Archie goes into the chicken house to eat their feed. West didn't used to follow him down there, but recently, he's started to. As Archie enters the house, the hens flap and run (Archie just wants the carbs. sigh) and I expect West had started 'playing' with them.. At some point, he discovered he could create this great game all on his own!

It's a pretty easy fix, just means taking him down to the chickens every day for a while. I think he has the instinct to do some nice work with them too, once he figures out what I want. Silly pup. SNEAKY pup!

Sorry for the lack of photos and video lately. It's been horrible outside. Maybe I'll video another clicker session for you this weekend.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

First week of class!

So, yesterday, I made sure West had a very boring no-fun day. This morning, I gave him a bone to chew, then I was out for the afternoon. I came home, scarfed down dinner and gathered up a few things:
Calming cap, fluffy sheep toy, gentle leader, 60cc syringe filled with dog food mixture, container of super yummy meat scrap treats, treat pouch, clicker, thundershirt... That might have been all. Oh, a leash!

Off we went to class. West road on the front seat (I need to get him a harness to be safer..) so he wouldn't get car sick. I fed him some dry cookies for the 'scary' parts (slowing down, turning, etc) and he did very well. We got to 5star and i moved him into the back of the car in a crate, and covered him up with a blanket to stay warm. Then I went inside and helped teach a basic obedience class.

After most of the dogs for the advanced class arrived, I brought West into the room. He was fine with the doorways, but freaked out by Mary's loud voice instructing the class. I fed him and managed to get him to our spot behind the barriers. Once there, I just fed him constantly for about 5 minutes.

He settled in quite nicely. In the whole class, he had 3 "grr" moments where he was afraid enough to utter a small quiet sound. There was a man right near our station (we'll change that up next week). We worked on down, stand, eye contact (hah. he couldnt do this at all), perch work on a stool (he did pretty good at this one!), peek, look at that scary man, "smoke your pipe" (my cue for find and lick the end of the syringe... heh), hand target. I think that's it. He worked almost the whole class.

At the end of class, a lady came way too close to him, but I had his calming cap on already, so I just scooped him up and carried him out. Back in the car, loose, until I gathered up my stuff.

He spent most of the drive home on the floor behind my seat. Good puppy. He's totally flat out crashed in his crate now. Poor little guy. He did SO well :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More house time, and invisible-dogging

Tomorrow night is West's first obedience class!!! I'm hoping there will be a chance to get some video, but we'll see how it goes. There are 7 dogs in the class, including West. One of them is Lindsay's dog, so West sort of knows Lindsay already. I do not expect him to 'recognize' her in that setting though. A good friend of mine who has (i think?) a TDBCR dog, Claudine, is also in the class. She's very excited to 'see' West. A fellow trainer is taking the class with his golden, a client is in the class with her farm-dog-mix, and a couple others I don't know. It should be a nice class, I hope!

Yesterday, I worked all day and West went out for a ball play mid day with Chris, but otherwise did nothing fun. Poor West. He slept really well last night though; he'd been doing his 5am yap-attack for a few nights previous (only nights when I have to be up early. Sigh.) Monday, he spent some time in the house, though not quite as under threshold as I'd have liked (variety of factors). We'll back off that a little bit and work our way back up.

Right now, I have both boys loose in the motorhome with me. Archie is playing with food toys (that he ignores unless he thinks someone else wants them!) and generally preventing West from going anywhere, but things are improving as Archie relaxes, so I'm watching and waiting. West is playing invisible-dog in the corner, looking at the wall and giving awesome calming signals. I'd love to have both of them out more often, so I'm hoping this goes well!

And, I just got word that we're a finalist in a Premier photo contest! The photo isn't of West (it was for 'best dressed' dog, and I wasn't sure his Thundershirt would qualify!) but any toys we win WILL be for West (to share, of course) since he's the toy destructor. So, if you'd like to go give us a vote, we REALLY would like to win! They'll be leaving the voting open until next Wednesday.
Here's how to do it:
Sign into Facebook and visit Premier's page at Make sure you have 'liked' them. They don't spam or even post much, so this shouldn't be an issue.
Then go to The photo and comment "vote" under the photo. Thanks so much!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

West and Chris and the kitchen!

Though West has been inside a few times, he's not been able to approach or be near Chris yet. Tonight, it was just Chris and I making popcorn (yes, i eat alot of popcorn) so I brought him in.
I just ignored Chris and pretended he wasn't there. He ignored West. West did about 10 minutes of "I CANT SEEE HIM!!" pacing and avoiding, but by the end he was working for chris for popcorn and eagerly accepting pets.
Great work, West! And Chris!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A brief morning in town

I brought West into town today. He spent time in the car on his own (did very well, though a bit stressed) and didn't get sick at all! He really seems to do better riding without a crate. He chose to spend much of the ride on the floor of the backseat.

We played Look At That Strange Person Walking By from the car at the hospital, and he did very well. One seemingly kind lady looked like she was going to approach the car, but she backed off and carried on her way when she saw me hiding West's face from her!

