Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Training Diaries

I completely forgot about my commit to post this this week. I keep telling my dad I'm slightly ADD but he doesn't believe me. :)

This week we have: 
Zipper has come so far in the last two weeks, I amaze myself sometimes. I'm going WOW I just taught her how to do that! look at me! And then other days I'm scratching my head going how in the world can I teach her not to: _________________!?!?! While this pup is growing on me, I am ready for her to move on to a new home, and get my life back. :)
  • Name Recognition - WOW this dog picks up things superbly fast, once session just clicking and treating for her name, and you say she's in your lap, and so proud of herself. 
  • Off Leash Recall - We haven't used the word "come" just yet since her name recall is so good. 
  • Potty Training: Improving daily, I think we only used the puppy pads once today!!! 
  • Door Manners: Working on stage, she will still bolt if she gets the chance, but is responding the verbal and phsycial cue "stay".
But here's the most important part of this monologue. (Is it called a monologue if its writing?)
Adoption Status:: PENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The family just needs to get an appointment...*the ADD monster strikes again* to do a home visit and have an appointment made to have her spayed!! *happy happy happy dance*  I posted an album of her on Facebook within hours I had people calling me and emailing me about her! 

Texas - Since Zipper has arrived I've notice him starting to revert back into old behaviors, such as insessant barking, and marking indoors. Not good. This week I started teaching a new trick of walking on my feet, unfortunately he doesn't really like standing between my legs, with me leaning over him, so its not working out too well.

Pompei - Still very much in love with Miss Zipper and I'm constantly having to seperate them so I can have a moment of quiet, because its play, play, play and bark, bark, bark ALL THE TIME!!! Driving me over the edge a little bit. But lately we've been working on him not dashing out the door whenever it is opened. This is something that could be problematic for his future blind person, as they won't know that he's not a runner. So i want to make their new life together as easy as possible.

What about Bubbles you ask? Well......um.... OH SnAp!?!
Did I give her dinner?

*dashes off to feed her "poor starving dog"

Erin and company

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bubbles Tells a Tail

Ok So mom said I had to write about this because she is too sick to think much, though if you ask me, she didn't look sick when she screamed and dashed outside. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I also think our friend Puddles will get a kick out of the story.
Puddles dear, this is what you should do when encountering strange animals inside your home. Ok?
All other dachshunds take notes as well, others...well.. I'm sorry but you don't have the keen sense we have been bred to have, so it would be moot for you too take note. I know this sounds harsh but I'm sure you  are good for something. That no can figure out.
But I digress.
This story really started last week sometime when I began to detect the disgusting smell of RODENT. Those who know me, know that I hate these things more than cats. And that's saying something there.
I will not rest until I have vanquished this enemy or Mom has finally got her stupid butt screaming self off the couch and trapped it. Humans are so stupid sometimes.
I sat up late into the nights watching the areas I'd spotted the smell at intently. Mom being..well...human didn't want to admit that yet another rodent had invaded her home, and steadfastly ignored my signals, and tried to force me to sleep at night. I did eventually aquise, as she can be...very mean grumpy at 3AM.
I told her I get my sleep while she neglects us to go do whatever she does during the day. But she didn't care.
It wasn't until last night that I actually spotted the little monster with my own eyes. It was around 4:30am, when I saw it scramble over mom's bookcase and behind it.
TIP #1 - NEVER ALERT THE ENEMY TO YOUR PRESENCE WITH STUPID THINGS LIKE BARKING. Texas makes that mistake all the time and scares the prey enemy away. Drives me nuts to work with him!

So I sat up and monitored the case, ready to pounce if he happened to peek his stupid little nose out. Mom was getting annoyed and put me in bed, and made me stare there,but I kept a vigil but didn't move.
That's when mom heard it.
The scrabble of desperate little feet trying to escape.
Pompei heard it too but being a Lab/Golden had no clue what that was or what he was supposed to with it.
Why he has to go help people.
He's too dumb to know how to get them to do what he wants.
Actually mom got really annoyed that she made us all leave the room and went and slept on the couch, which was ok cause I was getting a little tired. And I knew that thing wasn't going no where.

