coat

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I’ve begun waking up to piles of fluffy, downy fur all over my face. Sometimes when I run my hand over Lu’s back, I can grab a clump of fur.
Anyone with an Aussie or other long-haired dog is probably thinking ‘yeah, so what?’, but up until now, Lu hasn’t shed, or at least hardly at all.
Recently her breeder said her litter sister was dropping her puppy coat, so I looked at Lu and her thick course fur along her back and thought: really? There’s more to come?!
Though, that being said, where Mal can swim (ha, cos that happens so often) and Shake and be pretty much dry, Lu swims, shakes, and will still be wet 4+ hours later.
So I probably shouldn’t be surprised but it looks like miss bean is in the process of growing herself a shiny new adult coat. Shame about the piles of fluffy grey hair I’m finding everywhere in the meantime!

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people-like

Poor Lumen. I took this photo specifically for this post. She was not keen about the glasses, nor the amount of cats hanging around (in fact, I'd like to introduce Darcy, the cat who is difficult to photograph) and sniffing for her treats but we got there!

Poor Lumen. I took this photo specifically for this post. She was not keen about the glasses, nor the amount of cats hanging around (in fact, I’d like to introduce Darcy, the cat who is difficult to photograph) and sniffing for her treats but we got there! I could have trained her to hold a tissue in her mouth at the same time as all this but that would have been asking a lot.

 

In my last post, where I whinged a lot about feeling like crap, I also said that Lumen is currently “really bad about being a dog”… and then I thought about it and I thought that maybe she’s really GOOD at being a dog because dogs are meant to destroy stuff, right?
And then I thought about it more and I thought no, I was right the first time- she’s really bad about being a dog right now because she’s trying really hard to be a person.

Think about it.

I have a cold. I’m using lots of tissues. What’s Lumen’s current #1 pesty thing to do? Steal tissues. Then shred them. But look, she’s seeing me use plenty of tissues so surely it must be good to use them, right?
She’s taken to carrying my shoes around cos like, people need shoes right? (And I’ll be clear, I NEVER let her play with shoes as a puppy, and ALWAYS swapped a shoe for a real toy whenever she thought about getting one… Except for that time that Penny let her shred her slipper. Should I blame Penny for this?!)

And also Nic’s glasses. Because they’re Nic’s. She’s SO delicate with them when she picks them up by the little bit that goes over the ear. Holds them carefully in her little front teeth. Looks oh-so-clever and proud with her efforts… I suspect that if I didn’t quickly take them off her that she’d gnaw on them but those first few moments, hey… Cute+.

 

So maybe she is just really bad at being a dog… and trying really hard to be a person.

Or maybe she’s just naughty. 😉

second adolescence?

I think we’re in it.

 

Here’s what I’m seeing at the moment:

LOTS of destruction – if she manages to steal some cardboard, it’ll be in 1,000 tiny pieces in about 5 minutes. Ok, I’m not discouraging it, it’s cute and funny, but she’s never done it before. Right now, she’s laying down and GNAWING on a rubber ball. She’s never done this. Seriously. She was not a big chewer. 

Being distracted when out on the field. Sniffing is very awesome right now.  Also, ignoring commands (??). I’m putting question marks there because sometimes when we’re out walking she disappears into the bush and I call her, then call her some more, and eventually she comes and I caught a glimpse of her yesterday running FULL SPEED toward me from a LONG WAY away. So I don’t know if she’s ignoring all the time (I know she is sometimes), or if she’s just managed to get herself really far away, so coming takes a really long time – even at a flat out sprint.

There’s also a fair bit of energy to burn at the moment but maybe not more than normal?

And certainly naughtiness. I love her naughtiness, but she’s capitalising on how cute i think it is. Like how she is consistently stealing one of my shoes. Consistently. Or how she takes almost every single toy out of the basket at school, and has a wonderful time with them, but if I give her a toy it’s not nearly as exciting as covert toys.

