Saturday, November 26, 2011

Puppy Playtime

The other day Andreu had a play date with his friend Kayla, the Coton de Tulear, and I snapped a few shots.  Their favorite game was chase through the tunnel!  

Shaping Project

I had previously practiced a little bit of free shaping with Andreu, but when he was younger we had little success.  He would easily get distracted and move on to something else.  So, at 5 months we tried again, and with a bit more of an attention span now, we managed to shape him into putting 4 feet in a box lid!  The intention is to create body awareness and eventually make the box smaller.  Free shaping a behavior also develops learning skills, and helps with overall communication.

Andreu's Agility Progress

Andreu is starting to speed up!  We are keeping it to the basics with him, being that he is only 5 months, to make sure that he is confident and happy.

Hayden's Agility Practice

Hayden is still overcoming issues with her fear of the see-saw, but overall she is doing great with her agility training!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

All of the dogs were together at my parents house tonight with family for Thanksgiving. They were very good and we got to snap a couple pictures after the holiday festivities :-)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Exhausted Andreu

Andreu and I went to work today for a short period and had a bit of a rough time! A delivery truck was just outside as we walked in and SLAMMED the door open which made such a loud noise that Andreu was terrified! He was then extra sensitive for most of the day, and so when we went to our conformation handling class for the first time tonight he was very nervous. We will have to work on being around loud noises do that they aren't so scary! Tonight Andreu is absolutely exhausted after the long day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Focusing on Socialization

Today I took Andreu and Hayden to their agility classes, and it went quite well! Andreu is having a blast learning the basics, and Hayden is starting to overcome her fear of the teeter totter. After that we went to visit my parents and the dogs had play time with Bernie, Joey, and Opal.
I am spending a good amount of time socializing Andreu at this age, meeting new dogs and people as often as possible. However, I stress that with socialization it's not necessarily about the AMOUNT of socialization, but the TYPE of socialization. What I mean is that it is extremely important that he has POSITIVE encounters with new dogs, people, and places, not just constant exposure. From my experience it seems that many people believe that as long as their dogs are experiencing new things, then they are providing good socialization, but I think that it is much more important to read a dogs body language and demeanor to understand how they are interpreting these experiences. I have met many dogs who have social issues later in life and their people have no idea why, as they provided many new experiences when the pup was young. However if the pup was not interpreting these events as positive, but maybe more so as overwhelming, then the puppy may conclude that new places, people, or dogs are scary or dangerous. It can often be difficult to tell how a puppy is experiencing these new things unless we are paying careful attention. Is the puppy's tail down, and ears back? Is he showing stress through signals like yawning, licking, or backing away from the "scary" thing? I never want to push a young puppy into something they are uncomfortable with, but instead encourage them to make the decision to go check it out! Of course it is always important to understand that certain dogs will naturally (or genetically) be predisposed to certain sensitivities. Some dogs seem to go into the world with so much confidence and exuberance that it is easy to socialize them, whereas others take more careful focus on our part to make sure that they interpret the event correctly. No matter what, it is important to realize that when you have a puppy you are laying the foundation for the dog you are going to have later on, so it's important to pay attention to all of the signals that your pup is giving you and hoping that you are picking up on! If your puppy shows that he is scared of something and you push him into it anyways, then you could be breaking the trust he has in you. This does not mean be a push over! But it does mean that we should be sensitive to our dog's signals, and work through any fears that might arise. This may be a vague description of my opinion on the matter, but it is what I think about as I continually work on developing Andreu into a wonderful, balanced, and confident adult dog.
This video shows Andreu running around with Opal (12 year old Border Collie), and Bernie (10 year old Papillon).  Notice that Andreu is vigorously wagging his tail as he runs.  He is doing the "bottom tucked under" move as he charges around, which is usually a sign of excitement and what I like to call the puppy "zoomies."  He is having fun!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lucky Dog Breakfast

After their regular breakfast I decided to cook up an egg for the dogs. Even with the extra good treat they still have to wait until given permission to eat!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Andreu and Hayden: Love

Andreu lounging

Score Keeper

Andreu watching our game of pool on Saturday night (he is making sure no one is cheating!)

