The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

31 July 2012

We are some tired puppies

I would've written yesterday, since it was a big day in the Life of Kaline: His very first day out with all the other dogs! But Dad, Juno and I ended up at the Giants game, which went extra innings ... so yeah, I needed sleep.

The first walk yesterday was with Teddy and Wilson, in Wilson's neighborhood. Poor Teddy had to be the buffer between the babies. Kaline is used to that walk, with multiple dogs, so that wasn't really much of a milestone. He was even kind of naughty. He and Wilson ratchet up each other's naughtiness. That's why I like Freddie's Saturday class as opposed to the usual puppy class (though, of course, if there was a Play & Learn happening now, we'd SO be there). Kaline isn't around a ton of other unruly puppies like himself, he's with a wide variety of dogs, most of whom are calm to one degree or another.

The second walk was the big deal—the five-pack going from The Willows neighborhood through downtown Palo Alto. Here, Kaline met Jett (Swissie), Max (McNab), and Xena (black Lab). I stuck the little man in the very middle of the pack. Juno and Max, my old hands, go on the outside, Xena and Jett on the inside.

Max fixed Kaline's backseat craziness in a quick second, by the way—this is why he's my No. 1 puppy wrangler. Kaline was romping about with Xena, which obviously is not very appropriate for the backseat of a car. I popped Max in there, he let out one or two really ugly sounding growls, and voila! Peace and quiet.

The walk went fairly well, for it being Kaline's first time. He had to be reminded about sitting when we stop (quite understandable), and forgot his manners a little at the flower shop, where all the dogs get treats (he jumped up to get the biscuit instead of staying in a sit). But he stayed in line with the other dogs, for the most part, and didn't lick Xena too excessively. Oh, who am I kidding, he was washing her ears every chance he got. She doesn't mind though, and well she shouldn't, considering she used to do it to everyone.

Juno did amazing at the Giants game. I almost made Dad leave early, and if you know us, you know that's freaking insane. We do not leave baseball games early, ever. But the game went so crazy long, and even though Juno wasn't really showing signs of her bladder exploding, I was worried about her because of her apparent early-onset incontinence. (The vet initially agreed it was a UTI, but then a culture showed no evidence of such, so the current conclusion is a bit of incontinence. Keeping a more rigid schedule of pee breaks seems to have this well in hand.)

However, being inside a ballpark with no in-out privileges kind of puts a crimp in the rigid schedule of pee breaks. It had been almost 7 hours since Juno's last chance to pee. And if Brandon Belt hadn't flied out to end the game when he did, we would have left before the end of the game. As soon as we got outside, we went to the handy gravel across the street and Juno immediately did No. 1 and No. 2. Good dog. 
Juno at the ballpark.
Her pulling on the harness was decent before the game (could've been better), but afterward was excellent. Fabulous even. I'm curious about why ... does she know that pre-game, basically we're practicing, and that post-game, I really need it? Or is she a doggie version of barn-sour, where she's just excited to go back to the car? The world may never know.

The barking when the dogs are together has gotten pretty ridiculous, so we've got a couple different things to try. First stage, removal of whichever dog instigates the barking (usually Juno). If that doesn't work, Binaka, sprayed in the mouth of the instigator. Last resort, e-collar for precisely timed corrections. So far this evening, Juno has been removed three times. It seems to be working, knock on wood.

Kaline and Juno went on a sort of training walk this morning to the park, which went okay. Juno did a lot better than her wee brother; he was just so distracted. We did a pack walk with Gracie, Baxter and Jett. (Just FYI, if Jett is on a walk, we go to downtown Palo Alto.) Kaline looked so cute between the two yellow Labs. For now at least, the very middle is a perfect spot for him.

Junebug did fabulous jumping today at training—three jumps all in a row, almost like flyball! Kaline obviously can't do that kind of thing. We did lots of handling with him, Kumbayayas, and worked on stand.

Kaline, Juno and Teddy during Kumbayayas.

29 July 2012

First vested outing; and the only time I will ever use a Flexi

This morning was super exciting to me, because Kaline got to have his first vested outing! It lasted all of about 15 minutes. Before we left the house, I had to kind of jerry-rig the vest, safety-pinning the long straps up so they don't dangle (obviously, at this point I have both straps as short as they'll go). I put Kaline and Juno's vests in Dad's car—he drove to the Menlo Park Farmer's Market, and the dogs and I walked, to take the edge off Kaline's morning energy.

Kaline models his vest up in my room. Still needs to grow into it a little more!
We met Dad at the fish stand, and he had already completed the shopping! So he held Juno at that end while I vested Kaline and then headed in. We made one circuit of the market, just up and back. I was well-armed with treats, and Kaline was excellent. We wove through the crowds and he was interested, looking around, but anytime I asked him to watch, he did, pretty much immediately. He didn't sniff too much, and only pulled a little to go say hi to people. I was pleased at how he handled the quick up-and-back, and very pleasantly surprised at the fact that no one even asked to pet him, much less molested him without asking. Woohoo!

Dad had to pick up a few things at nearby Trader Joe's, so the pups and I followed him across the parking lot and just sat on a bench outside. I didn't think Kaline was ready to go inside TJ's, but I kept him vested, put him in a down next to Juno, and we just did some quality people watching. People-with-carts watching, even better. I admit, I feared that Kaline would have a cart phobia. Thankfully, he does not. He was very cute. Okay, fine, he's always very cute. But he just looked so adorable and businesslike in his vest!

Good settle, buddy.
We came home for a while, and then Dad started going on about finding somewhere for Kaline to run. Basically he had two ideas, dog park or tennis courts. I nixed the dog park because I will never allow either of my dogs into one; the benefits don't come close to outweighing the risks. Tennis courts got nixed because Kaline is way too young to be running on such a hard surface. Then he suggested the beach, and I thought, "Hey, that's an awesome idea!"