Might do some googling to see if a 2nd adolescence is a ‘thing’. That being said, I didn’t REALLY have a 1st one, except for having heaps of energy. So maybe this is it?

teenagehood is not that bad

My crazed and adolescent puppy...

My crazed and adolescent puppy…

I remember as Lumen approached 6 months old becoming terrified of the next stage in her development: adolescence.

I remember madly googling what to expect, and reading, with horror that she would: forget everything she knows, ignore me completely all the time, begin chewing again, have insatiable energy, and forget her toilet training, all while going through a fear period.

Awesome.

But…. it wasn’t as bad as all that.

Keep in mind that Lu is pretty well trained, and I train her every day in some way or another, so I suppose your average go-to-obedience-club-once-a-weekend type dog could go through all those things and more… but here’s what we’ve experienced. I actually began writing this post when she was 9 months old, but then she seemed to go through another phase of insane energy, so I figured I’d hold off.

Fear period:

This definitely happened. Men were scary, bikes were scary, strange-shaped things at the park were scary. We occasionally still have scary moments, like after a heavy rain and the creek had foam swirling around in it- the foam was super scary, and my uncle playing the guitar was very scary… but most things? Not so scary now. Or, if she does bark at it from afar I can tell her to “go check it out” and she will.

This period came and went over about two or three months.

Insatiable energy:

This was a tricky one, though Lumen never got destructive – I suspect she would have if we didn’t go for walks and do training every day, though. However, her energy manifested itself in two annoying ways. Firstly, she’d sleep all day even if we were home and she could have been romping around playing with Mal. Secondly, the evenings were bad times. Mostly, it was just her harassing the cats. And look, Mia asks for it- she’ll walk up to Lumen, grapple onto her leg, roll over and chew on her, and then meow pathetically if Lu pokes her with her nose or accidentally stands on her. But it was also restlessness, particularly when we got into bed- she’d be pacing, annoying the cats, pacing, lying down, getting up, panting, annoying the cats, pacing… as soon as the lights went off, great! She’d settle down, but up to that point? No.

For a while there it did feel like nothing I did would wear her out, but I suspect part of the problem was like if you stay up playing video games for hours- you get tired but you’re so amped up that you can’t possibly sleep, so you do more of something, which amps you up more. This period was on and off for about 4 months.

Forgetting commands/ignoring me:

So I wrote the post above, thinking it was an adolescence thing when I try and get Lu in the car because it’s time to go home- she stands way back and looks at me as if to say: um, you think I’m going home? No way. It’s a little bit less of a ‘fight’ than it was for a while there, but it certainly hasn’t gone away. I don’t see it so much as a problem now and don’t make a big deal of it but it’s certainly one of her quirks.

So in regards to forgetting commands or ignoring me, I haven’t noticed this much. Probably because I pushed through with training and trained every day. The only thing I’ve noticed is that her recalls can be a bit less snappy now, if I’m calling her off playing with other dogs for example, but forgetting commands or ignoring them was never an issue for us during adolescence.

Other websites suggest your adolescent dog may regress in toilet training (nope), mouthing/chewing (nope) and general naughtiness (nope).

I suppose, one of the most important thing is ongoing exercise and training. So, if you have an adolescent dog and you’ve stumbled across my site, walk your dog- for as long as you have time to, take it to a dog park sometimes if that’s its thing, take it swimming, let it sniff the world. Train it. Learn how to clicker-train and teach it some tricks. A dog that loves learning and loves the training ‘game’ is a dog who won’t have any desire to ‘forget’ commands, I don’t think. Why would they? Training is fun!

adolescence & the pup: fear period pt 2.

I wrote back in April about how Lumen is naturally cautious of most things, especially people. Despite all the socialisation I had done up to that point, I still saw so much of her mother in her when approached by strangers. That frantic boddy-wag as she desperately wanted to say hello and be friendly, all while keeping at an unpattable distance, just incase.