A Walk to Remember

Andreu and I took our first official walk together yesterday!  He was a bit frightened of the cars driving by, but in general he did very well listening to me and exploring the new outside world!  We have been out before, of course, for socialization ventures, but never with him walking on the sidewalk on his own as we were waiting for his final vaccination.  Andreu and I take Puppy Agility classes, as well as some basic Puppy classes for socialization, and in January will be starting a conformation handling class.  But still, this was the first time he has walked on a leash outside near the street, and I was very proud of him!
The other night I sat in on a friend's conformation handling class and picked up a few pointers, so I have been working with Andreu on standing still for short periods of time.
Andreu is 18 weeks old now, and he weighs about 14 pounds now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Andreu's Agility Practice

Andreu and I decided to practice our Agility skills in the backyard.  He is 17 weeks in this video.

Andreu at 16 weeks

Andreu at 13 weeks

Andreu 9 weeks

Andreu's training progress at 8 weeks


Welcome to my Blog!  I have created this space as a journal for my dogs' training successes and adventures.
My name is Katherine, I am a dog trainer and have been working with dogs most of my life.  I always loved dogs, but I grew up in a condo so my parents didn't want to have any. If you look at pictures from when I was young I would always find dogs to hug and love on.  I continually asked my parents for a dog, but they wouldn't agree to it, so when I was 6 they got me a cat (and rapidly we accumulated 3), which I of course trained! I also was taking horse riding lessons and that same year we got a horse and I spent all of my spare time training and riding. I LOVED animal training and my father worked in the film industry so I occasionally had the opportunity to meet exotic animals or go to training facilities. When I was 11 we moved to a house and I finally thought "This is it! I can get a dog!" but my parents refused, saying that it was too much work. I immediately found a local rescue and began volunteering with them every Saturdays.  About a month in I found an adorable dog and convinced my parents that we had to take him. I got my hands on anything with information about dog training, and he was definitely a challenge! Joey was officially my first dog, and he is now 16 1/2 years old. I had already fallen in love with agility at this point, and was jumping horses as well, so I decided to take my dog to agility classes but it just wasn't his thing.  I then started fostering dogs for the rescue and training them while they stayed in my home, gaining A LOT of experience in potty training and basic household manners.  I love training all of the basics, but my favorite training ventures are tricks.  I feel that the more I teach my dogs the better our relationship is, and the more I develop our communication, as well as building my dogs' learning capacity.
I then adopted my Border Collie, Opal, from a local rescue a few years later with the hopes of her being my agility star, but at 8 months we realized that she had severe hip dysplasia and with the surgery that I could afford she would never be a competition agility dog, although she and I loved taking the classes together! We also have done some sheep herding together, and she LOVES working as my demonstration dog for training classes, although she spends most of her time now being a happy retired dog.  
In 2009 I became a co-owner of a friend's Miniature long hair Dachshund, Hunter, and he has been a wonderful training project!  He has become my primary demonstration dog for training classes and gets so excited when we are going to work!  Hunter and I take Rally Obedience classes and hopefully we will be ready to compete in not too long!
Later that year we adopted Hayden, a Miniature long hair Dapple Dachshund, from a local rescue.  She is smart as a whip, and has been a training challenge as she is fearful and sometimes reactive with new people or dogs (but she loves them once she gets to know them!).  Hayden and I do Agility and hopefully we will be ready to compete soon!
I had always planned on getting a puppy when I graduated college, and in 2009 I began researching the Pyrenean Shepherd.  I love active herding breeds, and wanted a companion who would be able to do Agility and sheep herding, along with anything else we could get our hands on!  This little herding breed wriggled its way into my heart and after over a year of talking with an amazing breeder, I had my little Andreu!