Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Campus

Rugby finally got his stitches removed today (longer than one week...i know :p). He was already wound up pretty tight from not really doing anything for two whole weeks, but once his feet were free....he was a wild man!

Before when we were waiting in the vets office to get them out the ladys at the desk were like...ohhhh hes the good one (they remembered him from before)! All we did was heel into the office, I 'placed' him onto the chair next to me and had him doing a down stay and they were very amazed that he was actually listenting to me. While this was very flattering..I must say in a way it is also very pittiful that a simple down stay can draw so much attention. They were also amazed that his bandages were intact and not torn to shred. HAHA!

He was supposed to come in his bag to class with me but I he was not having any part of that. He was way too hyper and too excited to sit in a bag for that long. So we walked around campus for a whole hour. Good thing we did because it took 30 minutes just for him to settle down and remember all his manners. We worked on so many things and he did incredibly well! I never realized how useful the set up of my campus was for training!!

The biggest thing is that there are about 1 million stairs (I wish I was exaggerating) and Rugby after a few flights of stairs was heeling up and down them. Before he would try but just ended up heeling for a couple steps then going to the bottom or top and waiting for me. But he got enough practice today that he took his time and stayed beside me the whole time.

Our second biggest distraction is people (first is dogs). There is definetely not a shortage of people on campus and Rugby after the first half hour was heeling very nicely thorugh crowds and weaving in and out of people with me. (We are going to pretend the first 30 min. never happened since he was so excited lol) We practiced our halts a LOT since those seemed to emphasize his distraction level (if he sat where he was supposed to he was paying attention, if not...). This also helped me to see what things we needed to work on more. Quite a few times when we came to a halt I would drop him (down him) with people still walking around us. He didn't have a problem with that at all, as long as I made sure he heard me. ;)

We placed onto benches, and step things and anything I thought he could jump on. He actually suprised me with how well he did on this considering we haven't really been working on it (oops).

We are supposed to be working on figure 8s and finishes. With all the good stuff we found to work with on campus, things to walk around was not one of them. There were a couple of lightposts and things that we did circles around but nothing really catered to our figure 8 needs. We did practice the finishes though. After we practiced 4 times there (all in differend places) we stopped to do another set of sit/stays, comes and finishes. I called him to me and wrapped the leash behind me and before I could say the command Rugby ran around behind me and was in heel position! LOL He finally got it! YEAH!

We changed surfaces lots and lots of times, and even walked on some of that orange construction/security fencing that had fallen down. He had no problems with anything! We even walked passed a guy in a wheel chair and it actually made Rugby really happy! His butt started wiggling and he tried to go over and say hi. :) He also met a lady that has 3 maltese at home and she told him he was very cute.

I am very very happy with him. He did everything very well today. Now he is one tired puppy and crashed out in his bed beside me.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Well, not really toothless, but he does have less teeth! :) He is feeling much better today than yesterday after the surgery. He is pretty much back to normal. Hardest part of it all is that he really is fine, but he still isn't allowed to have too much 'exercise' so he doesn't break the stitches in his legs (dewclaws removed). The bandages also have to stay 'clean and dry' for a whole WEEK!!! I think that is pretty much impossible with Rugby seeing as we do so many things outside, and he really enjoys to get dirty.

He also isn't allowed to get a bath untill the stitches are out! YIKES! They must have forgotten about white long haired dogs when they made these rules! He is going to be a mess!! :p

We finally got the 'paw' down. I decided officially that Rugby is the biggest show off in the world. The biggest reward I can give him while training is let him have an audience while he does something correctly. Take for instance the other day while we were practicing our 'fetch' command. Usually we are alone or in the company of strangers that have no idea what we are doing, nor do they care or pay attention to us. But this particular time my mom was watching. So he finished doing his 'fetches' and I told him how smart he was and my mom chimed in. She told him how smart he was and he ran over to her, almost as a 'well, if you liked that then watch this.' He proceeded to run back to me, take the dumbell out of my hand and run back to my mom dancing. After that he came back to me so that I could tell him 'give.'

So today we were doing our 'paw' since it requires little to no effort on either of us and my sister was there. He did it a couple of times and when she told him he was smart he ran over to her all happy, came back and sat facing me waiting for me to tell him to do it again. Which I did, and he very exuberantly placed his paw in my hand. He is most definetely proud of himself when he 'gets' things. It makes me laugh!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Teeth Pulling

Rugby and I are about to head out to go to the vets today. I am a little nervous and I know teeth pulling isn't anything serious but still!

