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

24 February 2013

Kaline's ten months old!

Kaline turned 10 months old yesterday, and did great today in his usual round of Sunday morning public access. First was the Farmer's Market. Just as we were heading in, we saw a super adorable Large-Eared Black-and-White Dog tethered at the entrance: Max! I of course had to say hi to him and love him up, so Kaline got to practice a little self-control and try to hold a sit while I did so. He was great at heeling and blocking through the market and only did a little illicit sniffing.

We were in the part of downtown with several handicap buttons, so Kaline got to work on those, including the difficult one at Walgreen's which is mostly blocked by a trashcan. (He will usually hit the trashcan at least once before figuring out how to orient himself to aim at the button.) In there, Mom and I did things with the small rolling baskets to work on proofing. I had him do a block and then got Mom to gently nudge him from different angles with the little basket (came up to about his thigh). I also had fun flipping it around in front of him, sometimes clipping his toes gently. No problems.

In Village Stationers, we ended up having a big training opportunity. Kaline was lying at my feet while Mom talked to one of the cashiers when a lady with a Basset hound came in. Kaline had no clue the dog was even in the store until she started barking at him. At first he was startled and jumped up with a little growl. Then he was like, “Oooh, a dog! Playtime?” The Basset continued barking away (no, I have no idea why the owner didn't find a way to shut her up) so I decided to take advantage of it—I turned Kaline away, so he was facing me, and just had him do very basic commands that he knows well and likes, such as touch and the “up-down” game. Once he was mostly focused again, we headed out.

Trader Joe's was the best. As I've noted, Kaline is always really on in there. He was being really great and we were almost done. Mom sent us to the other side of the store, and for some reason my anxiety just started rising. Kaline stared up at me and then started nudging my leg (yay!!!), then my drooping sweatshirt pocket for more emphasis. Once I stopped he leaned into me with his whole body. I was so thrilled with him. And then soon after that, I started getting all foggy like I sometimes do, where it's like my brain is on a seven-second delay. We were standing in line and Kaline jumped up on me, trying to press into my chest. It wasn't like when he's being a goofball and leaping up at me; he came up pretty carefully, for him, and just tried to stay there. I acknowledged him, cause I definitely want him to be proactive, but then I got him down, had him do some leg nudges, and gave him treats. Excellent little boy!

In retrieving news, Kaline continues to steal shit all over the house and deliver it to me with great pride. On command, he is very glad to retrieve clothing, but not my sneakers. (Mom's nice shoes, or Dad's leather dress shoes, not a problem!) He will also gleefully retrieve things like plastic water bottles or vitamin bottles, which I find a little odd just because Juno didn't want to get stuff like that for the longest time. When I dropped my chapstick (capped, thankfully) in the kitchen, both dogs went to get it for me and Kaline was the one who came up with it.
Kay doing deep pressure and looking extremely cute while doing it.

This weekend we also headed up to Berkeley to pick up Juno's beautiful new Paco collar. It's a black rainbow Glow and she looks fantastic in it. She posed for pictures while we were there, which hopefully will end up in the Paco Gallery (fingers crossed!). Kaline was uninterested but Juno did a paws up on the lowest shelf with collars and then when asked looked fetchingly over her shoulder to show off both the collar and her insanely cute face. She got to come along to Johnny Rockets later that night, teehee.
Hard at work in her new bling.
I also did my first Hitchcock film with Kaline this past Friday, also with my friend Ben who I've known since high school. It was Kay's first movie since Sonja and I took him and Chief when they were wee-er. There was a bit of improvement but Kaline was still a fidgety little boy. I think (read: hope fervently) that a lot of it was because he was cold. I expected it to be warmer in there; next time I'll bring his jacket. Anyway, he settled after about five minutes or so, and then would pop up every twenty minutes and have to be put back in his down on his cushy mat. Good thing there are seven more weeks of Hitchcock at the Stannie. Lots of low-pressure practice.

Bizarrely, after the movie, when Ben and I headed to Pizza My Heart across the street, Kaline blocked fairly well (he wanted to sniff some people, and also to lie down sometimes), and then when we got to our table, he went under, curled up and didn't move till we were ready to go. Explain yourself, wee one! So he really ended the night on a good note.

19 February 2013

Retrieving! and other stuff

Well, I am a little tentative to say this In Public, but it appears that Kaline now retrieves things on command! I don't know how many things, because we've been focusing on things he already thinks would be great to put in his mouth, but things!

I've been trying to capture the behavior of retrieving and not do anything at all else with it, because every time we set aside time to work on it in a formal way, he ends up totally confused and uninterested. Kaline can always be counted on to steal random things, most especially bras, socks, underwear, leather shoes, and stockings. He also enjoys paper.

