11 August 2014

Lucky dog swimming at the pond, a post for Mary.


Mary, this was Super Lucky because my phone sat at the bottom of the pond for a while and still worked good enough to make this movie. I looked down, and there it was, upside down, on the bottom of the pond. I walked in and picked it up and it worked good enough to take this movie for you. And who doesn't love wet shoes???

Also featuring Banksy's graduation certificate from her dog class. Which probably had something to do with the fact that she did her first ever recall out of the pond! No dragging involved! I just walked away from the pond and called her and she came to me! Wow! Super amazing because this hasn't yet happened at the pond since she has learned how awesome swimming is. 

And afterwards, we went over to our special training field and were doing long distance crate games. And this big lab with hackles up came running into our crate games and Banksy was all, oh, hi. I'm busy doing crate games, but thanks for visiting. Then the skateboarding guy with his kelpie came by, and Banksy was all, oh hi. You are pretty awesome but I would rather do crate games then go skateboarding with you! And I had the really good ball which can make crategames sometimes, sticky.

AND, afterwards I found some money on the floor of my car and so I went to the store and got some Boonville Bitehard cider. Have you had this? It makes me think I'm back in Boonville. And the can looks like it was letter pressed.  So there was a lot of luck happening this day. Just so you know. Everybody think lucky thoughts for Mary!

10 August 2014

Homework, all the time.

Banksy finished up her pet dog training class this weekend, and went to a super fun trick training seminar on Sunday. Both had lots of distractions, many agility dogs and puppies running around doing all kinds of tricks in the seminar, and a small group of pretty quiet older puppies in her training class.

I think she did great! Much room for improvement! Much room for improvement!  Much room for improvement!  But a lot of focus a lot of the time. Except for when there wasn't. Banksy LOVES going to school, and especially loves doing her homework. She needs very, short little sessions, that's for sure.

Our biggest homework projects right now:

Stays/recalls/focus. Toys! Distractions! Other dogs RUNNING! Dust! Leaves that BLOW! WATER!

Relax for re-learning how to get groomed and how to get nails done. This is a biggie. It is a major sadmaker of wigging out for her right now.

Re-learn to be happy at the vet's office. Another biggie.

Auto redirecting the staring. While relaxing. More relaxing. Chillaxing. Not wigging.

Balancing stuff on her head.

Dog homework is the best. We're going slow. Baby steps. Even though it feels like my puppy is almost grown up!

Photoshoot skills around water.

Stays when when there's a creek, a work in progress. Only 3 dogs in this photo, very old skool era pose of team small dog before border collie. Circa 3 months ago. Because you can't see the blur running back and forth underneath the bridge.

There she is. No photoshoot stays in the presence of the creek right now. Water seems to blur her brain cells. I'm still happy to have found a little bit of water at the very bottom of the ravine. There's little bits of water here and there, you just have to look more hard now.

Fire in the drought forest.

In the evening, we walked up the hill and smelled smoke. It's an out of the way place to walk up the hill, that's why I like it there. Up in a little seep zone, by the really long log, there was a burn, all raw and smoky. Burn went up some redwoods, and across the hill. This is in a drought forest, drier than a bone right now, no water anywhere.

There was a fire containment dug in the shape of a flower, looping around everything now black. Logs sawed and somebody had worked hard and fast to get that fire out. Had to have happened earlier in the day. Smelled like smoke. Still looked like smoke. We walked round the dig line and found a burning spot with smoke still going. Didn't look right. Smoke is one thing but stuff still burning, glowing embers cracking through the mulch. That shouldn't be, not in a drought forest just before the sun goes down.

So we all ran down the hill, as fast as we could. Puppy snapped back on a leash and not sure what was going on. I think the other dogs all know already, fire is bad. Grown up dogs get stuff like this. Puppy is just all, Holy Shit of Down the Hill Running Back on Leash Goddamn! We ran all the way down to the car, I threw all the dogs inside, and grabbed all the water I had, and ran back up the hill, tried to drown the fire out with water and some dirt.

It hissed some and I saw some orange go black but it still didn't look right.

So back down the hill, had to find a phone the old fashioned way because our fancy smart phones too dumb to work up there. Smart enough to talk to space, just not smart enough to do it through all the trees. Most of the time this makes me very happy, I like to be where the phone can't find me. Just today I didn't. This may have been a zone of no dogs allowed, so I may have had to hide the dogs under blankets in the car while I waited for the officers and fire guys to come.

