Wednesday, August 11, 2004


I'm moving towards having Joey on an umbilical cord around the house now. This is difficult due to the house being so small. There really is no "around the house", just IN the house. I hooked him to me and off we went outside to work on picking up all the flagging and poles from Sunday night. This was a little rough going at first as he wanted to dash off to here and there and grab this and that - he didn't quite get it that we were attached.

This got much better as we did a lot of CT for walking with me. Joey sure loved those flag pennants! He was sure they were a hugely long, wonderful tug toy and how could I be so silly as to take them away from him?

Responsible Heeling: Step 4 (3 steps backwards)
25X - Joey was really up on-line for this. He would look up and already be moving towards me. We are definitely done with this step!

In the evening agility class was held in my front yard. This is a class for Marcus to be part of but tonight he had no energy, no excitement, just not into it, too hot. I didn't even try because I could see he wasn't at all into it. So I just watched class. I did take one "turn" though. I got Joey out of the house on leash with the plan to take him for one big run through the agility equipment (classically conditioning, agility equipment = exciting stuff). This was Joey's first time to ever go into the front yard and it would have been a good plan except for the class dogs. Oh my!! Did he ever want to dash off and greet those dogs. So this was not such a good idea - too much, too soon. Oh well, we did have some fun running for the few times we were running in the same direction.

After class we watched TV while playing with Joey on the floor with the Havanese in the kitchen. Marcus is just too much distraction for Joey though that is diminishing a little more each day. The relationship between Joey and BJ is completely back to normal today and I'm happy to see that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Before I went to work in the morning, we did 20 reps of name recognition and some reps of Responsible Heeling (three steps backwards). Throughout the day we did little bits and pieces of things as I tried to get back to a normal training rhythm. Because of not writing my blog reports in a timely manner, I'm not getting notes on tape as I should. Running the tape back to find the place to write reports, then forward to the place to record current notes is getting to be a bit of a hassle. I find myself not making notes when I should.

About sunset I took everyone to the backyard for some off leash time together. BJ can still take Joey down - amazing as that is! - but it is taking several tries. Joey was being very rowdy with Marcus who is not yet doing anything about that. I can see where I'm going to have to step in soon.

Later in the kitchen as I was getting Joey out of the Xpen, I stepped backwards onto a toe. BJ was very close to us - I missed what happened behind me but a big brouhaha took place. BJ really gave Joey heck and Joey screamed and screamed as a result. They dusted themselves off and Joey would not come anywhere near BJ after that.

I'm wondering if BJ is being really picky about infractions and really taking Joey to task so as to keep up his "aura" of leadership. I know BJ is really trying hard to keep Joey in line and it's becoming increasingly difficult for him just due to the difference in size.

I got some treats and tried treating Joey while near BJ and treating BJ at the same time. That sort of worked but Joey was still quite leery of BJ. It was Joey's right front foot that hurt him but it seemed OK after a bit.

A little while later I took them out into the sideyard to see how they would interact. Joey gave BJ a very wide berth and started grabbing at Marcus to play. And how interesting! Marcus told him to back off, more than once too! And BJ had to split a few times with Joey giving very good responses to the splitting. I find that fascinating that, after BJ really laying the law down to Joey, now Marcus is telling Joey to quit pulling on his tail.

As I was putting Joey to bed, he walked by BJ in the living room with no concern about being near him. He turned and sniffed BJ's rear as he lie there - in a completely appropriate manner. I think all is well between them but we'll see tomorrow. In hindsight, I should have done what I did a few days ago (and would have been more in touch with if I had kept my blog up to date!) - take them all out to the big yard and let them circulate and give off calming signals until all the energy was diffused.

Monday, August 09, 2004


As could be expected, I didn't quite get up as early as I would have liked so as to get some training in before work. It was rush rush to get all the dogs settled and get ready for work. This was a very very hot day. I came home and it was even too hot to take a nap. Ugh. Joey and I spent a lot of cuddle time on the couch while I did a thorough brushing of his coat.

Finally about 6 pm I decided I couldn't stand it any more. It was hot inside and it was hot outside. I really didn't want to be inside and I really didn't want to be outside. So I went outside anyway so the dogs could have a chance to run around. Heh, they weren't into it at all. So I started teaching Joey to bite and grab at the water coming out of the hose. I fed him treats through the stream of water and was able to get him going at it a bit.