So, if you've known me more than five minutes you know I absolutely hate, loathe, and abominate Flexi leashes. However, when we go to the beach, I make a rare exception. I want the dogs to have a lot more freedom and play than on a normal walk, and it's appropriate for them to have more freedom. I don't want to let them completely off leash, though, because obviously the baby doesn't have a solid off-leash recall, and even if both dogs did, sometimes it's pretty hard to hear right by the ocean. So a Flexi, much as I hate to admit it, is a good compromise.

We ended up at a Half Moon Bay beach and had a lovely time. Juno likes to go walk around in the waves—not interested in swimming or getting in deep water, but definitely doesn't mind getting wet up to about her hocks. Kaline very plainly did not want to get wet. He had a good time running around though and after watching me scrabble in the sand with my feet, he went nuts digging. It was hilarious, because instead of alternating front feet, he tries to dig using both front feet at the same time. So there are frequent faceplants and he ended up with a lot of sand on his nose and in his mouth. A lot of it was in his mouth because he, um, was trying to eat sand. I have a silly puppy.

My goobers!
Wee Kaline on the beach.

Diggin' a hole!
Which one of ...
... these is cuter?

I tried to get photos of Juno and Kaline's pawprints next to each other, cause they're practically the same size. Unfortunately, while Juno leaves beautiful clear prints, Kaline doesn't really weigh enough to do that yet. Ah well! Everyone seems to be pretty zonked now; Kaline is being a more muted pest than normal, haha.

28 July 2012

Saturday Obedience Class No. 2

Kaline did a lot better this week, I thought! Enough better that I could glance over and see what Juno and Dad were doing sometimes (but we, um, won't talk about that). It was kind of funny—Juno, when I first got her at 18 months old, could only handle 45 minutes of the hour-long obedience class. Today, when Kaline all of a sudden started losing focus and being like, “Oh, treats ... maybe later,” I checked my phone, and what do you know? It was 10:45.

But yeah, he largely was good. We started off with heeling, as usual. Kaline kept up nicely, and mostly stayed with me on turns. Freddie had everyone come through the middle of the circle multiple times, which Kaline had never done. It can be difficult, because you have all 10-15 dogs going through at the same time from different directions, so you not only have to keep your dog's attention with intensified distraction, you have to make sure he modifies his pace to stay with you, so you don't crash into anyone. Kaline did quite well. He air-scented, definitely, which is a no-no, but at this point I'm not all that freaked out about it. (With Junebug back in the day, you saw air-scenting, and two seconds later you'd have stink eye and probably some ugly growling.)

We also worked on the moving down, and again Kaline did fine. He was a tad rough at times, but I've never asked him to down suddenly by my side while we were walking. By rough, I mean he was slow to get all the way down; but as soon as I stopped and gave the cue, he stopped and started to fold himself. So yay.

Kaline did freaking awesome on remote sits and downs. Most of the time, I only have to give the cue—no stepping into him. And he didn't creep forward either! Wheeeeee, I always feel so accomplished on remote sits and downs. Not so accomplished when we're heeling and we halt and Kaline wanders around for a while and then sits way out and cockeyed.

We did individual recalls, and Kaline did all right. At this point, he'll give you three recalls or so, and then he's pretty much done. He didn't break at all when the other dogs were racing to their owners (or when his sister broke to run to Dad like five times). Of course, I didn't back too far away from him. Just trying to set the puppy up to succeed! Gotta know what he's capable of doing right now, and what is just too much to expect.

We did three meet-and-greets, and by the third one Kaline was able to stay in his sit while he was patted and given a treat by our partner. On the third one as well, we had to leave our dogs in down-stays and move around them—harder because the dogs were inches from each other and basically face-to-face.

Kaline was paired up with Max the beagle, and Kaline currently has a thing for beagles (they're about his size), so that was a challenge for him. And after the stay exercise, I had to leave him with my partner and go out of sight for three minutes or so. Thank goodness, Kaline has absolutely no problem with this. When Juno and I went for her CGC, the time when I had to leave her and go out of sight was the longest couple of minutes of my life! That was the one exercise where I thought she might fail (she didn't).

When I came back, my partner left, so I had to keep Kaline and Max both in their downs, which was definitely hard at first! They were like Whack-A-Moles, whenever one would go down, the other one would pop up. (Obviously there was no whacking.)

We went for a little snack at Paris Baguette in downtown Palo Alto after class. Kaline had some trouble holding his down by the table at the beginning, but eventually he settled down. I think once he has his own travel mat he'll do better. He reminds me so much of Angel! We couldn't figure out for the longest time why she'd never down outside, no matter how much we worked on it. Then the instructor told us to bring a towel for her to lie on, and voila! Successful downs all over the place. Gotta appease the Dobie comfort-seeking genes.

After napping in the afternoon, Juno and I did another double feature at the Stanford Theatre (Meet Me In St. Louis and The Secret Garden). We had a lovely time. Junebug unfortunately got some popcorn spilled on her at the concessions stand, but she didn't try to eat any of it, my fabulous girl.

At home, I was eating dinner on the couch, which Kaline has never seen. He was in full pest mode. Nose next to my plate, demand barking, etc. I just kept correcting him and then putting him into a down, and eventually he settled and lay down very nicely by my feet, not even looking at my plate. For this he was handsomely rewarded with random kibbles. Maybe I should eat on the couch more often.

26 July 2012

Stuff I have to work on

Pups ready to go to training! Yeah, not the best picture ever ...
Kaline had another good day at training this afternoon. Perhaps it helped that before we went, he had about half an hour to wrestle with Baxter. Kaline sometimes yelps because Baxter is pretty rough, but then he immediately goes back for more. He's nuts.

