The RoxyLog

Roxy training diary days 50-54
Sun Jul 27 to Thu Jul 31 2003

Not much of an entry here, because I was out of town the early part of this week, then got back and didn't do much training with the kid. We worked a little bit with the clicker this week but not much to write home about. I will have to try and do better.

Roxy training diary days 45-49
Tue Jul 22 to Sat Jul 26 2003

I have been a real slug about training this week. Hard times at work, and lots of bad things happening to people I care about. I've just been blue and not feeling much like training or interacting with the puppy.

She's getting too big to carry easily. Rosemary weighed her at 26 pounds. So, we are experimenting with new and different ways to get her from her ex pen or crate to a "potty safe" area. For the ex pen in the kitchen, the 10 feet to the kitchen door seems do-able. There have been some dry half-days in her pen, so progress is being made on that front.

As far as the morning exercise, that's another matter. This morning, for example, I tried slipping a lead on her and making for the back door. It was no dice. Annie got in the way, and tried to give Roxy what-for, so we only made it as far as the bedroom door before all three ACDs ended up in a tangle and Roxy got freaked and peed. She managed to staunch the flow and I got her outside to finish the job.

Wednesday, the shipment of Gum Gum Bars arrived. I got five of them, figuring there was no way that three dogs (Kodiak can't play in any reindeer games) would be able to fight over five identical toys. Amazingly, for the most part, the strategy has worked. We also got in the treat bags to replace the ones that I keep losing at trials.

Thursday night, I bought 12 tubes of mini-M&Ms and dumped them into a container, then removed the labels and washed out the cylindrical snap-top tubes they come in. These will be Roxy's first scent articles (thanks, once again, Aunt Dee Dee for the excellent idea!). I let Annie take a sniff at them and decided I'll need to drill holes in the side to make this work; there is not enough scent coming out of them to do the job.

Friday, she brutally attacked and slayed a cockroach in the kitchen. (See below.)

Friday night, I was working on the computer and squeezing my foam-rubber heart-shaped stress-ball (it's a promo for Norvasc ®, a blood pressure lowering drug). Annie thought it was some sort of toy, so she started bugging me to play with it. So, I made her hold it like an obedience dumbbell (picture at right). You can also see one of the five Gum Gum Bars in the picture; it's the green one, which more or less belongs to Roxy.

I decided to try to teach her something new this morning so I got her to run at me and jump up. We're calling it "charge". About one time out of 10 I can catch her in my arms, down low by my knees.

We also remembered that we have never played hide and seek with her, so we did a bit of that this afternoon. It was fun when we hid behind trees and easy stuff, but then Rosemary decided to get clever and hid too well. That got Roxy all upset and Roxy would not leave my side. So, we did a few more easy ones then decided that another game was in order.

So, Rosemary got out the sprinkler and we had fun with that. Dylan is the best "sprinkler killer". As you can see, he gets style points for twisting his head and for the big air. Roxy is not quite sure what to do, but she is beginning to see the fun of it, and Annie will take one or two good runs at it (you can see her in just one of the pictures, at top right) before deciding the whole thing is silly and only babies would do that sort of thing.

Annie's Heart Is In Her Mouth

Die, Cockroach, Die

Sprinkler Fun Day

Roxy training diary days 38-44
Tue Jul 15 to Mon Jul 21 2003

And so, it was off to our last agility trial for a while. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in preparation for the trip, with Jim spending lots of time at work trying to get things cleared up ahead of time. This gave Roxy plenty of time to sleep while Jim was doing homework in the study.

Wednesday, Rosemary let the guys out for some general play time. They are all doing much better at playing together; they actually seem to be getting to like one another a bit.

Then Thursday came, and it was time to drive to Kansas. That made for a long day (about 13 hours on the road, not counting stops). Roxy's bladder size necessitates more frequent stops, at least once every couple of hours. Like the other dogs before her, she's turning into a great traveler. Thursday night, we arrived at Dee Dee and Royce Rose's, so Roxy got to meet Dee Dee and Royce for the first time in person. She turned on her special puppy charm and of course it worked.

Friday was just a catch-up day with some vacation time. Dee Dee reminded Jim that he had not worked on a down from a stand, so we spent some time doing that. She also suggested working on scent articles, so that's something to do when we get back home and settled.

Saturday at the trial, it was hot and steamy for Kansas, but just hotter than what we are used to (it can't get any more humid than Mississippi). Annie didn't run very well, and Roxy didn't get to do very much except sit around and occasionally be a puppy ambassador. Ruenette Boyette got a dose of puppy breath – she was there with her girl Jade – and Marilyn Painter stopped by. She was well impressed with Roxy's breeding, which is as it should be, because she is of course a Kuawarri X Kuawarri cross.