Well so mom gets up and goes into her room this morning. Something about cleaning an accident Pompei left. Did I mention he's dumb?
That's when she heard the noise again and this time saw the mousy behind her bookcase.
You all want to know what the first thing she does?!?!?
Humans I tell you, if they didn't feed me I'd strike out on my own.
Anyway it took a lot of planning but she finally trapped it under a trash can and scoot a paper under it to take it outside.
I told her to let me at him, and I'd have him taken care of shortly..but did she listen? No!
She had us all trapped in the kitchen and was scooting the trash can out, when the mouse sticks his head out and makes a dash for it.
Straight for us.
I'm sure you all guessed where mom was.
Anyway I grabbed neatly in my mouth and a twist and a hard bite he was dead and I really had to pee. So mom let us out to go potty while she deposed of mousy.
Seriously I don't understand these humans sometimes.
I must go finish catching up on my sleep.
Bubbles The Might Huntress

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday's Training Diary

Here's to hoping this will become a weekly feature around here!

Anyway I have to admit that there are times I get into a rut, in my dog training; Especially with the dogs that I have permanently or am raising for a year. When I worked with Wilderwood Service Dogs,I was bringing in a new dog monthly which kept me on my toes constantly. I was doing everything from re-teaching basic commands, potty training, loose leash walking to the "fun" commands, such as teaching them to close doors and etc..

However with the Guide Dog Foundation, we have a list of basic commands we teach them, and that's all. At 3 months Pompeii had 75% of those commands down, and now I knows all of them. So there is no "fun" per se in running through his commands, nothing to mix it up, or challenge him. Bubbles is confident with her "comes", "go potty", "lets eat", and "sit" commands and has no use for doing actual WORK for her food.Texas on the other hand lloooveeeeessssssss training. Except that his mom has run out of ideas..had run out of ideas. However having Zipper has cranked up my creative training juices and we're pulling out the ol" clicker and dusting it off.

Why Food or Clicker Train?
Why do I use a clicker you ask? Well all it does is MARK the BEHAVIOR (sit, down, stay, etc) we want the dog to do, lets him/her know it was GOOD and there is a reward coming. I use the clicker to teach the dog the behavior and then fade it out quickly once the dog knows the cue word.

I know many people want to shy away from clicker/food training due to the fact: "I don't want to have to carry treats around allll the time."Who said you did? Once the dog has the behavior down pat, we do what we call random rewards. You call the dog, they come. you pay them with a treat.
Next time, you call your dog, you pay them with praise, the next time with a toy, the next time with a treat. We all know this works extremely well for dogs, because once they get something good for a certain action, they will always TRY and see if it will work again. (Hence why pulling, garbage digging, counter surfing are such hard behaviors to break.)

Here's how I see. Raise your hand if you would continue to go to work, if your boss only paid you the first three weeks of your time, and then never paid you again. Yet this is what a lot of people are expecting out their dogs...

We introduced Zip to the clicker last week and she's loves it. Next we're working on default leave its. Here it is demonstrated by a favorite trainer of mine, and then we'll do our best to mimic it.

Our Turn! I think we got the jist of it...Please ignore the random commentary!

Next Up - Leave it On Cue...or the name game, cause she really doesn't know her name....

Erin and company

Saturday, June 19, 2010

FurBuster vs. FURminator

If you’re like me, anytime I am in a store that sells products…I will glance down the aisle a time or two, just out of curiosity. One of the things that always caught my eye was the Bamboo FurBuster, it looked like a FURminator, it had photos like it was a FURminator; but is it a good alternative to the FURminator?

 I have used the FURminator on multiple occasions and loved it…but didn’t have the money to purchase one myself.I’d go home and Google reviews on both products but either people raved about the FURminator…or they raved about the FURminator. Thanks a lot people.