We got very very wet! I managed to sprinkle all the dogs, even BJ who doesn't care for water, off and on while we played. Marcus got into his bubbling for treats in the kiddie pool that he loves so much. BJ, of course, started his obsessive offering of backing up. We actually had a really good time - lot of playing, lot of wet, got cooled off, dogs were really into doing silly things to get clicked.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


With some measure of rest under my belt, I got up early and started getting things unloaded from yesterday and getting them set up for this afternoon's events. At 4:30 some of the PVClicker group were coming for a pot luck and dog play followed by assisting in a reactive dogs class graduation. I had to get the canopy set up, tables and chairs unloaded, ring flags and posts ready to set up for graduation, pool emptied and refilled, water buckets cleaned and filled, dog toys picked up and general yard prep.

While doing all of that I had all three dogs outside in the backyard keeping me company though we didn't do much in the way of training - few recalls, few times of walking together for a short distance. It was way too hot for much and I wanted to get everything set up before it was too hot to move.

We came inside, did a little housework. Joey had to stay in his big wire crate since the Puppy Palace had not been set up again having been used at the Dog Fest and still in the truck.

Guests from the PVClicker group were: Karen and Ruby (GSD), Sally and Smokey (Sheltie), Karlie and Gracie (Std Poodle), Tami and Nessa (Schnocker). It was too hot for the dogs to do much playing. Sally did some nice heeling work with some of the dogs even Joey! That was very cute.

We finished up the reactive dogs graduation and then I helped Karen with a couple of her Cyber Agility training exercises. After these past two days, I was totally totally exhausted. I didn't make much in the way of notes, just crashed!

I have high hopes of catching up on rest and getting back to regular training tomorrow!

Saturday, August 07, 2004



Writing this blog in catchup mode aided by hindsight. Not the best way to record things; the objectivity suffers. The next two weeks turned out to be very very intense for all of us. The horrible high temperatures combined with major things I had going on made it very difficult to find time to do much structured training with Joey. Add to that his teething and we slacked off a bit. Nevertheless much training went on as it always does, woven in and around all the other things we had going on.

TUESDAY, August 3, 2004
Today was a tough one. I had my usual shift from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. followed by a staff meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Because that was longer than Joey has ever been left without a potty break, I arranged to leave work an hour early, jet home, let the dogs out to pee, then jet back to work in time for the staff meeting. A whirlwind trip, about 30 min. commute each way.

I note in my log that Joey has a couple of new empty sockets - bottom incisors. Oh good! That just means more "big boy" teeth are coming in soon! Love those Big Boy teeth!

We did get outside for some play in the sideyard while I picked up apples.

We all slept in! Very very tired. Fortunately I got up in time to round up Joey and treats and off to his scheduled vet visit - the 16-week visit that should have taken place last week. We had time to do a little training before the vet.

Target Stick: 15X, fast snappy responses.

At the vet: Joey is 24.5 lbs, 17 weeks old, heart rate 150, in good weight, has lovely ears and eyes, has two testicles (though one is not quite as easy to palpate as the other), has beautiful teeth coming in including the adult pre-molars, no retained baby teeth and is a bundle of joy (though very wiggly) as a vet patient. Fecal was negative. He had his parvo shot and the vet respected my wish to put off rabies shot until 6 months of age though he is really pushing for me to put him on Heartguard which I won't do. Bless his heart, though, he checked every source, including human sources, for the daily heartworm meds and came up empty. *sigh*Current height and weight drop him to the growth curve below the prior one with a projected 45 lbs as adult weight. Joey also was noted by all staff as being tremendously cute and cuddly. I think they should have noted that on the chart too but they didn't.

Throughout the morning I worked several sessions of the target stick while passing from the living room through the kitchen. A friend stopped by and met Joey. She left her terriers crated i my yard in the shade while she ran errands in Albany. I like this because she picks up big bags of meatballs for me at Costco. $6/bag and there's a LOT of training treats in there.

After getting the terriers settled, I came back inside to find the blob of black and white on the kitchen table. Just standing there, probably trying to figure out "now what?" Joey had climbed over the Xpen right onto the table. Aaarrrgghhhh!!! This boy is definitely a climber.