I saw fear manifest itself in lots of ways, but most worryingly was toward people. People at the park weren’t as bad, but people who came to our house were pretty worrying and took a lot of skirting around before she’d approach for a concerned lick on the hand.

 

Well, she’s 10 months old now, and on Friday we had an electrician came in to fix a switch… Of course both dogs went mental barking at him at the door, but when he came in the house….

Lumen was all over him. Right up close, wagging like crazy, licking him everywhere.

YES!

 

Similarly, at the park the other day, every person who walked by needed to be investigated incase they were a potential humanfriend. Most of them weren’t, but she seemed ok with that – she didn’t mug them or jump all over them, just moved on to the next exciting thing.

 

I still see anxiousness in her if I take her near a road with heavy traffic, and I suspect I always will. That being said, we took her to a pet expo a few months ago and had to walk past some trams and she didn’t flip out, she didn’t try and bolt. She was stressed, but not over threshold. Good girl. Aeroplanes are still scary sky-monsters but they pass so infrequently here that it’ll only be a problem when we need to compete near the airport!

 

But the amazing thing for me is that (for the moment at least) she is defying those genetics that were so strong a few months ago. Chil, her mum, is so cautious at first, she’ll skirt around you or move away… once she warms up, she’ll lean her head on your leg, but it takes a while. Lumen’s not showing any fo that behaviour now. Yay!

I think her fear period is over (for now, at least!).

adolescence & the pup: boundless energy.

Don't let that face fool you... she's secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

Don’t let that face fool you… she’s secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

I’m hyper-aware to how Lumen is changing as she grows, and recently, more than ever before, I’m starting to see the changes as she transitions from baby puppy, to teenager. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a phase, and, hopefully, she’ll grow out of it in time. And, that one day she’s the gorgeous dog I love, and others, she’s a complete menace. I found it really hard to find information through google on what to expect- there was a lot of vague: “your dog will have more energy,” or, “your dog will begin to ignore you”, but not much on how to work through these issues, or how they would manifest exactly. So, I thought I’d keep track of what was happening with Lumen as she reached this… ‘interesting’… phase in her life.

Today’s post is on our newest issue, which is the intense, and boundless energy that she seems to have.

I’ll put it this way. We get up at 6am every morning and go to the park as soon as it starts to get light. We do an intense session of running, sprinting, cik/caps, tunnels, weaves (chasing the ball), etc. Depending on how long that takes, we then go for a 20-30 minute walk, with a bit of a swim and some more ball-chasing thrown in for good measure. Usually I get home by 7.30, shower, get dressed, check my emails, and we both leave to school by 8.

At school, she greets all the kids as they come in- mentally tiring, and then has a nap when class starts. She comes out for yard-duty (more mental stimulation), then has a nap, yard duty again for lunch-time – sometimes for the whole hour, then has a nap until about 4.30 when we head home.

Lately we’ve been going direct from home to the park where we do MORE intense running, tunnels, ball chasing, etc, and, again, more walking to cool down. We’re usually there for about an hour.

We come home. Lumen and Mallei wrestle for an hour. She might relax for a little while here,  but by about 8pm she’s up again, restless and needing some way to let out her energy (because clearly she hasn’t done enough during the day!!!)… so we go and take her for a walk or a run for another half hour. By this point, she’s ready to settle.

It’s interesting because her problem is not during the day- she’s quite happily fast asleep on the couch next to me right now, it’s in the late afternoon and into the evening, when she’s ready to go, all cylinders firing.

The issue I’ve been having is that I don’t even have enough treats to try and do some strength and balance tricks to wear her out physically and mentally that way, because I use them all in the morning, at school, and in the afternoon training at the park! Mal has recently hurt his shoulder, too, which means I can’t even rely on him to wear her out like I usually can!

