things I learnt today

  1. Loki is very good at recalls
  2. Things Loki can recall off: birds, rabbits, foxes, eating poo.
  3. Things Loki finds difficult to recall off of: the bush.

 

Took the dogs for a little walk this morning and found a new little free-running bit (helpful, since we’re moving in 2 weeks). It was very nice and grassy. Lu and Mal were both on lead with me (Mal has been taking Loki on naughty little adventures so he’s lost his off-lead privileges for a little while) and Loki was off. Generally he runs fairly far ahead but I can still see him and he stops to alert me/show me if there’s something interesting ahead. When we were heading back (via the main track) a fox ran across the track and Loki started trundling toward it (and by trundle, I mean he was running but it wasn’t a Lu-style hunting sprint, more of a “hey, what was that!?” kind of curiosity. I casually called him and he turned right away and came. Then, not 10 seconds later, a rabbit ran across the path up ahead and he saw it and his response was to TURN AROUND to come back to me!!! Woah.

And Lu handled all that pretty well, too…

But… when we got off the track and into the bush, he was gone.

Gone gone gone.

Off the hill and far away.

Which made Lu all angry cos obviously he was going to go hunt ALL THE THINGS without her and made Mal all squeaky because HE wanted to be running somewhere too and made me all angry because WTF, where did my puppy go?

So we did a couple of recalls – he was very far away but came quickly, but as soon as I said “OK!” he was off again. Down the hill, far away.

So I said ‘stuff you!’ turned the two big dogs around and marched up the hill back to the track. Eventually he came.

Looks like he and I will be taking some one-on-one adventures off trail into the bush, practising lots of FUN recalls (it’s hard to be really fun and engaging with Mal on my belt and Lu’s lead in my hand attached to her halti which I can’t pull around because she hates it), and me doing lots of hiding, turning around and going the other way, etc. I don’t mind a degree of independence but WOAH, he was completely off this morning.

photo-20

throwback thursday

Feels like ages since I’ve posted.

There’s not a heap going on. I trained Lu yesterday and tried a new way of handling a front cross but it made her do beautiful straight extension jumping. Mechanics might not have been right so I’ll try it again. Also starting with a really low height and doing some mat targeting, so coming at this ‘can’t collect and/or bend’ problem with a double barrel.

Other ‘life stuff’ is happening, I guess. Been writing a post there but not sure I’ll post it. 

Taking Lu to a rehab vet guy tomorrow just to see if there’s anything actually ‘wrong’ with her that I can ‘fix’ with rehab exercises. 

One month to go until I have my own agility field (and longer commutes). 

Here’s a throwback Thursday to when Lu was Loki’s age (more or less)… I don’t seem to have a heap of photos of her from this stage.

Look at her little flip-down ears and little short coat.

Look at her little flip-down ears and little short coat.

6 months!

 

P1190434

Then…

 

And now!

And now!

It’s the Little Mate’s half-birthday today. Happy half-birthday Lil’ Fella.

He’s such a stellar little dude. He makes me use phrases like that, like “stellar little dude” and “oh gosh he’s so awesome” because you can’t be crass when you’re talking about Loki and say: “Oh god he’s so fecking awesome”, you have to be sweet, like him, like a little granny.

But he’s not like a Granny! He’s the ultimate dog. He’s a dream. He loves to do things very very fast. As fast as he can. Recalls across the lounge? FULL SPEED AHEAD!

This is quite terrifying because you’re holding food in your hand and you know that his teeth are about to make contact with your fingers at full speed.

Very fast.

Very fast.

He loves to work. He lives to work. He is the kind of dog who if you asked him to come run a marathon on a 40 degree day he’d do it (at full speed). He’s the kind of dog who WILL work till he collapses. Not that I’ve let him do that, but I know he would. He picks things up that I wouldn’t have thought a little puppy would understand. I don’t train agility with him because he already ‘gets’ the puppy stuff so well that why would I keep practising? Independent sends to trees? check. Rear-crossing/threadling trees? check. Curved tunnels? Check. I haven’t bothered starting carpet running yet because I really feel no rush. Things are easy with Loki, so you don’t have to train often. Unlike Lu, who was slow and disinterested and therefore made me want to train all the time to try and make her like it (whoops), Loki just loves it, and gets it. So… we rarely train that ‘agility stuff’.