I already keep a little bowl of small, crunchy cookies on top of the microwave, because I like to reward the dogs whenever they open the fridge. (I know, I should be doing more intermittent reinforcement ... but doing the fridge is a big job!) So whenever Kaline steals something, I'm likely as not in the family room, just steps away from said treaty microwave. I'll call him, get him to bring whatever it is all the way in to me (thus inadvertently practicing "get it") and then reward him.

The only part of the retrieve we formally practice is hold, and he got randomly good at that all of a sudden. One week after obedience class, I put Juno's dumbbell in his mouth, told him to hold it, and he carried it all the way back to the car. He has trouble hanging onto it while doing position changes, but not while moving around. Yay for that.

Anyway, the other night I was doing some laundry and on a whim, I called Kaline over to pick up the various socks that had dropped. On command, he did it! I was so thrilled I set him up and took a video. We are still doing a multiple command sequence (get it-bring it-out), while with Juno it's just get it, but man, am I thrilled. Retrieving! And I thought it might never happen.

We had another outing to the Horse Park, this time with Juno and without Anne's three dogs (or Anne for that matter. She did a hunt test with Xena over the weekend). Juno only needed nicking once, for naughty body posture toward a group of retrievers who were also running around. Kaline also had one situation where he needed a serious correction, for blowing me off to go run after said retrievers (he had made friends with them). I got him through it though and he came back. And later, without any correction, I told him "come" as he was racing toward them. He turned on a dime and came lolloping back to me, grinning and eager for his treat. Marvelous.
Juno, Rio, and Kaline at the Horse Park.

Juno got to go to the city twice for dinner at Delancey St., one of our favorite places. She was a very good girl! On Valentine's Day she got to wear this super cute V-Day bandanna one of our friends gave her. She would not hold the rose in her mouth though, sad face. Normally she'll hold anything but I guess the rose felt weird.
Juno and Kaline in festive Valentine's bandannas.
Juno at Delancey St.

Scoots also re-earned her first Rally Novice leg! I don't remember if I mentioned this, but we got a letter from the AKC saying that our leg we earned a month ago got taken back because we shouldn't have been in Novice A, having already earned a CD. (A CD, or Companion Dog, title, is earned in regular, not rally, Novice obedience.) So this past weekend we went to a Rally trial at the same place, were the very last ones to compete again, and got the leg back!

Not without a little crazy from me though. I was trying to do everything right. We got there very early, and were able to see all three levels of Rally competition, as well as make several new friends. I periodically took Juno outside to keep her up and to practice the various exercises on the Novice course. Right before we went in the ring, I had her outside getting pumped up and it was going great.

And of course I walked into the ring wearing my bait bag.

We got to the second exercise (a recall, finish right) and I looked down and saw it. I reacted like I'd discovered a leech attached to me. I recoiled in horror, ripped the bag off my belt, and just threw it right out of the ring. It took us a couple exercises to get back in sync again, unsurprisingly. But thankfully the judge didn't NQ us, we got an 86, and yay, we've got our leg back! Next competition is a two-fer on March 24. Gonna be a long day. Hopefully with better food available than at this one!
Juno and her green qualifying ribbon. Note awesome new leash for competition, heehee.

This is a slow-ish week dog-wise because of Ski Week. This may be a California thing, taking a week off in February to go skiing. I don't know. But probably half my dogs have cancelled. Plus there's rain today, so training got shifted about. Ah well. A rest will probably be good for me, but I miss the Boxers.

And here is a video of Kaline which I find hilarious. He does this several times a week.

10 February 2013

Our week

Another slow week, especially because I gave myself a bit of an ankle sprain on Wednesday night. That flared up massively overnight cause the fibro gnome got aroused, so I was having a flareup all over for the next couple days.

So Juno got to come with me to the doctor's office on Friday. I toyed with the idea of taking Kaline but ended up bringing Juno, which was the right idea. The building has these tiny, narrow door buttons which were a little confusing for her, but she figured it out. I need to figure out a time to work Kaline on those. Weirdness is good!
We ordered a new little vest ... Still hasn't arrived. Dammit.

In the exam room, Juno helped me off with my sweatshirt jacket, once the nurse was gone. I don't know why but I always feel bizarrely shy about asking her to tug off my jacket in front of people. Then she crashed on the floor till we were done. My doctor wasn't overly worried, just a bit pissed at me for hobbling about on all my dog walks Thursday and Friday. So I wasn't allowed to go to SF and walk around all day Saturday with Sonja. (We did go to obedience class though.) By Sunday, today, I felt all better with my foot.

