Grace 16wks

Puppy Grace is growing fast!  22lbs at 16wks of age! 


She is one nice puppy.  I am in love with how confident she is with absolutely everything.  LOVES people.  Loves climbing and stepping on things.  Great natural focus.

We are still working on potty training and not chewing things.  She hasn't been the easiest puppy in those regards, but at least she no longer will have an accident when crated!  Phew!

In training, the biggest thing Grace has struggled with is still feet.  She reminds me of a  miniature schnauzer (sorry schnauzers!) with how they like to "drum" when excited.  I don't think she's aware of her up and down foot movement at all and that's making it hard to train stillness of any type.  Even when her feet are on something she still moves them often.  My go to behaviors of chin rests, slow cookies and doggy zen work aren't helping much.  

So, for the most part, I'm skipping any work on position changes as even when folding into a down I don't like how her paw lifts up.  

Eye contact work with doggy zen games are also coming along very slowly as while she will offer looking it's with lots of that stupid drumming.  She's doing much better learning more active behaviors with the zen hand such as sending out around a cone or to a target.

And I guess since this is turning into the post of what is hard for Grace, I'll throw in retrieves too!  I was actually planning on teaching Grace the stationary hold first instead of my usual approach which teaches the pickup and movement to my hand first.  More so because it's a popular method and while I've used with a handful of dogs at work I haven't done the technique that much with puppies besides The Boykin.

Grace told me she wasn't going to be that puppy!  When I was trying to work on duration I just kept getting repeated crunching.  It's like she learned bite, bite again, bite again, "why aren't you rewarding me, I'm biting again!!"  vs bite and just keep your mouth on it.  So I went to slowly moving it away from her to try to get her to bite and really grip it as it's moving- a trick I've done often in the past.  Nope, lots of talented crunching while walking.  

Oh well.  Switching to teaching the movement piece first is going well.  She's picking it up really well and just starting to really target my hand.  I'll be going back to stationary holding pretty soon it looks like with how fast she's progressing!

The other big thing I'm playing with Gracie is the stuff from my Bye Bye Cookie class.  No emphasis on actually getting rid of rewards, just emphasizing that the reward can come from different places.  She's way more food obsessed than my other tollers and needs work on really thinking around the food!  Although looking back, I guess even puppy Zumi liked food more than toys so perhaps time just colors my perception!


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Rough Trials

This winter has not been especially great for Zumi's training!  Ice, fridgid temps, then snow dumps.  Excuses.


Obedience/Rally
Two weekends ago Zumi went to our CDSP obedience/ WCRL rally trial on Saturday.  2 runs in Open obedience, 1 run in rally.  

The first obedience run started a bit rough.  Not horrible, but a bit distracted on setups and some moving away from me.  We qualified, but it just wasn't a connected run.  
Oh and we had a rethrow again on the ROH jump that I didn't know about until we were waiting forever until Zumi finally couldn't take it and left me.  That's when I looked up and saw the judge was in the process of picking up the dumbbell.  She doesn't handle rethrows well to begin with, and having waited SO long with trying hard to not scream or leave early was just thrown out with her anticipation.
But overall I thought she had to poop. And I was right in that as soon as we went out she did poop.  

Then that didn't explain that her next run, rally, had similar qualities of meh heeling.  Not really distracted, just laggy.  

Her last run of obedience she seemed better.  Much more connected with me, more energy for sure.  But we didn't retrieve.  Not once. Zumi left me to walk several steps on the 1st retrieve.  So I called her back and was going to move on but the judge let me do it again.  Same thing, so I moved on without releasing Zumi.  Retrieve over the high, essentially my 3rd throw in the ring was the same thing.  I think it was a combination of a stressy day for her plus the added rehearsal int he first trial of leaving me without any cue on my part.

The bad news/good news is that I've been working on it with her this last week and have been able to replicate it.  If I let the dumbbell hit a wall so it makes an apparently exciting sound, she will start walking towards it.  So I've been having her lie down, I pick it up, and then come back to give her cookies and do some heeling before trying again. Not sure if that's a good approach for her or not!  I dont' want to create more stress with the exercise, but the same time I need it very clear that moving does not lead to a release....  Overall I'm trying to have more easy short reps than the ones I challenge her on.

UKI Agility
Then last weekend Zumi had a UKI trial.  And we had more issues with her startline/release.  This particular location seems very tough for her as I think all of her startline issues have started here.  This time it was worse as while she mostly actually stayed put (still difficulties with the initial stay after lining up, before I left), she ran around the first jump in her last run Saturday and 2 of her 3 runs on Sunday.  While Zumi has been known to do that, it's usually in a particular setup where I need to be at an angle on the lead out vs an approach like these courses had.

So not a great month so far!!!

I am curious and a bit scared to see how she will do the next 2 weekends. No trials this week. But I did end up entering her in an AKC obedience trial back on our home turf this coming weekend.  And then the following wekeend is USDAA at the location she usually stays well at!





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

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