We worked on heeling and recalls, as well as the usual sit-stays and such. I really need to work on not moving into Kaline (or anyone else I happen to be working) when we stop. It pushes the dog away and back, which obviously isn't what I want, especially in Kaline and Juno. I want to compete in obedience with them, plus their SD work requires a certain closeness. And it's not just remembering not to do obvious stuff, like take steps into him. I have to control myself so I don't lean toward him, or slide my left foot at him, or turn it into him. Argh.

With recalls, it's kind of the same thing. As Kaline comes in, because he has that habit of rocking back when he sits, I tend to stay bent over toward him, not straightening until he has completely come in and has plunked his little butt down where I want it. What I really need to do is straighten and pull the treat upward in one motion, and get him to come all the way in that way. I also have to remember not to adjust to the dogs as they come in, and make them adjust to me (this was more an issue with a client's dog, not so much Juno and Kaline). Kaline either comes in straight, or he kind of loses his mind a few feet away—“Oh look! A butterfly, over there! Maybe I should saunter over and check that out ...” So yeah, if he actually does come in, he does it straight! Juno will sometimes lean to one side or another, but she's easy to adjust.

Juno did better on down-stays today; still had a couple breaks, but not constantly like it is some days. She did awesome bar jumps—we now warm up on 24 inches, then go to 26, the maximum on this particular jump. And she did the broad jump! Kristin helped us, tilting the middle two boards up so it was more of a jump and Juno wouldn't be as tempted to walk on it. Kristin also set up the target—today, a treat on a dog show program. Juno would jump over the boards, go grab the treat (this is to teach her to jump straight, not cut the corner to come to me), and after eating her treat she'd come to the front position. Woohoo, perhaps a breakthrough!

Kaline was a bit of a pest tonight. Also had another accident on a bed (only partially, at least). I can't figure it out—he has no problem anymore sleeping through the night, and holding it after I let him out of his crate until I can get him outside and across the street. Yet sometimes during the day he can't even go two hours! And his “I need to pee” signs bear a remarkable resemblance to his “I am bored” signs. In some ways, I definitely do want him to grow up a bit!

24 July 2012

He's enormous

I took Kaline's 13-week photo yesterday, finally remembering that maybe I should take these things from the same angle every week. Check this out! A comparison of Kaline at 9 weeks and at 13 weeks:

He's so huge! Look at those crazy long legs.

He used to fit on one step.
Yesterday Kaline got his first little taste of crowd work. It wasn't intentional, but it ended up being a great beginner crowd for a pup. This pup anyway! Mom had this brilliant idea to go to a small gathering of food trucks over by Willows Market. The gathering itself ended up being disappointing: cramped, my favorite food truck wasn't there, the ones that were there were subpar, etc. But I was pleasantly surprised with Kaline!

There weren't that many people, but they were all packed in the long, narrow space between the trucks and the market. So it was kind of a baby crowd. Kaline handled it superbly. (I hated being in it, baby crowd or not. I hate crowds, and unfortunately Kaline is not big enough or trained enough to really help me in one.) But at least he was cool—if he hadn't been, we'd have had to hang on the periphery for more than one reason.

Kaline met a baby, and was great with her, super gentle. The way the dad introduced the two of them annoyed me a little, and reminded me of an article I read once, on the crazy crap people let their kids do to their dogs, and proudly say, “He'll let them do anything with him.” (And then eventually the dog has enough of it and bites someone. Here is a similar article.)

This man just plopped his child down in front of my puppy, who he'd never met before, without asking. (Luckily I was paying attention.) And then, when Kaline was licking the baby's face and she clearly didn't want him to, I redirected him and put him in a sit; yet the dad kept insisting the baby was fine with being slurped. She clearly liked having her hand kissed better than her face. Like many dog people, I don't get why people think it's acceptable either for dogs to invade children's space, or children to invade dogs' space, willy nilly.

Kaline also met a bunch of adult men who were very lovely to him and complimented his ears. (I have not yet met a person who thinks he'd look better cropped. Everyone says, “Oh, I'm so glad you left his ears alone!”) When we were in line for food, he just downed by my feet and dozed there, oblivious to all the big feet around him. At our table, he again lay down, with Juno this time, and calmly chilled under the table. Good puppy.

Juno and Kaline under the table.
Both dogs did well at training today, though Juno's down-stay-breaking continues. How can you get mad at her, though, when after she breaks she comes over and squeezes her head between your legs? She's so damn cute.

With Kaline, I worked on heeling and recalls, his two weaker areas, as well as attention, which he's good at. It was hot and we were doing recalls partially in the sun; after three pretty decent ones, he'd had it. Freddie could tell, and just told me to give him water and put him up. I really need to work on knowing when to work through something, and when to just stop for a bit, with Kaline. (With Juno, the answer is almost always “work through it,” because she's an experienced adult.) I always tell people, and now I have to take my own advice: You have to have different, and reasonable, expectations for young puppies.

Heeling went okay, and will definitely get easier as Kaline gets taller. Which he's doing at an alarming rate, of course. I have to make sure I don't turn into the puppy as we're halting, and try to get him to sit up with me, rather than rocking back into his sit (same problem as we have on the recalls).

His attention was excellent, especially for a baby as young as he is. At training, there are lots of distractions—dogs, both silent and annoyingly whiny/barky; grass; trees; leaves; the wind; sounds of kids playing on the playground nearby; multiple people with bait bags; the list goes on. But when we worked on sit and down stays, Kaline was pretty darn focused for a pup! I can go the length of the leash away from him when facing him; I can go in a complete circle around him, both directions; and I can stand behind him without him breaking his stay, either kind. Little smarty pants!

Juno and I did a lot of heeling work, along with Kristin and Ben. Juno is actually better at left about turns, which at least in my view require tougher footwork from the dog, than she is at regular about turns, where she always lags. She did well at transitions and at the moving stand. Remote sits and downs, with verbal and without, went pretty well too. One of Juno's favorite games, haha.