While Mom (Twist) is in California, Dad (Tate) lives with Bridget Painter Mason south of Kansas City, so Sunday was a chance for Roxy to meet her Dad, who after all had just done the slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am thing somewhere back in January. Neither one of them seemed overly impressed at the family reunion, but all cattle dogs speak the same body language and so it wasn't long before she and Dad were playing a bit at the end of their leashes, blissfully unaware of the family connection. It shows up in the pictures, though. There is something about the carriage of the head and the set of the ears that marks them as being related, at least as I look at the pictures now. Bridget thinks that Roxy may darken up a bit. Marilyn is impressed with what she calls the "stars" over both of their eyes, a little bit of lighter fur along the top row of eyelashes that gives both sets of eyes a mischievous glint and some extra expression.

Saturday night, we scored our first little tooth. Roxy has been losing the top and bottom row of baby incisors, and I found one hanging by a thread, so we yanked it and saved it for posterity before it was lost or swallowed. So now we have a special memento and a very real reminder that our little puppy is growing up.

Roxy Sleeping

Dog Scrum

Bridget, Tate, Rosemary and Roxy

The Family Smile

The Family Ear Prick

Roxy training diary day 37
Mon Jul 14 2003

It's not that I'll go back to posting daily (not happening!) but so much happened today that I wanted to copy down for posterity. If I don't, I'll forget.

We took our first walk. It was like walking a pogo stick. She prefers to be up in the air, and she spent much of the time leaping straight up while we were trying to move forward. When she did wear herself out – since she's a puppy we're talking about 15 seconds of tiredness – she would take a few forward steps on the ground and there would be lots of praise. We made it about a block there and back.

She has started losing teeth. We didn't find and keep them; they were tiny incisors (one top, one bottom) and they are lost or swallowed. There are two little red holes where her sharp, needle-like puppy teeth used to be. We won't be sorry to see them go.

The funniest thing happened today. You had to be there, and there was no time for a camera. Of course, being a puppy, she can pee almost anywhere, anytime. This time, she was in her ex pen with her front paws up near the top, so she was standing up like a human male. Rosemary and I hear a splatter and there she is, peeing like a guy. It was a sight. Yes, there was a mess to clean up, but it went quickly because we were laughing the whole time.

Roxy training diary days 35-36
Sat Jul 12 to Sun Jul 13 2003

Not much to tell here. It stopped raining Saturday, so that was a chance to get caught up on chores around the house which did not involve Roxy so there was not much training to be done. Sunday evening, some more work on clicker training. I'm trying to get Roxy to do a down from a hand signal (like a traffic cop's stop) but my attempts to fade the pointing at the floor signal and introduce the stop signal are not really working. I'll need to either keep trying or adopt another approach.

Every dog has a favorite game (except for Kodiak, and his predecessor Sasha – neither has a sense of humor). Roxy's game is to run at you full tilt, jumping in the air at the last minute. I catch her, and throw her backwards about 3 or 4 feet, and the game begins again. She enjoys this immensely but often she will try to attach herself with her sharp puppy teeth during the throwback step and that really hurts. The look on her face of pure puppy joy is worth it (almost).

Last night, as we were training, she did something exceedingly cute. I was using some leftover beef jerky as a high-value treat. I gave her a piece that was large and stale, way too tough to chew easily. So, she started flinging it up in the air and catching it, pouncing on it, playing it like a tough little prey animal. It was so cute I called Rosemary to go get the camera but she did not hear me, and the moment passed.

Some goals for this week:

  • We need more recall work.
  • Continue working on the down.
  • Take a short walk down the driveway, down a house or two, and back.

It'll be a short week for the RoxyLog. We're driving to Kansas Thursday, spending Friday with Dee Dee and Royce, then Saturday and Sunday we'll be at a trial. We're hoping to see Roxy's sire, Tate, at the trial if his owner Bridget can stop by.

This is the last agility trialing for a while, maybe two months or so. I may take Annie into Utility obedience some over the intervening time.

Roxy training diary days 30-34
Mon Jul 7 to Fri Jul 11 2003

We took care of the turquoise and yellow tug toy by giving it to Roxy and Annie for a joint play session Monday morning. True to cattle dog form, they jointly destroyed it (see picture). Note the dead squeaker peeking out from under the guts of the thing. We timed it; it took longer than we thought (perhaps five minutes). A great return on our investment of entry fees.

