Sunday, July 17, 2005

adolescence begins...?

It was dumping rain in fierce buckets when I woke this morning, but we went tracking anyway. I took my oiled-leather hat, but the rain faded and it was merely muggy and moist during our work. Yay!

Laev's a little too happy to be tracking -- she starts jumping and spinning when I put her harness on -- and she's trying to keep her nose up and rush down the track too quickly, without checking each footprint and attempting to overshoot corners. Basically, she enjoys following the track so much she doesn't pause to eat and therefore doesn't get her head down. Not good. So today I really upped the ante and used shredded hot dog bits, leftovers from the Dobe Club summer picnic. (I took Laev this year, by the way, leaving Shakespeare at home -- I'd been out of town until a couple of hours into the picnic, Jon was out with some friends instead of accompanying me, and didn't feel up to handling multiple dogs. She had fun and we bought a fuzzy squeaky toy at the club auction.)

The hot dogs may have done the trick. I'm still internally opposed to hot dogs on the track (if I can smell 'em, surely the dog can smell 'em!) and I'm a little chagrined that I ended up using them, but by the end of the third track she was no longer straining on the harness and tracking on two feet. Her first task, a puppy square, she was frantic and flailing all over the square. No thought process. Her second track was still kind of messy, and she seemed surprised when I held her back and she found hot dog bits in the prints. I'd tried to drop the bits into the natural pockets of the grass, making her get her nose down low for them.

On the third attempt, though, she started strong and pushy and then slowed down, getting herself under control. By the end, she was actually getting her head down, even on the sections without bait in the steps. So maybe we'll have to stay on this program for a while....

Laev's still teething. I thought she was pretty much done, based on the fact that she's been wanting to tug more and doing less basic teething chewing. But apparently I was wrong, because yesterday we were playing and I was ribbing her verbally about her weaker-than-usual grip, and then she jumped and bit hard and we each tugged, and then the toy slid out of her mouth and something clattered on the floor. Eek.

I quickly let her win a toy and do a victory lap with it around the living room. I kept the tooth. Bad Laura!

Laev still has a remarkably decent recall (and I'm trying to keep it up), but I can tell adolescence is just starting. It's really hard to hold her attention; even playing tug is tough to hold her. She can't keep her mind on chewing or eating! Only the raw bones can lock her brain for more than a few minutes. Silly puppy.

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