Diane camed back and we had a lovely off-leash session with her Cairn and Border Terrier. I believe this is Joey's first run with terriers and he truly enjoyed them!! Joey was actually chased too rather than doing all the chasing.

Joey's plush-covered shake bottle toy arrived and wow!!! Is that ever an exciting toy! It's a plastic bottle with stuff in it to rattle, covered in plush with long wiggle arms. This drives Joey wild!! I'm going to use this as the toy reward for his weave pole imprinting sessions with the target stick (to be starting soon!)

I also discovered today that the stretchy agility leash I made by braiding strips of polar fleece works really nicely with Joey as a shock absorption leash plus a nice soft easy tug toy for the teething times. I'm letting him take the lead on teething - if he wants to grab and play fine, if he can barely hold it, then we don't play. Table all of that for post-teething!

THURSDAY, August 5
Target Stick: working in the sideyard with the extended stick. A rash of biting at the stick has shown up. Two things, new environment so that's more exciting and the stick is further from me so he has to move to it which ups the energy a bit. I shortened the stick again, got back to just touching, put a cue to it and that seemed to help a lot with the biting.

We did a few reps of Sit-Wait, present stick, "touch" in which he had to get out of the sit to touch it and those were quite successful.

Janet came for a lesson and I took advantage of her visit to enlist some aid with Joey's extreme desire to greet all humans. I set up Janet to move towards us when Joey was focused on me, but retreat away if he turned towards her straining at the leash to get to her. The first time took a bit of doing. I could really see him making good choices - he would turn, look at her, start to go out to the end of his leash, change his mind, come back to me and give me attention. I treated those heavily while Janet advanced. The second time went much quicker and the third time, she was able to just walk right to us with no need for any retreating.

I had to show off a bit to Janet of Joey heeling with click/tug. He's doing so well with that.

FRIDAY, August 6
Tomorrow I have a Teacup agility demo at a Dog Fest in Salem. This means loading all the agility equipment, breaking down my shade canopy, gathering chairs, ring flags, posts and so on not to mention everything needed for Joey and BJ. And on top of that, marketing materials! Flyers, business cards, the whole enchilada. Plus work from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Joey's day was mostly in and out to potty with a little tug on the stretchy leash. A very busy day. Joey and I then went to work for our swing shift and, as always, he was just a wonderfully calm and relaxed puppy at work. He ate, played with his squeaky latex ball while tethered in the hallway outside the office door. During some of his play he knocked over a long aluminum pole that was propped up in a corner. This made a huge clatter on the tile floor. I made a huge celebration out of this. I told Joey how brilliant he was, how we have been trying to get that pole to the floor and just couldn't do it, how smart he was to get that to the floor for us, all the while pouring on the treats.

It was actually a busy shift so I didn't get to do much more with Joey. Good thing the pole fell during a lull in the action!

SATURDAY, August 7
One grueling, very hot, very intense, fatiguing, muscle-aching kind of day. We were out in center field of a baseball field, no shade other than my shade canopy, mid-90s for temperature. Just brutal. The saving grace was all the nice people who showed up to demonstrate agility or clicker training or help people learn to play with their dogs - Molly, Megan, Joe, Bryn, Sally, Marian.

I have taken a stand that I don't do "confidence" courses on my watch. Instead I offer to teach people how to play and run and steer while running with their dogs. I offer a simulated course of swimming noodles for jumps and a row of cones in a curve as the tunnel plus a hula hoop as a target spot to do a sit or down. I had great interactive toys there ready to give people a little demo of how to play with their dogs.

What was interesting was how many people wanted to put their dogs over the agility equipment yet declined to do anything as far as playing with their dogs. Sad really, but eye opening.

Joey and Tag, 7-month-old Airedale puppy, tried to play off leash a bit but it was just too hot to do much. Both Joey and Tag were good as gold, Joey in his Xpen being calm and relaxed. Tag in his new big boy soft crate learning how many treats come to one in a crate. Joey and Tag each ran the simulated agility course and did very well at staying with their respective mums and steering! Joey demonstrated tugging and click/tug for walking.

