The RoxyLog

Roxy training diary week 12
Sun Aug 24 to Sat Aug 30 2003

Sunday started out eventfully. The whole family got packed in the van early in the morning and made the pilgrimage to lovely downtown Bush, Louisiana to get in some much-needed ring time at a practice session in the Bush Community Center.

Everyone except Kodiak got some ring time.

In the pre-pre-pre-Novice ring, Roxy did some "squeeze cheez wooden spoon" heeling on mats for the first time. She spent a good bit of the time up in the air, but we're too embarrassed to show that so we picked out the one picture of her with three of her four feet on the ground (below left). We also started working a bit on automatic sits on halt, but mostly it was just some fun times and not much work.

In the almost-Open ring, Dylan did quite well even though we don't have any pictures to prove it. He is having a bit of difficulty getting the concept of a 'drop on recall' but I think he understood it a lot better at the end of the practice than at the beginning. His retrieve is starting to really shine. He needs some work on the precision part of the broad jump, and Rosemary needs to trust him on stays (this time, I was there with a Flexi-Lead) but all in all, he is looking pretty damn good.

Annie's Utility runs went very well, also. I feel the go-outs on the Directed Jumping are starting to "click" and she seems to have finally figured out what that is about. Her scent articles could have been better, but they weren't half bad; I got some practice in on my Moving Stand footwork. Her Directed Retrieve needs some tuning up, but we haven't been practicing it so there you go. The Signal Exercise continues to be our biggest bugaboo.

In between practice runs, Annie got to demonstrate her Math Trick (see photos at right).

No more teeth have been shed, but Roxy is getting way too much use out of her new set. Is it my imagination that the biting is decreasing in frequency? Probably. We're having fewer household accidents while we are at work, but there's some backsliding in the house training department while Roxy is loose (not surprisingly, since she spent very little time loose when she was younger). We've decided to devote the Labor Day weekend to house training issues. Our new Basic Home Manners class starts Tuesday so there will be more chances for some training. I'm starting to fantasize about her agility debut, so that means starting to get serious about the weave poles (not serious as in 20 times an hour, but serious as in doing them once or twice every few days).

Annie Waits for a Card

Annie Counts to Zero

Heeling Practice

Roxy, Cicada Killer

Roxy training diary week 11
Sun Aug 17 to Sat Aug 23 2003

Just a short report, because I actually had to work today. No pictures this week, it looks like.

Roxy has been getting progressively more responsibility; sometimes we even let her hang out around the house, loose, for a few minutes at a time. It's more for our convenience than for her comfort, because keeping her in a crate or on lead all the damn time gets to be a drag.

All her teeth are apparently in, although I think there's a last set of molars that still need to be cut back there. She won't keep her mouth off of stuff, including me. It's getting on my nerves. We're at that junction between puppy mouthing and teenaged buttheadedness.

For example, this week, I called her in from the yard and she looked up and said, "Leave a message, I'll get back to you." Wrong answer. I remember a little puppy that used to be glad to run into my arms, though, and I sorta miss her.

We've saved about a dozen of those puppy teeth she shed, which is a pretty good haul. Only one had to be yanked, and it would've fallen out by itself if I hadn't been in a hurry to collect it.

Her height is 16 ¾ inches and she weighs 29 pounds. That's a lot of leg. She is still gangly – she is almost as tall as Annie and Dylan and 10 pounds lighter.

Roxy training diary week 10
Sun Aug 10 to Sat Aug 16 2003

Sunday was photo day here at the House of Gray(t) Animals. Jim mowed the lawn, which means all the agility equipment is cleared off and the cattle dogs have a clear field for games of Boomer Ball Herding. Rosemary got Roxy a little ball, which does a lot less damage. Dylan prefers his Jolly Ball with a Rope, because he can hold on while Jim swings him around like a helicopter. It's versatile, though; it can also be used for games of chase and keep away. Dylan also uses his as a battering ram to smack the larger Boomer Ball with.

Roxy is still trying to make Kodiak love her, and Kodi is still apprehensive, as you can see in the photo at right.

Thursday night, Jim went off to the White Coat Ceremony (the annual start of the school year for the medical students) and Rosemary took the girls to training.

Saturday the 16th, there was a conformation and obedience match in town, so we went. Roxy got to practice her stacking and even though she would not show her teeth, got third out of five in the Puppy Groups so that was an okay start all in all. Rosemary is trying to get her ready to show at the Specialty in October when she will be 6½ months.

Jim took Annie into the Utility ring both Saturday and Sunday at the match, and that was some good practice. Roxy got to meet and greet lots of new people and dogs, and of course most of the people made a fuss over her, so that was a fun time for her. We're hoping that the dog show thing becomes second nature to her.

