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15 to 17th Week

 

I'm getting a little worse in updating, but we're busy enjoying the gorgeous autumn we have this year. No mud in my car for weeks, that's a record! We've got first rainy day just today, so I can take the time to update on funny little Bi.
 


She seems to be entering another fear period. It started all of the sudden, three days ago, without anything happening, she just started to be afraid of everything: kids, traffic, dog food bag in my living room... Oh well, I hope she gets over it soon - or we'll have lots of work to do... She is also getting new teeth and is again discovering even new ways of how to carry those ears, it's so funny!

She still amazes me with how fast she learns, it's unbelievable. However, considering that every next dog I have is a faster learner, I guess I must admit it's probably me who have learned the most, as even difficult tricks get easy with every next dog. I remember that weaving backwards in figure 8 around my legs was a big thing when I taught it to La 6 years ago. As far as I know, she was the first dog ever to know that trick and I thought it's a really fancy one. Now, there are hundreds of dogs that can do that, I even teach that in my puppy school and Bi learned it in one training session (but she already knew "back" and "flip" from front to heel position on both sides, of course). So I guess it's not all that fancy afterall... Then I thought of my two legged tricks, it first looked like they will keep me busy for ever as it took quite a while before Bu learned it. And then La learned it in a week or two... And Bi can put either her left or right legs on an object after two sessions, so now it's just a question of balance... Things are getting way too easy, I guess that's why I have more and more dogs:).
 


As you can see, tricks are not taking us much time, so we're mainly focusing on playing. I guess I should work for dog toys company as Bi thinks my toys (made out of things that would go into trash otherwise) are way cooler as toys you can buy in pet shops. 

As we're having such a gorgeous autumn, we're also spending lots of time hiking. I was very surprised to see some people were surprised that I take my puppy on the walk together with other dogs, asking me if I'm not concerned that will influence our bond. Of course, I'm not worried at all. I don't want my puppy to bond with me because I'm the only living being to bond with available. I want my puppy to bond with me because she thinks I'm the most fun of all hundreds of living beings we're meeting per week.

 

I don't think isolation does any good. I actually think there are many things she can learn from my other dogs. That's how she learned to come: because when everybody came, she came too. Seeing other dogs enjoy running and playing with me also helped her to see running and playing with me as much fun as she does. We also do some simple tricks (like down and sit and back) together when on a walk and it's great learning help for her. I think taking her with us is very helpful in all aspects.  Every day hikes help enormously with her development, coordination and physical and mental wellness. I can't emphasis enough how important every day walks are for dogs, puppies included. As I wrote before: I had dogs for 10+ years before I learned that some dogs never go for a walk... I thought there is a general consensus on a rule that one shouldn't own a dog if s/he can't walk her for a minimum of one hour a day (more with some breeds)... And yes, Bi goes with us to walks from day 1, only that at the beginning, I had sherpa bag with me and would carry her some parts of the walk. Of course, we're still avoiding mountains for now (but we do walk on hilly areas already) and are only adding duration progressively.
 


But of course, I spend lots of "one on one" time with my puppy too, taking her to new places for socialization, playing or doing tricks. Even for those purposes, I'll sometimes use another dog: for example, I'll sometimes do some tricks with La when Bi is around for her to learn about the attitude - or I'll play tug with both Bi and Lo at the same time as Lo is my best tug dog - or I'll take Bi to the water together with Bu as Bu is my only dog that swims - or I'll take just Lo and Bi for a walk where there are many other dogs as she is best with other dogs (meaning: ignores them - unlike Bu who is afraid of other dogs and La who just doesn't like them). Lo is a really great teacher, she has tons of patience, will also play, but has natural authority - when not in the mood for playing, everybody will leave her alone. - Unlike Bu... I need to step in often to tell Bi to leave her alone as she is constantly in her face and Bu hates it, but Bi just doesn't take her seriously even when Bu tells her to stop. My expectations turned out to be completely wrong: I though Bu might want to play with the puppy and Lo and La will hate her, but in fact, Bu hopes Bi disappears one day, when from some unknown reason both Lo and La just love Bi and even play with her - what is very unusual for them, especially for La! But it's exactly La will go greet her as crazy every morning. It's so funny, I can see Bi is not completely sure if that's true or La has some mean intentions.
 


