Friday, February 18, 2011

Another person!

West met Julie last night! Julie is a trainer with 5 Star, and was filling in for Mary teaching last night's obedience class. I was asked to show up early to turn on the heat and set up, so I brought the boys along and did some box work with Archie, and some no-biting-Archie work with West. He jumped a 5 foot xpen, by the way. Note to self.

Then, I put Archie out in the car and crated West in his usual spot in the back room. I helped Julie teach the basic class, then there was no Basic Level 2 tonight, so I asked if she wanted to stay and meet him. She said of course, so she sat on the floor and I went to get him.

I got him quite close, then realized he was in "heeling/working" mode and not paying a ton of attention to what scary thing was there, so I backed way off. We did some sorta-BAT stuff, marking and reinforcing (with distance) for looking at the trigger. It worked well, and he loosened up. I did some wide circle walking around her, and got to a point about 10 feet away with him being okay!

At this point, I had Julie take out the treats and she tossed them at him. Slowly, he got closer and more comfortable. We gave him a couple release breaks to run off some stress, but within about 20 minutes of that, he was able to approach her hand for scratches. He tried to get right in her lap at one point. Overall, very successful. She had to go, so we didn't work on her standing up, etc. but he did very well!

Go Westy!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Gear

Our new stuff arrived from Premier and Pet Expertise. West's gear isn't the royal blue I wanted (and most of the readers seemed to, too) due to an error, but Cadet blue (a lighter blue) instead. Oh well :) His muzzle fits him nicely, and I haven't fit the collar/harness/GL yet, but will do so tomorrow and get some pics. A couple new toys too, and new ropes for the tug a jugs, so hopefully West can't/won't wreck these ones. They're rubber!
Photos, video etc coming soon!

Finger Tug Ep 2

I got some video of this, to show what I mean. It's wobbly cause I just used my laptop's webcam, sorry about that. Hope this clarifies it for you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Agility? I think so!!

We brought West in with the dogs on Monday for agility practice. He was out playing with Gypsy, and climbing over the Aframe! Silly pup. So I grabbed the camera to try and get some video. Of course, he then quit doing it. I got him to go over a couple more times, though:

He also did a couple of held-open chutes just for fun. He's pretty confident with objects, less so with sounds. Good boy.
After practice, we had to go stop in at the respite facility where Gramma is staying for a week. We parked away from passer-by and I left him on the drivers' seat with his Calming Cap on. He was lying there with his head down on the seat when I returned. Good pup!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thanks for those of you who voted!!

We got Runner Up in the photo contest I posted about a while back. Thanks to the generosity of Premier Pet Products, we got a bag of new toys to try out!

The Pogo Plush Slap Happy was in use before I even got the packaging off. Gypsy grabbed it from me when I was showing it off to Chris! I had to take it back from her to get photos of it. Enthusiastic pup.

Archie and West with the new Slap Happy:

Typical boys. Archie plays with toy. West 'plays' with Archie:

The combination of lighting, snow and new toy created some awesome snow-spray shots:

The Fun Kitty Egg-cersizer is probably the most hated of the toys. The dogs don't get to play with it, and the cats are irritated that they don't get a free meal anymore! They seem to get it and play with it right away though (no introduction done. bad me.), so maybe they will be on the way to non-obesity soon! Bad cats.

The Funny Bone Busy Buddy toy is one I hadn't ever seen in person before. I've seen these toys on the website, but was never sure if they'd last my hard chewers, so I never bought one. I was excited to get a chance to try it out! I know I never really understood how it worked, so I figured I'd lay it out for you!

The toy out of the package:

Note the grooves where the strips sit:

The end unscrews, to access the strips:

And the entire bone piece comes right out, leaving the purple a totally separate piece:

You can see how the strips lock in by sliding into the groove:

The strip has a wider bit at each edge, to lock it in place:

Just slide the strip in (this is a bit tough, as they fit quite tightly)

And you're ready to chew!

Give to puppy:

West really liked it. He chewed the sticking-out parts of the strips off really fast, but was keen to keep working on it. I will experiment with cutting the strips in half, then they would last twice as long.

I gave it to West in his crate while I went into the house for a bit. He gnawed away at it and a couple hours later, this is what I found:

So, some damage, but nothing major. Something to keep an eye on, though, since I know ground-plastic has worn dogs' teeth in the past. A friend has a dog with SHARPENED canines from grinding on plastic long term.

All in all, we're very happy with this toy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

upside down puppy

I had an upside-down west lying on the floor at my feet. Wanted to snap a photo for you guys, but as soon as I twitched to grab the camera, he leapt up. Very cool to see him relaxed enough to sprawl though! We also had a very nice game of roughousing tonight. His bite inhibition still sucks. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some video of playing in the snow

West herding archie while he wanders around the yard:

Archie does some jump practice, West waits...

Archie does some jump practice, for real.. West circles

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Class week 3!

Tonight, West came out eager and ready to work! I didn't have the barriers set up to easily open, but did move outside of them quite a bit. He even did a tiny bit of heeling in the 'real' class!

See for yourselves!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We had a tiny bit of sun yesterday.

This is what I got! There is some video too, it will be up.. eventually.. :)

Finger Tugging

Marley asked me to elaborate on this a bit. It's a bit hard to explain, so I might try to get some video of it in the near future. For now, I'll give it a shot! :)

Finger tugging (as I call it) is literally the dog tugging on my finger! I curl my index (usually) or middle finger into a C shape and loop it behind the dog's 4 canines. This way, my finger is in a "no crush" zone, while the dog still has a good grip to tug. This is also really handy since I can just slip my finger out if things get too riled up (so it's a good tug game for dogs without a good "out").

This is really nice since it doesn't require anything I don't already have with me (dogs' teeth, my fingers) on a regular basis. It's NOT for dogs who don't know how to be reasonably gentle with their mouths!!

This video shows how to clicker train the dog to take your finger in his mouth. This is about where my finger sits, only I curve it so the dog has some tug grip. You can see at 2:30 when the dog is holding, that's where I start tugging gently.

Please do always feel free to ask about something if it's unclear! I don't always know what is and isn't obvious. This blog is mostly a catalogue of West's adventures, but it should be educational too!