Now Jim is starting to think about showing Roxy in obedience. We already had a plan for agility, which we can't start until she is a year old in March 2004. For agility, I'll enter her in Preferred and do a few obstacles and leave to let her have fun with the whole thing. Annie will likely be in Preferred as well, jumping 12" which is pretty silly. Roxy is going to be close to 18" tall, we think. That will put her at either the 16" or 20" jump height in AKC (12" or 16" preferred) or 22" in USDAA (16" if we go with Performance). For a lot of reasons, I'm hoping for a slightly larger Roxy, just over 18", which will give her more muscle and bone to clear the larger jump height. Annie, at just over 17", has always had to work to clear 22" in USDAA (used to be 24"!).

Now, in Obedience, we have a lot of work to do. We've been working on simple tricks and puppy games but we haven't really spent much time (nor would I have wanted to) working on heeling or precision work. Now is the time to start laying the foundation for that effort. At five months, her attention span is still as short as her bladder is tiny, so there isn't much that can be done right away but it will be nice to start some heeling practice.

It's been about 10 years since I taught a dog to heel (Rosemary worked with Dylan) and the methods have changed so much since then. I'm shopping around for the "best deal" in heeling training to see what works best for me and Roxy. There are plenty of choices, and of course each person has their own feelings about the One True Way. My gut tells me to try a little of each and go with the training styles that work.

"Love Me, Kodi! Love Me!"

A Quiet Sunday Morning

Dylan Loves to Fly Dylan and Roxy Stretch Their Legs Dylan and Roxy Pose for the Camera

Roxy training diary week 9
Sun Aug 3 to Sat Aug 9 2003

Well, it's time to switch this log deal over to a weekly basis, because the days are getting too high to count easily and I'm not responding well to the pressure of trying to make observations on a day to day basis. Hence, the overlap between this RoxyLog and the previous one. Deal with it.

Not related at all to training Roxy, but one of the funniest things I have seen this week is a Flash Mob which descended on a Manhattan Toys R Us store and began worshiping the Animatronic dinosaur there. If you like this sort of thing, go to FlockSmart and join in the fun. Trust me, it's only a matter of time before one of these Flash Mobs assembles to worship Maria Bartiromo instead of some stinking dinosaur.

Also at the same site, if you are in the mood for an education in the finer things in life, be sure to surf the Britney Spears Guide to Semiconductor Physics. The wallpaper is especially keen.

Okay, back to puppies. Here's the Roxy Weather Report: Tuesday she was dry all day, Wednesday dry a half day, Thursday dry all day, and Friday dry all day. So that makes only one puddle on the kitchen floor this week while we were at work. We're still working on her schedule when we are at home, and not doing nearly so well there. Both Annie and Dylan had some GI upset the end of this week and so there were some midnight carpet-cleaning sessions which woke Roxy up, and of course she had to go pee then, too. All in the life of a puppy.

That top left canine came out while we were playing Saturday. Jim found it hanging at a crazy angle and tried to hold her still so Rosemary could yank the tooth; that failed until we switched places and Jim did the pulling part. Now the slippery little devil is part of our RoxyTooth collection.

There was some training going on amidst all this revelry. Tuesday we worked on stand to down with the clicker. Thursday was open A-frame night at the Dog Wash and the new Duncan equipment had come in Wednesday, so we set it up. The dog walk has a short set of legs, just two feet off the ground, so Roxy did her first dog walk. Then she did it again. Turns out, she just loves the dog walk. We worked on a down in the contact zone and she was fantastic.

We also set up the chute so she got to try that, too. She didn't know what to do with the fabric at first, but once she got the hang of it she was having fun with that as well. We also played come games, and Rosemary worked some with her on conformation ring gating.

Saturday was get wet and have fun day. It was hot, so Rosemary being a clever mom got to either make Kool-Aid or get out the hose and let them play with it, so she opted for the hose. A great time was had by all trying to catch the water stream. Everyone got soaking wet, then went inside for a while, then we started all over again. After the second round of "Water Weenie®", Rosemary still had some ideas for fun times so Roxy was introduced to the 2 liter bottle chase. Of course this degenerated into a game of tug, as it always does. At least that provided us with this week's pictures.

Roxy and Annie Play Spin the Bottle

Roxy and Annie Hit the Bottle Together

Roxy training diary days 55-58
Fri Aug 1 to Mon Aug 4 2003

Two big firsts over the last couple of days.

First first: she lost her first canine Sunday night somewhere around dinnertime. We couldn't find it, so it's either lost or swallowed. There are three more to go (see picture). Monday night, we looked and saw the end of the new permanent canine peeking out.

Today I went home at lunchtime and she was dry – that was about four hours. Then, when we came home at the end of the day, after she had been in her ex pen about five hours more, she was still dry. That makes the first time we haven't come home to a puddle either at noon or in the evening. So, our little girl is developing bladder control.

Still not enough training to speak of. She is beginning to understand 'come', but she is not reliable by any means. That's a goal to work on this week.

Roxy's First Permanent Canine Is Here

Current RoxyLog

RoxyLog July 2003 (days 25-54)

RoxyLog June 2003 (days 1-24)