Things like: “don’t chase the cats” he’s understood since I first said: “Don’t chase the cats, dude” when he chased them one time. Sometimes if he’s feeling a bit frisky he wants to pounce them but there’s no maliciousness like I see in Lu.

He loves to work Lumen. There’s such a difference between Lu & Loki playing wrestly-bite-face at home, and Lu & Loki at the park where he gets all stalky and gives her border collie eye and tries to out-run her.

He loves putting things he’s learnt into practise. It makes me laugh. We’ve been working on “down” lately. I thought that if I can get a really stop drop on him then when he’s working Lumen I can make him drop and he’ll do it and then I can call him. But of course now he’s applied the concept that drop = reward, so he has to drop everywhere. Watching me make food? Drop! Need me to stay somewhere? Forget sit, I can drop! Not sure what I’m meant to be doing? Drop!

He can keep up with her now. He's a quick little devil.

He can keep up with her now. He’s a quick little devil.

And yet, despite this, which is what I anticipated a BC would be like: all crazed eyes and frenzied behaviours, there’s the sweetest, cutest side to this puppy that I never anticipated. He actually seems to enjoy receiving human attention (!!!), and when he hops up on the bed so he’s at a more convenient height for you to pat and fuss over him (so considerate), his little ears go back and he gets all licky and his little tail wags. You just want to scoop him up and gnaw on his little ears, especially the one that flips over just at the tippy-top.

He does anything you want even if he doesn’t enjoy it because he knows he should and also there’s food coming. Lately he’s had to have some gross medicine in a syringe in his mouth, and some other medicine in his eyes. I put a little handful of biscuits on the ground and he knows the game – don’t squirm, get biscuits. Lu knows this game too, but she’s nothing as good as Loki. But then food’s never meant as much for her as it does for him.

And he loves any toy. I think his most favourite toy is a plain rubber ball I used for shaping him to pick it up and bring it and put it in a bowl. He loves that ball so much. The hollee-roller is a close 2nd, and some tug ropes, and any other kind of ball is good, too. Figuring out how to jackpot this guy is going to be really interesting, particularly for RC where he’ll be chasing after a ball EVERY TIME, and life doesn’t get much better than that for a Lokimate.

Oh such a cute and nice little fellow.

Oh such a cute and nice little fellow.

It has been a very nice 4 months. He is a very easy puppy. His recalls are A++ unless he’s ‘working’ Lumen, so I’ve stopped calling him in that situation for now and think I need to do some work on a long-line then. He usually doesn’t have enough freedom to pee in the house though he’s had a couple of accidents over the last couple of weeks (I guess I’m home more so he’s out and about more), so we’re still getting there with that… He doesn’t chew things he’s not meant to, not really, and he’s happy enough to swap socks for other toys. He tries so hard to understand the games we’re playing, he so desperately wants to do his jobs right, but he doesn’t shut down if he doesn’t because I just laugh at him trying and give him a cuddle and we play a bit so he doesn’t feel too bad. He sleeps on the bed and doesn’t get off all night, he rarely barks at things unless he’s very excited about doing a wrap or going through a tunnel when he lets out a little “ROO ROO” noise, or like when I came home the other day and he woke up in his crate, stretched and yawned with a big loud “AWRROWWWW!” little howly noise. It was cute so I copied him. He still screams blue murder if I train Lumen outside without him, or if he’s in the crate and the door is closed and I’m making her run to her food bowl. If the door to the crate is open he doesn’t scream at all but has a hard time understanding that when I tell Lumen to “GO GET IT!” why he’s not also being told to go get it. Which is fair enough, I think.  He lets me sleep in which is very lovely and he still sucks on his lion toy to help him settle. He’s sleeping right up against me now with his feet twitching and I feel very full up with love.

