Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I am quite thankful that I succeeded in getting a stool sample from Secret prior to leaving for the vet's office yesterday. I turned it in for testing and it came back positive for roundworms!

My vet said that he was not at all surprised by this, considering where she came from. The treatment is quite simple -- I gave her a dose of pyrantel pamoate last night, will repeat in two weeks, followed by a stool sample two weeks after that.

The PP came in a dosing syringe that my vet said I could squirt into her mouth or put on her food. That was pretty much a no-brainer! She still inhales anything you throw at her, so I figured putting it in her food would be the least stressful method for everyone. To be sure there wouldn't be any nose-turning, I stopped at the store and picked up a package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs to cut up and add to her dinner. In my opinion, dog food is about all those things are good for. I think they will also make good training treats!

Secret was up to 21.3 lbs at the vet's office yesterday!! Oh my goodness, I can't believe how fast she's growing. Kaiser dropped down to 16.5 lbs from his "dieting" and all the exercise he's getting running around with Secret, so she definitely is outweighing him now.

I didn't realize that I'd made a tech appointment yesterday (vs. an appointment to meet with my vet, Randy), which meant that a tech came out to get Secret for her shot. I really don't like it when they do that. Frankly, I'd rather just do the shot myself. Secret was not pleased at the way Annette originally tried to pick her up, which resulted in Annette scruffing her. I was REALLY not pleased by this. Note to self, never, ever make a tech appointment again. Annette said that Secret was totally fine after that, though, and she didn't seem any worse for wear when she came back to me.

I did get to speak with Randy briefly regarding the roundworm situation and what shots we have left. I made an appointment in two weeks to go in for her first Lepto vaccine. Things have apparently changed since Kaiser was a puppy and they are now recommending it for all dogs in this area after seeing a few cases come through. Since we opted not to vaccinate Kaiser for Lepto when he was a puppy (vet thought it would be hard on him), Kaiser will be getting vaccinated on the same schedule as Secret. She still needs to get started on Lyme, and I'll probably do Bordatella on her at some point as well since we travel so much. It just makes me feel better.

I skipped training last night because of the vet visit & shot. Secret & Kaiser are starting to get into a routine of chase in the back yard that tends to go on for some time. Good for them, it tires them out earlier! Between the outdoor play session and the racing around the couch that has become a nightly habit, everyone actually ended up crashing on the couch by 7 p.m. last night. Definitely an early night for Secret these days!

We ended up having a bit of a sleepless night. I woke up around 2:30 a.m. to Secret retching in her kennel. She gagged, but nothing came up. Since we were all up, I took the dogs outside for a quick potty break where she pee'd and poo'd, then we went right back to bed.

I woke up again to retching at 3:30. Again, no vomit or anything else was produced and Secret seemed very settled, so I turned off the light and went back to bed. At 4:30, I woke up yet again to retching (it's funny how that noise will pull me out of the deepest sleep!). This time, however, we had a "prize."

The nickle is only there for size comparison, but the rest came out of Secret. I'm fairly certain that she picked up the chunk of wood during our daily walk at work yesterday. I had noticed that she was playing with something in her mouth, but by the time I got to her to investigate, it was gone. The other piece(s) has me baffled, but I'm going to guess that it came from one of the stemmy weeds that she & Kaiser have been pulling up from the sand under the deck or from the dirt pile in the back yard. At any rate, I'm glad it all came up safely and that she is none the worse for wear!

Today I ordered several different tug toys from Clean Run in an attempt to build Secret's tug drive. I got one with a squeaky ball, one with bunny fur and I also got the Tug It training toy that holds food and is supposed to build tug motivation for food-motivated dogs. I got the advanced version since she does show some tug drive already, just not a ton of it. I also ordered her a Wubba with a sqeaker ball, since she seemed to show an interest in the Water Wubba that I had out in the yard last night.

So it will soon be Christmas (again) in our house, when all of this arrives. I'm trying very hard to build her toy drive, especially since we can't do anything else in this nasty winter weather.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lazy Weekend

We had an incredibly lazy weekend following the Christmas rush.

Unfortunately, the yard remained horrid all weekend from the ice we got during the holiday, so we were able to do very little meaningful activity outside. I brought the dogs into work both Saturday & Sunday for some running time on flat ground. Secret bit the dust on the ice a few times, but just got back up and kept running. :o)

I finally got back to training on Sunday. I decided to shape Secret to stick her tongue out on command. We actually got pretty far with it and I expect it to be fairly solid in one more session. In addition to "Stick your tongue out," I also touched on getting her to lower her head to the floor when she's in the down position. I figure it will be a useful skill to have in place for some future tricks.

