IMG_4294

Loki & the dog park

So I’ve found something out lately. Loki is one of those dogs at the dog park that other dogs love to pick on. You know, they’re usually white fluffies? Well for me, it’s Loki. I don’t know what it is about him. He goes up to them and says hello nice and politely and then they start to chase him – not in a menacing way exactly, but not in a fun-loving way like how they chase Lu and she loves it. And when he’s giving off ‘scared’ signals and obviously not enjoying the game, they gang up on him more.

I don’t know if this is my fault – when he was a pup we’d take him to the park often but usually always with Lu and he was so fixated on her that I guess maybe he didn’t interact that much with the other dogs? Like, he probably did, but probably not as much as Lu did as a pup… and he met lots of agility dogs on lead and saying hello, but didn’t get off lead to run and play with them… So maybe I didn’t socialise him well enough with that particular scenario? I can see him, as he gets older, resorting to desperate measures (like retaliating) when he’s being pursued (and fair enough?!) but I don’t want him to have to be in that situation.

And maybe it’s not a big deal- either we just don’t go to the dog park (and it’s not like we go often, just sometimes it’s easier for him to go there and RUN than for us to go on an actual walk) unless Lu is there (because when she’s there he doesn’t even notice other dogs). And that’s not an issue, I really won’t be upset it we don’t go to the park much, I just feel a bit sad that he’s that dog that gets harassed. Poor sweet little guy.

 

In other news though his recalls off of those dogs were great tonight and he had fantastic focus for his ball and doing tricks even when they were all around. Last time we went was a disaster, he lost his little brain to wanting to work all of them all the time.

firsts

Yesterday, I went to close the weave channel but then I realised it would only be open about 1/2 a cm so i Might as well close it all the way so I did and she worked and worked and then did it! Twice! Except then she couldn’t do it any more and then today she couldn’t do it at all and I had to open the middle poles to more than they were before. Sigh.  So that was exciting, and then disappointing. Not sure what to do about that.

But then we went and did some dogwalk training and that was still not how it was but when we finished she took herself over to the A-frame (which she was too scared to get on last time I took her near it) and she got all 4 feet on, so I had some food and ‘treated and retreated’ up and down until she got over, so then we started running it faster and faster, and then I threw a toy after it and she wasn’t even scared! So now I have to do it again when she’s not tired from so many dogwalks.

 

Meantime, she has her first competition tomorrow- jumping only, and that could go a lot of ways. I haven’t done much jumping with her lately, really… A few bits and pieces to get on the dogwalk but no ‘jump training’ as such. Oh well. Who cares. It’s only 2 runs. I just hope she enjoys herself and we run fast together. I’d rather go off-course but have a fast and happy dog than a dog who goes around at an ok speed and passes. So that’s my mindset. She had a big day off today apart from trying to weave and we played and did food games, and she’s ready to go.

Today I took Loki to a main street and he walked over some metal grates and saw some busses and played with a toy while a train left the station, and practised stays on a busy street corner even though we never practise stays apart from on a log, and saw some kids on skateboards, and had more of a problem of him just incessantly staring at me while we walked along rather than ‘taking in the world’, than him being worried about anything. I honestly don’t know if he even noticed the train. Oh, maybe he did- his ears moved back to listen.

Also, looks like the photos of the house should be happening next week and then it’ll be up for sale, and hopefully sold, so we can just stop cleaning stuff up all the time and get back to doing dog things in a carefree manner because who needs responsibilities?

 

Ok, I’ll have videos of tomorrow… tomorrow…

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.

when there’s just too much cute for your eyeballs….

We had a puppy party today. About 15 people came and went throughout the afternoon, with Sarah bringing 3 9 week old soft-coat wheaten terriers, too…

And they played, and played, and played, and cuddled, and were passed around, and played, and ran, and played…

And then eventually Penny picked up Loki and he fell asleep, and the wheatens fell asleep too…

A PUPPY PANORAMA! Hopefully these people don't mind having their faces on the internets.

A PUPPY PANORAMA! Hopefully these people don’t mind having their faces on the internets.

 

And then this happened…

Overall, I’d say puppy party = resounding success!

(Oh and also we did 2 full height DW runs today and they were really nice, a little slow but it was hot and she was tired so it’s ok, AND I got a seesaw today. YAY!)

Border Collie Times III

BC times

 

 

Loki spent a whole day at school today, and he did fantastically. In the morning he greeted all the children and was swamped with pats and excited kids. Then he slept until recess when he came out very briefly for a toilet break, then back to bed. At about midday, I took him outside and did a little bit of shaping with some things I found around the place (little square cushion and a tree to circle), he did some business and then went back in his crate for more sleeps. At lunchtime, he came out and was again swarmed by children – and the whole time, he was wiggling, happy and excited about the attention. He just adores being loved by the kids. Back for more naps, a little walk around before coming out at 3.30 for the end of school rush, meeting lots of little siblings and some parents.