Yesterday we did obedience class, and Kaline was excellent except for whinging a bit while waiting for his recall. His heeling was very nice, plus we had like three people tell us how tall Kaline is getting. That always puffs me up, like I've accomplished something (ha!). During Kay's stays, I worked on proofing—nudging his butt, staring challengingly into his face and having others do the same, stomping around him, straddling him, stepping over him. Pretty solid. After class he blissfully let his buddy Lupo chew on his snout and ears and front legs.

Today, Kaline did his usual public access work in the morning: Farmer's Market, bagel place, Trader Joe's, and Walgreen's. He settled faster this week in the bagel place, even though he was on the tile instead of the carpet. He was fantastic in Trader Joe's and had an excellent time doing the buttons at Walgreen's. One was right at nose level, and wonder of wonders, Kaline pressed it with his nose! (He likes to use his enormous feet whenever possible.)
At the bagel place.

And then this afternoon, we went with Freddie, Anne, and their four collective dogs to the Horse Park at Woodside! Only Kaline was invited—he needs to run, plus we were going to work on his off-leash recall with the e-collar. I ordered a pair of collars for him and Juno for this purpose, but they haven't arrived yet.

Before anyone leaps on me for using an e-collar: Freddie has used them for decades, as has Anne, so with them they get used properly. They are never used to teach a dog a behavior. They are used to communicate with the dog over distance to enforce a behavior the dog has already been taught: here, the recall. We had already done some short-distance conditioning with Kaline. Call him, and if he ignores, he gets nicked. To turn the electricity off, he has to touch the hand of whoever calls him. None of the dogs do more than twitch their heads when they get nicked; no screaming, no flipping out. And the recalls are unbelievable.

We had to nick Kaline maybe once or twice at the start, and that was it. It was amazing to be out in this huge grassy area, with Kaline able to run and play and gambol to his heart's content, and know that I'd be able to get him back. He ran and attempted to get everyone to play with him (no one was really having it, unfortunately!). He even splashed into a little pond once! He clambered up and down the jumps, did beautiful joyous recalls, just ran himself totally ragged. He isn't too coordinated yet, but it was still so pretty to watch him.

We were there for about an hour. Rio, Freddie's black Lab, got to do some retrieving, and Mudd, Anne's 12-year-old chocolate Lab, sometimes joined in. Lucky, Anne's little rescue who looks like a Dachshund with long legs, ran around on his own schedule, and Dealer, her Norfolk terrier, kept everyone in line. Kaline got in his face one too many times and Dealer laid down the law with him. If only Juno could channel that a little bit sometimes! Kaline squawked in surprise and then left Dealer alone.

We are now home, and Kaline, having woken from his nap, is watching the broadcast of Westminster 2012 with highly amusing, deep interest! When a little Staffordshire bull terrier started bouncing around on screen, he was enthralled. Marvelous.

04 February 2013

Slow stuff

Not a ton going on around here since the dog show. Our new hectic walking schedule just started, so we've been running ragged. For example, today we had four pack walks, all back to back. And it was cold in the morning, and wet, so for the first walk my whole left arm and shoulder were spazzing with pain. Thank goodness that pack needs hardly any correction and the walk is quiet.

We're definitely loving our new pair of Boxers. Kaline especially enjoys them, because their enormous flews fascinate him and they share his enjoyment in licking anything their tongues can reach.

Kaline got to do some work-work Sunday morning in downtown Menlo Park. Got kind of an offensive question to start out: “Is he a legit SDIT, or did you just get him a jacket?” But the guy was curious and just ignorant, not being nasty, so I educated him about the fact that it's illegal to fake a service dog. Anyway, Kaline did fine in the Farmer's Market, but took a while to settle at the bagel place. Finally he did, and then of course it was time to get him up and go to Trader Joe's. In there, all of a sudden I got “fibro fog” where your brain goes a bit fuzzy and you somehow can't comprehend things at normal speed. Kaline was super attentive, peering up at me constantly and carefully matching his pace to mine, which basically never happens. He was a very good boy in there, and we got to talk to a kid who just learned about guide dogs in school and was super excited to meet Kaline.

Last stop was Draeger's, where we just had to run in and pick something up. It took a little bit for me to figure out what exactly I needed, during which time Kaline was blocking behind me. Juno has a habit of switching the direction of her block based on where the most people are coming from, and for the first time, Kaline did the same thing! I was super proud of him.

Juno did a movie on Saturday and was her usual excellent self except for goosing a woman as we came out! Gotta admit, I laughed a little. She also came to Auntie Jen's to watch the Super Bowl, looking very pretty in her 49ers collar. Too bad they lost, eh?

We're registered for a rally trial in two-ish weeks. Woohoo!