"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Leave it!

    Jet does a really good job inside the house at leaving things alone when commanded.  He has not internalized this behavior to always just do it on his own, but he follows the command very well along with "drop it".  The last couple of weeks have tested his will on these commands in some pretty funny and cute ways that happened totally by accident.
    The first was with his beloved rope toy.  It was time for this one to go to the trash can after some of the strings from it started to come apart.  If he sees ANYONE with his rope he gets super excited and runs over and grabs it.  (Poor manners that we are working on)  Well, I was headed to the trash can with it and as soon as he saw where I put it he ran over, grabbed it back out, and ran away with it.  So I went and tried again.  This time he ran over and snatched it out of my hands and headed towards his kennel.  I very firmly said "Drop it".  He froze.  He stood there for several seconds without moving a muscle.  I said, "Jet".  He dropped it.  And then sulked off to his kennel to pout.  I guess it's time to go to the pet store to reward his very good obedience with "drop it".  It must be hard letting go of your most prized possession!
      The second incident was tonight.  He was in a down position with his paws out in front of him staring intently at a piece of napkin.  I thought it was just on the floor so I told him to leave it.  He continued staring at it and pretty soon started shaking his paw back and forth.  I guess the napkin was stuck to his paw.  He kept reaching out with his mouth to get it, but then would remember my command,  glance up at me, and continue thinking.  He rubbed it back and forth on the floor, against a chair, but it just wouldn't come off.  He REALLY wanted to get it with his mouth, but held onto the command.  I finally felt bad and got it for him.  But, I was very impressed with his obedience!
Doesn't he look so sad without a rope?

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Walk in the Woods

    A walk in the woods may not seem like that big of an outing, but you just never know what your pup is going to be afraid of, excited about, or just plain silly about!  This walk did show a comeback of an area that has been haunting Jet...sometimes he is afraid of other dogs.  Yesterday, we were walking towards our "woodland adventure" and we had to walk past a yard that has two white Eskimo dogs.  They always bark and throw quite a fit when I run by them, so I knew they would do the same when we walked past them with our labs.  And, they hadn't changed!  Barked quite ferociously.  They have a really good fence, so I wasn't worried about our safety, but Jet about lost himself!  He was nearly panicked trying to figure out which way to run.  :(  Poor guy!  We will not go that way again...and, I will have to probably do some damage repair.  I feel really bad for not thinking how troublesome of a spot it could be for him.  Now, I will seek out dogs to walk by that I know are not as mean sounding to my poor guy!  Preferably ones that don't bark at all for awhile!  Once, we got past them, though, he settled right down very quickly.  He wasn't nervously looking behind us or anything.  So that's a plus!  And the woods were a hit with him!  He loved finding sticks to carry and sniffing all the new smells!  And we got home from our beautiful walk just in time...30 minutes later it was crazy windy, freezing, and SNOWING!  We were only wearing sweatshirts on our walk!  Crazy KS weather!

You can't really tell, but he is doing a "jump on" onto a really big rock.  This guy will do ANYTHING for me!

And another poor photo, but he's found a prized stick that must come home with us!

I know he would have stayed with us, but I just wasn't quite ready to let him off-leash!

Another new experience.  At first, he long jumped over them, but after a little practice he stood on it like he had not a care in the world!

He's normally not allowed to walk out in front like this, but this is where Bailey walks, and he likes to be up beside her.  He has a perfect walk right at my side, too, so I don't think an exception will hurt him.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jet's first LONG day at work!

   Jet had his first full day of school today!  He did awesome!  He is really showing a strong working drive when we are going on outings.  He doesn't like being bored, he likes working.  Even at home this past month, I have noticed that he wants to do his commands...over, and over, and over, all night long.  He really enjoyed the kids today.  He got slightly anxious during some really intense times such as PE when the kids started cheering and clapping REALLY loudly for their team.   He also got a little nervous at recess when a bunch of kids crowded around us.  But, he was able to work through both of them by taking a break and returning to the gym.  When we went back in he was really calm and watched intently.  We also worked on some commands in the midst of the chaos.  I use the word chaos very nicely...our PE teacher is amazing!  It was organized, but loud, with kids running past Jet as fast as they could.  He was fascinated and I think he thought he would really enjoy the game, too!

     Some very positive things he did today included practicing a sit and down while I stood about 10 feet away.  I had students get up and walk between us, around him, over the top of him, etc.  He stayed very nicely until I released him.  He also walked through crowds of kids very calmly and politely.  And , my day was made, when walking out to the bus, we ended up next to a child who walks differently.  Jet was very patient and kept making eye contact with that child to see if we needed to slow down.  Melted my heart!

    We also did a quick presentation during my plan time for another class.  They had excellent questions and Jet performed his skills very well for them.  It was the very end of the day and he was getting hungry and tired (and maybe had a little whine slip out a couple of times), but he still did exactly what I asked.

   And now, he is sound asleep!  I think I wore him out!  Unfortunately, while trying to get him, Kinsey, her backpack, her violin, my schoolbag, purse, two lunchboxes, extra gloves and hats for recess duty, and 3 sets of keys out the door I forgot my phone!  So, I have no pictures!  Here is one right after we got home before he fell into his deep exhausted sleep.  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Puppy Class

It's kind of hard to believe since I've had Jet for 6 months, but he went to his first puppy class yesterday.  I've always had a conflict for the monthly meetings before this.  He did pretty well.  He does not like to sit when he's working, so he was not really minding his sit command very well.  He did everything else okay, just didn't want to sit.  It's always nice to hear what we need to continue working on, and see how they do with lots of other dogs around.
This picture really shows how tall my boy is getting!