Secret has another appointment at the vet's office this afternoon to get her next puppy shot. I've been following her around outside all day trying to get a stool sample to take with us and she's holding out on me so far. I received an e-mail from one of the other puppy owners that her puppy, Sonata, had tested positive for hookworms and giardia! Mozart's owner, Ruth, piped in and said that he had tested clean, but I still feel as though it's probably safest to take in a sample to be tested since we have an appointment, anyhow. Now she just needs to provide one for me by 3:30 this afternoon! She hasn't gone since 6 a.m., so I figure she's due any time here....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Secret has survived her first Christmas! :o)

Christmas Eve was held at my parent's house with my dad's side of the family. We were expecting about 28 people, so I decided it would probably be best to not bring all three dogs along. Instead, Secret got to come all by herself for her "coming out" party.

In short, I think she found it incredibly overwhelming. She definitely had very little interest in having people pet her, which is quite out of character for her. Secret was, however, more than willing to show off her tricks to anyone who might be willing to give her a bite of food. She was particularly fond of my grandpa, due to his reputation of spoiling dogs rotten.

She got much better by the end of the night. My uncle got right down on the floor with her for a while and she really warmed up to him & my aunt after a short time (including toys).

One would have thought that after a few hours of all that activity, Secret would have crashed upon coming home. Not quite! She was ecstatic to see the boys and ended up running laps around the couch for an hour. lol

Christmas day was much easier on Secret. We again went to my parents house (all three dogs this time) and spent the day with only my parents and my brother's family (which includes three kids, a new experience for Secret). She did incredibly well all day. I consider the fact that we didn't have any accidents in a new house a huge success!

We always try to take a family picture at Christmas. After that was done, I asked my dad to take a "family picture" of me and the dogs. I failed to EVER get a photo of me, Kaiser & Luke over the past two years, so I didn't want to let that happen again now with the three dogs. The photo at the top is the result!

I left the dogs home that evening to go to Christmas dinner with my mom's side of the family. The dogs were home alone for about five hours or so. Secret's chewie must have fallen out of the kennel, because I found the remains of it on the other side of the couch. Poor Secret! To make it up to her, this morning I gave her a Dingo all her own and made the boys watch her eat it. ;o)

We came into work today to let the dogs run around for a while. We had a terrible ice storm and the back yard is horrible right now. It's quite icy at work, but at least it's flat and the dogs can run. We'll likely come in to do the same tomorrow.

No trick training the last few days with the rush of the holidays -- we'll have to get back on that soon!! Secret got tons of practice with the family, though, and happily showed off: Sit, down, shake, high-five, speak, bow & roll over. Yay! Good girl! Everyone was massively impressed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Puppy Agility!!

I had to snap the photo above this morning -- all three dogs trying to fit onto the same dog bed! lol Luke is doing so much better with Secret these days. She is still in love with him and trying her hardest to make friends. Luke now puts up with all of the nose kisses, but I don't think he likes it. ;o)

They are all tuckered out today from our late night at the dog center. Secret was very good in her kennel all night. The children of one of my students were playing with her for a while, but she apparently decided that she didn't like the son very much and started barking at him. Hmm. Unfortunately I hadn't been able to watch to see what started it, but it seems like odd behavior from her. I tried bringing her into the arena to learn to stand quietly with me, but she proved to be too much of a distraction to several of the student's dogs, so she had to go back into her crate for the rest of the night. On that note, she will likely not fit into Kaiser's crate for too much longer! I have been leaving the little crate at the dog center and have had her in my parent's medium-sized crate at home. Soon I will either have to buy another crate or start bringing the one from home, I guess.

It was about 8:30 before Secret got to come out to play, so I guess I'm lucky that she was even awake at that point. She always comes out wanting to play tug, so I started with that. For some reason she tends to lose interest in it fairly quickly, and we end up moving to treats. When I brought out what was left of Kaiser's treats (Natural Balance food roll cut into cubes), she went nuts for it. I've never really "treated" her with much more than her kibble, so it was definitely something new & amazing for her.

We lucked out, in that the "puppy agility" equipment was set outside of the arena, so I grabbed it and brought it onto the mats for us to play with. This is essentially a short tunnel (about 2'-3' long) and the baby dog walk (about 8" off the ground with short planks). I couldn't have asked for anything better at this point! I also had several hoops set up in a row as part of the course we ran in class, so I also incorporated these into our training session.

