Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Day of School

Tonight Seven had his first puppy class. He was SUCH a star! The emphasis of the class is on socialization and learning how to play appropriately. There were two older pups (about 4-5 months) who were a bit rough and had short fuses. One was a boxer/possible Dogo Argentino and the other was a Boston Terrier. Seven was the only pup who could play with these two...and play he DID! He LOVED them! He would dive underneath them and let them "have their way" with him. It was rather shameless. I blame his bossy sisters (their were 7 puppies in his litter...6 were girls) Seven has grown up being taken advantage of and now he thinks it's great fun. There were also a couple of teeny tiny pups who wanted nothing to do with the rough and tumble play sessions. Seven was politely told to FUCK OFF by one of them and he promptly did. Good boy Cooper! For teaching Seven about what teeth are used for.As if this wasn't enough fun for one night, as I was leaving I spotted a pretty little Pit Bull on her way into the building and just about fell over....PAISLEY!!!

Paisley is the "one that got away" for me. She was my last foster dog through Hug-a-bull and I was already planning on adding Seven to my life when I started fostering her. Knowing that I was going to be getting a brand spankin' new Vizsla puppy soon was the ONLY reason I didn't scoop this girl up and run. She was really the most perfect dog. She was the perfect mixture of rugged, tenacious and high energy with sweet, adorable and cuddly. I ADORE this dog and often think about her and what it would be like if I'd kept her. Paisley went to her new home just weeks before I went to pick up Seven and I haven't heard anything about her since. I could barely believe my eyes tonight. When Paisley left she looked like this...

Tonigh, the dog I saw looked like this...

Okay, maybe not quite...but she HAS grown! She was about 10 months when she left me and she was a bit skinny and gangly. Now, her muscles have developed and her head isn't peanut sized any more...she looks like a real, adult dog :-)

It was so good seeing her again, but it definetely brought back some of the feelings I'd been just starting to get over. I can tell I'm going to dream about this little jem tonight. I've already started thinking about trying another foster again in a little while :-) Pit Bull never can have just one!

I'm going to leave you with the sweet results of puppy class

A tired puppy is a GOOD puppy

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sibling love

Yesterday, Seven's sister "Kira" came over for a playdate.

Seven says: "Oh boy ma! She's coming, she's coming she's coming!"

Kira soon got over her innitial trepidation and caught on to why she was in this strange yard with the stupid brother she thought she'd got rid of...PLAY TIME! (Kira's in the black collar, Seven's in the blue)

Seven gets his ass kicked for this particular sneak attack...

Learning to share...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sizzling Summer Days

Today was WAY too hot to do much of anything. Most of the day my dogs lounged in their crates (I had to take any bedding out or they would overheat!) This is what that looked like...

Jazz thought it was HI-larious when he kicked Seven out of his crate..."HAHAHAHA! phew, I crack myself up!"

"No, seriously...why does the one-ball-wonder get a bigger crate than moi?"

I did get a quick training session in with Seven when a small patch of shade apppeared in the yard. We started a little body-awareness excersize of putting different sets of paws into a bowl. Typical of an 11 week old puppy, Seven is marginally aware that he has 2 front legs and that he needs to control them, but he is completely ignorant to the fact that he also has two BACK legs and that they can move independantly of his fronts. We started off easy with me just clicking him for putting his front feet into the bowl and once this is on cue I will start with the backs. I figure I'll call his front feet "paws" and his back "feet" which could come in handy later down the road.

Cooper is hitting a little roadblock with our latest project: blowing bubbles with his nose in a bowl of water. I've seen a number of people take on this challenge and post their results on youtube so I thought I'd give it a try. He is pretty solid on his nose touch on the base of the bowl with the additional criteria of duration (before this, any nose targetting I had him doing was hard, repeated touches) but when I add the water he is psyching himself out a bit. I have to add more water than I'd like because if I just add a bit he laps it up and then proceeds to perfectly touch the now dry bottom. He "stalls out" frequently if I raise his criteria and just can't seem to get past a light touch to the top of the water. I will continue to work on this and post his results...if we ever get any!

