I really am still here, though! We’ve just been busy at work.
Lizzie has been spending a lot of time locked up, and she’s BORED. So we’ve been doing some trick training. She’s learned ‘spin’ (and ‘rinse!’ which means to spin the other direction. :P), and we’re working on wave and roll over.
I posted over on Dogstar Academy about what I *don’t* like about clicker training, so I guess now it’s time to rave about what I *do* like. I like how it engages dogs, especially dogs who get bored with a lot of repetition. And I think it’s a really, really powerful tool for behavior modification, especially when it comes to conditioning. There’s some research (I don’t have a citation but I will try and figure out where I read this) that suggests that the click- as a short, sharp noise- is just the type that is easy to condition a critter- human or canine-‘s neurological response to, so that you can actually CREATE a positive feeling (increased neurotransmitter production) to that sound- an emotional response, not just a learned ‘food’s on the way’ reaction. (I would see if it worked in people, but alas, I am not food motivated, nor particularly toy driven, so I would be very hard to clicker train.)
I love how shaping games make my dogs think. Not all dogs like freeshaping- Mal doesn’t care for it. Kaylee hasn’t figured it out yet. But Wings ADORED it and Lizzie thinks it’s a pretty cool game, too- you can just about hear the little wheels turning in her head.
Lizzie is in season, as of yesterday. She’s 6 months and 4 weeks old. (Why is it the dogs you want to spay after their first season wait FOREVER to come in, and the ones you plan to keep intact seem to plan things so they can have the maximum number of seasons possible?) So no park, no class, and no walks on our main walking trail till the end of May. Oh well- we may be able to arrange a couple of playsessions with a friend and her (female) Eskie pup, and she can still play (some) with Indy, at least till she is further in (Indy sired a litter in 2004 and unlike Mal, KNOWS what that enticing smell is.) She was supposed to have a (leashed) playdate this afternoon with J’s eskie puppy and a corgi friend Biscuit (male, but only 3 months old)- but between the icky weather and her being in season, I’m not sure we’re going to manage it.
I was planning to take Mal to an obedience match today, but he hasn’t eaten well since Friday and is turning down cheese even here at home, which is his lowest-distraction environment (usually). So I’m going to wait and see- Novice isn’t till noon, and we can go and just do a PreNovice run (no heel free, SFE onleash.)
I’ve created a new blog, Dogstar Academy, for non-spitz and general dog content, so this will be the last update on Mal.
Took Lizzie to her first handling (ringcraft) class at Top Dog on Thursday. She was a little star on the table and she free-stacks beautifully. Next week, my friend Lindsay will hopefully be there with her camera. We’ve got some work to do on the gaiting, though- Lizzie prefers to LEAP instead of trot.
It’s been a busy few weeks. 🙂 Last weekend, we went down to visit a friend and her Belgian Sheepdog, Destry, south of San Antonio. Lizzie was enthralled with Destry and would very much liked to have brought him home with us. (I think Elaine would have been upset, though. :P) I’ll add a photo here when I get the one she took. 🙂
Lizzie is making great progress on her obedience and agility training. Heeling is coming along nicely (still strongly lured), fronts are progressing. Sit and down are solid, but sit needs to improve, speed-wise. Targeting is perfect, and she’s learning ‘wave’ as a trick, just for fun. She’s a TON of fun, and I hope to get her into some NADAC agility events as soon as she’s eligable next year.
It’s not the best part of dog shows but it’s definately in the top 5: SHOPPING. If it’s dog related, SOME dog show vendor will probably carry it. So here’s the list of what made it’s way home with us from the Rose City Classic
- A pair of undies for Lizzie for when she’s in season (Black with metallic multi-colored butterflies. Much cooler than the ruffly kind they have at the pet supply store.)
- A pink camo hoodie for Lizzie (because she was REALLY cold in the wind- she’s hitting that hairless 5 month old stage) and it makes her look like a little thug. AWWW. I thought about buying her one of the ‘blanket’ style coats that aren’t so cutesy, but they were $20 more than the cheapy sweatshirt that she really doesn’t need down here- but will make a cute costume.
- A dumbbell (properly sized- she CAN steal, carry and retrieve Malcolm’s, but it’s the size of her body and she really needs a properly sized one) This one is still a TINY bit big but by the time she’s grown, it shouldn’t be.
- “Competitive Obedience For Small Dogs” by Barbara Cecil (and someone else) – recommended by Pom person and obedience judge on Front & Finish, Barbara McClausky (whose black and tan UDX Pom made me fall in love with spitz and competitive obedience in a single show)
- A pink plushie sheep (actually, Lizzie stole this- it was on the floor having fallen out of a bin and she picked it up while I was paying for the dumbbell and tried to carry it off. So it had to come along too.)
- A purple and black faux-fleece braided tug
- (Not for Lizzie) a new martingale collar for Malcolm, my smooth collie. It’s black with silver-and-blue pirate emblems (skull and crossbones) on it. It’s VERY dashing. (I also picked up martingales for my friends Lindsay (for her new service dog in training, a dalmatian named Caden) and Martha (whose greyhound Nike is Mal’s best dogpark buddy. Martha’s other dog is a papillon named Monarch who is Lizzie’s dogpark boyfriend.) Caden’s is red with off-white Celtic griffins on it and Nike’s is dark green with tan tribal patterns on it.
- Purple show slip-lead for Lizzie
- Pink Pirate collar and leash for Lizzie – okay, so she already had two collars, a solid purple one and a magnta, tan, and rose one- but this one was TOO cute to pass up. It’s pink, with a dog skull w/ eyepatch and crossed bones. Pink is definately her color. (And I am not normally a pink person.)
- Pink leash for Emily’s dog Traum. (Traum is a boy but he’s kind of feminine. So I bought this leash for her because she was hemming and hawing ovr buying it for herself. It’s hot pink and in black cutesy letters says “One of us is a bitch!”- totally made us giggle. They also had one that said “One of us has no balls!” and “One of us loves big sticks!”)
- Chews – I bought a couple of different kinds of chews for the dogs to work on while they hung out at the booth
I think that’s everything… 😛 I also bought an ungodly amount of Starbucks while I was there. 🙂