Secret's work on the baby dog walk was comical at times. It became evident very quickly that she has very little spacial awareness at this time. There were several times when she was trotting merrily along the top plank when her body would suddenly veer sideways and she'd find herself on the floor (always with a very surprised look!). Thankfully this didn't seem to throw her off too much and she was always willing to try again. Her balance improved greatly by the time we finished. I lured into a two-on/two-off position each time and she did great!

Secret really wasn't sure about the hoops at first, but she really started to get into it when I started to throw the treats through them. By the end of our session she was loping happily through three hoops in a row without needing a reward in between. She was also able to go through the tunnel without a thrown treat, so in the end we connected the tunnel, dog walk & hoops. This was the first time I've seen her get excited about anything agility related, so I think it's definitely time to start using better rewards for her to keep it interesting and fun.

I also made sure to practice her "wait" command in front of the obstacles, which was definitely hardest for her when I had the tuggy (at first, while she was interested), and then the "good" treats -- but she did great and seems to be figuring it out.

I let the dogs run loose while I was packing up all of my stuff (had to bring crates home since we don't have class until after our MMBC NADAC trial) -- they really enjoyed being able to rough-house and run on the mats. We just really can't do much of anything in the back yard right now thanks to all the crusty snow back there.

I thought all of that play time would zonk them out once we got home, but Secret was in no hurry to go to bed. I thought she had gone potty outside when we got home and thus was not being terribly attentive -- end result being that we had a potty accident in the house. Sigh. First one in about a week! Obviously the fault is with me for not making sure she went outside before we came in.

My class is taking off next week for the holidays, so unfortunately we won't have any more opportunities to play at the dog center for a couple of weeks. We'll just have to do what we can at home!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"The Big Bed"

This weekend, Secret discovered the magic of "The Big Bed," -- and decided that she quite liked it up there! I broke my "no puppies on the bed" rule a little early... But only briefly, and she was back into her crate again last night.

Sunday morning I woke up around 5:30 and decided to take the dogs outside, hoping that this would buy me time to be lazy and sleep in a bit. On a whim, I decided to let Secret come into bed with me & the boys, figuring that she'd just learn the whole, "you move, you go back in your crate" lesson.

Well, she totally surprised me by immediately sacking out next to me and didn't move for over two hours! Who would have thought I'd be able to sleep in until quarter to nine with a 14 week old puppy in the house? ;o) What a good girl -- she obviously appreciates the comfort of the bed. That said, she will continue to stay in her crate overnight for a while, until the night time routine is more ingrained. We have only recently begun to sleep all the way through the night, so that is a start!

This was our first weekend staying home and I wondered how difficult it would be to keep Secret entertained. We went through several chewies, but she was a very good girl and we didn't have an accident all weekend long! We had several short outside play sessions per day, where Secret finally showed some interest in the little fabric frisbee -- I think she found it much easier to pick up, and therefore more fun to chase.

We did noon-time training sessions to give her a mid-day meal. We did plank work on Saturday and had big improvements! Secret is confidently going up and down the angled board now and performing a very nice two-on/two-off position (still with a little bit of luring). We also worked on her "wait" command, which is also improving.

Our trick work on Sunday was basically review of previous tricks. The bow is *really* coming along, to the point where I'm able to start fading the lure a bit. She's also made great strides in "roll over," but she definitely prefers to roll to the right! Spins to the left and right no longer have to be lured around, but they could be a little faster. :o)

One "trick" Secret picked up over the weekend that I'd rather she hadn't is jumping off the back of the couch... She decided that was a fun game to play while chasing after Kaiser yesterday, so I had to put an end to that. This morning while getting ready for work, though, she went off the back and onto the linoleum in the kitchen -- not as nice as landing on the carpet, she found. Sigh. It likely didn't feel great and she sulked over to me for cuddles. Hopefully it made an impression on her, but I doubt it!

Secret got bath number three with the Ketochlor yesterday. She continues to be such a good girl in the tub! Her skin is really clearing up now and the corn oil I've started to add to her meals is helping with her dry skin issues. She'll be gleaming in no time.

My agility class is tonight, so I plan to do more playing in the arena and some foundation skills. I'll have hoops out that we can play with, and I will likely compress a tunnel for her to explore.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vet Visit!

