Good news, bad news, uncertain news

Bad news. My computer is dead. Yes the new laptop that I bought less than 2 months ago went on strike a couple days ago. At first it just wanted a few things, but pretty soon its demands grew and it refused to work. This means that I likely just lost everything! Well almost everything, I was luckily able to save most of my pictures to the external hard drive when we were still in the negotiations stage, but all the videos I made of the dogs and ferrets are gone. It's being shipped somewhere and will hopefully be back soon, but I have very little hope of there being any files left when I get it back. At least it's under the manufacturer warranty.

Good news. Vito is becoming ball/tug/any toy obsessed. For the average person this might be annoying, but I am LOVING it! If I'm able to use a toy as a reward it will enable me to get much more drive and excitement out of him for agility, obedience, flyball, whatever. It will also be a ton easier for reward placement in agility if I'm able to throw something in the correct line of travel after he does a sequence. With Lance I've been trying to throw a treat, but it's harder since he can't see it land as easily and it doesn't create the same adrenaline rush as playing with a toy. In Petsmart today Vito came with me as usual on Tuesdays and we played quite a bit of ball. It was fun watching him slide on the floor and run like crazy. Each time he delivered the ball perfectly to my hand and I was able to get him to do some tricks before throwing it again as his reward. However, I bounced a ball in class today as a distraction and Vito went crazy! We definetly have to work on that as he shrieked and whined in a very high pitched voice :P

In other news, we might be comletley upturning our lives in a couple months. Adam's parents called and there is a small boarding kennel for sale in Marshfield, WI where they live. The asking price also includes their 3 bedroom house and 10 acres of land! So we called the sellers to find out more and are intrigued. I have no clue if this is what we are meant to do or not, but is at least exciting for right now! If we were to do this I would also be able to start up my own dog training business! So I've been trying to list some pros and cons in my head, assuming that we would even be able to get a loan; having no income kind've puts a kink into getting a mortgage.

Pros:
- I can invison expanding this into more than just dog boarding, and having my own dog training classes.
- Own a house and a ton of land!
- Close to Adam's parents
- The setup would likely be a very easy job, not very time consuming.
- I can imagine the future and I like it.

Cons:
- Can't travel ever. Boarding is generally a weekend thing
- Far from everything. Even if we did get to go away, it would be far to go for the dog's agility and obedience shows. And far to travel to any big city.
- Risky. We'd be moving, buying a house and a business, for something that only generates 30-40k right now, and who knows in this economy. I feel like we would never be able to make enough to pay off our current loans and then the price of all this too.
- Owning a business with your spouse can lead to a lot of arguments.
- It might turn out to be something that we really don't want to do. Adam doesn't know what his calling is yet and this would be a big investment in something he's not sure of.
- I've been thinking about getting into service dog training instead of behavioral work as my career goal, and this would put an end to that.

So I really don't know. But Adam really really wants to do this. He's getting really stressed in school right now and is seizing upon this as the future. We will just have to wait and see!

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Vito's 5month video

I posted a video of Vito's 19th & 20th week today.


He is doing really well with the backward circles, but he definitely has one way he likes more than the other. I also did his first session of "cleaning up" this week. At first Vito was really confused as I used his big dish; all he wanted to do was try to stand in it. Vito just couldn't understand why I was in his way!

I think he is going to be a midget though. Vito is almost 21wks old and only weighs 19.4lbs. I've read that a puppy is 75% of their weight by 6months, so at this rate Vito is only going to be 30lbs!!! Ahh! I love BIG dogs, like Newfie and Berner size, they just don't have the drive I want. So even the average size toller is smaller than I really like! When we enter agility trials Vito is going to be in the tiny class. People will think I bred for a "mini toller" so I would be in an easier height class! Oh little Vito! I suppose I must say that I will love you anyway, but fingers crossed you are just a late bloomer :)

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Battlescar

What a crappy day. First off, I have to wake up at 5:30 to go to work and Adam didn't get the cereal I wanted! I am not a morning person and my brain is definetly not fully functional in the morning. So for there to be no good cereal made me very cranky. Adam failed.

After settling for toast, I head off to work (doggy daycare) and let all the boarding dogs out. I generally leave Vito and Lance in the kitchen while I go about my chores and they chill on the couch while someone else is in there dishing up some doggy breakfasts. Well this morning I get summoned in the middle of letting the dogs out with something about Vito. I go check on him and his eye is bleeding and starting to swell! Apparently the other employee's dog, went after Vito when her back was turned. She assumed it was over some food that may have fallen. Things happen, they're dogs, so I'm not mad or anything.

Vito spent the rest of the morning in daycare with me watching his eye, and right after work we rush him to the vet. It didn't look that deep of a wound, but with an eye I wanted to be sure. Thankfully, the vet did some scans and couldn't see any damage to the cornea or anything else. So Vito was sent home with 2 pills and a cream for his eye. Poor little guy he has quite the shiner!

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RIP

Vito is all grown up. He has officially destuffed his first toy today (a very ugly chicken)

Rest in peace ugly chicken.