So I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the FurBuster myself. At $24.99 (give or take a few cents at your local Wal-Mart) I got it home, eagerly unwrapped it and hauled Pompei to the porch. Designed to match the shape of the FURminator, the FurBuster seems impressive with with its removable blade option, saving you the time of purchasing a whole other utensil for multiple dogs.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed with my first results. The blade is quite small and doesn’t get off much hair, in my opinion but feeling optimistic, I decided I probably didn’t remember the FURminators’ results well enough to properly gauge if this was as good. After several uses I still wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for, and decided…since I had a gift card for $60 to CSN.com…why not get a real FURminator?

I have to say, there was a big difference. In the size, weight and blade size; the medium FURminator blade was deeper than the FurBuster, thus allowing it to grab more hair father down, I also noticed the tines on the blade are wider on the FURminator as well.. A few brush strokes and I had a pile of hair on the ground next to us….All in all, I do feel the FURminator is a better purchase if you actually want to remove large amounts of hair, and I  feels as if it would hold up longer than FurBuster!
FURminator Rocks!
Erin and company

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Adventure Part V

Wow I really haven't like writing anything over the last couple of days! Who knew one being so small could wear me so completely out!?

First of all the heat is Un-BEArAble. I'm a person who, if the sun is out, I'm outside, unless you are paying me to stay inside. Lately the humidity + the heat, has caused me to offer thanks to the guy who invented air conditioners.
{Texas: Dis is my about to dye from heat face}
Do the dogs notice? No not much so i'm careful how long they are allowed to stay out and making sure they is plenty of water available to them all the time. Pompei would be my main concern because he doesn't know how to stop and slow down, whereas the dachshunds will walk around, laze out in the sun, and be ready to head back in quickly. :)
{Pompei: I'm not hots just layin down so i can get breaths}
{Bubbles: I actually think it feels ok out here}
So Zipper (who never gets called that btw, cause I can never really remember what we are calling her at the moment.) is settling in, we're about 50% inside/outside on the potty training and most of that is on the puppy pads. She loves cuddling. L-O-V-E-S it, every evening she climbs into my lap and curls into a little ball too snooze the evening away. Not at all concerned that my legs go too sleep within minutes of her weight pressing my legs into the edges of my desk.
{Zipper gnaws on a bone}
{Zipper curled up on my lap}
Another thing we have discovered over the last few days. She's a little resource guarder..Here's a little run down of the dog dynamics in my house:
  1. Bubbles - Top Dog
  2. Texas - 2nd in Command
  3. Pompei - Minion 
  4. Zipper - Fighting for Top spot.
    Pompei is the weaker link in the house, so she's "picking' on him a lot, especially around resources such as food, water and their crates; that and she's ALWAYS humping him. Which as we know is not always a sexual behavior. Bubbles and Texas do NOT take anything from her, Texas will just ignore it, as will Bubbles until pushed to far. Last night was a prime example.

    Zipper decided that the "Dog room" was all hers, and non of the other dogs should have any part of it. She was going around snapping and Pompei and Texas, who left the vacinity. Bubbles however was doing her own thing, when all of the sudden she "crossed a line" in Zippers mind. Well Zip was going to let her know what's up, when all of the sudden Bubbles put her back in her place. It was actually kind of funny and I let them "duke it out" for a few seconds before putting Zipper out of the room. permanently. Lets just say that most dogs don't mess with Bubbles.

    {Zipper heading off somewheres}

    {Zipper gets a reward for standing next too my sister}

    {Zipper: Man I hate havin to walk wit dis lady}
    Pompei is also being introduced to the concept of "Time Outs". I can honestly say he doesn't exactly like them much. He hates it when other dogs are playing and excluding him, so he'll stand their and bark at them, until they snap at him; then he'll move further and bark some more. At first I'll try and redirect him to "Find his Toys" or to come too me, but he's figured that "game" out and is just ignoring me for the most part. So I just silently walk over, and walk him to my bedroom. Wait 5 minutes and let him back out. He's starting to semi sorta get the  slight idea that barking earns him that.

    In other news, Pompei's neuter scar has healed up fine and he's more than ready to hit the town. Poor dog is dying to go SOMEWHERE and everytime he can get in the car, he hops in a sits there.

    And sits.

    And sits.

    And sits.