Yesterday was Secret's first visit to meet our vet and it couldn't have gone better! She was a very well behaved little girl.

Secret sat very nicely on the scale so that we could get her weight -- a surprising 18.3 lbs already!!! Oh my goodness! She's put on three whole pounds since I got her! Secret now outweighs Kaiser, who has probably lost some of his 18 lbs since he had a crash introduction to eating on a regular schedule (which he is still not happy about).

We didn't have too long of a wait before we saw our vet, so Secret didn't have much time to get bored -- plus she was entertained most of the time by the various techs and whatnot that wanted to meet her.

She was happy, happy, happy when our vet, Dr. Randy came in to see us! She may have been slightly offended at having her teeth checked (obviously something I need to work with her on, although she wasn't that bad), but she didn't blink at any of the rest of his poking & prodding. Secret received her rabies vaccination yesterday and we will go back on December 28 for her next puppy shot.

Secret's skin issues got the "all clear," so we can discontinue the daily anti-fungal ointment that I've been applying to her tail. Randy said it wouldn't hurt to give her another bath with the Ketochlor so long as I have it -- I was figuring we'd do that this weekend. He also suggested that I start to add some corn oil or fish oil to her food to try to help her dry coat. I started putting one of Luke's fish oil capsules in her food last night and she didn't have any problem eating it. No wonder, really, since she doesn't ever chew! I may stop at the store to pick up some oil, though, since I think it might be cheaper in the long run. Just being on an improved diet will help her coat, but the oil certainly won't hurt anything. I also thought about adding in some egg to her diet, since I remember what fantastic things that did for Luke's coat.

Last night was also the first time that I've left Secret home alone! I do believe this was a new record for me, as I think it was far, far longer before I left Kaiser. I lived in the apartment then, though, and was too worried about him crying while I was gone. I would gander that Secret likely didn't have any issues -- she is so good in her crate! I moved her crate into the living room so that she would be with the boys (who are loose in the house) and gave her a chewie as I left. Her bedding was all intact as I left it and the chewy was gone, so it looks like she didn't get upset while I was gone. She was also, BY FAR, the calmest of the three when I returned. The boys just go insane.

I stayed up and played with the dogs before going to bed @ 1:00 and thankfully we were then able to stay down for the night until the alarm went off (far too early) this morning. Secret did NOT want to get up, and I can't blame her. lol

This weekend will be our first weekend at home, so I will surely have to come up with several ways to keep Secret occupied and tired. It's warming up a bit, so perhaps the crust layer will go away in the back yard so that we can play out there a bit more. Otherwise we will likely come into work so that they can run around off leash in the lumber yard.

I used our new touch stick for training last night for the first time and I think it will come in very handy for several tricks. It helped a LOT with bow, I felt, and we made a lot of progress with that one! This weekend we'll have to head to the basement for some more plank work.

I trimmed Secret's nails again just now. Do all puppies have nails that grow this fast? This is turning into a weekly ritual, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I guess! I figure the more I can keep them trimmed back, the easier it will be in the future. I don't consider my boys to have long nails, but Secret is the only one who isn't making any noise on the kitchen floor! :o)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trick/Skills Update

We have continued our daily training sessions and Secret is still impressing me with how fast she picks things up! After learning to shake, it was a short step to teach her to "high five." She's doing very well with "roll over" (though still in the luring stage) and seems to have clicked with "bow." Neither of those are really ready to start showing off for people yet, though. We also started to teach "spin" in both directions, as well as "sit pretty."

In summary, the tricks that are proofed for public performance are:

High Five

And hopefully soon we can add to that:

Roll Over
Take a bow
Sit Pretty

Going forward, I'd like to start to work on "weave between the legs." I feel as though I have to document all of this here on her blog so that I don't forget what I've already taught her! lol

Last night our touch stick came in the mail. We'd already had our training session for the night when I opened the box, so I only showed it to Secret briefly and click/treated a few times when she touched it with her nose. She seemed instantly drawn to it, so I feel it will be a handy little tool for our shaping exercises!

The training exercise of the evening involved plank work for the first time, as I managed to somehow drag my teeter down to the basement. I propped up one end on the landing so that there is a very slight slope down to the floor. I was surprised at how hesitant Secret was to go on the plank at first. We worked through it, though, and by the end of the session she was doing a very nice two-on/two-off (with a lure) and was walking the full length of the plank. Not bad for her first session!