In other news, apparently the bath=good indoctrinating went better than we thought. We have Lance a mini bath today since he was disgusting after the dog park, and Vito decided he didn't want to miss out. After Lance was out of the tub, Vito hopped in and sat in there for a good 15minutes while everyone else left. We could see him from the couch and he just looked so expectant for treats to fall from the sky any second! What a good boy!


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Lucky Dogs

Two days in a row! Today was nice out again so we headed down to the Bloomington dog park with Mom and Rowan. Adam wanted to introduce Vito to water! At first Vito was a little unsure. But he quickly scampered in and then with a look of shock immediately hopped across onto the ice.
A thrown ball confused him at first. Vito didn't seem to know how to pick it up out of the water.

But soon he happily ran in and out and showed us what a good little retriever he was!


Lance happily frolicked in the water

And with a shake it was time to head to drier land.


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Spring is officially here

Corgis corgis everywhere! Today was the first gathering of Corgi Minnesota for the year and we spent the afternoon at the dog park. About 20 corgis showed up, and Vito.

It was Vito's first time at a dog park and I was a little worried how today would go. He does really well at daycare, but he's pretty assertive with other dogs when Vito's at Petsmart with me. I think a lot of it has to do with guarding treats, but even beside that he can be a really growly and assertive player. I think he just wants to play but he can scare some dogs. So I wasn't sure how today would go.

But it went great! Vito was very calm there and mostly ignored the other dogs except to say a quick hello to everyone. He ran around and chased the other corgis and just had fun being a pup. I think he thought he was a tall corgi.

Lance ran and ran and ran. His tongue rolled to the side and he was happy.

Corgis love running after balls. That's all they do though, run after ball. Do not expect an actual retrieve.

Of course it just had to be really muddy, and the dogs loved it.

Vito wants to do that again!
Lance too!

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Superstar

Vito is fast. He had agility class today and wow is he fast. I absolutely love the drive he shows towards the obstacles and how he pulls against his harness when I'm revving him up.

Today we started with the teeter which was set up so both sides landed on a table, preventing it from traveling the full length. Vito ran to the end of the teeter and several times barely skidded to a stop so he didn't fly off the raised end! Vito also did the chute today and loved it. I think that this is his favorite obstacle so far. I was told to reward him more frequently after it so he would keep his head down and not shoot out of it like superman!

We did a couple sequences today as well that Vito did really good at. He had no problem with a jump-tunnel-jump which made me very happy as I didn't think he really knew what to do with the jumps yet. Same thing with chute-tire, Vito flew through the tire like a pro.

However we also did a chute-jump-weave sequence where the "weave" was just an open channel to run though. Vito did not do so great on this, but was extremely cute. We had practiced it a couple times before doing this sequence, but it was always from the other direction so Vito apparently had no clue how to run it from this direction. He did however know that he had to run to the target on the other end so happily ran around the weave channel to pounce on his target with an expectant look. We ended up having an instructor call him from the other end, but Vito still ran around the weaves to her smiling the whole way :) Eventually we got it by putting a couple treats in the channel to encourage Vito to stay in it.

I am very proud of how Vito did in class. He has such confidence and speed that I know Vito is going to be great! But right now he is just snoozing away

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How embarassing!

Lance is a little sad right now. He totally biffed it in agility class today, right in front of everybody. Very embarrassing.

We were working on getting speed over the a-frame and not really worrying about contact criteria for right now. Lance of course was super fast but completely flew off the a-frame not even close to the contact. So the next round the instructor decided to put a jump close to the end of the a-frame to prevent Lance from flying off to early. Well I send Lance over and he of course runs at full speed. I watch as his face changes from pure joy to a look of "oh shit" and terror as he crashes into the jump at the bottom. I see it in slow motion as Lance's butt flies into the air and his face slams into the ground at my feet. Is it bad that I burst into laughter (of course after giving some cuddle time).

His chin is a little red but mainly he's just cursing and wondering how that jump popped out from nowhere :)

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A Kodak moment

When I got home from work yesterday it felt like I walked into a greeting card.

And then Vito asked Luke to pull his finger...

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The Wonderful Thing about Tigger

Zoe is pissing me off. She is too smart for her own good. Apparently Zoe has just figured out that she can jump the baby gates. Or at least she knows she can jump the one to the bedroom, she hasn't yet figured out that the other 2 gates are the same height. So Zoe is in a timeout right now to think over what she did...ha! But seriously, she is in a timeout so I can cool off an think of a way to outsmart her.

Opie has also tried. FAIL!

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Bathroom Stalker

Luke is obsessed with the bathroom. It's kind've scary sometimes; especially when you're done showering and open the curtain to fine someone staring at you.


Or he's hiding in the shower as you take a leak.

And when you go to brush your teeth and this is sitting there waiting for you.

When you find everything knocked to the ground in the morning, this is why

He of course denies it and runs away. Run away, run away!

Really, Luke just loves to curl up the vent in the bathroom. He will sit and stare down the vent for hours. A towel fell on the floor earlier and Luke thought it was fabulous day. Nice and comfy!

Whazzup!