Somebody had to be there to show them in. A funny spot in the forest where you have to know which tree to turn at, and follow the smell of smoke to get there. The forest hostess of the fire, the one that knew where the paths were. It's easy to explain this to the dogs, a whistle and a glance does the trick every time. There were cops and fire guys with a big truck and a tank of water and all of them had to find the way in. So by the end of the story, I ran up and down the hill, and over and across the hill quite a few times.

I stayed a while with the guys to learn about the fire and watch them dig and hack it out. I like to learn about stuff like this, how is it going to burn in our forest? One of the guys showed me where he thinks it started, poking around in there, forest detective. Somebody dug a campfire, probably. Dug it into a pit the size of a shoebox, didn't put it out right. Didn't run down to find some water and it smoldered in it's pit and burned up into the trees and across the seep, up a row of ferns and burned right up to a big patch of tinder. Not a big fire but big enough. Being there near the seep saved it from being a disaster. Showed me where it would have headed next, not good.

Living with a drought forest, going to be scary for a while. Scary til we get some rain.

08 August 2014

Banksy is almost 6 months old.

Banksy is almost 6 months old. This is the good kind of stare that we love.

Life with Banksy is a roller coaster. She's smart. She's sweet. She's wild. She is very, very wild. A wild puppy who has learned to escape from the dog run at work. Uh oh.

I am pretty worried about her staring. I try not to be, I try to be chill and redirect her to something else and keep her out of stare zones. But I do worry it will affect her life in a not so good way if she keeps it up like she does. Sometimes it's hard for her to go from Point A to Point B because she has to freakout stare at specks on the ground. Sometimes we have to walk somewhere and the wind might be blowing the specks. It's not good.

Sometimes it's fine, in a lot of places she is a normal, super wild puppy. Sometimes, she's even super calm. Although there is a lot of Yes. She. Is. Wild. If we're in a no staring zone, life is good. The wild, it can be awesome! The training and running and hiking, so fun! I love to be in no staring zones with Banksy. We can have the bestest, most amazing times when there isn't any staring. The forest has hardly any staring. We have been working on meeting more dogs, going to more places. Going places on a leash, going places off a leash. New places to walk, new places to play. In low distraction environments, she's amazing.

Sometimes, though she's not fine. Definitely not fine in a staring zone. Any place with little dusts and specks that flutter and blow and scoot. It gets better, then it gets worse. Another day it might get better. And then another day it might get worse. And some of behaviors are pretty weird, even by border collie standards. If she gets startled, she might not care. Or, she might run through the house to go attack a lamp in the other room. Lamp! Lamp! Lamp! When stuff like that happens I can't find her off switch and it's like her motor is stuck on high. I think it makes her brain burn. Of recent, vets, the dremel, the brush, and the sound of barking have all started to make her brain burn, then start to melt. I don't want her brain to meltdown!

Seeing a Veterinary Behaviorist has been suggested for the staring by a trainer who told me that most people don't have to go out and get a million floor rugs to keep their puppy from staring at dust all the time. That her staring could be a genetic sickness, not just a weirdo border collie thing. I'm a little scared by that. We're really trying to curb it. I am at least. Banksy tries, too. With attention work. Control unleashed ideas. Learning to relax. Using Dr. Karen Overall Relaxation Protocall. Learning self redirecting. Engaging. Crates. I'm working pretty hard here.

Banksy is the best puppy I could have ever hoped for and I just want her to feel happy in her brain.

07 August 2014

Pony camp for dogs.

The dogs like camp pretty much.

Even though it's pony camp, you need dogs around. Wouldn't be a pony camp without the dogs.

They don't mind ponies too much. Usually.

Some of the campers have learned circle work! Girls that like ponies usually really training dogs.

There's a lot of ball throwing. The dogs like balls much more than ponies.

And running. And running. And running! Banksy has been having a camp week this week.

01 August 2014

The perserverence of swim lessons, or the brilliance of NeverMind Dog training.

For the longest time, Banksy didn't get it how to swim. She was a wader. But a bit of a sissy in the swim department.

It was Otterpop's job to bring the sticks back, and Banksy only went in up to her neck.

Gustavo enjoyed having a friend who stayed close to the shore, because he's a little bit of a swim sissy himself. His swim style is to not swim for a long time, then randomly go in and swim across the creek or the pond and then get stuck because he forgets how to swim to come back. Ruby never swims, it's a known fact that Ruby doesn't float.

Then one day, this happened.

Out of the blue a few weeks ago, Banksy just took off after one of Otterpop's swimsticks and never looked back.

The swimming! THE SWIMMING! THE SWIMMING!!!!! I would say the pond has moved up on our list of distractions to the point where there is a leash to get there now and there are cookies and there is a great effort for walk to the pond now instead of FREAK OUT OF JOY all the way to the pond because now it's not just water it is SWIMMING!