I introduced Secret to tennis balls last night and I believe we've found a winner! I haven't gotten much interest out of her with the frisbees yet, which is unfortunate since they are the easiest to play with out in the snow. We tossed tennis balls around the house for a while last night and she even brought them back (most of the time)! We will continue with (limited) ball play in the house to keep building her fetching skills. I might have to lock Luke in a different room so as not to destroy my house, though....

We are still struggling with finding the right balance of food fed during meals and with training. In short, I think I'm feeding her way too much during our evening training sessions, so I'll likely have to start trimming the duration of them to keep this in check. Secret's a pooping machine at night from everything she's getting during training and I believe this is the reason why we're still having to get up once during the night for her to go outside (this morning it was 4 a.m., so we are getting closer!). She goes immediately upon being put outside, so I do believe that it's quite necessary to continue getting up when she starts to whine.

Secret has two big "firsts" coming up today! This afternoon is her first appointment with our vet (Luke has his Addison's appointment, so I added her onto it for Dr. Randy to meet her) and then this evening I will be leaving her at home for the first time while I go out. My plan is to move her crate next to the couch in the living room and hope for the best!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toy Drive

(According to our guesstimated birthday, Secret is three months old today!)

Currently, Secret thinks that toys are a super fun way to interact with Kaiser and to keep herself entertained when nobody else will play with her. Thus far, however, I have not been terribly successful at getting her to interact with ME with toys.

I have tried a few times to get her interested in a couple different types of frisbee outdoors -- but ultimately I think it's just too darn cold and the snow is crispy and hard. No fun at all! The most reaction I have gotten is for her to bounce after the fallen frisbee and paw at it a bit. Oh wait, she did pick it up a couple of times, but she has made no motion to retrieve as of yet.

Last night I thought maybe I'd try to train some sort of retrieve through clicker shaping. We didn't make it too far before she got terribly frustrated with me -- and the stupid new button clicker I ordered BROKE, so our game was interrupted while I went to grab the old clicker. The toy I was using was a stuffed pig that all of the dogs really love to play with. Secret has tossed it around several times, herself.

With the clicker, however, she was certain that she was supposed to touch the pig. She did progress to doing a nose touch to it, but never really grasped that I wished for her to pick it up (much less bring it to me). We had a limited amount of time, so I decided to instead move on to introducing "roll over" and "spin/turn." Silly me was putting a different cue on spinning in different directions, but do you think I'll remember which one is which? hahaha

We all packed up to head down to the dog center after an early dinner, because my agility class has now moved to Monday nights. Secret wasn't at all upset about heading back into her crate after spending the entire weekend there. She didn't make one peep during my class, and thankfully there were no accidents in the crate this week. :o)

When I was all done for the night, I decided to bring Secret into the arena for some play time and to let her get comfortable around the agility equipment. I pulled the bars off a couple of jumps and worked on getting her to go through the uprights. We also went and explored a tunnel for a little while, which she was more than happy to check out.

Granted it was 9 p.m., but I was a little bummed about the lack of enthusiasm that I was receiving from Secret during all of this. She happily followed me and went where I asked her to, but it was more or less at a walk or slow trot.

I decided to go grab a tuggy out of my agility bag and see what kind of interaction I would get from her then. Wow, I suddenly had a totally different dog! She was excited, running & chasing the tug -- she got into it more than she ever has at home with me. I briefly worked on her wait/recall using the tuggy, which we found more difficult/stimulating than when we were just using the boring kibble treats.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a BC will end up being more toy-motivated in her training than food-motivated. We'll keep up the playing at home and hope that I can spark some more interest in the frisbee & balls. I do have to remind myself that Luke really had zero interest in fetching until he was at least 6 months, and now he's insane!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secret's First Agility Trial!

Well, okay, I might be getting a *little* ahead of myself with the title of this post. ;o) This weekend Secret ATTENDED her very first agility trial, and she was an absolute super star the entire time!

Due to her celebrity status gained through my Facebook posts, there were many people who were very excited to finally meet Secret. She was a little tentative when we first arrived on Saturday -- There were a LOT of new people, dogs, sights & sounds! -- but it didn't take long for her to warm up to everyone and start showing her sassy side.

Secret was more than happy to share her tricks with everyone. It was a great environment to proof her sit, down, shake & speak tricks. We didn't work on introducing anything new this weekend, since I figured the experience of being in a trial environment was enough for her.