    I even walked back inside forgetting they were out there, came back to see him and Texas sitting in the front seat, still waiting. *poor babies. I promise I have a lot of shopping and such like to do this week, so he can get back out of the house, a resume the role of puppy in training.
    {Texas sits in the car}
    {Pompei all dressed up to go no where}
    Erin and company

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Pompei's 7 months Old

    {7 Months Old}

    {7 months Old -Take 2}
    {6 months}
    {5 Months}
    {4 months}
    {3 Months}
    {2 Months}


    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Summer Adventure Part IV

    Wow Daily Posts!
    I'm going to try a different approach to this whole potty training thing, as Zipper will hold "it" forever. I've caught her in the act THREE TIMES today and race her outside to no avail.  There is just too much to see, hear and smell.... Its almost as if she's never been outside for long periods of time, though judging what my neighbor had said, she hasn't. Anyway back to the game plan. 
    Part I
    We started today by dividing my her life into 30 minute increments. First 30 minutes was me getting read for the day after a potty break, which she did since she HAD to go and had NO chance of going inside, lots of praise for that! Second thirty minutes was breakfast in her crate, while I fed/interacted with the other dogs, and I ate something...which I don't think happened...oh well.
    Next 30 minutes was potty time again, still nothing but I had the presence of mind to small dog proof while she was crate, which basically means, stuffing boxes and etc. under coffee tables, moving chairs so their is not space behind them for a puppy to get behind potty.. (*COUGH* *COUGH* BUBBLES AND TEXAS) And bringing out the potty  pads, for the spots she's already hit. Apparently when I turned my back, she went in and peed on the pad, and was about poop(..not on the pad,) when I rushed her outside. Still nothing, so I blocked her into the kitchen while I did the dishes. 30 minutes ticking away. She entertained herself by getting on the kitchen table. A HUGE NO-NO! So we removed her access to that, and went back to dish washing.
    Part II
    I have decided to see if she'll go if placed loose in an x-pen type situation. The one I have currently is cloth and short enough that she can jump over easily, so i'll have to keep a leash on her somehow, but if I can get her to think she's loose.....? Or else I'll just take the puppy pads outside and see if she'll go on that. She can't not go, and sooner or later its gotta come out. I just want to be the one to catch it. NoT CATCH it.. you know what i mean.
    {1 toy + 3 dogs does not = good. Notice Bubbles is headed out of the way}
    Part III
    We did start some clicker training, since she's calmed down, and we're getting the whole "sit" on command thing. Texas has throughly spoiled me, start teaching him something and within two or three clicks, he's got it down pat.
    Pompeii, Bubbles, Tim, Veda, Ben, Victoria, Daniel, Gideon, Eden, Ira, Rei, Jake...not so much.
    Which makes it very easy to get frustrated with her and call her stubborn/dumb. *cough DAD* (Everyone else ignore the messages between the lines :)) So I make sure to keep training session extremely short, like 5 minutes max so that we both end on a good note.
    She's actually already picking up a lot in just 24+ hours. She knows "wait" means not to move forward when the door is opened.  She's learning sitting might possibly get something good, and wonder of wonders she's not lunging at the end of the leash. much. Hey progress is progress is my opinion. Feel free to make it yours.
    Part IV
    Crate training is actually going a lot better than I thought, last night we had an "incident" and I placed her in the crate. I was mean and got my water bottle out for the whining and just squirted it over her crate, verses smacking her directly. And she slept through the night. Thank you God.
    {Queen Bee}
    I hate to admit this....but this was the perfect diversion I needed this summer!

    Erin and company

    Summer Adventure #1 Part III

    I was contacted by one rescue group, who is willing to list her with their site, if I foster her. Which I can for a couple of weeks at least. So we'll see what happens!

    I've also decided that she has never been taught to potty on leash. She pottied once this morning and only because she couldn't hold it anymore. It could be easily labeled as stubborness, but that won't deal with the real issuse, which is a lack of knowledge. Guess who gets to deal with it!? If I do nothing else with this dog, but teach her to potty on leash, I will doing a great thing. I never realized that it was something that had to be taught. Shows what a sheltered life I lived only working with puppies/service dogs with a ton of rules.

