Monthly Archives: October 2012

Random Puppy Updates & First Night in a Hotel!

Java is growing up fast! She loves food, but doesn’t require much of it, so we run out of kibble fast. We’re working through “turning off” moments when switching from food to toys as I’m building value of tugging. Lately I’ve decided to reward a great tug by letting her zoom aroud with the toy, which is something I’ve been reluctant to do because the value of that is not connected to me. It’s working great though, she really puts more effort into winning the tug and then I run away so she chases me. I keep running and turning until she stays close to me, then exchange the toy for food and start over. I think with time she will zoom less and less.

She LOVES to chase me. When doing restrained recalls she growls as she’s catching up with me… she’s hunting me down and will attack my pants if there is no toy in sight.

She is capable of such fast movements! I train tricks with a bowl of kibble on the floor and a few times she has managed to get a gobble of it with me standing right there. She is perfect 99% of the time and then suddenly she will just dive in faster than I can react. Naughty puppy 🙂

When Ruby’s toe heals we’ll resume working on her excitement when Ruby runs around. She goes crazy if I throw him a toy. Crazy when I throw it, and even crazier when he retrieves it, jumping all over him and biting. We did one session with her in a crate (with door open so it was a self-control game) and Ruby running around. She was perfect until my sister put Ruby in a sit and then said OK. Java released! But of course, that’s what she’s supposed to do when she hears the release word. Perhaps I should teach her that the release needs to come from me 😛

Last week she accompanied me to a three day conference. She stayed in the hotel while I attended the sessions and I came to take her out & train as often as I could. She was a superstar 🙂 She walked in the hotel like she owned the place, was calm in her crate, able to ignore people and also to say hi and give them kisses. I am really happy with her confident and outgoing temperament that she inherited from Fleet Fellows Insider and Get On Top Ticking Timebomb (see Java’s pedigree). She climbed into a lap of one wheelchair-bound guy and made him cry tears of happiness. He explained that he used to have two dogs, but due to his condition he isn’t sure if he will ever have a dog again. It was very moving.

Come up on the bed! You know you want to…
Come up on the bed! You know you want to...

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The Beginning

It feels weird to be sending words out into the internet void. I hope I will get used to it with time 🙂 The reason I’m doing it anyway is that sometimes the joy I feel from living with my pups is just too wonderful to not be remembered in some way. Spoken word is so fleeting… memory fades, even changes with time. Written word remains.

First there was Ruby the whippet. The pup who insisted that puppy school is for playing with other puppies, not boring old me. An adolescent who made me cry tears of frustration and inspired me to read everything I could about dog training. And try again and again to become more interesting than other dogs, more interesting than birds, more interesting than deer poo, more interesting than empty fields… He made me search for answers. He made me search for teachers. The dog who introduced me to frisbee and agility and went on to play both sports with unexpected passion. The whippet who learned running contacts. My crazy fast agility partner.

Then there was Java, also a whippet. I was searching for a litter of border collies because I wanted another agility dog, but was worried about recalling two whippets when chasing prey. I figured a border collie would be a much safer choice in that regard. But then I found litter B of Fast Pack’s and fell in love. So I flew to Finland and brought home my little Black Magic (Java) – a sweet yet feisty black puppy who was immediately turned on and ready to learn. Unlike Ruby she thought that I was AWESOME and was prepared to scream her little heart out to make sure I never left her side 😛 She is four months old and already a real joy to train.

I feel truly blessed to have found two such wonderful whippets. I hope in some way the joy they bring to my life will leave a mark on yours as well.

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