Both dogs got to have playtime in the sprinklers with Ben and Phi. Kaline is smitten with Phi and was chasing her all over the place. Juno just chased whoever was moving at that particular time. Both dogs also did really well in our abnormally crowded car—they were in the front, Juno on the seat and Kaline in the footspace, while on the backseat we had two poodle-mixes and a Golden, and in the backseat footspace we had Baxter. (Kaline had a grand play session with him in the afternoon; see video below.) I thought six dogs in the car would be utter chaos but we really didn't have any issues.

Terrifying thought of the day: Things like training really used to tire Kaline out, to the point where he'd need a couple-hour nap. Now he sleeps for maybe an hour, if you're lucky, and then he's raring to go again. He recovers way too fast! Thank goodness for bully sticks and pressed rawhide chews.

Asleep in the car.

Dog boots

Or shoes, what have you.

I took Juno back to the fair on Sunday, in work gear because I knew there would be crowds. Dad and I were hungry, and we were like, “Hey, there's yummy food at the fair!” It was hot, though nothing like disgusting Saturday. Hot enough that the pavement would be uncomfortable to walk barefoot on. So I put on Juno's boots.

I don't think I had to answer a single of the usual unintentionally rude, sometimes annoying service dog questions. All I got was, “Why is your dog wearing boots?” It was actually kind of nice, in a way, since none of the people who asked had dogs.

The first person we met, in fact, turned to look at Juno and while I was bracing for the usual questions, she said with feeling, “Thank you for putting boots on your dog.” It's one of her pet peeves when people bring dogs to hot places and don't protect their feet; she will often, apparently, confront people about the fact that their dogs' feet are burning, and get nastiness back. Good for her for keeping on, though.

I don't understand why you'd be defensive about it. As soon as I saw pavement was starting to bother Juno (which it hadn't before), I got her shoes as quickly as I could manage. The idea that if I wouldn't walk barefoot somewhere, I shouldn't force my dog to do so, makes perfect sense. If it's hot, you prepare your dog for the environment with as much care as you would prepare yourself, or you leave the dog at home.

Anyway, Juno was the only dog at the whole fair wearing any kind of protection on her feet. We actually saw a big, very furry Collie-Shepherd-looking dog dancing his paws around because they hurt to touch the street. And people were asking why she was wearing shoes. “Why are you wearing shoes?” I sometimes retorted (in a gentle, laughing way).

Junebug did fantastically well. There was a much bigger crowd than in the morning, unsurprisingly, and she led me through nicely, if at a slower pace than normal due to heat. We tried to keep to the shade, took lots of breaks, didn't stay long. There were several areas where dog water bowls were available but Juno took a couple sips and was done.

People were better than normal about not touching her and not letting their dogs screw around with her, right up to the end. Then two people, who were together in some way, one after the other let their ill-behaved dogs run right up on Juno. I'd watched the dogs pulling their owners through the fair—we kept seeing them. In the crowd and trying to stay in the shade, there was no way to avoid them. The first one pulled the dog back as soon as I said, “Please don't let your dog run up on her.” The second one, the guy, let his bigger dog get his nose halfway up Juno's butt before listening to what I was saying, in a vastly peeved tone: “Do NOT let your dog run up on her! She's WORKING!” Grrrr.

Other than that, though, an excellent outing for Juno, an interesting one for me.

22 July 2012

Big brag on Juno, and Kaline's first street fair

Last night, Juno and I went with the parents and some neighbors to see The Intouchables, which was a fantastic movie. Juno's new BLD leash came, which I plan to use for outings where we're going to be sitting a lot. She has a rare talent for tangling herself in her 8x8 in such situations; the 8x8 is awesome though if we're going to be walking a lot, especially if I might have to carry something. The new leash is great, but Juno was even greater!

A little way into the movie, Mom dropped the bag of popcorn we'd been eating all over the floor—all over Juno. It was at least half a bag. Even before I whispered, "Leave it," Juno never even reached for a single piece. She slept the entire movie away with an enormous mound of popcorn just past her outstretched feet (she likes to sprawl, if the opportunity arises). I tried to take a photo after the movie was over; it didn't come out great, but you get the idea.

Today, we got up real early to do the Connoisseur's Market, the annual Menlo Park street fair. We went early for several reasons. It wasn't prohibitively hot, as it will be later in the day, brutal on pups in general but especially their feet. It also was not crowded, which it will be later. Juno is a pro at crowds, but obviously Kaline hasn't had a chance to become a pro yet. And, now that Kaline is thoroughly worn out, the rest of us get to have a relaxing afternoon. (He was a terror last night before he fell asleep. An absolute horror.)

Dad handled Juno while I handled Kaline, and he did so well! As I had expected, he got to meet a ton of new people, one of the biggest reasons I wanted him to go to the fair. After the first little bit, he also did really well matching his pace to mine, much slower than we are used to walking. He also had to ignore a lot of other dogs, both well-behaved and basically out of control.

(Tangent for the day: I cannot believe people come to street fairs with their dogs on Flexi-leads. You're going to be in a crowd, and you think that having your dog 26 feet away is a good idea? Also, Flexi-leads attached to prongs. Saw those everywhere. A Flexi, by its design, keeps constant tension on the dog, one of the reasons they teach dogs to pull. A prong collar is meant to have no tension on it unless you are giving a pop-and-release correction to the dog at a precise moment. Why would you ever use the two together?! End tangent.)

First we went to breakfast at a bagel place. Kaline was not really into lying down under the table; we compromised with a sit. He was super antsy to get going, at that point; he was ready for his walk! So as soon as we finished, we headed out into the fair.

Kaline at Bagel Street Cafe.

We stopped at a bunch of booths, and Kaline was very polite most of the time. Early on, he would whine if we stayed especially long, but after a while, he would just collapse in a puppy puddle to wait. He was definitely running on fumes by the end! He is asleep now and probably will remain so for a good long time, hehe.

He's out.
So's the big girl.