So now there's 2 of these swimstick faces. Otterpop has her own patented loud barking manic water dance, Banksy sits offshore and channels laser beam eyes to get the swimstick to throw itself.  A new high level distraction training! A new hole ripped in our recall advances when it's time to leave the pond! More training challenges! But super awesome to have a swim partner for Otterpop.

30 July 2014

Gustavo would like to tell you the story of his hurt foot now.

It's always Banksy Banksy Banksy. Puppy Puppy Puppy. But Gustavo would like you to know his hurt foot isn't hurt anymore.

It wasn't broken. At first we thought it was. It wasn't a mast cell tumor, which was the next thing we thought it was. I use we generously, as if I have a doctor degree. Then we thought it was another kind of tumor that I don't remember the name of. But the cytology said Nope. It is septic infection.

All along I was holding out hope that it was foxtail and I was soaking, soaking, soaking. Foxtail makes the septic. Foxtail is our enemy. Foxtail lives every single place we walk, along with the enemy of many poison oak. Poison oak, ha ha! Doesn't touch me. But foxtail touches the dogs all the time, all day long, and you never know when it's gonna get in.

So sore foot sore foot sore foot. Ouch! No agility! No nothing! No running! Sore foot! Big hot swollen bump on a tendon over a joint. I kept soaking soaking soaking. Gustavo is president of standing quietly with one foot in a tupperware of hot water and stuff in it. Epson salt and domeboro. There were the antiobiotics then there weren't.

Then one day, during a soak, KAPOW! The rupture! The thing of our dreams, the thing it opened up a crater in it and maybe foxtail fell out. Or a seed or anything. It could have been a splinter. A little thing on a little foot of a little guy who had been so sad with that poor sore foot. I never saw the thing fall out of the crater and disappear to somewhere else. But then one day no more sore foot no more thing on the foot and a regular old foot, almost.

So agility! Running! Just saying no to foxtail, every time we can. Gustavo is back, there is some agility for him, life is good and foxtail is gone.

29 July 2014

Stuff you don't want to hear while you're in puppy class.

Banksy has a stay. Somewhat of a stay. A work in progress stay.

I am trying to take some puppy classes with a couple new instructors. I want to learn! I may be unteachable but I'm trying hard here. Banksy is VERY teachable so I am sure there's hope for us! So I'm trying out different things, to see what's the right fit for us, since my regular, super best teacher has been traveling around for important agility business.

I don't think I'm a terrible trainer. Maybe I used to be. And there is a lot of room for improvement. Big huge pants room. As much room as a Costco. Or as much as a giant Ikea shipping warehouse with 100 loading docks. As much as Slovenia. As much as Russia! Somebody teach Russia. I am way more teachable than Russia. So a lot of room. I'm trying to learn stuff here. Not hear cattiness.

Here's some things you probably don't want your instructor to say to you, or to the class, or to someone else when you are RIGHT THERE and can hear them.

Announcing to the class that your puppy is the OCD puppy. My puppy stares at shit. We are working like crazy on this. And she stares at it less. A little bit labely for puppy class, righty-o?

After you have successfully rebooted your puppy, after a puppy meltdown when the other puppies are doing tunnels, and there are big dogs doing agility just across the field, and yep, you had to drag your puppy outside class for a few minutes to get her brain back, which is the whole reason you are IN PUPPY CLASS, you probably don't want to hear how you thought it would be so easy to train a border collie so that's why you got one. That they're hard to train. Um, yeah. If I was looking for easy to train, probably border collie would have been way at the bottom of my list. You know what would be good to hear? More about the questions I am asking, how to keep her under threshold so there's less brain melting down when all the other dogs are RUNNING! With TOYS!

Hear that you're the lady who has a gentle, quiet, low energy dog, and then got a border collie, and have that be the punchline of funny joke about how the whole class had to go work on boring, stupid restrained recalls. Hear it in whispery, judgey tones. OK. So maybe it is a funny joke! But MY funny joke. Not yours, she who is the teacher of the class.

I've had a lot of training challenges with all my dogs. Different kinds of challenging, different kinds of challenges. How about training a dog with ammonia in their brain who doesn't understand most of what you're trying to say? How about training a dog who hates all other dogs? And most other people. How about training a dog who is feral and so over the top of out of control she is foraging for food from on top of the refrigerator and chases down anything moving, and so you became a super beginner in a wild and fast sport like her called, agility?