    She's calmed a lot since last night, still very hyper but she just hopped on the desk and laid down in my lap. Yikes...is that a piece of my heart melting?!? NO! NO! NO! I REFUSE!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOo.

    BTW- I'm changing my breed diagnosis to Chihuahua mix or something

    Erin and company

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Summer Adventure Part II

    "I'm Doing Something Right After all!"

    I don't know about you all, but there are times where I wonder if I'm really working with my dogs too the full extent they need and more so since I gained a roommate. She's been great with the dogs and despite not being a dog "lover" she's tolerated them pretty well and has never complained about helping out with them. But there are times I wonder, after I've watched her move from sitting to standing about ten times, since sitting down on the couch, if she's just holding it in and being nice.Christina is learning the commands and they are learning that she means what she says, but she's still very much the novelty item in their little minds.

    But that has all changed and I'm thanking my lucky stars for my sweet, mostly obedient, well exercised, semi socialized gang of dogs. This (stray from last night) dog is Crazy! I'll admit to having said earlier in the day these words: "Boy I wish i had a challenging dog, Pompeii is not challenging".  Boy You get what you wish for.

    If she doesn't find a new home quickly (pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod) we're going to be working on:
    • Sit/Staying at ALL Doorways/openings
    • Walking calmly on leash
    • Staying quietly in the crate
    • staying off the furniture 
    • Sitting for Food
    • pshst. Eating her food period 
    • Being loose without Running 
    This morning I got up around six am to try and get some exercise in before I left for work. My dogs were all giving me the "are you crazy" looks from around their various positions around my room. However Zipper (as I've taken to calling her) was raring to go. For me training starts immediately, let it go now, and it will be ten times worse later. So I waited until she wasn't rushing the door, before letting her into my bedroom. (She stayed the night in the laundry room)

    Mistake #1: I put the dogs out on the porch, while went to the bathroom, and grabs some clothes. Now my porch is different that most, as it, for some reason, it doesn't have slates, its like a wooden wall, with space about five inches high at the bottom. Despite valiant efforts from Texas, none of the dogs have been able to fit through that space and it didn't occur to me that she would be any different. 

    Five minutes later I come out, too only my three sleepy dogs standing forlornly on the porch. And no crazy white thing bouncing around. Um...............THERE in my neighbors yard..(other neighbor not the neighbor that brought her over..) I walk towards her, slooowly. She stops and looks at me, I freeze. 
    Tip #1: Never run after a dog that is loose/you don't know. Will cause said dog to run further away. 
    She looks away and walks off, I dash as far as I could without her seeing hearing. She spots me again, I squat down and make kissing noises...no such luck, something catches her attention and she's off and moving again.
    I follow her, stopping and coaxing everytime she does. OH! She stops too poop, I make a dash for it, knowing it was a stupid idea, but all I can think about is the neighbors checking on her and me having to tell them, that she ran away.

    I wasn't fast enough, but did get her to run towards me, and missed. Snap. Then she was off, and I was left with a choice. Do I risk getting shot and trespass on these people's property, or do I wait it and hope and pray she runs back this way. At this point, my life was more important than this dog, so I decided to wait it out, eventually she moved too another yard, and I felt a little bit safer about approaching that house; she stopped to sniff a flower, I squat down and low and behold she comes racing towards, and this time I grab her.

    First thing she needs to learn is how to act when off leash. I know the common adage is  leashes,leashes,leashes, but more and more I find myself thinking that a dog on the "lam..lamb?" who takes off because he/she's been on leash its entire life..  is more unsafe than I do that knows how to behave off leash. Just my opinion. Anyway we walked around for a little bit, before going back and getting my dogs out of the porch and letting them potty, before heading back inside.

    Pompeii is in love, I believe. My Roommate is not. Neither am I for now.

