crysania4: (Default)
All I can say about this weekend is UGH UGH UGH UGH. The weather has turned awful! It was near 90 all weekend, high humidity, and just so uncomfortable that I was miserable. Summer can be over now. Please bring back my 70 degree and under temperatures?

We planned a nice weekend up at the cottage. The plan was to do nothing but chill out and read (me) and work on dissertation (David). Instead, we left BOTH days to get out of the nasty heat. We drove 30 minutes to go to Petsmart in Liverpool because we wanted some place where we could bring Dahlia with us. She was just miserable. Panting, laying around, and just generally looking unhappy. She refused to eat anything so I knew she was miserable. She HAS dug herself a nice cool place to lay under the hedges near the place, but she won't lay there for long as she likes to be with her people. I wish she'd just hang out there as it's much more comfortable for her. I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't shave her belly a bit in the summer months to help keep her cooler.

So off to Petsmart we went. I was disappointed to find out Colleen (our trainer) no longer works there. Or at least doesn't right now. She apparently had back surgery some months ago (I recall her mentioning her back problems during class) and never came back. I was hoping to bring Dahlia to see her since Dahlia has passed her CGC now and is doing so well. We did, however, run into one of our former classmates, the woman who had Schmutzi, the young labradoodle. Who is apparently still wild at about 1 1/2 years, but is doing well. She recognized us and almost thought we had a different dog for a minute because she thought Dahlia looks totally different.

In some ways she does. Her coat is shinier and now curls up instead of laying flat. I don't know what that's about, but last year her coat was definitely flatter. It's gotten wavier over time. Just odd. Her tail was also less than half the size back then. And she's lost a good 3.5 lbs since we last had class. So I guess she does look different, but we're used to seeing her so she looks the same to us!

It was good catching up to her. She goes to the dog park we do so maybe sometime we'll run into them there.

The second day we went to Petsmart we didn't really see anyone there, but we wandered the store for awhile. Dahlia was freaked out to go to the back of the store yet AGAIN (I swear that groomer scarred her emotionally!) and I was desperate to go to the bathroom, so I managed to coax her back with some treats. It took a good 5 minutes but she finally went into the restroom area with me. The second time I took her back there, she went back with no problem. She really sometimes has to be shown that things are ok and nothing is going to hurt her.

The rest of the weekend I either slept because the heat was getting to me or I read. I finished two books and most of a third this weekend. I would have gotten more reading done if the weather hadn't been so crappy!
crysania4: (Default)
Today was our last day of intermediate obedience class at Petsmart. David didn't come tonight because he has a big presentation to do tomorrow and so had to stay home to work.

I expected it to be a bit like the last graduation class. A couple sits/downs/stays and then we'd take pictures and call it a night. Except last time we had 4 or 5 dogs to take pictures of and this time there were only two.

Class for Dahlia and I actually started early -- the moment we walked in around 6:40pm actually. Our trainer was training her advanced class to do sit/down stays by the door with people and kids and dogs walking in and out. She had us walk Dahlia by the dogs as they did their stays. Then she used us for meeting strange dogs on the street and standing and not greeting the other dog. Dahlia and I walked along and stopped when we saw the other person, greeted. The dogs had to stay at our sides and not try to greet the other. Then we continued on our way. Dahlia did great; so did the other dogs.

Then she and I wandered the store for a little bit while they wrapped their class up. I really had to go to the bathroom, so I attempted to take her in with me. Well, that was a no-go. She put down her foot, so to speak, and refused to move. The second time I tried to coax her in, she actually looked like she was shaking a bit, so I just stopped. I wasn't about to let my dog panic. We walked away and I got her calm again. I still had to go to the bathroom so when I went back and the class was gone, I asked our trainer if I could leave her in the room with her while I ran to the bathroom. We decided it was a good chance to see what she did when Mom left her alone with someone else. Well, I'm glad to say she did great. Our trainer said she didn't whine or cry or panic or pull on the leash. She sat there and watched and waited for me to come back. I was really proud of her. It's part of the CGC (Canine Good Citizen test) that I want her to do, so I'm glad to see she did pretty well with that. The most important thing is that the dog doesn't panic.

