Archive for the ‘C litter’ Category

Pluto!

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Can we just take a moment to admire this handsome devil? Pluto (Zhora’s son Alkemi Crusader LT, formerly known as Chex) lives in Los Angeles, his owner Pat is an amazing dog trainer, and maybe he’ll get to be in the movies some day! So happy he has an amazing home, and I can’t wait to see what he and Pat do in the future! He’s growing up very nicely!

Puppy Palooza 2018

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Alice and I attended Puppy Palooza this past weekend at Follow The Leda in Gansevoort, NY. It was an information-packed, well-run, fun, and very informative weekend!

As with any seminar on any subject, it’s important to stay true to your own training philosophies and beliefs, while keeping your mind open to new ideas that could be useful. You keep what you like and discard what you don’t. I have definitely become a fan of the One Mind Dogs methods, because they really do just work and make sense to me and my dogs, and while I am not a “purist” of any method, I do think OMD is far more natural to me than any other, and since I started Alice with the OMD puppy course, I am working within what I started.

What I liked:

  • it really made me conscious of how much reinforcement I am giving away by letting my dogs get it from the environment or each other instead of from me. So I picked up all the toys that could be tug toys, and have already had two tugging sessions this morning. If I want to use tug as a reinforcer, I need to make it valuable, not free. That said, I am not someone who is going to deny my dogs the joy they get from playing with each other. I’m not doing Ruff Love and I’m not aiming for the World Team. I just want to be reasonably successful at my sport and have fun with my dogs, and have my dogs have fun with me.
  • Some really good discussion about tug mechanics and ways to get a dog tugging well (Alice had a decent tug drive but I can see already that just changing a few things has improved it even in just two days). Also not giving up, if you start a tug session, you HAVE to get at least a little tug going before you stop.
  • Some excellent reminders about not being lazy and getting up and USING training opportunities like mealtimes and high energy times
  • I LOVED the motivational posters she has all over the training arena. I usually hate that sort of thing but these were great and actually did make me think.
  • The concept of Transitions (Greg Derrett) – starting at the crate, working on connection and building drive with tug or food from the moment you get the dog out, and between exercises or after an error.

What I will be discarding (or at least adapting):

  • Tara is a Greg Derrett adherent. I am not. I might have appreciated a heads up that the methods being taught were going to be taught strictly within the Greg Derrett/Anthony Clarke framework, rather than just presenting things as “this is the right way” (as opposed to “this is the right way within the GD/AC  methodology”). This was not a huge deal, but it did chafe a little, especially being told that things that didn’t follow this methodology were “wrong”.  I do mostly OneMind Dogs, their methods aren’t “wrong”, they just differ in some ways to GD/AC methods, and for me they work.
  • Reinforcement Zone – I do not want my dog driving to my front, that’s not how I handle. But I will be more conscious of my reward placement.
  • The comments about how puppies should not know what a jump is or what weave poles are. My puppy is sequencing with tiny jumps or just standards, she is working the “offering the jump” exercises, she is learning one set of 2 x 2 weaves, she is running through channels. NONE of these things are harmful to her and ALL are beneficial.
  • Circle work. I am sure it has benefits. But most of those benefits (learning acceleration/deceleration, learning the handler’s running style, learning to switch between reinforcers, etc) can also be had by running small sequences and doing handling flatwork or handling work with hoops. And running small sequences and handling flatwork are more efficient for me. I feel like for me, circle work is what I did 15 years ago, I no longer really think it has benefits that can’t be equally obtained in other, more efficient ways.

Overall, I am glad I went. Both Tara and Jared were really good instructors, and it was a very fun weekend.

Orbit AGAIN!

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Orbit (Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT) won best puppy at the Kandasaga AKC match today! Awesome work again Ruth and Jim!

Orbit!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT had a FABULOUS weekend in West Springfield! At only his second weekend out, he went Best of Breed over a Grand Champion (who won Westminster, no less, so a very nice bitch!) from the 6-9 month puppy class under judge Joy Brewster on Saturday and then on Sunday took Best of Winners over a class bitch under judge Kathy Madden.

Huge thanks and congratulations to his co-owners Ruth and Jim for raising and training and showing and (most importantly) loving him!

Holy Moly!

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

This puppy….holy moly. The last time we practiced (three days ago), Alice still didn’t quite “get” tunnels, she’d go in with encouragement but she was still climbing on top and not quite seeing the point of them. And then yesterday (her next training session) she became a tunnel suck! In fact, she was SO enthusiastic about tunnels I had to do a quick couple of sessions of rewarding NOT going into the tunnel. I cannot believe how quickly she learns, how few repetitions it takes of most things before she really seems to understand them, and how much focus and working drive and enthusiasm she has at just five months of age.

She is jumping 4″ bars. She steps on bumps so I elected to stop using them, 4″ is well below her hocks, and we actually do jumping very rarely. The OneMind Dogs “offering the jump” exercise is extremely effective. And Puppy Culture is amazing.

To say I am pleased would be an immense understatement. I am absolutely thrilled. She is amazing. I feel very lucky. So far she is EXACTLY what I was hoping to get out of this breeding.