I don’t necessarily have a solution for this one, except to keep taking her to new and interesting places with lots of smells and being able to explore ‘off-trail’, I think beginning to track with her will challenge her mentally in a new way, I need to keep trying to find time to do clicker training, not only because she loves it, but because she comes out of a session puffing and tired, I need to keep taking her to new places with people and noises, but at the same time I’m conscious she’s also going through some fear-stuff at the moment that I don’t necessarily want to make worse so I need to be mindful of that, too. And I think I’ll do more hill running. That’ll wear her out and build amazing fitness!

 

edit a week after I wrote this, from 8pm last night:

As another example: Got up at 6.15 this morning, took them straight to the park. Did some sends to wraps, some figure-8 cik/caps between two jumps. Took them free running through the bush for 20 mins (and Lumen has started to RUN in the bush… like, she just runs off on me. Seeya! And she’s gone. Don’t know whether to be happy or concerned. Equal parts of both at the moment). Lu stayed home with Mallei today so they probably played and chased birds and dug holes all day.

Came home at 4.30. Went straight to the park. More cik/cap around trees this time. Went for a 4km run (I don’t run fast so she was just jogging). Went to the off-leash bit. Played fetch in the creek – Lu got some swimming. Did MORE cik/cap around trees and she was SUPER switched on and quick (maybe I need to swim her before every session?? Ugh!), some dogs came down, Lu proceeded to wrestle, run and play fort he next 45 mins. Went home after we’d been there for an hour and a half. Came home, did some shaping and especially tricks focusing on strength and balance for about 30 mins. Lu very antsy, bitey, and generally razzed up even after the session. If it was still light out I would have gone back to the park cos she was in a perfect mood for some agility stuff.

Finish all this and she’s still on edge, chasing the cats and generally being a pest. I’m exhausted!! Why isn’t she?!

adolescence & the pup: ‘forgetting’ how to behave…

Don't let that face fool you... she's secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

Don’t let that face fool you… she’s secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

I’m hyper-aware to how Lumen is changing as she grows, and recently, more than ever before, I’m starting to see the changes as she transitions from baby puppy, to teenager. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a phase, and, hopefully, she’ll grow out of it in time. And, that one day she’s the gorgeous dog I love, and others, she’s a complete menace. I found it really hard to find information through google on what to expect- there was a lot of vague: “your dog will have more energy,” or, “your dog will begin to ignore you”, but not much on how to work through these issues, or how they would manifest exactly. So, I thought I’d keep track of what was happening with Lumen as she reached this… ‘interesting’… phase in her life.

I’ve been noticing more often lately that Lu is beginning to test me, to push the boundaries, and I’m not sure right now how to deal with her.

A great example is what she did the other morning.

We’d done agility training and played, then went for a walk, she swam in the creek, played with her ball, had a great old time, then, it was time to go home- we’d been out for an hour so it wasn’t like she’d had a fair run… I walk to the car, Mallei is my eternal shadow and hops straight in the back. I look back at the park and there’s Lumen, standing a good 10-20 meters away just watching. It’s like she’s looking to see: is it worth my while going over there, or not?

I got her food out, because I’m still rewarding her for hopping in the car, and I call her. She stares at me. Huh?

Right-o, then. I know better than to stand here calling and trying to bribe her, so I walk over. My expression and my posture suggest I’m very unimpressed. She starts to move toward me- a little slinky, but she’s coming- I cheer up! Good dog! You’re coming! I lead her to the car and she jumps in and gets her food.

She’s doing this a lot- this standing waaaaaay back and watching, seeing if it’s worth her while. So I’m going to do some research on this one.

I’ve also noticed she’s lingering longer and longer at smells, even when I literally walk off on her – I give her a whistle, when I walk off. She’s certainly got that ‘teenage deafness’ that I’ve read so much about.

Thankfully these are the only ways that teenagehood is rearing its ugly head so far – she’s not destroying things willy-nilly around the house or backyard (except plastic pots, I’m not sure where on earth she keeps finding them…!), running away (don’t think she can with our fences) or anything too awful, so I suppose we just need to keep practising recalls with good, yummy food available, and making her realise that coming to the car when it’s time to go is not an option (and you get food if you do it willingly).