Lately, everything at work has been crazy. Heavy workload, lots of hours. On top of that, I've been trying to find just the right words for my personal statement for law school. Everything is a little bit jumbled, a little bit crazy, a little bit all over the place.
Last night, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed. Then I thought - I had only taken my dogs on 3 walks last week... Friday night... Saturday and Sunday... when I wasn't working. And I thought - what am I doing if I'm not making time to walk the dogs?
Walking the dogs is always one of the highlights of my day. Buddy and Lucy playing, running back and forth, wrestling, jumping, splashing - like they don't have a care in the world. It always makes me smile. Lucy loves the mud like crazy, and we live right next to a big pond surrounded by swampy muddy marshes in the ditches surrounding the path.... such clowns.
I have to make time for stuff like this. I have to take time to be non-productive. I just have to.
So last night we went out and it was raining and dark at 6 P.M. And it was great. Nobody was out there. I swear people just hibernate and crawl under the covers at the slightest hint of rain.
This is one of the things I love about fall -- how other people just disappear until Spring and the world just feels like it is yours alone. So we went hiking on a popular trail by our house - and there wasn't a soul to be seen. No one could be bothered with a little drizzle.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
This month Lucy did so good! She learned:
Out of sight stays
Stays with distractions
Lots of practice on recall
Lots of socialization specific walks
She's getting bigger, faster, smarter,
braver... And possibly sweeter??
More independent... I can just see it. I knew it was coming. Wandering off here and there...
And her legs will get longer. And she's going to get bigger and stronger... This month I want to work on proofing recall!
I want to focus on finding out her weaknesses and working on recall response on as many distractions I can think of.
One of Lucy's biggest distractions is something that smells really amazing. She'll come but it'll be after she's done sniffing X. So we're going to do some walks with the long leash and if she doesn't respond right away ill do a slight tug on the leash:)
Especially as she makes the transition from tiny cute puppy who sticks right by your side to independent big dog that has a mind of her own ... I think it's a good time to really focus on recall... The most important thing she'll ever learn!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
So one of the dorky things I want to teach Lucy when she's big enough is to turn off the lights. I read somewhere that teaching touch and up up are good foundation behaviors for building up to turning off the lights. Here's what she's learned the past few days:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Out of sight stays.
This was one of our goals for October. And with lots of practice at meal times, Lucy is finally starting to get the hang of out-of-sight stays (no distractions yet). I’m really surprised at how she just became rock solid at this all of a sudden. Lol - a month ago she had zero concept with this. Lol if I even turned my back for a second she might break the stay. Now, I can leave the room for thirty-sixty seconds and she’ll maintain the stay. Not trying to torture her for anything longer than that.
This is important for a lot of reasons. I.E. having dogs be calm and in one place while I’m busy doing something and don’t want them getting in the way/tripping over them. There are just a lot of random situations where it’s good to have the dog stay for a short period of time. Plus, it’s a fun mental game for doggie.
We’ll just continue to do it in lots of situations. Not going to add distractions + out of sight stay for awhile because I just want her to keep up the good work on this one for awhile.
Monday, October 21, 2013
So last week Lucy got lots of socialization. She met over 100 people. Made sure that a lot of our walks were at busy parks.
The whole thing that made me want to focus on that more was when I realized there were certain things she wasn't used to because she has never loud kids playing basketball and big big men with lots of fishing gear.
So this week when there was kids playing basketball I just let her observe and watch and have her treats for a few minutes. The next time we passed all the commotion she stopped in her tracks and looked up at me waiting for her treat!
Basically Lucy is pretty darn fearless most of the time. But she's still a puppy.
Lol even silly goofball sixty pound tucker is afraid of the backless stairs at our apartment (had to carry him up). Seems like even the dogs with even the best dispositions get wary of new things once in awhile.