In the evening we were all very very very tired. Joey had his first exposure to my state of being that says: I'm dead on the couch, don't anyone dare do anything I need dealing with. As always, he was right on board with that program!

I have some photos of Dog Fest which I will add later.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Sunday, August 1, 2004
This was a very very hot day. We stayed inside for most of the day. I got a lot of paperwork done including getting Joey's registration sent off: Brandmar N Chelsic Still The One. Today's notes are rather scanty as I spent a lot of time getting his blog updated which meant rewinding the tape back a few days.

After tonight's reactive dog class, Kevin stayed for a minute and we worked on Sit for Greeting. This went a little fast for me. I didn't really get to see Joey making good decisions. I had Kevin back up/come forward based on feet-0ff-ground/feet-on-ground. I did instruct Kevin to dive right in and greet Joey quickly before he jumped up again and I think we overdid the quickly part. Next time I do this it will be based on attention-to-me/straining-at-leash towards other person. I think that will be a better criterion.

We did a lot of water play using the sprinkler and the hose. Getting wet really gets Joey into a FRAP. I squirted him with the hose each time he ran his big circle by me. We all got pretty wet, even BJ. This was followed by a late night brushing session.

Monday, August 2, 2004
In the morning before heading off for work, we were able to get some good training in.

RESPONSIBLE HEELING STEP 4: 25x - three steps backwards with eye contact. Joey is really catching on to this! Finally! He's even moving ahead into me if I don't step backwards quickly enough. We worked on this in the sideyard. He wanted to look away between reps but he did get to a point where no longer looked away. GREAT!!! We're calling this step done.

OFFERED SITS: He was too distracted so we came back inside.

After work, about 5:30
RESPONSIBLE HEELING STEP 4: Did lots of reps of this in the sideyard and Joey is doing great at this.

OFFERED SITS: I used a counting system to differentially reinforce the faster sits. I counted beats and rewarded those that happened in 5 or less, measured from time of last treat to actual sit. All other sits were ignored. I could tell Joey was starting to get faster at it but still, it was slow over all. He gets frustrated when his rate of reinforcement drops.

ASSOCIATION WITH RV: Since the trip on the seatbelt harness, Joey has been very wary of going near the RV. I had a hard time setting this up and finally hit upon me being in the passenger area on the platform while Joey was headed in the driver's side door. I was able to shape him to jump up into the cab twice.

OFFERED SITS STEP 3: In the kitchen, he did 15 sits in 68 sec; then 15 sits in 62 sec. While the time isn't a huge improvement, subjectively I could tell the responses were much quicker. I'm calling Step 3 done.

DOWN ON CUE: Oh boy! Was this ever terrible! A lot of frustration - nipping at my knee, barking, sits instead of down. We're going to let go of down for now in favor of sit.

TARGET STICK: We did a few target stick touches so as to end on a good note. Followed by outside to play!

Joey went across the driveway on a loose leash. I had help - Marcus walked along with us. We then all waited at the gate for what seemed like forever until Joey sat and I opened the gate. Joey then sat to have his leash taken off and was released to go play with Marcus.

Marcus and Joey each happened to grab a toy while running, then they ended up running while holding the same toy. BJ rushed out there and grabbed the moose who has long stringy legs. He just shook it and killed it and had a gay old time. He was soooo out of character frisky. Joey and I did some fleece tugging and some play with the magic wand - running and trotting in circles. I worked on sharing a tug toy with him so that we were moving together. I then moved faster getting him into a nice trot - exercise plus staying with me at the same time!

I released Joey to go play and BJ had to do a take down. Poor BJ! He's barely able to get him down now; it takes him about four tries but he keeps plugging away at it. This time he got Joey down but Joey popped right back up and took off running. Ooooh boy! Did BJ ever go after him! BJ ran and ran right at his shoulder with his eyeballs just glued on Joey. I don't think this was a play run either. Marcus got into running with them and soon it turned into a big fun chase game, all three dogs running and having fun, Joey going in and out of the kiddie pool.

Later I was in the kitchen making up Kongs for the next day. With Joey off leash in the kitchen. This is an experiment to see if he's ready to be off leash in a limited space in the house. He picked up a tennis ball so I took it from him and rolled it into the cabinet. It bounced, Joey grabbed it and brought it right back to me! Wow!! Even more astounding was that he repeated it about 6 times more. Fetch! Joey plays fetch!