Kaline was definitely not overwhelmed by the atmosphere, though. Anytime I asked him to get up from his puddle, he immediately did and trotted by my side to our next destination, then plopped there. He only tried to chew on one person's tablecloth, and I quickly stopped him. Amazingly, he did not pee anywhere inside the fair. I wouldn't have blamed him if he had done (it's outside on a street, after all), but I'm very pleased he didn't! He was his usual super-social self, and no one could resist such a cute, well-behaved puppy.

Just try and resist this face.

Totally different subject: Kaline has been meeting a lot of cats in the past few days, and I'm pretty happy with the interactions. He is cautious but curious, and the cats have shown very plainly by their behavior that they don't find him threatening at all. Kaline shows no urge to chase them—he would just really like to smell one, please and thank you.

21 July 2012

Kaline's first obedience class

What it says on the box: Kaline finally got to participate (almost) fully in Saturday obedience class! I say almost because class started with teaching everyone to teach their dogs “hold” and “out.” Juno knows it already, and I'm not really starting that with Kaline yet. Plus, I have a different way of teaching it than what we do in class. So Kaline got to munch on a new pressed rawhide bone that Freddie gifted to him, and I tried to provide constructive criticism for my dad, who was working Juno. (I admit, I am not very good at this; I get easily grumpy when he doesn't do stuff exactly right with her.) She did fine, though.

After hold and out, we did some heeling exercises. Kaline did okay at these, but not great, because we haven't worked on formal heeling. So far I've been mostly focused on him walking with a loose leash, and either stopping or sitting when I stop. What we really need to focus on, other than him watching me while heeling (my holy grail!! Juno refuses to do this), is him turning with me.

Next we worked on remote sits and downs. Obviously with a baby puppy, I wasn't too remote, haha. But he did extremely well, I thought! He mostly kept his eyes on me, and never crept forward when I downed him from a sit, or moved his butt when I sat him from a down. I even got about 3 feet away while giving the hand signals! That was pretty exciting.

We did a bunch of partner work. First we walked at our partners and then called our dogs just before we were about to run into each other. Again, Kaline was so-so, but it was what I expected. We've been doing rudimentary recall work, but nothing like that. I'm shocked he wasn't more distracted and off in the clouds than he was. I got him back to me without too much trouble, but it's not like with experienced Juno, where when you say her name, her head whips around before you can even get “Come” out. Kaline's fronts were all over the place too.

Then we did meet and greets: First you walk past your partner shoulder to shoulder, then you walk past so the dogs are on the same side and have to do a big leave it, and finally you face each other within handshaking distance. You say hi to your partner, hi to their dog, but the dogs don't say hi to each other. Kaline was again rough on the heeling portion, but surprisingly he never got up from his sit to go to the other person or dog. So I figure, if we work on heeling as much as we've been working on sit, down, watch, and stay, he'll have it down pretty quickly, right?

Our last meet and greet had all kinds of silly stuff—unexpected turns, random down stays, stepping to various points around your dog, straddling your dog. I have trained a lot of dogs who really don't appreciate being stepped over and/or being straddled. Happily, Kaline is not one. He couldn't care less. (Tangent: I cannot stand it when people say “He could care less” as though it means the same thing as “He couldn't care less.” One makes sense, one doesn't! End tangent.)

Last, we did the long sits and downs. For the long sit, my row of handlers had to leave and go out of sight. I wasn't sure if I should go, since it was Kaline's first time, but Freddie told me to go, and Kaline was just fine. Just to be clear, when we left, the remaining row of handlers held our dogs—my puppy didn't hold an out-of-sight sit-stay on his own! Once he realized Claudio was going to feed him treats to continuing to sit, he didn't care that I was gone. I wonder what would've happened if both Juno and I left though. I worry he has separation anxiety regarding Juno!

The long sit was a minute, and the long down was three. I stayed with Kaline and Kaia for the long down, and again, they were both totally fine. Freddie said Kaline is a very good puppy. I was definitely really happy with how he did today, and I can't wait to get back next week! I think Dad and Juno did okay too. Then again, with Kaline to handle, I never had time to watch them!

20 July 2012

Bully stick!

After numerous nights of Kaline getting zoomies and subsequently starting barkfests with Juno, Mom finally gave in and let me get him a bully stick. She doesn't even object to the revolting smell—it bothers her immensely that it's a bull penis. Heehee.

Last night, a zoomies session stopped immediately and permanently—2-plus hours—with the introduction of the bully stick. Win. Although today he has loose poops. Hmm.

Kaline did great at training yesterday, again working on heeling (we did five-step halts), sit- and down-stays, and recalls, all around various other dogs. He had a marvelous time playing first with Lucky, our Golden Achiever, then Max, the new beagle.

Today he got to walk with Juno and Wilson in Wilson's lovely neighborhood. At home, he's getting big and clever enough to get up on the couches. One of them he can get to easily because he has a bed to use as a springboard. The other one, he has to clamber up on, which is hilarious to watch. It takes a while, but he's very determined.

On the difficult couch.
On the easy couch.

In other exciting news, we won a super awesome dog tag from the marvelous Jen, guardian of Elka the Doberman. It's been decided that Juno will get the tag, and I'll make it into some kind of SD tag to go on her two-inch wide 2Hounds Designs collar. I'm hoping to take a pretty picture of her in her big vest out in the common area tomorrow, and have that on the front of the tag.

Mom and I took the pups just barely into downtown Menlo Park this evening, and Kaline got to see some of the setup for the Connoisseurs' Market Fair, as well as meet some new people. He was quite a good boy, naturally. One guy just had to take a picture of him, cause he's so cute.

The cuddling has gone to new heights, now that Kaline has thwarted the no dogs on the furniture rule (which wasn't my rule in the first place, so I don't care). I'm absolutely loving it. First real day of obedience class tomorrow, oooh boy!