In the videos I posted of Vito's training, you may have noticed a little kitty lurking in the background. That's because the door closed in the video is the bathroom. Kitty want in. Ok, and he's there because he wants the food. And when he is denied access to his lovely vent, this is where he is forced to sleep

Until it gets invaded by ferrets, oh no!

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Vito 17 &18wks

Yay! And I finally got Vito to put all 4 feet in the dish. I don't know why this trick is so hard for him, but he really has to think hard. I suppose I should have started with a bigger bowl, but I couldn't find anything bigger that he could still easily step in.

He also is making some progress with his dumbbell work. I think I'm going to use a different method with Vito than I have used with Lance and on different than I have read about, but it seems to be working well. Basically I started the (positive trained) traditional way of clicking for touching, and then biting the dumbbell held in my hand, but of course I soon ran into the stumbling block of teaching the dog to actually hold it in their mouth for a tiny bit. So with Vito I decided to just start putting it on the floor and clicking him for lifting it off of the ground. Well this quickly evolved into Vito deciding to roll the dumbbell back to me with his nose! Not what I'm looking for, but I thought if he is aiming for my hand, why don't I slowly raise my hand off the ground a little bit. And viola we have a tiny little retrieve to my hand! Now this may come back to bite me in the butt since I was rewarding rolling the dumbbell, but I guess we will wait and see!

And outside of training sessions, Vito is doing pretty good with bringing back toys I throw. He still sometimes tries to run by me, but at least when I try to encourage him (by acting absolutely insane and talking in the highest pitch voice ever!) he brings the object instead of dropping it and running to me. I play a lot of tug after he brings it back which Vito seem to love. I even started doing this with his bumper and frisbee. I'm trying to keep those 2 objects very special for Vito so I keep them out of reach and only do 2-4 throws at a time, but Vito goes insane for the bumper. When I'm doing all of this Lance (and Adam) look at me like I'm crazy, but Vito loves it! I even showed Lance the bumper to play with and he just gave me this dumbfounded look like he could not believe I would even ask him to play with a hard plastic tube!

Vito also started his first skateboarding lesson the other day. I think I may have to postpone it more till we can outside again though since he already is doing great on the carpet!

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An hour and 45mn makes me depressed

*sigh* I feel like we really aren't making much progress with Vito's separation issues. Today was Lance's obedience class so I left Vito at home again. Last night I even bought some "calming pills" from Petsmart. I was going to buy the DAP plug in but when I saw the price I thought otherwise, so chamomile flower + pills it was! Anyway, I gave Vito a pills, and a pigs ear and threw him in the kennel while I left with Lance. The video footage shows Vito chewing the bone for only 5 minutes before stopping and barking/pacing/panting/whining for the next 1hr 45mn until Adam came home. That is a long time to not settle down. I feel that this confirms that Vito really does have bad anxiety issues and that it can't just be frustration and learned behavior. I don't really know what to do. I guess I haven't actively been working on his kennel in a while, so I could go back to shaping quiet while I am gone for 1mn, 2mn, etc, but I don't know if that is really going to help. Vito really does love his kennel- he will drive into any kennel from 30ft away and is pretty good about staying in it with the door open as long as he can see me and I'm less then 15ft away. I actually emailed the great Susan Garrett today (the inventor of Crate Games!) about Vito and will see if she responds; I doubt she will have time too, but fingers crossed!

Vito is staying true to his 1lb/wk and now weighs 18lbs at 18wks of age.

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Bathtime comes but once a year (well more or less)

Bath time. Lance hates this time. Lucky for him it doesn't occur that often since mom is lazy.
He does learn that bath time equals treats, and hopes that just being really cute when it is over will get him some more.

It didn't. So Lance decided sleep was a good 2nd.
Vito also had his first bath. He was very excited, until the water turned on him! Then Vito decided that he wanted out and the treats were not good enough. However once realizing that the water was not out to kill him he decided to cut his losses and eat the treats. Since Adam was in charge of the camera, there are no pictures.

And did Luke just snarl at me?


Oh, he must be hungry. Bathtime may have delayed his dinner. Luke always needs to show us his shrinking tummy when he wants food.

I'm too weak to move...

Put food in here!

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Tunnel Tv

Last night Vito had his 2nd day of agility at his first class. Adam has retracted his statement, Vito IS the best dog in the class. He conquered the puppy chute today without fear! He also did a mini a-frame, straight tunnel, table, raised board, wobble board, and ladder.

At home he had another first- Vito watched tunnel tv for the first time. We brought out the 20ft clear tube for the ferrets and let the entertainment begin! At first Vito could care less and chewed on a cow hoof that was out while the chaos ensued around him. But then curiosity took the best of him and he watched for a bit before being chased by a crazed Opie.
Vito isn't really sure what to think of Opie. Overall he generally ignores the ferrets but does play a little bit with them. But I think Opie still scares him! Opie likes to chase after Vito and bite him so that may have something to do with Vito's weariness :)

Luke also liked to watch.
And when Lance wasn't snorkling for ferrets,
he spent the evening with a very happy look on is face!
Or maybe he had this face on...

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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