Yesterday was a nice long boring day for Rugby. I had school and work so he pretty much did nothing. I know my sister took him for a walk in the afternoon. When I got back from work we took advantage of the unusually warm weather (70*) and walked around the block in the rain. We didn't practice anything, he was on his lunge line so he could just run. He was wayyy hyper when I got home from having just layed around all day and he was very appreciative of the walk. ;)

Cross your fingers! Here we go to the vets!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Morning

Today Rugby worked a little bit...

We did some downs, stands and 'places.' We ran short on time so Rugby had to come to school with me today. Since the class started at 11:30, parking was scarce and we had quite a walk (that he had to heel the whole time) to get to the lecture hall. Before we got into the building I shoved him in his dreaded bag, and crossed my fingers that he didn't let out a bark in the middle of class like last semester when he barked in my discussion group (thanks Rugby lol). I was banking on the fact that he was tired from working that morning and from walking to the class. He did better in that he didn't bark, but he wasn't exactly happy in his bag. He just moved around a lot and was panting (if was a gorgeous 57* today). Occasionally he would whine a little, but it was barely audible so I would just give him a little poke through the bag and he would be quite for a little more.

After 45 minutes (class is hour and 15 min), I thought I was pushing my luck as he continued to stir in his bag. Last time it was just a discussion, with a TA and not a 'professor' so his presence could be looked over. Not today though, this was a huge 250-300 student class and if he barked I was sure I would be in trouble. I also figured that if he had that success, maybe next time he could last a little longer. He knew I was nervous as anything so that probably didn't help much. So we snuck out of class early today and heeled back to the car, with the occasional sit/down thrown in.

He did wear himself out though becuase when we came home for lunch he fell right asleep. I was going to the barn after and I grabbed my keys and asked 'you comin?' to which I usually get a dog running to the door, or at the very least he will stand up and give me a cute little head tilt. Today all he did was open his eyes and just fell back asleep. Poor guy was so tired he didn't even want to go for a car ride! :p (although if he knew we were going to the barn I am sure he would have woken himself up...he starts whining as soon as we turn onto her street! haha) So he stayed home and slept with my sister and was energized again when I got back from the barn.

We even broke out some new toys that we had been hiding from Zena since she destroyed a couple in the first hour she was here. He loved them, and he played hard enough for him to be sleeping again. :)

So we didn't really do a lot of work, but it was a start. Tomorrow there won't be time to train (maybe in the morning some) and thursday he gets his baby teeth pulled so he definetely won't be up for it. I guess I just don't see the point for now. We will start again Friday or Saturday, depending on how good he is feeling. Rugby needs some new pictures too huh?

Monday, February 9, 2009


So Zena was sent home today. Sunday we had a 'lesson' with Zena and her owner so that he could see how to walk her, and handle her in a way that is condusive to her new manners. Rugby was my 'demo' dog, and he behaved very nicely to demonstrate how to walk and how to hold the leash, etc. It took her owner a little bit to get the hang of it, but once he did it was SOO GOOD to see her heeling perfectly beside him all around the neighborhood.

I tried to find something she was afraid of so that I could shoe him how to handle her (and not handle her) in that type of situation. I could find NOTHING! We tried to walk her close to cars, trashcans, recycle bins, she was soo much more confidant! I really can't believe the change that she has made this week. I noticed that she was less afraid earlier in the week, but I though we would have a least a little relapse with her owner present (even if it was just a quick glance). We even walked past kids and people at the playground and she didn't try to go over and say hi (but she did think about it). I was able to show him that there needed to be designated 'times' for sniffing and saying hello to people, and she wasn't in charge of picking when those times were. Those times were usually good for potty breaks and practicing recalls.

This morning before she left, I could definetely see all the attention she was giving me just around the house. Not only was she following me around, but when I would stop moving she would just sit and stare at me. It was wonderful...and I didn't even ask for it. If I was undecided on being proud of her Saturday, I am 100% proud of her today. She really has come a long way in a week.

Yesterday and today Rugby hasn't done any 'real' work. We did learn how to spin ('circle') and give 'paw,' but it is taking him a little longer than expected. He still needs some cues from me still so we have to keep practicing.

Zena left while we were out, and when we got back Rugby walked into the house, looked around (probably noticing that she was gone), turned back and stared me right in the eyes and started to wag his tail. :D I think he is happy he doesn't have to share me anymore! We will be doing real work again tomorrow, 2 days is a plenty long break.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Long Week

Rugby and I were left this week watching Zena, a pug/JRT mix dog. I have to admitt that I really hated her when she came. Her owners had done her a huge disservice by not socializing her, teaching her any manner, exercising her, etc. She also didn't play very well and spent a lot of time pushing Rugby around (he taught her the ropes though and enjoys playing with her now). I also have to admitt that I did not work with her as much as I should have, but it was enough to make her much much much more liveable.