Short-lived thrill. He then squatted to pee. *sigh* He had been outside to pee just 20 minutes prior to that. I just can't seem to get the "people half" of the kitchen to have the same sacredness as the Puppy Palace half of the kitchen. He has always been wonderful about not peeing in the Puppy Palace, just never has. I want to broaden his boundaries to include the whole kitchen but it would seem he's not quite ready for that yet.

Saturday, July 31, 2004


I find myself again in the position of catching up this blog for many days at a time.

This morning was the second puppy agility foundation class. The pups continue to work on reinforcement strategies, playing with toys, running with the handlers. We worked on the two-toy game a bit. We also had one station of branches spread out for the puppies to walk through for learning to place their feet carefully. Joey was the demo dog for this. I knew he would galumph right on through snapping branches every which way. Within 3 or 4 passes, he was stepping daintily in the spaces. This was all done with just cookies for playing along, nothing specific to click for, just letting the puppies find their own way. We also worked on a bit of shaping and getting in and out of the kiddie pool. It was dreadfully hot and the dogs didn't have a huge amount of energy. We had alittle dog play complete with calling them out of play. We also did work on using greeting of another dog as a reinforcement and with permission of the other handler.

I was exhausted from yesterday's mad dash to the agility trial and home again for swing shift so we spent the afternoon in a nice nap. After nap time, I set up the laptop on the kitchen table and had Joey loose in the kitchen while I worked on balancing the checkbook and paying bills. I need to find more work that can be done in the kitchen on the laptop so that Joey can broaden his allowed area.

Well, Joey peed in the kitchen! I wasn't watching him as I really didn't think I needed to. He had just been outside less than an hour previously. He is so fastidious about not peeing in the Puppy Palace (X-penned off area of the kitchen) that I assumed that would carry over to hanging out in the kitchen. Well, it doesn't! So I will have to work on this.

After sunset we went out to the backyard. The young dogs played a bit with my calling either Joey or Marcus out of play, then releasing them back to play. I played a bit of longe whip with Joey. Then I let him hold the toy and pulled him a bit to get him moving. I was able to get him trotting around in a circle with gentle pull on the toy in his mouth. We did a couple of trotting circles in both directions but oh! is he ever a come-by dog!

We did some walking through the sticks area and played 2 Havanese fetch with the small tennis balls on straps. Somewhere in the shadows, Joey offended BJ mightily and BJ gave him one heck of a whopping correction. BJ just read him the riot act and Joey went ki-yi-yipping off across the yard with BJ in hot pursuit. BJ took him to the ground (which he can just barely do). They then dusted themselves off. By this time I arrived on the scene as Joey was limping away. His right front foot seemed to hurt a little. He did walk it off rather quickly.

This correction really upset all three dogs and they took a very long time sniffing and circling about in very separated areas. There are very few times that Marcus and Joey are outside together and not engaged in play so it was odd to see "nothing" going on, just quiet, calming communications, most of which we can only guess at.

By now it was dark and the yard was lit only by the farm light over the garage, about as much light as a full moon. I sat in my chair at the back of the yard in deep shadow just quietly watching and watching to see how the dogs would recover from such an upset.

They wandered and sniffed, sniffed and wandered. Marcus jumped up into the chair next to mine. Joey then lumbered up to Marcus, put his front feet on the chair and stuck his face very close into Marcus' face. BJ was not happy about that. He mounted Joey and took him to the ground but it was again quite a struggle for him to pull it off. I'm wondering if BJ has to do an over-the-top correction like that so as to maintain his ability to discipline Joey.

Joey then started FRAPping around the yard in big circles, running like mad. He came back by for a check on Marcus again and again BJ took him to the ground. Joey went off FRAPping some more, came back and behaved quite properly near Marcus.

By that time everyone was in good shape and Marcus started playing with Joey. They were all acting normally at this point so I called it quits. We all then walked across the driveway off leash and back into the house quite calmly.

I'm glad I waited so long and let them all have a chance to settle after such a disturbing correction. Joey shows no sign of being any worse for it and is still learning how to behave from BJ - which is all good. I'm still trusting BJ that he knows what he's doing even if I don't know exactly why.