Archive for June, 2010

Amelia and Professor Go Places and Do Things

June 30, 2010

So a week ago, Professor and I went to A Click Above for his first conformation handling lesson with Corally Burmaster. He had a brand-new Resco leash, and I had a pocket full of beef heart. It was win-win all the way. He learned to move in a (more or less) straight line, and to stand still (now THAT’S hard!) He was very interested in being in a new place, and wanted to meet and greet all the dogs, but did pay pretty good attention. I came home with a list of homework, and he came home and took a long nap.

Professor naps while Joey chews a hoof

The next weekend, Amelia and I went to Richmond to do AKC Rally. We were entered Saturday and Sunday, but on Saturday I hadn’t left enough time, and got caught in the horrid traffic on 95, so we ended up turning around and coming back home. I hate 95. Sunday I left earlier, and we had a smoother trip. It was brutally hot, so I left Professor at home with Joey to babysit. Neither was very happy with that arrangement, but oh well. Amelia kind of enjoyed having a day out with me without the puppy, I think. At least, she qualified in both Advanced (with a 99 out of 100!!!!!) and Excellent (with a 94). I was very proud of her. That’s her sixth leg toward her RAE. Then she stayed quietly in her crate with a chewy, while I cruised the vendors. And when we got home, she took a nap.

Get away with that thing, I'm SLEEEEEPING!

Professor has had a couple of very good classes in his S.T.A.R. puppy class. We’re almost at the end of the second session. He’s very good, and can be off-leash for the tunnel, which is still his favorite thing. But he runs straight back to me, except when Kathy was sitting on the floor at the end of tunnel taking pictures. That was just tooo tempting! and he went to say hi!
I’ve been taking Amelia along to keep Professor company in the car. Without her. he gets worried, and often poops in his crate and dances in it, not really a nice way to start class. But the last couple of classes I’ve left her home and he’s been fine. He’s almost 6 months old now, and I guess he’s growing up and feeling more secure about travelling. Which is good, ’cause he’s going to do a lot of it, what with classes, and shows, and coursing, and agility, and rally, and maybe obedience….
So we finish class, and I pack up all our stuff and put it in the car, and put Professor in his crate, and reach for my keys. No keys. Take everything out of purse. No keys. Use parking-lot key to start car and give Professor some AC. Take everything out of training bag. No keys. Search building. No keys. Enlist help, and search the potty area. No keys. Return to car expecting to find hysterical puppy who’s been abandoned. Find puppy sound asleep. Check building again. Kathy looks out the window, and points to keys on top of car, hiding behind the roof rack. Take Professor home.
Professor has also been introduced to the balance egg. By using canned cheese, I’ve gotten him pretty comfortable on it. He’ll stand and sit, reach up and down and to both sides for cheese, and even turn all the way around.

Checking out the balance egg

Standing on the egg

MMMMMM, canned cheese!

That’s Joey, supervising. Amelia has to be crated when Professor is on the egg, because she thinks the egg is the best thing ever and would undoubtedly push him off. Ahhhh, the power of canned processed cheese-like food!


A Busy Weekend

June 14, 2010

Saturday, we went to an APDT Rally trial. Amelia got another leg toward her ARCH-MX, which was nice, but by the second trial she was totally fried. We NQ’d on the first exercise in level 3, and on the second exercise in level 2 she sat then laid down, so I pulled her. I was going to treat it as a training run, but she was just too tired. It was a hot day, and she is going to be 11 in August.

Mid-Atlantic Basenji Club had its Fun Day match Sunday, and of course we all went. Joey fulfilled his usual dog-show function of sitting in the car and babysitting Professor when Amelia was busy. Amelia and Professor participated. It was another hot day, but fortunately the b’s don’t feel the heat as much as some breeds. The first thing was  a little agility course (just jumps, tunnels, and table). Amelia and I did some handling moves and we practiced me not getting in her way, sometimes successfully. At the end of the agility demos, we spread out one of the tunnels and Jane helped me do restrained recalls through the tunnel with Professor. Professor loves him some tunnels!

Amelia and Professor at Fun Day

Next was the trick class. I had to get someone to help me, since both Amelia and Professor were entered
 and all the entries had to go in the ring together. Amelia’s trick is, I say “achoo” and she runs to a box of Kleenex and brings me one, then she takes the Kleenex and drops it in a trash can. She won the class, which was nice. She got a big rosette and a pretty box full of dog cookies. Professor has a little baby trick, since he’s just a little baby puppy; he goes to an “easy” button from Staples and pushes it so it says “that was easy”. I was very pleased that he was able to do that, in spite of being in a ring in a strange place with a bunch of other basenjis, who did some very cute tricks. 

Amelia and her Best Trick ribbon

Then I had Professor entered in several Parts classes, where the dogs are judged on things like nicest ears, eyes, neck, feet, etc. He did well, and I was ecstatic about how he behaved in a ring full of basenjis! He did pull toward other dogs occasionally, but generally he was focussed on me and paying attention most of the time. Since he was the only entry, he easily won the 3-6 month brindle puppy dog class. So he got to go back in the ring for best puppy. Didn’t win, but I was pleased that he was functional when
moving with other dogs, going away from and back toward the other dogs, etc. He stood nicely on the table, with pretty minimal wiggle-worming. Our work on him letting people look at his teeth paid off and he was very good about being handled by a stranger. And the judge was very generous with handling tips and helping all the puppies get used to the ring.

It was a great day, and now Joey is sacked on the dog bed, Amelia is sacked in her crate, and Professor is sacked on the couch. I think Professor has the right idea.