Where did this little fluffy puppy go??

Where did this little fluffy puppy go??

Oh… And it’s Nic’s actual birthday today too. Happy actual birthday!!! Xx

round & round & round

Gosh Loki just cracks me up.
I’ve been teaching him cik/cap in a fairly nonchalant kind of way over the last few weeks. Not over-doing it, just shaping it every now and then… Then starting from a step back & sending him forward…
And now this.
His barking just makes me laugh so much. Sometimes he just got so frenzied that he tried to combine going around my legs, coming between my legs, spinning and going to wrap the pole in one move. I guess this is what they call ‘over arousal’?

In the meantime I have that ‘worried-but-don’t-know-why’ feeling again. Is it struggling with threadle arm with Lu? Her wide ciks? The fact that there’s not enough daylight to do decent walks with them? That the cat has a snotty bubbly nose so I have to take another animal to the vet?

dogwalk thoughts & a bit of an adventure

So, some more dogwalk today. I count this as session #2 of “get Lu’s dogwalk back to where it was” since our training has been fairly hit and miss so far with different dogwalks in different places, her worry about coming off the side, breaks here and there, etc etc. Basically, at the moment, she’s giving me probably 5-6 short strides all the way along- pretty consistent striding but nothing like the 4/3.5 stride DW she was doing before the surgery. On one hand this makes me sad and worried. Sad because her 4/3.5 stride DW was freaking amazing.  Worried because, well, it’s something to fix, right? On the other hand, she always hits. Pretty much every time. I think of our entire session today she had  NR once, but her toes were probably still in. So, I’m trying to not worry. I’m trying to be all: “It’s cool, she still hits, and with consistent training and a consistent setup she’ll be back to where she was before in no time, oh, and by the way, remember to do some hill sprints with her please.” but it’s hard, because I want it NOW. I want to be able to take her to club and say WALK ON! And for her to go BAM – 3.5 strides! And for it to be all party times. At the same time, what she’s giving me where we train is so much better than the weird upramp shit she gave me at club the other day, so that’s something to be pleased with.

 

So… that’s that.

Today we went up to Tallarook. It was meant to just be a short visit because we’re trying to get the house ready for photos to be taken for it to be up for sale, but we ended up leaving at 10 and not getting home till 4. Whoops. The puppy had a great time. I’ve seriously never seen such a young dog be so coordinated (I think I’ve said that before), and so fearless. It’s truly a terrifying combination. “LOKI, STOP RUNNING ALONG THAT VERY NARROW AND HIGH LOG!” “LOKI, JUST BECAUSE LU CAN HOP-SKIP-AND-JUMP THOSE TREE BRANCHES DOESN’T MEAN…oh, yes you can. Never mind”. And, “No, you can’t get onto that log it’s too hi— oh, well… good job, you did it.” Lu was actually really well behaved- possibly all the dirt bikes had scared all the roos away but she didn’t run off obnoxiously once! Hurrah! Loki ate lots of wombat poo and picked up lots of sticks as he got tired, Mal trundled along and ate poo, too (to which I said: “dude! How old are you!? Surely you know this by now! You don’t eat poo!” and Lu of course thought it was wonderful to be ‘in charge’ of her little friend. Gosh she adores him. I have to be really careful with them outside because they just want to run and run and run and run, but our backyard isn’t great for puppies to be running, so they’re only allowed outside separately from each other. But inside it’s wrestly times, especially over the cow-hoof. And here was Lu when he first arrived being so resource-guardy, and yet their favourite thing to play with inside is a highly coveted edible object. How’s that for a turn around?

Have some pictures.