I love that I’m lucky enough at my school to be able to bring him in for this kind of socialisation. As I looked around during the afternoon rush, he had a toddler patting his tail, a kid ran off crying, a big kid was bouncing a basketball, there were prams and bikes and kids running, adults with glasses on, and holding babies. It was loud and chaotic and apart from a couple of little yawns, he was eager and happy and wanting more. It’s so amazing because I know some border collies can sometimes be a bit sensitive about that kind of environment, but hopefully he’ll grow up to be ‘bomb proof’.

Speaking of which, after school, I took him down to the oval of the local primary school, where a busy road runs alongside, but it’s all fenced off. He did some log-walking (totally fearless), walked over some grates (what grates?!), went through a kid-sized plastic tunnel (yay!), did recalls and playing with lots of traffic noise, shaped some circling around a goal-post, climbed on some more logs, did some chasing and playing, and a bit of retrieves (we’re getting pretty good retrieves in the hallway now, and about halfway out on the oval, with JPs for bringing it further). Overall, the little man has had a wonderful socialisation day. Oh! And, we’re doing very well with cats- all calm behaviour is rewarded and he tends to be calm and just curious most of the time – unless he’s in his play-pen in the kitchen and they run past. Then we get a lot of yelling.

Also, the other morning I took him down to a park where I know there are a LOT of kangaroos, and we worked on just walking around. Whenever attention was turned back to me, or at least away from the roos, he got clicked and treats. I figure if he gets plenty of practise doing this, then roos will = just keep walking, nothing to see here.

a compendium of random things

IMG_2507

We bought a kid’s toy lion from a store and I had to cut its plastic eyes out and sew the holes closed. Loki’s face makes me think of that lion because he also has no eyes. Why isn’t he ever panting? Doesn’t he get hot and puffed? There’s something wrong with this dog. 

Notes to self:

  1. Your puppy is very young. When you play with him for 20 minutes and then he gets less interested in playing with you, this isn’t because he hates playing with you, it’s because he’s a puppy. That he played for so long already is impressive. Stop playing when he’s still keen.
  2. You cannot spend all day playing with and training your puppy like Silvia, therefore, your puppy will not be at the same level/have the same focus as Silvia’s, will not be able to ignore Lu playing like Silvia’s, because she spends a lot more time with her dogs than you can. It’s ok, it will come.
  3. Crate your puppy more often. He is tired, he just doesn’t know it.

 

I have never met a puppy who is so ‘on’ all the time. We did a long forest walk today, heaps of running, tree roots, all sorts of stuff, after we’d done some people socialisation at a market… And yet, after an hour’s car ride? He’s good to go! Let’s run around! Let’s destroy stuff!

I remember when Lu was a baby and she had trouble settling down (though nothing like Loki, he quite literally won’t sleep until he’s crated), I watched this video and I thought: wow, I’m glad she’s not that bad.

Loki is basically this puppy.

 

I’d love to do more shaping and training with him for that mental stimulation but his meals are so little that I run out of food too quickly! Maybe for things like recalls in the yard, leaving the cat alone, making good decisions about not chewing rugs, etc, I need to use more toy rewards than food. Which is basically what I’m doing, just sometimes it’s easier to give him a biscuit and be done with it. Anyway, I’m feeling all a bit overwhelmed at the moment. He’s so full on – Penny told me that border collies were easy to live with, and that they didn’t bark and that they didn’t chase things! My border collie does all this! I think Penny lied to me. LIES. Meanwhile I’m getting lots of information about OCD and Hip Displaysia and other scary things and I don’t know how much or how little do to and to feed this or that, and no running, but running is good. I suppose it’s like when someone has a baby- everybody has opinions on what to do/not to do, and it’s often conflicting and confusing.
Still working on a retrieve. Think I might try the old hallway trick and reward with food for bringing it back (since he’ll have no other option). I’ve been getting things brought about halfway back outside but it’s pretty hit and miss so maybe I need something a bit easier first. He did LOTS of recalls today though and they were all fantastic, except that he’s very cute because he’s never sure which set of legs called him, so he goes to the closest legs and looks up: “Was it you?! No… how about you?! No… You!? YAY!!!”

 

Also, I’ve set up my dogwalk at an agility lady’s property around the corner. I’ve dropped it down to 700mm because she’s looking very uncertain on the top plank even when she just walks up there to do Get That Contact game, and I can’t expect her to get her confidence back if she’s always feeling frightened. So hopefully a bit of running on the lower heights will remind her that it’s all ok and we can get back to full height quickly. It’ll be very nice to be able to train more often – I think that’s part of the reason she’s lost her confidence, too – we just aren’t doing it enough.