Professor is a Swimsuit Model

June 11, 2010

It was beautiful weather today, so I took the guys over to Ruth’s for Professor’s first swimming lesson. We put the smallest life jacket she had on him, and snugged up the fastenings.

Professor models his suit

He really needs a size smaller, as we found out. It took a bit to get him used to having it on; at first, every time he moved, and it moved, he squeaked at it! He was a very indignant little dog. But the powers of canned cheese know no limits and pretty soon he was strutting around like he was somebody. BTW, how come he sneers at real cheese, string cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, but absolutely adores processed cheese-like almost-food that comes in a can??? It must be magic.

So we went over to the pool. And he thought about it a bit, then went down the first step, so his toes were in the water.

Hmmm, wetness

Canned cheese to the rescue once again!

Pretty soon, he came down the next step, and we had to stop taking pix because all our hands were involved with Professor. He sailed off the step and SWAM! for about 2 feet, then he got his foot caught in one of the straps. I got him out immediately, and we let him calm down and eat cheese, then tried him again without the jacket. He wasn’t too enthused, but he wasn’t really blown away, either. So I think swimming may be in his future. I expect that jacket will fit him better in a couple of weeks, as fast as he’s growing. He was in no danger, since I had my hands on him the whole time, but it did worry him a bit when the strap grabbed his foot. Poor boy.

Such a Good Guy

June 9, 2010

Last Monday, we had the best class ever. Professor is getting more and more attentive, as long as I keep him far enough away from the other puppies. There’s a line where he just can’t resist trying to get them to play. But he was really maintaining focus very well during the class.

We even tried a totally off-lead recall. We’ve been doing restrained recalls all along, but with the puppy dragging the leash, just in case. But he was so “on” on Monday that I decided to go for it. So I took his leash off, gave his collar to Joyce, and went halfway across the ring. I called “ProFESSor” and WOW! he came a-runnin’ flat out. We played tug with his squeaky chicken for that!

As always, the tunnel is still his favorite part of class. We did that off-leash, too, which was way cool. And he walked the ladder very calmly and competently.

We also took a couple of breaks on his mat, while the instructor was talking, and he settles very fast, just lies down and chews his antler, then bounces back into the class. I really like that he’s finding his off-switch so well. And all the usual stuff–sits, downs, hand touches, targetting, is going really well too. I even got Joyce to do a conformation exam on him, and he was squirmy but good, and let her check his teeth and everything.

So Monday was a good Professor day. Tuesday was also a good Professor day but a bad Liza day. I had a bad blood sugar crash just as I got home and was walking dogs. I had to cut the walks short and get home and eat, and then lay down for a while. And Professor was just like Joey; he really accepted that, for that period of time, I just couldn’t do anything for him, and he snuggled up and chewed his chewy quietly while I recovered. Bless his lovey little heart!

Household Help

June 4, 2010

Doing laundry is an entirely new experience when you have a 5-month-old basenji puppy helping you.

Start by taking the clothes out of the hamper. Remove puppy from hamper. Take hamper lid away from puppy. Leave hamper and lid, but not puppy, in bathroom. Take clothes to laundry room.

Start to sort clothes. Chase puppy down hall, take sock away from puppy. Return to laundry room. On the way, intercept puppy and take panties away from him. Put sock and panties in washer.

Chase puppy into living room. Take shirt away from puppy. Take shirt to laundry room, put in washer. Chase puppy down hall and take sock away from puppy. Put sock in washer. The heck with sorting, dump half a load of clothes in washer before puppy can get to them.

Chase puppy down hall. Try to take bra away from puppy. Discover that puppy, while indifferent to all the expensive tug toys that surround him, dearly loves tugging on a bra. Yay! A reinforcer you can take into the ring with you!

On second thought, maybe not. The logistics are too difficult. Trade treat for somewhat battered but still wearable bra. Put bra in washer.

Put remainder of clothes in washer, snatching them up faster than a speeding puppy. Take shirt away from puppy. Congratulate yourself on improved speed, he barely got to the laundry room door this time! Put shirt in washer. Start washer.

Sit down on couch and rest. Mother’s little helper will let you know when it’s time to put the clothes in the dryer.

Watch Out, Michael Phelps!

June 1, 2010

Professor got introduced to swimming today. Well, not actually swimming, but getting into water, and most important, getting up the steps and out of the pool. We started him in a baby pool, and his bc friend Specs showed him it was ok.

Professor and Specs in the pool

He got used to it, and quite happily hopped in and out of the pool. He got lots of cookies for his bravery.

Specs supervises Professor in the pool

Once Professor decided that water might possibly not be fatal, we introduced him to the big swimming pool. That’s why he’s on leash here, we were at my friend Ruth’s house, and the baby pool is in the same enclosure as the big swimming pool. Even her smallest vest was too big for Professor, and we didn’t want to take a chance on him falling in. I don’t have any photos of the pool experience, but it went like this.

Ruth got into the pool, at the bottom of the steps. I stood on the steps, holding Professor’s leash. As Professor cautiously explored the steps, we treated him liberally. Specs demonstrated going down the steps and swimming a bit (she’s very good at it). Whenever Professor decided he’d gone too far, he’d climb up the steps, which is fine. I want him to know how to get out if he ever needs to! He got in up to his elbows, which we thought was probably enough for his first time ever in a pool. I’m going to try to take him over once a week or so this summer to swim. When Amelia was coursing a lot, I took her swimming every week, and I think it really helped her stamina and condition. And it’s so low impact. And Professor doesn’t seem to mind it, although he was one tired pupster tonight!