A lot of things happened during the class. We did some walking in the aisles. Our trainer told us to use this pit bull that was in the aisle as a distraction. Which we did successfully. On another go around, we ran into him again. His owner clearly was trying to control the dog (who was, ultimatley, a rather calm and good dog). She kept telling him "NO NO NO" when he tried to even look Dahlia's way. Then she kept frantically telling him "LIE DOWN..DOWN! DOWN DOWN DOWN." And when he didn't respond, she JERKED him the ground, shouting "DOWN." I said something like "ohhhhh" in what was probably a surprised and disapproving tone. THe woman said, in a rather snotty voice "It doesn't hurt him." I had to bite my tongue, as I'm not the trainer. Instead, I stepped away, walked a few feet away and with only hand signals, calmly had Dahlia sit and lay down. I turned, looked at the woman, gave Dahlia a release cue and walked away. I think that made my point clearer than telling her I thought she was an idiot. Fucking idiot Cesar Millan and his abusive methods. God I seriously hate that guy and wish he were taken off the air. [/rant off]

I'm not sure what our trainer thought of them, as she was right then when she jerked her dog to the floor. I hope she made a few training suggestions.

We then headed over to do stays by the the fish tanks, something new for us. Well, Dahlia's threshold issues came out again. She wouldn't come all the way back there. Our trainer was surprised she hadn't seen this from her before and wished she had. She got me to coax her back there and had me drop the leash and walk around the corner for the last few feet. Dahlia's need to not lose her mom overcame her difficulties. She then suggested going back out to where Dahlia felt safe. Well, we did, but then I decided to have her come back one more time, and the second time she was much better.

We both her and Schmutzi (I think that's how you spell it, though I could be wrong) in a down stay by the fish tanks. Then, since they were doing so good, she had us try something new. First we each stepped around the corner while the trainer held the leash, returning shortly from he same direction and treating/releasing the dog. Both dogs did great. The next time, she held both their leashes while they both were in a down stay and had us walk down the aisle and around and come up from behind them. The first time, both dogs took a moment to see us and remained down in a stay until just moments before we got to them. Try again! The second time, both dogs stayed until released. Our trainer was most impressed with Dahlia because she said she's smart enough that as soon as I disappeared around the corner, she turned her head to look down the aisle we had come from before. Yay for smart dogs!

We also did waits in the aisle with Colleen throwing treats. The first time Dahlia went for the treat and for some reason the "leave it" command escaped me. Duh. The second time she didn't go for the treat, though I spent a fair amount of time confusing her. Turning her around, while trying to get her to not sit on or trip over the exceedingly long leash, plus dealing with the lady with the pitbull and her stupid daughter YET AGAIN didn't help much. She ended up a bit stressed (as evidenced by her yawn, which our trainer poiinted out). Luckily, at that time, class was over and it was on to taking pictures of Dahlia in her grad hat. She did very well this time and I got a few really cute photos.

Graduation photos )


I also talked to our trainer about the Agility for Fun classes and she thinks they'd be a great idea for Dahlia. We met several people at the store tonight who were impressed with her, starting with the woman and her two kids on their way out when we were coming in, plus one of the women who was there with a puppy for the class before us, plus a couple people in line when we were on our way out and even the cashier, who gave her a treat which Dahlia immediately ate right there on the rug). So all together it was a great class!
crysania4: (Default)
On Tuesday we took Dahlia off to obedience class again. She had a LOOONG nap in the afternoon, so she was much more lively at class this time. Not that she was as hyper as any of the other dogs there, but she was definitely more alert and active. And she was all about cleaning up any crumbs dropped on the floor during training, which was pretty amusing.