Cuteness overload

The first three weeks...

First day!

9 weeks, looking handsome

Hangin' with Uncle Westley

Cooper showing Seven the ropes

Seven's greatest trick so far: His ability to play by himself on his bed!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This is my blog documenting my life with my dogs. Yes, I'm a nerd. I'm okay with it. I am a wee bit obsessed with dogs and particularly my own. I am fascinated by the training of dogs and as a result my dogs have been experimented on for many years running the gamut of training techniques from dominace-based "dog whisperer" type theory to Pure Positive clicker training. I have concluded that the latter is the type that makes the most sense to me (and my dogs!) and I work very hard to be a fair and fun-loving partner in training to my dogs.

Here are the key players...

This is Cooper. He's an ass...but he's MY ass. Okay, that didn't come out right...*shrug*. Cooper is a possible Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix and you will NEVER hear me refer to him as a "cockapoo" (okay, I did just there, but, never again!) As a result of my brief forey into dominance based training, Cooper now thinks that occasionally people do strange and scary things and, being a dog prone to fight over flight reactions, he gets a bit snarly and snappy when he has something in his possession that he values. (How's that for a run-on sentence... deal with it) He's also not a big fan of other members of his species. He is capable of getting along with a lot of dogs but he is prone to overreacting when they do something he arbitrarily deems as innapropriate. The good news...whoever had this dog before me did a fantastic job of developing his bite inhibition! He rarely if ever leaves a mark on his targets, mostly he just screams and gurgles and growls while flailing until someone interrupts him. Also, Cooper is an accomplished food stealer. There cannot be a scrap of food anywhere near a remotely accessible location or Cooper will find it and inhale it in less than .5 seconds (but only when I'm out of the room...yet another result of my misguided training ideas) Despite his percieved inadequacies, I ADORE this dog and wouldn't change him for the world!

<----THIS is Jazz. Jazz is a rare "Squishfacedblackdog." He is my first dog. My family had a few dogs before him but he was the first that was mine, ALL MINE. I got him when I was twelve years old and every day I look down at the deformed, misshapen, snoring lump at my feet and ask myself, "why?" Then, he looks up at me with his red, irritated eyes and flags his magnificent, floofy tail and I say "Oh, right. Now, I remember!" He is not pretty to look at, he has never fully understood the point of training (unless it has to do with agility, then he's ALL over it!) and he's a bit of a conformational and medical mess. BUT, he has a heart the size of Mt. Everest and has put up with me all these years and come out a reasonably well-adjusted dog, an accomplishment I can't help but admire. When people (who are dog-nerdy like me) talk about their first dog, particularly their first agility dog, you get similar reactions; Their eyes soften, they get a plastered on, lop-sided grin and they speak with a mixture of pity and admiration in their voice. This is how I react when people ask me about Jazz. He's a dog who somehow managed to catch on to the idea of agility despite the fact that I had no idea what I was doing and did just about everything possible wrong. I apologize to him every chance I get and attempt to make it up to him by letting him just be a dog for the rest of his years and leave my training experiments to my younger, less tormented dogs.

Finally, last but not least...The New Kid.

This is "Seven" on the day I picked him up about 3 weeks ago. Seven's a Vizsla and probably the only dog I'll ever get from a breeder, so we're making the most of his pure bred, registered status. I will be competing with Seven in as many different sports and venues as possible, including conformation (if his 2nd testicle ever decides to make an appearance) He's 11 weeks old now and I'm still getting to know this little bugger. So far he is pretty much the most perfect puppy ever born. Seriously. There is no better. I will be using this blog mainly to document the growth of this little man and to help me see my own progress as a trainer. (I love how I'm still thinking someone might actually read this blog!)
Bye for now!!