Friday, 26 August 2016

Fun Friday in the Forest

Do you remember Max and Cherry? They are two Cocker Spaniels who love to run. Ava and I met them on a walk once, when she was only 15 weeks old.
The other day we humans took the three spaniels for a walk in the bush. 

Ava had a lot of fun playing in the magical forest with her friends. They get along well because Max and Cherry are more interested in crashing through the forest than getting too up close and personal with her. I hope you, like I, smile when you see how much fun they are having!

Ava, Max and Cherry wish everyone a happy Friday!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A Surprise in the Mailbox

Do you know these rope toys?

Close-up of a white rope knotted at both ends, with green stripes. It is lying on the grass and behind we see the forelegs of a white and brown puppy.

Ava loves her peppermint striped one. Her humans bought it for her and she's always been able to carry it in her mouth, even though it probably weighs the same as her head.

Rope toys seem generally popular and rather sturdy too, so I thought I'd order a couple online.
(I usually go for quality over budget, but don't we all buy cheap things on eBay late at night?)

I couldn't guess what the little package in my mailbox was last week.

2 tiny rope toys are held in an open hand next to a coffee mug for scale. They are only slightly bigger than the hand.

I guess I should have checked the dimensions first.

Ava puppy lies facing the two rope toys: one large, white and green and the other much smaller and colourful. She is looking down at them, seemingly unimpressed.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Training Video: In Which Ava Shows What A Good Girl She Is

Hi guys. Been trying to find the balance between keeping busy living life and updating so I can share the story with you all. I'm also experimenting with cutting down computer time through Daniel Sieberg's The Digital Diet, so don't panic if I'm not around for a bit.

But onto what you came to hear about -- dogs!

I feel like I haven't talked enough about training lately, even though I love, love, love to train. So here's a video of me and Ava working on her place command.

I am trying to use "bed" (pointing to bed) to mean 'go to to your bed' + "settle" to mean lie on it and stay there comfortably. I've found she can learn chains of events (like walk to door, sit and wait for release) so I hope it will become routine to settle on it when asked to 'go to bed'.

You'll notice there's a pink blanket on Ava's bed. That's her blankie, which I take to the café with us and I encourage her to stay on it. Eventually I want the command to generalise to anywhere I bring her and put the blanket down. It'll take a while to go from this quiet environment to busy cafés, but she's a quick learner!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

An Exposition: In Which Ava Absolutely, Definitely Does Not Like Rain

Did I ever mention that Ava doesn't like rain? Or, more specifically -- that she doesn't like getting wet?

You didn't tell me it would be wet out there.
(Ava, 11 weeks old)

Well, she doesn't. She's trained to potty on the lawn, so ever since she came home we've been carrying her to the lawn, so she likes to play in grass, lie in grass, and yes, she does her business on grass. But as the weather got cooler her owners mentioned to me that she doesn't like wet grass. Really? I wondered. I hadn't noticed.

Then she learnt Drop (lie down) as well as Sit, and one day I asked for a Drop in the grass. She started to lower herself in the direction of the ground so slowly she was barely moving. It was the first time I'd seen a dog know what I wanted but choose not to do it. She knew exactly what I was asking for but didn't want to get her undercarriage wet. Ha ha! I guess they were right.

(Ava, 13 weeks old)

Now she's 7 months old, and is pretty well house trained. She pees on command, which I love. It's such an invaluable skill, as I can ask her to go before and after we go out. But she still doesn't like getting wet. So getting Ava to do her incredibly elaborate potty dance on the lawn after it's rained isn't always successful. We're still working on making sure she doesn't leave her owners any more presents in the house on rainy days.

It rained buckets yesterday, but this morning was fine so we played ball on the lawn. As it's cold and wet I've realised we humans have been avoiding the yard and soggy lawn ourselves, so I'm making an effort to play games with her there to try to desensitise her to it.

She's not sure about this ball. Other toys she pounces on - this one she chases but won't touch. I wonder why?

She didn't mind the wet ground on our bushy walk today, but we got caught in a sudden shower on the way home and we were both drenched. Boy, did she throw a tantrum the minute we were inside! She ran around frantically, throwing herself on anything soft and rolling as much as she can. She could hardly hold still for me to dry her. I reassured her as I towelled her down, but inside I was laughing. Dogs!