Weaves are looking very nice – she’s really beginning to find her footwork and tonight I did some entries that I was sure were going to trick her, and she’s really beginning to understand how to get herself in and around the poles for the entrances, even when coming with a bit more speed. They’re closed to about 6cm right now, so I’ll stay here for 3-4 sessions, then close by 1cm at a time… At some point very soon I’ll need to take them to my new field because I’ll need more space to get her entering with ‘real speed’, and entering from tunnels etc. We just don’t have enough room in our yard and while there’s a few ways I can get her entering a bit quicker, it’s nothing like coming in from a tunnel or a couple of jumps. I promise I’ll try and get a video soon. I love her attitude at the moment with them, too. They must be starting to make sense to her brain as well because she’s much more keen.

IMG_2421

Lu also has no eyes. Which is weird, because usually you can rely on her for eyes. Penny, this is the lake we were thinking of camping near for that fun-run/trial the next day. It’s a beautiful little lake.

 

We’re having a puppy party next Sunday, with hopefully a few people coming around to visit and cuddle. Not that he has any issues with people or kids, he thinks they’re all wonderful and will be his best friend. Some children were out of reach today and he screamed that he wanted to go meet them. Looks like I might have some work to do there, too. Might do some good playing and stuff during the puppy party. Yes, people are fun…. Em is more fun! Look at her cool toys.

 

Of 126 photos taken at the lake, this is the closest I got to him having his mouth open. Not that it's important at all, but they look so much happier when they pant, don't they?

Of 126 photos taken at the lake, this is the closest I got to him having his mouth open. Not that it’s important at all, but they look so much happier when they pant, don’t they? Look at Mal, then look at Lu. Who looks happier!?

an update

So I’m trying to be all chill and cruisy with this pup and take an ‘everything’s going to be ok, don’t worry’ kind of attitude… but who am I kidding, right? I don’t operate like that!

Loki and I have been doing lots of playing- we play inside, in the yard, on our walk this morning, at a soccer field with kids playing soccer nearby and a busy road, outside a supermarket. These places are all pretty good. Once Lu is around and has a toy though, forget about it. Boy, he loves her. He loves keep-away with her, he loves trying to get the toy off her while she just stands rock still holding on to it, he just thinks she’s fantastic. I’ve really kept their play to a minimum today – I don’t want her to be the awesome one, that’s my role! I don’t want to go on a hike and for him to follow her bad example because he loves her so much. I can get him to play when she’s just standing there being boring, but I don’t feel like we’re ‘in sync’ yet in our play. I feel like, if anything, he’s getting distracted easier now than he was when we first got him, and is less keen than he was. Uhggghhh – what am I doing wrong? I’m trying different ways of playing- when he has the toy in his mouth, moving it slower, or faster, with more shakes or less shakes, pushing him, or being more gentle, keeping it still like Lu does, or running around with him. Nothing necessarily seems to ‘hit the mark’. He seems to like being pushed back, but I’m not sure where to go from there. And he probably is thinking that I’m a real weirdo who doesn’t know how to play properly (even though I’m trying to copy what Lu does, cos obviously she’s pretty fun) and so he’d rather play with someone who speaks his language. I’m trying not to get all stressy  and put pressure on and just have a good time because maybe we’re just trying to find our groove, but given my problems with getting Lu to play, it’s hard not to.

So maybe for the next few weeks I need to not let them have many opportunities to play, until he’s a bit more bonded with me instead?

Still no luck with any kind of puppy retrieve – either with tugging and then me running off, or me throwing the toy and running off. He’s actually started to grab the toy and almost initiate a keep-away game. Not sure what to do about this. Very tired. Thinking of having a day off tomorrow… being grumpy at kids all day for having snotty noses and telling me stupid stories isn’t that fun so I might take a day to recharge and not yell at them for no reason.

Meanwhile, Lu is having a wonderful agility break and I don’t feel concerned about it at all. We’ve been doing some weaves every now and then but I don’t think she’s done any jumps in over a week, I haven’t done any RC in about 3 weeks, and… I don’t actually mind… That driving urgency to get her trained and perfect just isn’t there. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Probably good for her – less pressure, less training, more ‘time off’… But I’m considering whether to enter her in her first trial in April – just jumping – but I’m not sure. The girl can sequence, can do all obstacles except the cloth/chute tunnel… why not? It’ll only be 2 runs for the day, could be a nice introduction… But that means I should probably do a bit of training, or tunnel games or something.

Loki has his first all-day vet socialisation visit tomorrow, and then on Thursday he’s spending half the day at school with me, and the other half with a friend Liz, who will be looking after Mal, and has a little terrier called Piper. Should be a good few days.