Even though I'm only writing here in four or five day chunks, that doesn't mean we're not working. I just figure I'm boring you guys with more recitations of our accomplishments, but I'm also trying to keep some sort of record for myself.

Clicker training continues to be the fastest and easiest way to teach stuff for Roxy. We've pretty much nailed down the sit without a lot of acting and cues; the down still takes some pointing and bending over to accomplish. She's got a great clicker-trained "touch" and has worked on touching the finger, the touch stick, and her Alley Oop. I still need to work on a touch pad more. Her "come" could use some work. Time was, that she was happy to run to me without much effort on my part, but now she is becoming more independent and just staring at me when I call her. It's sad, but it won't be long before she's wearing the rope outside so I can get her if she gets cheeky.

Progress is being made on housetraining. I'd guess about ¼ of the time I come home at lunch (or at the end of the work day) and she has not peed in her ex pen. She does tend to still "leak" from excitement when we get home. It's almost a given now that she will make it through the night.

Wednesday was the last round of puppy shots for a while. She will be 16 weeks Sunday so it's the final set of puppy vaccinations, including her rabies. She weighed 21½ pounds at the vet's office, too, so it's nice to know that gravity is the same there as at our house.

We tracked down the tummy upset to the treats I was giving her over the weekend. I gave her some more on Tuesday during our last Basic Home Manners session and she got a little loose again. So, either the venison treats or the dried lung (or both) are too rich for her.

Dylan is still not happy with her up on the bed with us. She still tends to squirm rather than snuggle anyway. Annie is pretty much her buddy, in a maiden aunt sort of way, while Kodiak continues to be convinced that if he simply stares off into space that she will disappear like a bad nightmare.

When Tug Toys Die

Roxy training diary days 25-29
Wed Jul 2 to Sun Jul 6 2003

Big chunks of time have now been devoted to training. There was a three-day trial in town July 4 weekend, so Roxy got to meet even more adoring public-type people. Many of those who saw her in Perry three weeks ago remarked on how much she has grown. Others met her for the first time. She is an amazingly outgoing puppy.

Sunday marks her 15 week birthday. Annie and Dylan celebrated by picking up lots of cheap dog toys at the trial. They don't last long with the adult cattledogs, but Roxy's destructoskills are not up to ACD standards – yet. So now she has: 2 rope tugs with a fuzzy squeaky middle part, one in a lurid turquoise and yellow color scheme; two canvas bone-shaped toys, with a picture of Dino the Dinosaur; and a squeaky plastic Dino the Dinosaur.

Friday was the Fourth of July. We spent the day at the trial, and Roxy got to practice a stand on the table while being measured with a wicket. Now she is officially 14½ inches, which we knew already. Aunt Kim Dowis came over for dinner and to see the Roxy do her Roxy thing. Kim had helped us celebrate Annie's 10th Birthday which actually turned out to be Roxy's actual birth or whelping day. Kim got to see the clicker demon do sits, downs, and touch stick practice for Cheerios. She was also curious about Roxy's tippy board and seesaw. On a sort of a dare, we decided to re-assemble Roxy's baby seesaw (about 8" off the ground at the apex) which had scared her so much on day 16. She had no trouble with it on day 27, which just goes to show. The first few tries she needed a food lure, but then she started doing it on her own with lots of praise and encouragement from Jim, Rosemary and Kim.

Her nails grow faster than anything I've ever seen. They needed another trim, so we did that again while Kim watched.

Saturday, day 28, Aunt Amanda Moore came to the agility trial to see Annie and Dylan and got to spend some time at the Rankin Co. Pavilion with Roxy as well. Jim stopped off at the Home Depot Saturday night and got the wood to make "lids" for the new Central Metal Products crates for the van. All crates are now strapped down and lidded.

Sunday, Roxy got to meet a group of kids who were well-impressed with her knowledge of important things like sit and down. They spent lots of time petting her and making a fuss, which she of course just swallowed up. I was pleasantly surprised that she knew her sits and downs in a different place and without food lures. She needs a pretty strong hand signal to do the down, but that's not bad for a little girl.

Sunday night, she had some diarrhea starting in the afternoon after we got home. Temperature 101.5 so she's not running a fever. She got Pepto Bismol and a couple of ice cubes for dinner, which was not fair at all but hopefully her stomach will settle a bit tonight so I can get some sleep. Maybe it's something she picked up in the barn (I ended up fishing some unknown stuff out of her mouth from time to time) or the change in schedule or the heat of being outside or whatever, but something has her tummy upset.

Roxy Does the Baby Seesaw

What the Heck Is Up With This Thing?

Current RoxyLog

RoxyLog June 2003 (days 1-24)