Secret ended up handling everything far better than I had anticipated. She didn't complain once about spending the weekend in her crate. I tried to take her out as often as possible, and she was "stolen" a few times by friends for some priceless socialization time. She also got her very first bully stick on Saturday, which she took to immediately and it kept her happy all day long.

Sunday went equally as well, with perhaps a little more sleeping time due to the length of the day before. Secret got to have some fun off-leash playtime with a friend's dog, Cooper, at the end of the day and she surely enjoyed that! Even with all of this activity, though, there was still plenty of playing and rough-housing to be had at home with Kaiser (making up for lost time, no doubt!).

Secret also got her second bath last night, which went as well as the first one. Will I be so lucky as to have this fantastic behavior continue? :o)

Things continue to improve with Luke! They had an honest-to-goodness play/chase session in the yard last night, with Luke instigating a game of chase and letting Secret (and Kaiser) chase him! He's also being a little more playful in the house, thanks in part to a new toy I bought last week that he loves. Luke is being more accepting of Secret's advances now, and putting up with more of her puppy behavior. We're getting there!

I'll have limited time to train tonight due to my agility class moving to Monday nights (provided the weather holds out, at least) -- but I hope to start working on getting Secret to roll over as her next trick.

Last night I also came up with the idea to bring the teeter down to the basement for the winter. I figure I'll start by propping it up on the landing steps to do some basic plank work. Once she gets the hang of that, we can start to introduce the teeter at low heights, just to get her used to the moving board. No reason to let the weather keep us from working on foundation skills this winter!

Friday, December 11, 2009

We Learned to Shake!

Since "shake" is a trick I figure all dogs should know, that was Secret's training task of the day yesterday. Because she did so well with her shaping the day before, I decided to train "shake" the same way.

We started by targeting my hand on the ground and went through a process similar to learning to target the touch light. It went a little faster this time, since she's figuring out the game. The hardest part was figuring out a timely treat delivery system, since I seem to be incapable of holding treats in the same hand as the clicker. I'm going to keep my eye out for a button clicker, as I think they are easier to use than the "old-fashioned" box clicker that I'm using now.

Once we were successfully targeting my open hand on the ground, I moved to raising it a bit. The biggest challenge I had was keeping Secret in a sitting position. She tends to flop into a down as a default behavior when she feels challenged. I ended up turning it into a two-part reward for the most part -- click/treat for coming up to a sit, then click/treat for the hand target.

She is a very fast learner. I'm happy to report that we have already faded the click and she is performing "shake" for me AND both of my parents here at work today! We will proof it more at the agility trial this weekend when she plays "pass the puppy" with everyone.

Last night I *FINALLY* got Secret a proper girly-pink collar! I got a 9"-13" collar that she will no doubt soon outgrow, but she was swimming in the next size up. It will just give us an excuse to buy another pretty collar in a few months! :o) It's so fun to finally have a girl to dress up in pink.

Secret was a hit with my students at class. She was very well-behaved for the most part, only barking a little. That could easily be because she had to go outside, though -- as she ended up pooping in her crate. Argh. She hadn't gone after dinner and I knew she had to go -- I took her out three times with no success, likely because it's so stinking cold here. I'm re-thinking letting her have the big crate at the trial this weekend, but I would feel really bad having her in the little crate all day. When it comes down to it, though, I doubt she'll be spending much time in the crate.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Secret Learns Shaping!

Last night I decided to lock myself & Secret in the bedroom armed with nothing but a clicker, treats & a touch light and see what would happen. I had introduced her to the clicker the night before so that she'd have an idea of it. The results amazed me! Neither of my boys ever really caught on to natural shaping, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Secret didn't really care about the light at first and just sat and looked at me, waiting for me to do something. As soon as she turned her head towards the light I clicked & treated. She seemed to catch onto that pretty quickly, so then I upped the criteria to moving towards it. In an astonishingly short amount of time she moved to touching it, and from there it was a short step to turning it on & off.

I didn't have the video camera out for the first part of her training because I really didn't think that much would happen. When she showed me what she was capable of, however, I quickly went out and grabbed the camera to document it. She is a fantastically bright little dog.

Now I'm busy scouring the internet, looking for ideas of tricks to train over the winter. I think we're going to have so much fun!

Our perfect potty-training record has been broken -- not once, but twice. :o( Yesterday, at work, I failed to take her outside when she woke up from her nap in the afternoon and she went potty on one of the dog beds. Totally my fault! Then, this morning while I was opening the curtains at home, I looked down and saw a small wet spot in the carpet. Argh, when did that happen? I'm slacking and giving her too much freedom already. We haven't had any pooping accidents in the house yet, those have all successfully occured outdoors.