18 July 2012

Big boy at training

Kaline is running with the big dogs! Or at least getting treated more like one. Yesterday at training, he got tethered like everyone else, instead of put in the playpen (from which he is quite adept at escaping). Unlike everyone else, he had a tire with a rope, and a stuffed lobster to play with. He also got to participate more actively than before. Instead of just coming out for the Kumbayayas, he worked on some loose-leash walking around four or five dogs in down stays, as well as recalls, and “meet and greets” with all the tethered dogs.

He did pretty well! Our new strategy for recalls is to call him in, then make a ninety-degree turn either left or right so he has to follow me and still come in straight. I have no issues getting him not to rock back when I do that, so we'll keep on.

Juno really improved on her down stays yesterday—she didn't break nearly as often as she has been doing, so hooray! She did an excellent job as usual with the jumping (26 inches). I was really happy with her. But later that night, when we went to My Fair Lady, she leaked on her mat. Very worrisome. This is the second time in recent history that she has leaked on her mat. It's not like an accident, because she was calmly lying down when it happened. She doesn't know it's happening.

So today we went to the vet. Junebug got her favorite vet, Dr. Ulla, and she took a urine sample to test to see what we've got. I'm hoping for an easily cleared up UTI, rather than early-onset incontinence. Dr. Ulla was so sad she didn't get to see Kaline, that after we got home, we just set out on a walk with him and went back to the vet's office so she could meet him. (Dr. Ulla has a black and tan Doberman named Anchor.) No one was in, so we just let Kaline gambol around the office in his adorably clumsy way. Everyone was commenting on his lovely temperament and obvious confidence. Whee.

Kaline also got to go on his first real pack walk today, with Juno, Gracie and Wilson. Four-dog packs are my most common, although that will change when Kaline becomes a regular. (Five is my limit, and will become most common.) Wilson and Kaline will just egg each other on in silliness, so I put Gracie between them. She is only a year or so old, about the same age as Wilson, but you'd never know it. She is such an old hand when it comes to dealing with other dogs who need to learn the ropes. She was a fantastic buffer between the boys and made everything go far more smoothly.

Kaline of course did fine. I don't think he's going to have an issue with pack walking in the mental/emotional sense—it doesn't faze him. I just don't know where in the pack I'll put him when I've got Jett too! Normally in packs the least-trained/experienced dog goes on the extreme inside, but since I started with Jett, that's been His Spot, regardless of who else is walking. Mostly because even though he knows what's expected of him now, he can still unintentionally leave huge swipes of drool-slime on passersby if the opportunity presents itself. If I put Kaline to Jett's right though, I have a feeling he'll get smushed. He may end up in the middle, next to my No. 1 Puppy Wrangler Max. That'll be fun.

I shall leave you with a most adorable sequence of photos. Yesterday after training, we all came home tired as usual. Juno flopped on her blue bed, and after a few minutes, Kaline's eyes lit up: Snuggle Opportunity!

So brazenly, he marched over to Juno and curled up in the curve of her body. Then he started scootching around, trying to find the exact perfect spot with the absolute largest area of his body in contact with hers. Would it be better with his head over her neck, or against her shoulder? It was hilarious. Juno grumbled the whole time, naturally, then quieted once she realized he had no interest in chewing on her feet.

Most adorable picture ever, methinks!!

Last bit of news: I finally know Kaline's registered name! It's my first choice—Gatehouse As Time Goes By! Woohoo!

16 July 2012

Twelve weeks old!

Today Kaline turned twelve weeks old! How exciting. He went and got his second set of shots, which I was super stoked about ... and then the vet said I should still wait another two weeks to take Kaline on the big pack walks and such. Argh. I have a lot of walks with this one dog, however, who lives in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood, and I generally have to walk him by himself because he's a bit of a spaz, so Kaline will be able to go along for those walks. No treks to downtown Menlo Park or Palo Alto yet though.

Our big exposure for today was the train station. I thought I was so prepared—I checked the schedule when we got to the station, and in a few minutes there would be a northbound train stopping. We were on the southbound side, so the train would be kind of distant and it would be slow, plus Juno couldn't care less about trains no matter what they do, so she would provide a great example for the wee one.

I didn't factor in the express.

We were just hanging out on our bench when a southbound express (our side of the tracks) came whooshing through. I was not expecting it, and obviously neither was Kaline! Juno stood there as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening, and her wee brother scooted under our bench until the bad nasty train went away. I felt so awful. Poor little man!

Nonetheless, I waited for the “good” train, and while we were waiting, Kaline finally got to meet a person on a bike. I still am on the fence about Kaline and bikes: is he scared of them, or just very interested? After asking permission, I let Kaline sniff this guy's bike all over, and meet the guy himself, of course. After a few minutes, the next train came through, the one I'd been planning on. Kaline sat between my feet and shook a little while I rubbed his chest. He didn't whine or try to run away though, and he definitely recovered his happy-go-lucky-ness very quickly.

Trains: Another thing to keep working on.

Big weekend

I am exhausted! Juno is about to fall asleep standing up ... and Kaline has a second wind. We just got back from an awesome fundraiser for the Menlo Park Legends, a semipro baseball team run by one of my friends from high school, David Klein. I worked for them for their first summer, so it was a nice little reunion for me.

Yesterday was obedience class day. Kaline figured out, within minutes of class starting, how to escape from his playpen. First you pull up the “floor,” which is velcroed to the walls of the pen. Then you throw yourself at the walls until one of them caves inward, and finally you squirm out from under the now-breached wall. Sometimes he is a little too smart! Luckily, another dog parent (whose significant other was handling their Whippet) was overjoyed to have a puppy to look after. Kaline got to be a distraction several times (yes, he was a planned distraction).

To my great joy, Kaline seemed totally on board with napping away the afternoon. I'm still very sleep deprived even though he is basically sleeping through the night now (massive sleep debt and all) so I needed major naptime! Juno did too.