He got out of the car briefly at the Spay Neuter clinic so Zoey could see him. He was tired by then, so I didn't attempt any introductions. We picked up his new DAP collar and a DAP diffuser, and paid my rather enormous bill!

We found a great sale on Pork at Coopers, so we got about 120lbs of it. West was a bit concerned by the giant hunks of meat being loaded into the car, but he did well.

We got home and Chris was in the house, so I shoo'ed West outside for a moment while I grabbed groceries. At that very moment, our home-fruit-n-veg delivery van came!!! The delivery lady said West just went to his yard and didn't bark or anything. Good boy, but BAD BAD owner. Sigh. They're usually here and gone by 10, but were running late today.
All's well that ends well, I suppose.

Then West ran down the bank and filled his coat and thundershirt with burrs!!!! UGH!

Then Archie got sick (Maybe from the diffuser or from the burrs, not sure at all yet).

And now it's bed time, since I have two classes to teach tomorrow! Yawwwwwwn.

Oh. and sorry for the delay. West's official According-To-Me birthday will be Jan 25, 2010. It's my mom's birthday, has a 25 in it which is just nice, and is far enough from now that maybe he'll get a present! :)

No photos or videos of anything at all today. Sorry!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We got a whole bunch of snow overnight. I got some video of the dogs playing in it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A bit of a scare

I let West out to pee this evening (without Archie, which is slightly unusual) and was surprised when I didn't hear him leaping at the door after a minute or two. I thought he may need an extra minute but when he didn't still after a few minutes, I went and called him. He was nowhere to be seen! OMG I lost the puppy!!! I grabbed my coat and shoes, and rushed out to find him. I called and called. As I came around the corner to where I could see the house, he's sitting at the door to the house, waiting to be let inside!!! I have no idea why he thinks that's his new home. He came when he could see me, and we went back in together.
He's come into the house a few times now for socializing and cookies. I guess he wants to move in permanently! Silly pup!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Approaching Normal

I believe really strongly in letting dogs decompress and recharge when they come from a stressful situation. This is what I've been doing with West until fairly recently. Most of his first month or so was just existing, being with me, dealing with Archie, and existing. He's had a good dose of R&R now, and has shown me in the past few weeks that he's ready to do more.

We've done several car outings now, which have mostly gone very well. He's registered for classes starting on the 20th (hoping to get some video of those for you guys!). He's spending more time in the busy house... and that's what this post is for.

Tonight, I brought West into the house when there were other people moving around. This was a first. He's been into the house 3 times. The first was when everyone was gone and he played with Benji (the crappy video). The second was when Vikki and I made popcorn the other night. The third was tonight. I brought him in and he was eager to go, so apparently he liked the popcorn!

He entered the kitchen, which was empty. Mom, Chris and my grandmother were all sitting in the living room. There is a gate between the rooms, so he could see them, hear them, but couldn't get to them. My mom came into the kitchen wearing her very deep purple shiny pajamas. I have no idea why or what West thinks, but he's pretty darn sure she's not 'normal' in that suit! A couple little barks, but she gave him some cookies and he was fine after that. Watched her closely though.. gotta keep an eye on those purple ones!

I sat down to eat in the kitchen and he investigated the livingroom happenings a few times, but settled with me quite well. My sister came home, and I fed West cookies while she came in and set her things down. He reached a point where he was to worried to eat the cookies, right before she came to see him. It's been a while since that happened. Same procedure, minus the barking. She gave him some biscuits, then got her supper and sat to eat at the table with me. Mom came in and out of the kitchen a couple more times.

Once dinner was over, Chris went into the bedroom. I took West into the living room to meet gramma. She is VERY afraid of dogs, and knows I have West cause he's a fear biter. She was SUPER nervous, but once she started petting him and realized he wasn't going to eat her, all was well. West was very very good with her. He seems to like women far better than men.

We spent about 30-45 minutes chatting with gramma, doing some tricks in the living room. Purple alien monster (aka mom) walked by and West barked at her. Approached and took treats, and was fine once he sniffed her. Silly pup. We'll have to work on people in different outfits.

Total time was probably a couple hours. He did very well and I'm very happy with his progress. He didn't like the sound of cupboards closing (ours are old fashioned wood, so they make kind of a vacuum sound with a clunk when they close) and noticed his reflection a couple times in the TV. And, of course, he's SOUND asleep now after a huge drink of water and a huge pee. He's such a stress drinker.

Overall? Success. Tomorrow should be a quiet day to rest. For him, anyway.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I need new titles..

I'm awful at writing titles, but the blog is ugly without them. Hmph.
West had a fairly quiet day. I taught my first Control Unleashed class this morning, so he relaxed at home in his crate. This afternoon, I left his crate open while I did various things and he stayed in it for a couple hours, then started lying on top of me, getting into things, pawing my belly, biting my fingers while I was typing. Heh. He's such a normal puppy some days.
His bite inhibition is AWFUL though. owww!
I trimmed his nails today too. He doesn't love it, but when there's popcorn as a paycheck, he puts up with it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A miniature outing..