Secret will make her public debut at my agility class tonight and I'm looking forward to showing her off to my students!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Secret's First Bath!

Secret got her first bath (with me, at least) last night! I got an e-mail from Melissa at the MN BC Rescue that said she was still supposed to get a couple more medicated baths for her skin infection -- I checked with my vet to see if I should use the Ketochlor that we'd used for our Westie's skin issues and yes, that was the right one. Thankfully my parents still had a bottle around!

She did so very well! Secret didn't whine at all and stood very still the whole time. Unfortunately the medicated shampoo doesn't make her smell all pretty, so we'll have to follow up with a better shampoo here at some point. :o)

I checked for girly collars at Wal-Mart last night and they had nothing -- so Secret is still wearing her ugly boy collar that was in the cupboard. I can't wait to go shopping for her! At least I did manage to find a decent stainless steel food dish, so now she's not eating out of a Gladwear container anymore.

Things are back to going well with Secret & the boys. She & Kaiser played away most of the evening, as I expected after they slept all day long. They started right at it this morning at work again. Luke is still ignoring Secret, but there have been no more altercations between them and he has not growled at her since I smacked him yesterday. She is now able to be near him without him immediately walking away, so that is an improvement. Secret is still trying to be Luke's friend and I think she'll win him over eventually.

We are in the middle of a huge snow storm right now. Secret isn't sure what to make of all this white stuff and, this morning, found herself in a snow drift over her head! I will try to get pictures in the snow later today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is the Honeymoon Over?

I don't know if everyone is cranky from lack of sleep yesterday or what, but poor Secret has had a rough time of it today.

She was a happy, happy girl this morning when we got up! I put her back in her crate while I showered and she didn't fuss a bit -- Just give her something to chew on and she's very content.

The morning was running very smoothly and we were on par to actually hit the road a little early (always nice when there is snow starting to fall!). As I was rinsing out the coffee pot, I looked over to see Secret approaching Luke again. He had been doing better with her and was starting to at least stick around when she came near (instead of getting up to leave every time she came within five feet of him). Secret was happily starting to lick Luke's face, no doubt thrilled that she was finally able to get close to him. Luke was sitting a bit out of her reach, so Secret stood up and put a paw on Luke for stability.

He lashed out at her and got her in the nose. I was SO MAD at him. He did the same thing to Kaiser when we first moved to the new house and Kaiser has a scar from the laceration that Luke gave him on the nose. Secret went SCREAMING away and hid under the table in the living room. She was still crying when I went to pull her out. I saw some blood on her front legs, but could not determine exactly where it was coming from. I thought that maybe Luke had gotten her tongue (I saw later that he actually scraped her up under her jaw!). I was able to settle her down, but she was still very shaken when we left and ended up spending the first hour at work on my lap. This gave me the perfect opportunity to trim her nails for the first time! What a good girl she was.

In addition to the spat with Luke, Kaiser has been quite snarky with her today and she's too tired to do much about it. As a result, the majority of the day has been spent sleeping under my desk. I think they just did WAY too much yesterday and need a day to chill and recouperate.

She's starting to wake up and come back out of her shell this afternoon, so I'm hoping that she & Kaiser warm up to each other at home this evening again. As for Luke... He's on probation now and is being watched like a hawk. He accepted Kaiser, so I'm sure he'll accept Secret. Eventually. *sigh*

As I type this, she is being submissive to Kaiser to get him interacting with her again. She knows how to keep him happy! I still think she's only doing it to lull him into thinking he's in charge, while secretly she's planning her domination! lol

Secret's first day at work

Secret didn't get much time to settle in before her big debut to the world! First thing Monday morning, we had to get up and go to work! I hadn't told my parents that I was bringing home a dog from the show over the weekend. The only warning they had received was from my Facebook status updates, saying that I would have a surprise for everyone on Monday. :o)

My dad was at work when we arrived. My arms were full, so I decided to leave the dogs in the car while I made the first trip into the office. My dad questioned right away what the big secret was, but I think he may have had an idea (no doubt put in his head by one of my friends who IMMEDIATELY guessed what my secret was when I posted!).