Anyway, what surprised me most was that some people were surprised I walk my dogs every day like that, without leashes and all. Some were asking if I'm not afraid they get self-rewarded sometimes and if it doesn't go against my training. To tell you the truth - I don't think it hurts my training, I think it supports it, but even if it does, I'm happy to pay the price. As I emphasized before: I don't train my dogs for fast results, I train them because I enjoy it. I'm not searching for easy ways out - simply because I just don't want out. :)

 

more pictures from our walks
 

 

13 to 15th Week

 

The big news is that we're swimming already! My major three hopes for Bi were for her to be crazy, playful and that she would swim with me. For now, it's just her who does the swimming as it's too cold for me, but she doesn't have to have any fear of loosing the ground under her feet, she actually seems as if she didn't notice. We didn't do much swimming yet as she gets too cold quickly, so we'll have to wait with the next step until summer, but it doesn't seem she will have a problem with it.
 


She is really just so cool! I guess I wrote that before but she is really pure fun and nothing but fun. I just love how she thinks of new tricks on her own as I just ran out of ideas for my other dogs and now already have plenty new ideas that are actually by Bi. For example, I wanted to teach her to put her front feet in shoes, but she thought it's pretty boring and came up with the idea to put hind feet in shoes! One has to work on rear end awareness afterall, no? Then, I wanted to teach her to push big exercise ball around, but she seems to prefer soccer over basketball and decided to kick it with hind feet! And one day, when I was not even trying to teach her anything, she offered crawling backward out of nothing! What a cool dog, huh!?! Not only she is easy to train, she even provides me with ideas what to train!:) That's another thing she has in common with La, La is also always full of ideas how to make you laugh (and get you give her some extra treats of course!).
 


Playing shaping games is what we do a lot those days as she already knows all the puppy tricks. We're still working on improvements on those tricks, generalizing behaviours to other situations or taking them to the next level, but for more fun, I'm trying to think of something new and stupid to shape every day. Or, when I have no ideas, I just suggest an object and let her do the thinking of what to do today. We do those shaping games just for fun, I never take the time to train any of those behaviours to perfection as I actually stop practicing for ever as soon as she gets an idea. - O.k., we'll do them one more time for a video that I'll try to do in next couple of days.


Those shaping games are a great way to teach a puppy how to use its body and mind, they also learn that interacting with objects is fun and that they're in complete control of movement and noise it might produce. And of course, the most important thing, they teach a puppy that learning is fun.

For everybody, asking when I will start any agility related stuff: all this is agility related. If you're asking about actual obstacle work, then I don't know the answer, I guess when I have nothing more important to do anymore. For now, we're busy playing, running and getting the right, "green eyes" attitude:). I thought that's what agility is all about, no?

 

more photos and new video, showing some shaping games we play and some bad puppy manners that make me laugh every day (baaad trainer!)

 

 

3 months

My wild puppy is 3 months today. But it seems like she has been here for ever, she is sooo much fun. I enjoy enormously every moment and just can't stop laughing at her, being wild or sitting quietly and staring at me with her smart eyes.

 

 

Our biggest achievements in that month would be:


1. recall: she has a really great recall, she comes charging towards me with full speed. If I put in "ajde, ajde" = "go, go", she gets not only fast, but also furious, crashing into dogs or people that might be on her way. I just love that furious expression that she gets when she is on a mission of getting to me as fast as possible.


2. playing anytime, anywhere, with anything: my major goal for Bi was that she would play no matter where, when and with what - and she does! She loves to play and is still getting wilder every day. It's sooo cool!
 

3. attitude: she just LOVES to do anything and puts everything into anything she is doing. And when she can't do anything, when she is in a crate and other dogs get to play, she sure gets MAD! I was really hoping to get stronger, more confident dog as Bu is and well, Bi sure has tons of it! In her "it's all about me" attitude she really reminds me a lot of La. I just love dogs who care more about how much *they* enjoy what they're doing over my opinion. As I stated before: I don't want my dogs to work for me. I want them to work for themselves.

 



In short: she knows everything that I find important already. It just came naturally for her, without any really focused work, it just happened somewhere on a way. Really, what a cool pup!

 

The big question right now is: how to carry those big ears???

 

(the three photos above are taken on the same day)

 

more pictures from our walks & tricks video at age 3 months

 

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