Right when I wanted to take the dogs out to play today, it started to HAIL! So Archie got a quick run earlier, but West had no such opportunity. So, I brought him into the (real) house today. Vikki and I spent about 45 minutes doing "normal" things: made some popcorn, tidied the kitchen, made some toast, sat on the couch, etc. West was stressed but relaxed at some points, and overall did very well. We will need to do this again soon! What a good boy!
He also went down the stairs to the basement. He wasn't sure, but once Vikki went down, he followed awkwardly. Good boy!


West and Gypsy playing a few days ago. Sorry, the video was huge!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Busy, busy!

This month is shaping up to be a crazy one. West starts classes in two thursdays (the 20th I think) at 5star. He went on another outing yesterday to Pioneer Park (a dog beach) and to Petcetera. He was great at the beach, as there were no people. I'm confident that if the humans evaporated off the earth, he'd be quite a normal little dog :) He did see a man from several feet away, and was able to play LAT, focus on me, and didn't bark even once. He also was near a jogger, but I popped him in the car and I don't think he noticed her.

At Petcetera, he was able to get inside both doors after some coaxing. He sniffed around in the store for a few minutes, then left. He was obviously stressed, but able to take food and think. Good progress!

I had high hopes for photos and videos of our outing, but the battery to the camera died! I got a handful of photos at the beach, and a VERY short bit of video:

More at his album, though they're mostly blurry. Sorry about the lack of documentation! Silly batteries.

Today, he did nothing at all. A nice relaxing day following a stressful one.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A walk to the river, and a link for you!

Mom and Chris went down to the river and brought the boys with them. I met them partway after I got home, and walked back. West walked on leash with Chris and Candy, and did fairly well. He's getting very comfortable with "things that are not strangers". Archie had a harder time with the trucks and such, but that's a work in progress. Both came home and slept all afternoon! No photos, sorry, unless Chris took some before I got there and didn't tell me. And I know I still have a video to process of West playing with Gypsy. Sorry for being slow, I'm busy!!

Tomorrow, I plan to take him into town again, and we'll just wander and stay away from busy-stuff and see how he is. He seems to like exploring new environments, so I think he'll be fine as long as there are no strange humans! Check back for an update.

In other news, I added a gadget to the sidebar of the blog, called Blogs I Recommend. I know I have the blogroll, but those are just blogs I read, from a couple of categories in my RSS feed. Just because I read something doesn't necessarily mean I would DO it. This category will be specifically for blogs that I know the authors well, and know I can recommend their stuff. So on that note, I bring you the first Blog I Recommend!
How Many Dogs?! is a great book about living with multiple dogs. Debby, the author, also has a website where she covers tons of material, and a yahoo group (linked from her website) where you can directly ask her questions and chat with her about your own specific issues. How cool is that? She's a very positive trainer and has lots of cool new ideas. I hope you at least check her out, especially if you're a multiple-dog owner yourself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A good romp..

West went out to chase archie around this morning, then I took him out to play with Ben and Gypsy. Mom came to the door, so I sent him out.

He was a bit worried about going outside without seeing who was out there, but with a tiny bit of encouragement, he went and received turkey jerky for his efforts! He did some tag/running play with Gypsy, as well as some wrestling. I got some of it on video, but it's not up yet. Soon.

Then, just as we were finishing up, the neighbour came by. He has (finally) learned to call out to us, so I can put West away. I sent him to the yard, and when I was far enough away, he came back to me.

He seemed comfortable at that distance, so I did some LAT type stuff with petting/play rewards (turkey jerky was with mom, who was next to 'scary' neighbour) and he did very well. We got to within about 25' or so before the neighbour went home. No barky explosions. Well done, Westy!

Oh, and West learned a new trick.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stalking reflections...

I totally meant to post yesterday, but forgot. Happy new year, everyone, from West and I!

I have no idea what West is doing in this picture. Silly pup.

Tonight, I had some things to sort through in the basement, and (to my knowledge) no one was down there, so I figured it'd be good for West to just hang out with me in a new place. He was willing to enter the house without a problem (he'd been nervous of the doorway upstairs), and sniffed around some. I got to work, and he mostly followed me, sniffed the room, and sat on my foot. Overall pretty good. He alarm barked at the china cabinet, and I'm sure he was barking at my reflection in the glass. Anyone have reflection-reactivity cures?

Chris came in unexpectedly and scared West and me both. He barked, but was able to come to me, sit with me and sort of stay quiet while I hid his head with my hand and Chris left. Within a minute or so after, he was back to his usual behaviour. Great recovery.

Overall, I think it was useful, and I think he enjoyed most of it. Lots of things to smell and see. He's sacked out having a nap now.

Pet billboard :)


Waiting for Archie to move so he can herd him..

Snowy nose.

My camera isn't fast enough to catch these nicely.

I bet I could edit this to look like a 2o2o Aframe photo :)