Secret's reception went better than I expected! This is no doubt due to both her loving & friendly personality, but also a face that makes you melt into a puddle. She fit right in immediately and made herself right at home. She and Kaiser played nearly the whole day away. They are perfect for each other in play style and energy level! Luke, for the most part, is just avoiding her.

Over the course of the entire day, I think Secret slept for about 45 minutes. I was certain that puppies were supposed to sleep more than that, but they kept at it all day long. And all night! I finally had to pick her up around 7:00 so that I could get her & Kaiser to stop playing and go to sleep. It worked immediately, and everyone zonked out for the rest of the night.

Welcome home, Secret!

FINALLY, I have the Border Collie that I've been wishing to have for the last year and a half! And she (yes,she!) came to me completely unexpectedly. This blog will be for the purpose of documenting her growth & training accomplishments.

For entertainment, mostly, I have been keeping an eye on a few different BC rescue web pages over the last year or so. My original plan was to go ahead and get a third dog after we got home from NADAC Champs in September, but that plan was put on hold when Luke was diagnosed with Addison's Disease on October 15. The costs associated with that put my BC dreams on hold.

I had actually broken my daily habit of checking the rescue web sites and just happened to click to check the Minnesota Border Collie Rescue's available dogs on Thursday, December 3. That's when I saw Phantom! The picture on top is the photo that was posted on the rescue page.

She and her two siblings (Mozart & Sonata) had been brought up from Kentucky with their mother, Duet. Along with her gorgeous markings, the description of Phantom really stuck out at me, saying that she was the leader of the puppies and had the most outgoing personality. Exactly what I'm looking for in my next agility dog!

With prodding from a friend (and against my better judgement), I sent off an e-mail to the rescue to ask about the puppies -- Phantom in particular. I was informed that two approved adopters had already spoken for Phantom and that she likely was not available. When I learned that the puppies were located not far from where I was going for a conformation show over the weekend, I could hardly pass up the chance to meet them. The boy puppy, Mozart, had also caught my eye (he was a smooth coat, also with interesting markings, though not a split face).

We arranged for the rescue coordinator, Melissa, to bring the puppies to the show site on Saturday. The timing was perfect, as they arrived shortly after we had wrapped up for the day. I tried to not pay too much attention to Phantom at first, knowing that she was spoken for. I focused much of my attention on little Mozart, who was happy to take a position in my lap -- but Phantom soon barged in and demanded attention for herself!

We decided to see what Kaiser thought of everyone. Surprisingly, he instantly gravitated towards Mozart. Sonata was intimidated by Kaiser and stayed back, but Phantom quickly pushed her way into the fray. Soon we went outside so that they could run around off leash (Luke joined us at this point) and Kaiser continued to play well with both Mozart & Phantom --- but ultimately, Phantom was the one who showed the most interest in me.

Melissa surprised me by saying that since I was the first to meet the puppies, I could have pick of the litter. To be clear, I asked if this included Phantom and she said it did. Part of me felt bad for picking the puppy that everyone so clearly wanted, but it didn't last long. That is not to say I made the decision in an instant. Having never had a girl dog in the past, there was a large part of me that was hesitant to make that leap. Before they left, though, I was certain that Phantom was my choice. We arranged to have me pick her up after the show was finished on Sunday.

Knowing that Kaiser's Northern Group was showing first, I expected it to be an early day and that we'd get home early, to have plenty of time to settle in before bed. He surprised me by winning Group and we ended up having to stick around until the end of the day. It was almost 6:00 p.m. by the time I was able to get Phantom, which made for a difficult drive home (but she rode like a champ in Kaiser's crate!).

Somewhere around Osseo, as I was struggling to stay awake and keep an eye out for deer, her name popped into my head out of the blue. I had spent the whole day trying to come up with one, with nothing ever really feeling right. I had not told anyone my plans to get a puppy over the weekend (since I did not know for sure that I would), so I was excited to share my big secret with everyone the following day. Suddenly it just made sense -- Her name would be Secret! Easily shortened into Seek or Seeker. I thought it was so perfect for her that, for once, I didn't care what anyone else thought. lol From that mile forward, Secret was to be her name. The thrill of finding the perfect name gave me a boost of energy that kept me awake for the last part of the drive home.

Secret's first night at home went great! I somehow managed to stay up for an hour upon arriving home so that she could have some time out of the crate before going to bed. She whined only a little when we went to bed, then settled right in. I woke up around 2 a.m. and figured I may as well take her outside. She went back to bed without a fuss and was quiet even after the alarm went off. We were off to a great start!