We started off class with just getting the dogs to sit and pay attention -- prepare them for "working." We then did a switch up where each of us took someone else's dog and got them to look and sit and tried to get them to behave a bit better. We got Bacon, an American Staffordshire Terrier. Bacon is an incredibly affectionate, sweet dog, but he's also REALLY hyper and active. After spending the first little bit just trying to get him to stay more still, I finally got him to look at me and then sit down. He was VERY attentive at that point, though still kind of nuts. He's definitely a lot more hyper than we would want to deal with. The woman who got Dahlia (Bacon's owner), was like "wow I got to enjoy just petting your dog instead of having a dog in my face all the time." Yeah...Dahlia's cool.

We worked on "leave it" after that and I was amazed at how quickly she learned this! The first thing we did was show her a treat and then fold our hand around it while saying "leave it." When she turned her nose away or relaxed or did anything other than try to sniff your hand or get the treat, you gave it to her. The first time we did it, she sniffed for a few seconds and then stopped. The second time, she just looked at us like "ok mom, I get it." Then we had to do it with holding their collar while putting the treat on the ground...same thing, when she relaxed, we gave her a treat we were holding in our hand and picked up the other one. The concept is that sometimes there is going to be something on the ground she wants that we don't want her to get -- and she's NEVER going to get it, hence not giving her the treat on the ground. She got that one pretty quickly too.

Then we worked on stay. Dahlia already has this pretty well down. I make her sit and stay whenever I leave in the morning and whenever we come back from a walk (the door swings toward us, so she has to stay far enough away from it that I can open it easily). Our goal is to work up to 30 seconds this week and eventually beyond that. I think she can actually handle that. I've been doing it for several seconds now and she's just stayed and stared at me. She looks SO border collie when she does it too. We're using the word "break" to get her out of the stay and that's still taking some work. Sometimes she's insistent on just STAYING rather than moving so we're getting her to move at the end of it.

Our only issue came with walking. We were told how to start training them to heel. And then we were sent off into our own aisle. Well, Dahlia would NOT pay attention at ALL to us...she wanted to sniff things, had no interest in our treats anymore. Colleen eventually came by and brought out some of her so-called "doggie crack." And amazingly, she worked for that! So we walked her up and down the aisle some and then brought her back to the training area.

Overall, she did really well. Since then, we've been working on her with all of this and she's doing BRILLIANT. We're able to put a treat on the ground, say leave it, and have her look up at us. We're able to make her sit and stay...and I'm able to make her leave things on the walk with the leave it command. She's an awesomely smart doggie and is catching on so quickly. I've been taking walks with a little bit of treats in my hand and I have her undivided attention. The true challenge will come when we face down another doggie. I hope I can get her distracted from the dog and paying attention to me instead. I'm really very excited at how she's doing!

Colleen says that Dahlia is a total food hound. She was SO interested in everything she did as long as she had some treats in her hand. Food really works well for this dog!

On a strange sidenote, Colleen has Dahlia pegged as a timid, somewhat clingy dog. She thinks that she doesn't want to leave our side (she actually will, she's just stubborn) and I don't really consider her timid. She's a pretty confident dog, just hates loud noises. And getting shocked. Oh poor girl! David went to show her a treat and touched her nose and she got a shock. For a little bit after that, David couldn't put his hand near her nose without her flinching back a little but out of nervousness. But I still don't really think she's a timid dog, per se. Maybe more cautious than some others, but not timid.
crysania4: (Default)
So yesterday was the first time Dahlia's done something somewhat "wrong" while left alone. Please see exhibit A:

pawprint1

Yes...that is a footprint...on one of David's dissertation papers...that was on his desk. Yes, it's reddish. No, it's not blood. Please see exhibit B:

pawprint2

David left the door to the bedroom open and apparently Dahlia, who likely wanted to look out the window, got up onto the table. We were WARNED about it, but David left the door open AND the chair to his desk sitting out in such a way that it was easy for her to get up there. She wandered around the table as there are footprints on a lot of papers. And she knocked some things on the ground (including his laptop! eek! It was ok, luckily). She must have been nervous about getting down and panting as there was a bit of drool on the ground near the chair and table. Whoops! We didn't get mad at her. It wasn't her fault after all! But it made for some pretty funny pictures.