In the evening, we went on a big walk. We walked all the way over to the rec center, where there was a big barbecue going on and where the local skate park is located. Kaline is a kid magnet—as soon as we appeared on the outskirts of the barbecue, every kid in attendance came over wanting to pet the dogs. I tried to keep it to one at a time for Kaline—luckily Juno loves kids, so she was able to take some of the focus off the puppy—but eventually we got surrounded. This wasn't good for him or me, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the skate park.

I found a bench outside the fence, put Juno in a down-stay, and lifted Kaline onto the bench so he could see the skaters. He started trembling. I was like, “Oh crap, he's totally scared of the skaters.” Then I realized that his trembling didn't change regardless of noise/lack thereof, or proximity of skaters. The bench had very smooth slats ... I put Kaline down next to Juno, and presto! No problem with skaters. The bench and his lack of traction on it was what had him freaked out. He was so nonplussed by the noisy skaters that he was fully able to concentrate on doing sit, down, watch, even high five. We're going to keep going back periodically though, just to make sure he stays cool with skaters of all sorts.

Today, Kaline had two big outings, one to my cousin's house in Berkeley, and then the other to the fundraiser. There was a little family gathering at my cousin's. It was one of the longest car rides Kaline has done, and he did pretty well. I mean, he was in the backseat with me and Juno, so there wasn't too much to be unhappy about!

We had to stay on the porch due to allergies, but we still got to hang out with pretty much everyone, and the weather was gorgeous. The backyard is amazing as well—it took forever for Kaline to pee because he was so busy checking things out, and this is a puppy who pees nearly instantly when you tell him to. We worked on training several different times with both dogs. They got to meet my cousin Harris' new baby, along with various other adult cousins and my aunt. Kaline and Juno both got to sunbathe a lot and seemed to enjoy the relaxation. My aunt and her husband had a great time entertaining the pup—they have two Labs at home, one just a year old, so they're definitely puppy people!

In the car on the way home.

Both dogs slept on the way home; everyone took a nap for a while once we got here, and then around 5:30 we left for the Legends fundraiser. It was at a local park. There were tons of people there, lots of activity and food. I was super impressed at Kaline's behavior in the food line. Obviously it's not something we've had a chance to work on before. Kaline sat whenever I paused (not next to me or anything, but hey! he sat!) and even though there was food on the ground, he didn't move to go for it. What a good boy.

He did get a bit antsy while we were eating. He was great at mingling, going to meet all these different people (men, women, children, woohoo!), but sitting still, not so much. Periodically there'd be these agonized yelps coming from under the table. I had brought Kaline's dinner in my bait bag though, so whenever he did a down, he got rewards and started offering that more. Like at my cousin's, we periodically did quick training sessions. Just for shits and giggles, I taught him to high five with his other paw (cue: other hand). Everyone was in love with him and Juno.

Juno was a huge hit because in 2009, my summer with the Legends, she ended up becoming the mascot. All the guys from then are still crazy about her. She used to chill in the dugout every game. I always tried to enforce a no-dip zone around her, because she would usually manage to lie down in a little puddle of it if the opportunity arose. Ew. Once, we were in a dugout that featured a ton of yellow jackets. Juno was avidly following the insects with her eyes. We kept telling her not to try anything, she'd be sorry. Eventually, she lunged, snapped, caught a yellow jacket in her mouth, killed it, and spat it out. Then she gave me a look like, “Really? I'm not sorry!” Juno's a badass, what can I say.

At the fundraiser, Kaline also experienced his first concert. He was basically asleep by then, so the lovely sounds of Windy Hill didn't wake him up. He got chilly in his thin little Dobie coat (Juno, with her nice double coat due to her Lab and/or GSD heritage, was fine), so I ended up wrapping him in a nice blanket that David let us use for the remainder of the concert.

Windy Hill!!!

13 July 2012

Two days of Gracie!

Kaline is having a most excellent time, and Juno is getting a bit of a break from puppy pestering: Miss Gracie is here! She was in “daycare” yesterday and again today, and she and Kaline just play nonstop. Really quietly too—when Juno and Kaline are “playing,” it's a nonstop barkfest that will give you a headache in 15 seconds. Because Juno cannot manage to play without barking incessantly. To that end, I finally found her old bark collar in the recesses of my trunk. No idea if it actually still works, but while wearing it, there's no barking! So yay.

The pups had a good time at training yesterday in the park, though I was preoccupied most of the time with the fact that Kaline had still not had his post-breakfast poop. He'd had a walk, an awesome play session with Gracie, then fun before training actually began, yet still, no poop. I worry about these things. (He finally went after “jumping”—4-6 inches, worry not.)

The big dogs were excellent. We had every single dog out doing an off leash down-stay except for one seriously spastic poodle-mix. (I won't rant here ... yet ... but “Labradoodles” and “Goldendoodles,” these are not actual breeds.) First they were in a long line, so one or two working dogs at a time could practice weaving and heeling, and then they were in two parallel lines, so we could do The Gauntlet, a recall exercise where the one working dog does a recall between the two lines of dogs in downs. The Gauntlet is probably my favorite exercise ever.

Dogs on left, front to back: Ben, Gracie, Shadow, Tex, Juno; dogs on right, front to back: Xena, Phi, Rocky, Lucky, Peter, Rio.

After the stays, weaving and recalls, most of the dogs got to go play in the sprinklers. I use sprinkler time mostly as a way to work on Juno's recall some more, teaching her to come even when having tons of fun. And once she comes, she gets to go play more. She gets all gleeful and soaking wet. I must figure out a way to get Kaline to love sprinklers as well.

As usual, Kaline got to participate in what we jokingly call the Kumbayaya Session, where most of the dogs come out and do group down-stays in a loose circle. He worked on his sit, down, watch, stay, stand and newest one, high-five. (I realized a bit belatedly that for him I would like “shake” to mean shake like after a bath.)