Border Collie Times IV

BC times

 

Yesterday was a big socialisation outing for my little man. He is just such a cool dude. The one thing that amazes me most is his focus. We were on the main street of a town- plenty of cars going past, people, shops, thing happening. And I say: “Hey dude, I have a treat” and he’s like: “Shit, a treat! Want treat! How to get treat?!” And I can ask him to do anything at all and he does it. In fact, he’s almost more of a pain to get rid of once you have his focus! And then I’m like: “Hey dude, your lead is flapping around like an interesting thing!” And he’s like: “Shit! Interesting thing! Must play with interesting thing!” And then he tugs and holds on and has a wonderful time until I tell him it’s enough and he can let go now. For such a little guy who is so into he world and meeting people, his focus just floors me.

Yesterday we:

  • Experienced lots of traffic, including motorbikes
  • Met a crawling baby (he thought this was fantastic and just licked it all over the face endlessly)
  • Wanted to chase seagulls but learnt that food comes if you stop staring at them
  • Played and played
  • Had a swimming lesson on a boat launch ramp (also a fetching lesson!)
  • Met and saw lots of people, prams, a skateboard, kids, old people, men, all that good stuff.
  • Had to wait and wait outside a cafe, but surprisingly he was quite ok once he was on my lap – he settled there and just watched the world.
  • Met a few dogs.
  • Saw some boats

 

It’s funny, people love him- they think he’s gorgeous. To me he’s just the most plain of BCs – a black and white dude with a normal stripe and a pointy weird face, but people just think he’s the bomb. Maybe cos he’s so “classic” and oh so fluffy… Oh! And we have lift-off on the ears. They’re very nearly up!

 

Ears AHOY!

Ears AHOY!

 

Further to my 2nd last post about finding somewhere to train- I have, and I can come and go whenever, though it’s not that flat, there’s a section I think will work fine for the DW and the jumps and stuff might just be on a bit of a hill. But it’s only 4 months (wow, we need to get our house sold, and fast) until we move… 4 long months of restricting the dog’s outside time together because of the rocks and steps… 4 months of training in the dark… 4 months of being ‘in limbo’… I think it’s time to move my weaves there as well. I LOVE having them out back – I’ve got about 5 different spots I can start her from now, which gives me about 10 angles if I wrap her one way or the other, but every time I go to bring the widths in, they seem to be back to 7 or 8cm instead of the 5 I was sure I’d set it at. I think because our yard is sort of lumpy and slopy and I haven’t pegged the base down because our suburb is made of rocks, the base isn’t sitting flat, so as she goes through again and again, she’s wiggling them wider. So I’ll do a session tomorrow with them narrowed and see if they end up wider by the end. I’ll try pegging them after Good Friday too (I’ll get short pegs so hopefully run into less rocks) so that might stabilise them a bit, and maybe draw marks on them with whiteout or something. All that being said, there’s only going to be a few more sessions before I want to move them anyway so I can do even more entrances with more speed. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet.

ears-o-matic

Interesting developments in ears at the moment.

Loki’s breeder was concerned that his ears were going to be Aussie Shepherd ears and flop down, or at the least, wouldn’t stand up. I didn’t necessarily mind either way so I haven’t bothered gluing them or anything… Both parents were fully standing-upright ears so there was a fair chance he’d get there, too.

Anyway, recently he’s begun carrying his ears like a ‘real border collie’ – standing upright with the little tips folding down. Way too cute. But then of course we get all variations- one up, one down, crazy half-up-sideways manoeuvres… This morning they looked very nice so I decided to get photos but by the time I got to getting the photos they’d changed again. They’re still fairly cute, though.

The woman who is going to be house-sitting while we’re in Sydney next week came to visit yesterday. The cat (Darcy) who doesn’t like anybody and never comes out to visit was rubbing himself all over her, so that’s a pretty good sign, and Loki played with her 2 Aussies, and she said she was going to take him to the big markets in the city, and to her work at an Aged care home, and to her work with the Firefighting service. She’s socialised a litter of puppies before so I think he’ll be ok, and he’s been so remarkably brave about everything that I don’t think there’s much that will worry him. Lu will be going to Penny’s for a holiday with her friends, so that’ll also be very awesome, and Mal will just stay here being sad about being here.