And now for some pictures...a few are quite humourous!

Pics )
crysania4: (Default)
I had such a good time this weekend...even the moving part wasn't too horrible.

Saturday, David went off to session and I took Dahlia over to the dog park. Normally we would have left her at home, but we had a party to go to afterward and we didn't want her home for that many hours alone. I made the "sacrifice" of not playing music in order to let David go over and play. Ok ok...so I preferred to go to the dog park anyway. LOL

Dahlia and I had a blast at the park. She figured out how to play eventually, but as always, it took her a little while. There were SO many dogs there...from a Great Dane down to a little mini-dachshund. She played well with all.

But what was most amazing? She actually defended dogs against bullies. There was this one somewhat timid golden retriever and another dog kept jumping on her and bullying her. Dahlia took off running, came in between them, and growled at the other dog, which pushed him away from the golden. The people who owned the Golden (named Bree) were amazed at her. We've started calling her "Dahlia the Defender."

Dahlia managed to fetch some and I got some great shots of her running back to me with the ball in her mouth...I'll post some photos here shortly.

After the dog park, I picked up David and we headed over to our friend Geordy's for a party. We were never sure why he had it, but we had a brilliant time! Dahlia was on her best behaviour (in other words, she acted like she always did). Everyone thought she was great. She did well with a child that was there (she was probably 8-10 years old) and she did BRILLIANTLY with the puppy. Our friend Patti brought her puppy, a little maltese mix named Ally. The puppy was jumping up on Dahlia and biting at her. I was really worried about how Dahlia would react, but she did great. She actually started playing with the puppy, making this kind of "talking" sound (not quite a growl, more like a "arrr arrr arrr" noise). She would pin the puppy down lightly with her nose or mouth (open mouth, but not biting down at all) and a couple times she just gently put a paw on the puppy to stop her from moving around. It was SO darned cute! I wish I had thought to grab my camera and make a video of it!

Yesterday we did a lot of moving stuff. I started off the day with putting a bunch of stuff in the van (lucky for us, my workplace lets us use the new vans! yay!) while David took Dahlia to the dog park. We hit Heid's for lunch and then swapped spots. He took care of all the heavy stuff. :-) I ended up taking Dahlia over to my parent's house for father's day and had a nice time hanging out with my folks. Dahlia and Teri were actually doing rather well together. Teri is a bit skittish when she first shows up, but she's starting to be mostly calm in her presence, approaching and sniffing a bit, but mostly just hanging out in the same room without going too close to Dahlia. Hell, if all they ever do is hang in the same room, I'll be happy! At one point, I ran downstairs with my Mom and then looked back upstairs. There at the top of the stairs were the two dogs looking down at us but not wanting to come down. It was cute. Again, I wish I'd had my camera on me.

I left my parents around 5pm, met up with David, and then we headed over to our new apartment to move stuff in. Emily and Brandon were there and Brandon helped us out HUGELY by backing the truck in and then by helping David move the heavy stuff. I helped finish things with the lighter things and we left Emily watching Dahlia. Ironically, Dahlia suddenly had no problem heading in and out of the dining room and kitchen. She looked a little nervous (head and tail down) but she went in and out of her own accord. David and I sprang for Chinese food and the four of us, plus Jocelyn, had a nice dinner.

When we were getting ready to leave, a thunderstorm cropped up. Dahlia was nervous and headed under the dining room table for a bit. It was rather ironic that the room she was so scared of has now become her safe space!