    Oh you want pictures you say? All in good time, people, all in good time.
    Erin and company

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Summer Adventure #1

    Hello, My name is Erin and i am crazy. Insane.Out of my mind.
    Yes I will gladly take on any of those phrases when you hear about my little adventure tonight.It started out as a typical Monday evening. Pompei and I had arrived home from choir practice, eaten dinner and were settled into our evening routine. I was in the middle of listing my camera on craigslist.com when there was a knock at my front door. This was strange in and of itself, because my drive leads to my backdoor, and hence where everyone goes. I figured my roommate must have walked across the yard and not feeling like going around the back, knocked on the locked front door.

    Imagine my surprise when I see my neighbor and his granddaughter (whom we rarely speak too..or even see really) standing on my front porch, holding a scared 9mo Jack Russell terrier mix. Five minutes later they were giving me a story about her the granddaughters father threatening to kill the dog if they didn't get rid of it. I really have no reason to disbelieve there story, as the grandfather kept saying he hated to see any dog mistreated, and that the family didn't know how to take of the animal. 

    I was between a rock in a hard place, it was 10:00pm and I really didn't know what else to do but agree to take the dog in, and see if I can find a rescue group who will take her. As we all know my father aka landlord is not "cool" with me having four dogs long term so I'll need to find her a home as quickly as possible. 

    Since it was dark, and Texas is horrible about dog-dog greetings in the dark, I decided to block her off in the laundry room, and let the dogs sniff each other through the gate. Amazingly enough all the dogs were calm during the greeting, and even Texas was quiet through out the sniffing process. 

    I gave her some heartworm meds, and a flea treatment just in case, and am probably won't let my dogs interact with her much, not knowing her history. 


    I told you I'm crazy. 


    Oh and if anyone knows of anyone in the East TN area looking for a pup......well you know where to find me!!:)
    Erin and company

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Texas Log - Something Weird??

    Log Date: 6.4.10 - 1915 hours
    Suns Shining...yada yada yada 
    Something strange has happen too my brother. I can't tell you exactly what it is, but he came home with a cone around his head, and acting stupid. Well more stuppider than usual. He kept running into things, and stuff and he wouldn't even move! HE ran into the couch and froze, and he would lay or sit down. He just stood in the middle of the floor and shake fur all over the carpet. *blegh*
    He wouldn't even move when I barked him to play...something I *never* normally do. 
    Something seriuos has happend. I can ...smell it wit my nose.....
    {Pompei standing with his cone against the wall, not moving.}
    {Pompei laying degectedly on his dog bed}
    1919 hours
    Mom says its caws he was nootered. Whatever DAT means?!? Mom also said dat its a difficult concept to tell little people who come to play with us sometimes. Speak of does little people I don't think I really like them too much.I mean I like em ok,and like only a certain few if they aren't really noisey, or try to pick me up, or crawl behind me or sumptin. Da other ones are scary and like to run at me dat makes me nervous. really really nervous. Sometimes I has to tell dem to back off a little. Mom says I really should be a little quiet but then she tells the little peoples they need to be calm round me. Thats good.

    6.4.10 - 2446 hours
    Ok mom is up late again, i'm so tired I can barely put my paws in the right place. But anywoofs, I corned a cat today. No offense to my kitty readers, but hey it was in my.....neighbors yard, probably leaving poops or somethin, and I can't just let that go!!! I didn't hurt it. Don't worry but i did tell it to back off buster, den Bubbles and mom came to get in on the action. BUBBLES was the one that made him run off, so you all can get on her. Cause I didn't even touch it or anything..but BOY was it FUN to run after him,even if he was way faster than me..Mom wonders if she should get a kitty to DE-SIN-SI-TIZ Me to that. !?Is she CraZy?! 
    Oh wait, we already knew that. 
    I also had to help mom clean all of our toys.My job was too make sure all da foodies was out of da KONGS. I had to stop and get some water half way through, caws its real hard work! Den mom took me inside and gave Bubbles and Me a bath but not Pompei!?! 
    She is in a clean mood today caws she also cleaned our beds, an stuff and they don't even smell right anymore! *yawns*
    WOwzers! Its way past time for my late-early evening-morning nap! 
    {Takin a water break}
    10-4 Good buddy