Baby Agility

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Holy crap. I can’t believe how well this little 4 month old is doing! Huge thanks to Sue! We were using bumps but she was stepping on them. Per the OneMind Dogs folks, you’re OK to use jumps below hock level, so that’s what I’m doing. She’s doing very little jumping anyway but I needed something for her to go over rather than step on.

Today we went to a Barn Hunt workshop and found some rats! Very fun to get out of my comfort zone and learn about a dog sport I know nothing about! She did great. Awesome focus and working drive on this puppy.

 

8 WEEKS OLD TOMORROW!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

When you have a newborn litter, the days seem much the same, you don’t have to do much except make sure the dam is looked after, keep the whelping box clean, and handle, weigh and monitor the puppies. With this litter we had to do a bit more because Popcorn (now Cora) was struggling at bit at first, but overall, they grow, they eat, they crawl around. And then, all of a sudden, their eyes are open, then they’re walking, then they’re moving to the big pen, they’re learning things, and now, somehow, we’re almost at the point where they’ll start leaving to go to their new homes and now….now we have to figure out how to let them go. I love this litter so, so much, they are exactly what I was hoping to get from this cross so far. And while I am SO looking forward to following their adventures out in the world, I am also going to cry….a lot…as they leave me.

Today we took them all to the vet (where I work) for their first doctor exam, microchipping (we use a local anesthetic so they don’t mind that big needle), and since Cora is scheduled to leave on Saturday, she got her first distemper/parvovirus vaccination. The others will get theirs next week.

Cora getting her checkup (with a snack) from Dr Julie.

Everybody was healthy! No heart murmurs, everybody who should have testicles has two, and nobody who shouldn’t have testicles has any. Bites were good. And they really did very, very well. They played, nobody was really worried about being up on the exam table, nobody cared about their local anesthetic injection OR their microchip. Cora was very brave with her vaccination and didn’t even notice it. They wrestled and played in the exam room and then played tag up and down the hallway with the staff.

Licensed Veterinary Technician Simone and Chex

There are many reasons I love working where I do. We have an awesome staff who are dedicated to making sure pets have a good experience at the vet, we’re a certified Fear Free clinic and we work hard to make the vet fun if possible! I love the doctors and staff I work with and seeing how they all interacted with the puppies was awesome. We have Adaptil diffusers in every dog examination room, we play music specifically intended to help dogs feel calm and comfortable, we use food and low stress handling techniques, but even so, I was very happy with how the puppies did! They played, they ate, they wagged and barked and socialized!

Simone and puppies

Simone getting the bities from Alfie (formerly Orson):

“Sorry Jan, she knows how to bark!” (Cora, wearing the blue collar):

Veterinary Assistant Jason had LIVER….they liked liver AND Jason

 

7 Weeks Old (and thereabouts)

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

SO MANY THINGS happened this week! The puppies took their first ride in the car (to visit my work, since they’ll be getting their microchips next week, I wanted their first visit to a vet clinic to be all fun), they started eating meals in crates, many different enrichment things, they’ve been going out onto the deck…

We played with paper and an apple at Amanda’s work!

The cool kids are outside!

Sheepskin!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Nicole came over with a sheepskin for the puppies’ enrichment item. They were in HEAVEN! They leaped on it and shook it and tore fleece off it (they most definitely would have been excused for excessive gripping in a herding trial). They wiped themselves out they played so hard. What a GREAT idea for them – new smells, new textures, new things to bite! They are real little dogs now.

Puppies vs Egg

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Yesterday three of Jim’s graduate students came to visit the puppies. We had them sit on the floor in the living room and let the puppies have to come out of the pen to greet them. I realized that most of the socializing has been taking place with the puppies IN the pen, so we wanted to change things up. No worries, they were thrilled to meet new people and find new fingers to bite and hair to eat!

They are getting fitter and their stamina is increasing. Just a few days ago a jaunt outside the pen for zoomies would tucker them out in just a few minutes. Now they need several real world zoomie adventures a day before they’re tired.

They’re real little dogs now. They’re looking quite pudgy so I expect they’re gearing up to grow some more.

I’m feeding them a variety of things, and so far they love everything. They’ve become excellent eaters as Vallhunds usually are, and clean their plate in record time. They’re eating Primal raw (a variety of protein types), kibble, canned food, various chewies, and people food (they’ve tried popcorn, cheese, baby food, various meats, and eggs). I will start feeding them in crates in the next few days. They now have a treat ball filled with kibble in the pen, and they’re gradually learning how to make it dispense the food.

One of our favorite enrichment activities with puppies (we got the idea from my dear friend and mentor Ulla Gamberg at Vastgota Swedish Vallhunds) is giving them a hard boiled egg to figure out.

Ironically, even though this litter took forever to start eating, they made very short work of the egg and figured out it was food immediately (past litters took a while). This morning’s zoomies and the egg tired them out (for now).

So here, without further ado, our magnum opus: Puppies vs Egg. (Spoiler alert, the puppies win, the egg was harmed….oh my….).