We got back around 10:30pm and the three of us collapsed into bed. In the middle of the night, there was one streak of lightning and corresponding thunder and Dahlia immediately crawled into bed with us...just at the foot of the bed, so she wasn't all over us. I think she just likes to know we're nearby.

And now, for some doggie cuteness. Not all of Dahlia, but she's in there.

A crazy amount of dog cuteness...37 pictures )
crysania4: (Default)
This weekend was...well, mostly not fun.

The bad stuff:

Moving. Moving and moving and moving and more moving. We got the van from work on Saturday and started to load it up that day. We took shifts. I started, loaded up a bunch of stuff, while David took Dahlia to the dog park. We grabbed lunch at Heid's (mmmm conies) and got ice cream (Dahlia got a doggie ice cream sundae -- vanilla ice cream between milk bone dog biscuits!) and then I went to the dog park with Dahlia while David packed things up.

We, amazingly, packed the whole van full of stuff and took it over to unload it. Luckily, Brandon was there to help out (such a godsend!) and we got it unloaded in quick order.

Sunday we drove down, without Dahlia this time, and tried to pack up as much stuff as we could. All together this weekend we managed to get all 4 bookshelves out, most of David's books, half of the typewriters left (I think there are maybe 10 left?), many of our dishes, David's big chair in the back (the one from the living room is already over there), David's CD holder and the one that held our DVDs and cookbooks, along with a smattering of other stuff. It was a successful weekend and I'm just starting to recover from all the associated aches and pains.

The sort of bad:

Dahlia is still having some threshold issues. But I'm realizing it's not exactly a threshold. She has trouble going past our friend's couch. And the doorway into the next room is still 3 or 4 feet away. I'm starting to think it's the big halogen lamp that's right beyond the couch. She's looked up at it a few times and then kind of stepped back behind the couch. She did eventually make her way into the other room, but it took her awhile (and it took for all of us to be in there eating -- I guess her love of us and perhaps more so, the food!, got her past it). I want to move it next time we come there before she comes in and see if she goes through more easily.

The good stuff:

Dahlia played fetch at the dog park! I was really excited. I threw a tennis ball a few times and she actually got it and brought it back to me. It's the first real fetching she's done. I hope we can get her to do some more at the dog park next time we go.

David said she's like the awkward child when playing at the dog park...like she just doesn't get what's going on. She'll run into a group of dogs and they'll scatter and start running and then she just kind of stares after them all confused. Eventually she just wanders off. It's like she doesn't get that the running thing is part of PLAY. And that their running away is an invitation to chase them. I don't think the poor girl has EVER played. Eventually, after watching enough, she sort of got the hang of it, but it took a LONG time to get there.

We felt HORRIBLE for leaving Dahlia home on Sunday. We took off at 11:30, grabbed something to eat, and didn't get back until after 6:30pm. She was SO HAPPY to see us. She wiggled around, rolled over onto her back for belly rubs, and still kept wagging her tail while on the ground. It was so funny and so awesome to come home to such a happy dog. And the best part of it? NOTHING out of place in the house, no mess, nothing. We took her out and she immediately did her business, so we knew she had to go, but she held it for well over 8 hours (she last did any of her business around 10am or so...we took her out right before we left, but she didn't go). We were so proud of her and so happy!

Yesterday was just a normal work day, but when I got home, I ended up taking some pictures of Dahlia (like that's a surprise), so there are a few behind the cut.

More pics )
crysania4: (dahlia-severed arm)
I know...you've all been dying for this one, eh?

Monday )

Tuesday )

Wednesday )

We had a really nice several days with her. Now I'm back at work (*sniffles*) and David's out walking her in the woods. Lucky David! He gets to spend a lot more time with her. I'm admittedly nervous that she's going to come to see David as her person and me as "that other person." I wish I could be around more often, but it just doesn't work that way unfortunately.

Some pictures from the other day at the dog park )

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