Lucy pretty much just needs time to observe X for a couple of minutes when she encounters it for the first time. And I just have to make sure to expose her to as many different scenarios as possible to continue building and reinforcing that natural confidence:p
Friday, October 18, 2013
They call him Buddy. Buddy was a placeholder name until they thought up what his real name was Buddy. And it stuck.
Also known as: Simba, Echo, Shadow, Sir Budrick and don't forget the infamous Buddmeister
Buddy is one of those dogs that enjoys sleeping under the covers. He is sensitive, thoughtful, sometimes aloof - sometimes as sweet as can be. He is one of the quirky ones. Not quite human not quite dog - Buddy's his own breed. He can be moody, finicky and picky. He will let you know when you aren't on his good side. But he's also ridiculously smart, agile, graceful and a truly sweet sensitive soul.
When I first met Josh, sometimes Buddy would be my best friend and the next day he would be aloof and want nothing to do with me. Buddy just isn't your average dog. It takes time and patience to understand this fella.
He heels perfectly, doesn't bark, doesn't jump on strangers, friendly to all people and dogs-- not a man bone in his body. He sits, stays, down - he knows lots of things and is seriously so smart he could learn anything if you just take the time to teach it to him.
Two months ago, we brought home a golden retriever puppy home to the mix. Recently we started playing games with both dogs to work on recall so they would both come when called better.
The other night I took buddy out to the park and he actually came when called when there was a big distraction and I didn't want him to go over.
He's actually starting to listen to me!!!
Since Lucy is getting bigger now - he's got a buddy to play with. And he's spending more time being a dog than sitting there thinking trying to solve world hunger. Seriously, buddy can be so serious when there's nothing to worry about!
A shift has taken place recently and I can't pinpoint the exact moment it happened. Buddy trusts me now and loves to play school and learn his ABCs. He loves to play silly dog learning games. You should see the way his face lights up sometimes!!
He's got a buddy of his own now and never has to be lonely. I'm really glad they are turning into friends instead of a jealous rivalry. Really glad we're avoiding that. And the bigger Lucy gets, the more they run and play and the more they get along.
Buddy still gets skittish and distracted when there's too much going on. Like at the dog park with a million dogs. Maybe he'll always be that way. And that's perfectly okay. Those are moments when I need to put the leash on him till we are out in the open with less distractions. Buddy is such an interesting dog, so different from others I've known.
But by taking the time to be patient and understand buddy from buddy's point of view, I help him to be happier and more well-adjusted overall. He continues to teach me so much:)
This post is just going to have lots and lots of pictures of Buddy we've taken over the last year or so. Buddy has made some recent really amazing progress so take a look at the next blog (coming soon!) titled "All About Buddy!!" to hear all about the adventures of Sir Budrick:)
Monday, October 14, 2013
Training goals October 14-October 21: Socialization and Morning Walks for a happier and more well-rounded puppy
So on our walk this morning – puppy was cautious towards a man in a hat. As soon as he was super friendly to puppy, puppy was super friendly and confident. Two minutes later there was a big big big man with fishing gear. Puppy was again cautious and then super friendly once man was friendly.
Point is though I haven’t gone out of my way to socialize puppy with people even though she meets people everyday.
This week training will be focusing on “socialization” stuff bla bla bla…
The “agenda” is we will be going to Fred Meyer’s on our evening walks and hanging out in front of Fred Meyer so she can meet lots of people.
My other goal is to get up at 6 A.M. the rest of this week Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to get puppy up for morning walk/run if she will get into it to see if it makes a difference in puppy’s afternoon craziness while I'm gone at work. The idea is to see if she'll be more content during the day. I always take her out for a good walk in the afternoons but I'm soooooo lazy about it in the morning.
I can do this! Why is it so hard to get up in the morning? And I really really love fall crisp mornings with all the fog – it’s kind of eery and a little bit spooky. If I can just get up in the morning!!
Plus with daylight savings time right around the corner – pretty soon the only time I can walk the dogs with any light at all will be in the mornings.
I really hope I can do this!