Practicing a stay

I'm discussing his refusal to sit with him.

"My mom says I am to ignore you!"

Showing off our nice loose leash SLOW heal.  He is the pokiest lab alive!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Annual Bowling Party

     My school has chosen to forego a Staff Christmas Party the last couple of years and has had a post-Christmas bowling party instead.  Last year this was an outing I didn't hesitate a second about taking Churry on.  She was so calm in crazy situations that I had no concerns.  And, I was right, she curled up and slept the entire night.

    Jet, on the other hand, reacts much differently to things.  I hesitated about taking him, but decided to give it a try.  I decided ahead of time I would not bowl and we would be able to leave if he was showing signs of stress...a.k.a, WHINING.    When we first walked in he was on high alert.  He jumped the first time he heard the pins being knocked down as we were walking to the far end of the bowling alley where our lanes were.  But, after that initial reaction, he did amazing!  He actually loved it!  I think it was his favorite place we have ever been.  There was no sleeping from this guy.  He snoozed for maybe 5 minutes, but the rest of the time he was either in a down position or standing and observing.  Jet has NEVER been a puller and he's also always been really good about leaving crumbs and things alone in public.  This party was no different.  He maintained a loose leash no matter how interesting things were or how badly he wanted to go see.  He had several staredowns with some popcorn, but never ate any.  He tolerated kids walking over the top of him, running by him, loud noises, etc.  And most importantly, he had NO WHINING AT ALL!  I think if there is a professional bowler on KSDS's waiting list, Jet is the guy for them.

I started off sitting here in this corner, but moved after I realized he wasn't planning on napping.  I took him to a place he could see the action better.

We practiced Down/Under while I sat here.  He did okay with that.  Many times he wanted to get out beside me so he could watch the action.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter Night Training

      It has been really cold lately!  And, I am not excited about getting out in it.  So I have been dreaming up ways to keep Jet challenged at home and expanding on his skills.  He is getting the hang of carrying items for me if he can get them straight from my hand.  And, he likes to pick things up off of the floor, just not necessarily on command.  So, we have been focusing on "Get it", "Take it" and "Bring it" a lot the last few days.

     Bailey knows and loves these commands and was more than happy to interrupt assist and participate in the practice.  We practiced tonight with leftover paper plates.

Jet was happy to get it, but felt like taking it somewhere else at this moment.

   And since I haven't gone anywhere this week, we brought strange surfaces to our living room.  An old plastic tablecloth worked quite well.  I spread it out and we walked and practiced commands on it.  After that, I worked on some stays with me shaking and rubbing loud plastic bags all over him.

   What other ideas does everyone have?  Please feel free to comment!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weight Check

This big guy weighed in at 60.4 pounds today.  He has already outgrown Bailey and is showing no signs of stopping!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Learning some new commands as well as tolerance and patience

     Jet went to work with me this morning for a couple of hours to get ready for next week.  While we were there we practiced lots of skills.  He walked back and forth with me down the hall carrying papers and a pencil.  It took a few times for him to keep it in his mouth, but once he figured out what I wanted he carried it all the way to my room on 3 different trips.  He also practiced jumping onto an elevated table, which is something we have not done yet.  It took no convincing at all.  Of course, he used a chair as a stepladder up, but that's okay.  I wouldn't have him jump onto the slick surface right away because it could scare him.  

He also practiced some Down/Under while I was working.  He settled in very nicely underneath my desk with no whining at all.  

    I love getting my daily "here up" hug from him when I get home from work.  For some reason it took him a while to understand this command.  He has always loved to sit and snuggle in my lap, but he didn't get the here up command right away.  He has it mastered now, though, and is getting better about only doing it when asked.
      When Jet was younger (even as recently as October/November) he has been very nervous around little dogs.  He doesn't like them up in his face, he's scared of their yippy barks, etc.  My regular readers know I have no love lost for little yappy dogs.   It seems to me that whenever we are in public and see one their owners think they can do whatever they want to my big dogs just because they are small.  I have no idea why they would ever think it's acceptable for them to lunge and jump on my dog or bite him in the face while he is walking on a leash with me, but it always seems to happen.  This does not result in a positive experience for my dogs.  So, I try to seek out positive experiences with them when I can and avoid the other ones at all costs.  Jet's future owner may have a small dog or know people who have small dogs so he needs to be tolerant of them.  I will do my best not to let my opinion of them affect him.
    This is Bentley, my sister's papillion puppy.  He's really young, but he won't get a whole lot bigger than this.  He's a positive experience for Jet.  Bentley visited us for a couple of days during Christmas.  Jet was absolutely fascinated by him.  He showed no fear of him.  He LOVED chasing him around, but not in a manner that was acceptable inside the house.  This resulted in both of them needing to be on a leash the entire visit.  :(  Neither were very happy about that, but Jet did settle and observe from a distance without too much pouting and whining.  

     Jet also practiced his good manners around my grandmother who was visiting.  We only caught him one time trying to sneak in a "here up" without being asked.  It was really important that he listened to me right away around her because she has really think skin and blood and bruises VERY easily.  One swipe of a puppy paw could have been very bad.  He also walked very politely around her in the house so I didn't have to worry about him knocking her over or tripping her.  (Although, I still watched VERY closely!)  

     Little Jet seems to be coming along!  He still has his moments of whining frequently, but they are getting better.  He is getting more and more confident every day!  And he masters skills very easily!  He is willing to try anything I ask him to, which is very important.  I cannot fathom how I got so attached to this dog, but I have.  He's going to be a big old heartbreaker!