This is Zenas training log for the week:

The first order of business was teaching her to walk nicely on a leash, which would also get her to pay attention to me. This was sort of hard for her at first because not only did she not have any respect for people, but she was just a bundle of energy and packed full of nerves. On the fourth day she was spending most of her time in heel position because even though she was no very accepting of the fact she had to listen, she had so much energy she was desperate to deposit it into some formal work. This whole business of walking proved to me that she was not walked regularly because she was scared of just about every 'normal' thing you encounter while out on a walk: cars, trashcans, mailboxes, etc. The first day with the scary-dog-eating trashcan, we walked and walked and walked around it untill she would walk past it calmly without any tension on the leash. After that, she had a better outlook on all the scary things, which saved us from walking a lot of circles. haha. Today, which was our last walk untill her owner comes back to claim her tonight, she walked in a perfect heel position for 85% of the time, the rest she was just a tad bit ahead and was easily persuaded to come back into a heel.

Second order of business was house manners. That nervous energy that she had made for a dog that constantly bounced off the walls inside (and outside but...) and did not know how to settle down. It was tragic! For this we did Margot's sit on the dog. If I had more time we would have done this much more often, because I think it helped a lot! The first time we did it, she would not lay down for a whole hour and a half (probably the longest hour and a half of my life). The next morning, it amazingly only took her 20 minutes to get it. That night...another long hour, but then I think it clicked. She realized it was okay to lay down and settle and she really didn't have to always be in constant motion. She was getting plently of exercise and I KNOW she needed to rest more than she was.

With every sit on the dog, she would spend more of her free time (not working or constrained) settled and either sitting or laying somewhere which was certainly a relief. Today she had to stay home while Rugby and I went to our retrieve class, and when I came back I took her outside to potty and for a walk. We came back in, and both Zena and Rugby played a bit, then decided they were tired. For the past two hourse, Rugby layed at my feet while Zena layed beside me, flat out...asleep!!!!! She was unrestrained, no leash or crate or anything! It was her own free will that she layed down and relaxed with us!! :) I don't think I have seen her so still before! lol

We worked on her recall a bit too, since she would come when you called her (sort of) but would usually duck away before you could grab her. We practiced a lot, usually I did recalls when she started getting too rough playing with Rugby so that he could get a break and she would sort of see where to draw the line. We would also practice some when we went out for potty breaks.

Another thing we spent some time on was being picked up. I had to pick her up to get her over the baby gate we put up to keep her out of the living room, and also to put her in her crate while in the car. She was nervous about it and (had no manners) and wiggled so much...but she doesn't any more. She got picked up and put down a lot, and now she will come over to the baby gate and wait willingly to be picked up and carried over it.

She also rushed the door too. She doesn't do that any more either. For a while she would run up to the door and before I opened it I would say 'my door' and move both of them out of the way, and they 'got it' and eventually would just back away when I came up to the door. Today when we left for our walk, she walked calmly to the door and never passed me at all untill I opened the door and stepped out and told her 'ok.'

I never thought I would say this but I am sort of proud of her! :O *gasp* Since she made so much progress in such a short time, I know the person to blame is her owner and he is getting a little 'lesson' of sorts when he gets back so she can keep up her good manners.

Rugby wasn't forgoten though, and he had to work this week too. The other day when he tried to run over and 'meet' a pitt bull being walked with one of those stupid head halti things, I decided we need to spend lots and lots more time doing recalls untill he is absolutely solid with them. That really has been our focus, but we have been holding and fetching our dumbell in different places too. Dogs and people are our ultimate distractions (since he is so outgoing and friendly with everyone) so we have gone to the pet store to work on holding and recalls, and also to the dog park (which was a realll chalange for Rugby...he was too excited to focus for a good 35 minutes....we have to go back and keep working on it). He is getting better, but he isn't stupid and if he doesn't think coming to me is more rewarding that whatever he is doing than he just very politely refuses (lol...jerk). We also started playing with off leash heeling a little bit since we did that in class on thursday, but I don't think we are good enough to devote too much time to it. We are going to keep working and working untill we get it. :)

Rugby has decided to join us on the coach and now I am sandwiched between two crazy little dogs. :) :D Gotta love it! Time to go eat!

Oh...Rugby gets his baby teeth removed the 12th of this month, since he refuses to let them fall out. grrr...