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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving K9 nosework

Since graduating from obedience class, Treasure and I have been training for a new adventure ... K9 nosework!  Well, the instructor wanted us to start training at home to give Treasure a head start.  (Class actually doesn't start until January.)  So I've been teaching her to find food hidden in various cardboard boxes around the room.  She is getting so fast that I can barely reload and move the box before she has found it!  But there is a side effect that I hadn't counted on ... Treasure is now even more adamant about finding ANY food, ANY time, ANY where!  As we were loading the dishwasher after Thanksgiving dinner, I turned around to find Miss Treasure climbing up into the dishwasher!  She looked very proud of herself.  After all, this is what I had been rewarding her for, wasn't it?  Finding hidden food?  Hee, hee, hee. 

If I had found another one of my dogs in the dishwasher, I probably would have told them to get out, but because it was Treasure, I ran to get my camera instead.  It's so fun to see her trying new things and doing little naughty things right along with the other dogs.  And, of course, it wouldn't have been fair to get upset with her for doing something I had taught her to do.  Words of wisdom ... be careful what you teach!

I have many blessings to be thankful for this holiday season!  I hope you and your families do too!  Treasure is very thankful that we don't rinse our dishes very well before we put them in the dishwasher!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ride for a Princess

Sorry for the dark picture, but I found a used stroller while at a flea market recently with a friend.  I decided that it would make life easier at times when trying to transport Treasure around.  I go to a lot of pet expos and events, where it is crowded.  It would certainly be more comfortable for both me and Treasure to have her elevated safely out of harm's way where people could actually see her coming at them.  I like to walk my dogs, but taking Treasure on a walk is a much slower process than my other dogs want to endure.  They are all about go, go, go!  Having a stroller to push Treasure in will allow me to take several dogs together comfortably.  And, I envision it helping on therapy visits as well.  The stroller is just the right height to park next to someone seated in a chair so they can reach her easily.  There have been a few times when Treasure just can't seem to get comfortable on someone's lap without slipping off. 

So, home the stroller came.  I thought I would have to teach Treasure to stay in it without trying to jump out while it was moving.  The first time I put her in it, she sniffed around for a brief moment and then laid down to relax.  She was quite comfortable and looked like she had always ridden in "her" stroller. I pushed it around the house, and at first she sat up, but she did not panic or try to jump out, even when I ran the stroller into the table leg!  Soon she laid down and enjoyed the ride.  After I stopped, she continued to lay there and even fell asleep.  The photo is from her first introduction to the stroller.  You can see, that she is not bothered in the least! 

I've only had the stroller for a week, but we've taken it to a professional photo shoot, where Treasure was content to lay in it and wait her turn.  If I had not taken the stroller, I would have had to hold her the entire time.  If I put her down, she would have been into everything exploring.  The stroller was a great place to park her and she acted like it was her throne.  Everyone commented how regal she looked sitting in it.  Then we took a trip to the pet store, where Grace and Owen accompanied us (and the stroller) up and down the aisles.  I had nothing to worry about, and Treasure indeed is a princess in her new ride.  Grace and Owen, however, need a bit of practice with us all walking together with the stroller! 

Graduation pictures!

These are a couple of the pictures I took of Treasure after her class graduation!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Graduation Night!

Tonight was Treasure's graduation from basic 1 obedience class!  We didn't really teach anything new, but we showed off all we had worked so hard to achieve.  Everyone in the class did so well!  We were issued a challenge for graduation night to see how many of us could get our dog to come from two feet away to target our hand with their nose.  We hadn't really been working on hand targeting because it's hard to run up to touch something you can't see. 

But because it was graduation night, and because it was a challenge, I volunteered us to go first!  I walked three feet behind Treasure and squatted down with my hand held out towards her.  My secret weapon?  The roast beef tucked between my fingers.  She quickly turned herself around and came toward me, eventually finding my hand.  Voila!  Instant hand targeting! 

All cheating aside, Treasure was able to show off all of her new skills.  Sit, down, come when called, sit for a polite greeting, walking on a leash.  We had been making progress on stays at home, but that seemed to go out the window tonight.  I think part of it was that I had roast beef tonight and she kept trying to get up to look around for more roast beef!  She does love to eat!  So I helped her to be successful with some very short stays. 

We all played baseball.  A sit at home plate to get us started, then a down at first, a sit stay for five seconds at second base (she did stay for the whole five seconds!), then on to third for a polite sit for greeting, and a recall towards home plate.  Our baseball game took a bit longer than the others, but we got a home run!

Then Treasure showed off her trick.  We had been working very hard on it.  I had her spin first in one direction and then the other.  She is better at spinning to the right because when I brought her home and she would start into a spinning frenzy, it was always to the right.  So I didn't have to help her too much in that direction.  I just tapped her hip on that side and she turned in a circle.  In the other direction, I had to lure her around still.  I was surprised that I had to lure her as much as I did on that side, but it is a new place for that skill.  We've really only practiced it at home until now. 

Then we all got our graduation certificates and the dogs got to pick a new toy!  I put Treasure down in the middle of the toys, wondering if she would pick one.  She still does not play with too many toys on her own, but I thought I'd give it a try.  If Brinks is playing with her and has a toy, she will often grab at the toy and may even bark at it if she finds it laying around.  But the only toy I have seen her play with by herself is the de-stuffed shell of a smiling sunshine.  Treasure smelled the pile of toys around her but seemed to quickly lose interest.  So I chose the same smiling sunshine toy for her to take home ... but this one still has its stuffing! 

I must say a very special thank you to our instructor, who welcomed Treasure into her class with open arms.  It is all too common to find that people are a bit hesitant or overwhelmed when faced with something or someone that may be different than what they're used to.  I thank her for believing in what Treasure can do and giving her the chance to shine!  Congratulations, Treasure!