He was so not tired after his long day though. It was kind of insane. He even got a visit, after training, from two of my former Kepler's colleagues, who gleefully played with him and entertained him for half an hour or so. Everything he did was the New Cutest Thing Ever. He got handled everywhere, and was cool with it. But still, there was much leaping onto couches (he has never been invited onto the couch, only lifted there when sleepy, so I don't know why he thinks he can go there), and much chewing of things that are not his toys. Sigh. Even his last walk did not do much to curb the zoomies.

Happily, he slept through the night. This seems to be becoming, dare I say it, a habit. I love.

I got up extra early this morning so I could go get Gracie before Juno and Kaline's walk. Another mini-pack experience for Kaline. He did well again, though we still have to work on not licking other dogs' ears while walking. We ran into the UPS man, who Juno loathes for no good reason, and Kaline loves, just like Angel did. UPS man loves dogs back and was quite happy to see his little buddy. Oh yeah, and yesterday Kaline met an older lady with a walker. Not fazed in the least.

It's kind of interesting, Kaline changes my whole approach toward other people. Generally I try to avoid contact of all kinds. No touch, no talk, no eye contact, right? But with Kaline, I'm always thinking, “Oooh, that person totally fits a demographic I want to make certain Kaline is comfortable with! Oooh, ze is looking at the puppy with interest! Let's go meet hir!!!” Basically, I'm looking for humans who are not completely able-bodied women (because I have so many of those in my life that Kaline is in no danger of being underexposed to them). Obviously, if such a woman wanted to meet Kaline, I would never say no! Men, children, extra tall men, people in wheelchairs, people with crutches, people with walkers, people in uniform, people with strollers—all these people have become targets (I mean that in the best way possible!). So I constantly find myself asking, “Can he say hi?” And the answer is pretty much always yes.

After the first walk, Kaline went for crate time and Juno, Gracie and I went on our two pack walks. Then Kaline and Gracie had a massive play session. It's unbelievable the things Gracie will put up with! I find it hilarious that Kaline ended up tiring her out, not the other way around. I feel kind of accomplished though—I devised a morning that crashed out a one-year-old Labrador! Hurrah!

Everyone is currently crashed for their afternoon siesta. Sounds like a plan to me.

11 July 2012

We are very tired

Well, “we” being me and Juno. Kaline is in his crate, hopefully having a cooldown. He was doing all the tired, cranky puppy things, so I figured it was time for a nap.

Yesterday, Kaline actually got to participate in training. It was super exciting. We did his basic things, but this was in a far more interesting environment—grass underfoot, dogs all around, birds, squirrels, etc. But Kaline was pretty awesome.

He did watch, sit-stay, down-stay, and stand pretty well. One time he was doing a down stay and I was walking around him, and he was paw-to-paw with Rocky, a little Golden-Poodle mix (basically the only representative of his mixture that I actually like). We also worked on recalls, alongside two other dogs. Kaline came, but when he goes to sit, he will rock way back. So Freddie said to work on having him run all the way through—throwing a toy between my legs for him! That's gonna be fun.

Kaline's idea of where he should sit in the car. (Worry not, my ancient car lacks passenger-seat airbags. All airbags, actually.)

Juno and I had a lovely time at the park as well. At training, since Juno has to be tethered when I work other dogs, she gets all stoked about being with me. (At home right now, she is still giving me the doggie silent treatment most of the time.) She did fantastic recalls, and we practiced finding the heel position. I love doing that with her. I can get her to adjust where her butt is in her sit by just peering at her from different angles. She also, oddly, responds to the words “move up” and “tuck it in, eh?” I never meant to use those as cues but they just happened. You have to say “eh” or it won't work, by the way. (Yay Canada.) We also did remote sits and downs, and worked on her doing sits and downs in heel position without rolling her hip over.

When we came home, everyone crashed.

We worked on the front position (where Kaline should end up in the recall) a bunch today, though not with the toy because all we had was the kitchen/family room, and there's just not enough space. I was just clicking and treating for touching my knees with his nose, sitting close to me, etc. It was kinda haphazard, I admit ... but hey, we'll figure it out.

Kaline also got to work on: sits and downs with no food lure, just hand signal; sit from a down position; stand from sit and stand from down; leave it; settle; flip finish (going to heel position from front position); and his first trick, shake. It started with me holding a treat in my closed fist, waggling it under his nose in an annoying manner (if I hold it still, I want him to leave it, generally). Eventually he pawed my fist with his left paw, the one I want (!). C/T, and off we went. He's not quite to the point where I can hold out my hand and ask for a “shake” and it'll happen, but we are thiiiiis close. Touch, with his nose, is going really well now. He will take several steps to get to my hand and touch it, and will turn to either side as well. Usually the touch comes with a lick. I sure don't mind.

I can't wait till next week when, hopefully, Kaline can start coming out on pack walks. I was a little worried about him today because he had to spend about three hours in the big crate while Juno and I were out with the packs. He just graduated to an actual bed in there (I really hope I don't regret that!), and he didn't rip it apart or anything. He was trying to remove the tags when I got back, but otherwise, no issues. (I removed the tags. Kaline is industrious but his jaws are, as yet, not very effective at destruction.)

Kaline in his new bed. Don't destroy it!!!!

The bed makes the crate look so much more comfy than the towel/pad combo. It has this roll around three sides of it—we originally got it for Juno when she was blind and suddenly had to stay home more, and she is all about chin rests, let me tell you—so Kaline can lean his back against something that's not the wire side of the crate. Seems warmer too. Not that it's been cold here. I've been walking dogs early because of the heat.

Anyway, going on pack walks means 1) Kaline will spend less time alone being bored and 2) he will get a ton more exercise and exposure! It's going to be super exciting. It will be interesting to see who gets more attention downtown, Kaline or Jett, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. So far, a succession of baby Labradors have not been able to pull passersby's eyes away from enormous handsome Jett, so we'll see how Kaline does.

Kaline's 11-week-old photo.