Monday, April 18, 2005

First Day at UDC Nationals

Laevatein is asleep in her crate. Her head is in her snap-on food dish. Most telling, there was no screaming when she went into her crate, only a little whining. Does that suggest the day she had?

Shakespeare and I did Agility this morning, but we won't discuss that. ;-) I think he was exhausted from the night before and, if I may be momentarily anthropomorphic, bent out of shape generally because of the puppy. He also just generally doesn't do well at warm outdoor trials. But during the trial I frequently took Laev out to urinate and socialize. We stayed away from dogs -- in fact, I wouldn't even walk her through the crating area, but carried her; no bad experiences during this should-be-a-fear-period! -- but schmoozed with a lot of people. She also got to hang out beside me a chewing a bully stick, as I figure there are lots of worse things she could be learning than to relax in a trial environment. Shakespeare's one major issue is trial stress, as even just entering that environment worries him and shuts down his performance, and I don't want Laev to have that burden.

Then we went to the Obedience ring and watched that. The only thing that seemed to startle or unnerve her at all was sudden applause, so I guess we'll spend tomorrow beside the conformation rings! Shakespeare was not entered; not much point, as there are no UDC trials near me at all and why earn a leg a year toward a title? But he did get to come out and play a sort of chien en blanc briefly when they needed an additional dog for the group exercise in the Veterans class. I pulled him out of the car, ran him to the ring, did a one-minute sit, took him out and treated him. Probably was great for his trial anxiety!

Laev did her first track today! Well, first with me, anyway; I know Lisa did some puppy tracking squares with her. I carefully laid a 20-step track well away from the activity in nice grass. Set a flag to start teaching her that flags mean drop your nose and sniff! Stomped out my scent pad and baited it and each step, ending with a little pile. All ready, right? Brought out Laev, pointed her toward the flag and scent pad. Of course she attacked the flag. ;-) After I got it back, though, she needed some help to realize that the scent pad had food in it! and then she actually, a few paces in, began to work, actively looking for the next footprint. Huzzah!

Our housetraining is progressing abominably. I guess I needed the reality shock; Dante had only two accidents ever in his housetraining career, and both of those I could clearly see where I had erred. Laev seems to have no sphincter control at all, as she will sometimes even urinate while sitting. I don't think anything's physically wrong with her, just that we don't have a fixed schedule like I'd like and that she's just tiny still. Though she is growing rapidly!

So far we have sit on a fairly reliable hand signal, down on a mostly reliable hand signal, and a mostly reliable nose touch to my palm which will eventually become stand. We also started fundamental heelwork in the motel room tonight, looking to burn a few more calories and exercise the brain, which she took to very well. "Walk beside Mom. Look at Mom. Get kibble. Repeat. I can do this!"

Shakespeare still disdains her. I have given him leave to retreat to the bed and glare at her from above. She still tries to jump on the bed when they are both loose, and it's my job to split them before he gets snarky. She doesn't get it -- she'll retreat for a moment if he shows teeth, but if he barks at her, she comes right back with a furious bark of her own, as if to say, "Bring it on, old guy!" Dear God, what I have brought home?

God bless the person who invented Tricky Treat Balls. Shakespeare is absolutely addicted to his, and Laev has not yet mastered it, but has a grand time trying. All I need do is keep them separated and let them exercise themselves. Awesome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, how old is this puppy?? If she is young enough to have little to no bowel control, it seems like a little much to have commands, even if they are informal. You want her to have drive right?