All 3 of those dogs were my dogs. And they were little and way easier to capture in times of training woe. Now I have a wild ass border collie puppy who isn't so tiny! And we're having a blast! Most of the time. I happily have made it through 2 more puppy classes with no dragging outside and relaxing in the crate, with happily taking treats and tugging and doing everything right! Sure. I make mistakes. Probably as many as a giant Ikea shipping warehouse with 100 loading docks. Millions and trillions of them! So I 'm trying to get better. I've trained enough dogs, and taught enough foundation classes myself to know how to trust my dog, and I might make choices to do stuff, say, not put my over the top puppy through a bunch of tunnels, til she's more ready.

Cuz I thinka, tunnels, not going to be a big training issue. Not as much as brain focus on all the little tasks at hand. So this is what we're working on, now, today, and in class. Just making brain focus the fun project. I didn't think I was being difficult, I just thought I had a wild puppy and was someone trying to do a good job. So off we go, time to go train my puppy.

21 July 2014

Me and Banksy and everybody else, learning how to do stuff together.

This isn't us at our best, or our worst. Although I am wearing my pajamas in part of it. Standard dog training garb. It's just what we've been doing. A lot of tricks for treats lately, just seems like the right thing to do right now. Every day we try something new. And try to remember to work on what we did the day before. This week's projects, more circle work, more recalls, and more working on those distractions.

Oh, the distractions. Oh. The. Distractions.


18 July 2014

Just say no to goats, and other things Banksy's been learning.

It might seem like all I do to train my puppy is this.

But actually there's a lot of this.

Things that look a teensy bit like agility!

Right now, we're working on driving down stairs to awesome nose touches using little targets like rocks or leaves. Left and right directionals are our current favorite the last few days, which Banksy thinks is a hilarious trick. They look a little frantic spinny at the moment, but I think that's an ok start. She can be an overachiever. Seek and Taps, which is our redneck americanized version of Cik and Caps, much fun of running around buckets and trees! Crate games. A lot. A lot. When the toy is flying or the other dogs are running! Baby jump grids with the bumps! Sending around cones and buckets and trees and big rocks in a sort of handlinish kinda way!

A lot of teensy games right now that look like the sprouting of little agility thingies. Just games. No big. But very fun.

Lots of nice walking practice of not pulling on the leash. I can now walk around our neighborhood with 4 dogs on leashes. An impressive freak show for the neighbors. The neighborhood consensus is that Banksy is a coyote. No more husky. We even tried out West Cliff Drive the other day. Success, and a coyote walking freak show for the tourists.

Lots and lots and lots of tricks. Through the legs. Beep beep beep. Back feet. Front feet. Pivots. Paw waving. Once her lefts and rights are always lefts and rights, we are going to start working on waving back feet. I've never taught that one before. So far she does all of Otterpop's tricks, minus the circus sitting up, so Otterpop may have to learn to wave all her feet if she's going to stay the circus queen. Banksy loves learning tricks as much as Otterpop. Maybe even more. Uh oh...don't tell Otterpop.

Our weak point? Recalls when a lot of dogs are running fast and playing with the ball at work. Or at agility. Oh my. Distractions, distractions, and more distractions is our weak spot. Lots to keep working on here. LOTS.

The goats, not so much. Walking by the goat pen made Banksy say GRRRRRR and then go look for butterflies all the way back. I am with Banksy on this one. Just say no to goats.

There's a lot of this, too. Every day. In fact, we gotta go, NOW! No time for writing stuff anymore. Banksy sure fits right in to the team, although she doesn't always fit on the same log.

14 July 2014

Border Collie Bohemian Shabby Costco Poly Blend Chic.

They look a little seasick.

Having a border collie puppy, as opposed to an entire team small dog of non chewing, non staring, couch sized grown up dogs who don't carry buckets full of water around in their mouths, has been opening up a whole new world of border collie friendly home decor in my humble small dog abode.

Just having dogs in general has now rully relegated me to a special style category of no return. Where by special I don't actually mean special. That's a lie. Where fashion choices run along the lines of does one wear these running shoes, or these running shoes, or maybe even perhaps, these running shoes? The choice is always going to be, the running shoes. Or the pockets. A garment needs to have pockets. Or pocket. Plural pockets is far superior to singular pocket. But pocketless, not even a remote possibility.

Now I've gone too far. This is actually past the point of no return. I've made some recent home fashion style choices that involve Costco. Home decor with giant shopping carts and wine boxes as big as border collie size dog crates. The fact that I am now a card carrying Costco member says a lot right there. This is the fault of dog agility, and my role in putting on trials as the one who brings all the toilet paper. And now I have learned the importance of the Costco dog bed. Made in China of questionable yet recycled materials, sewn by indentured servants in substandard conditions, the giant, washable $25 dog bed now is a focal point in my living room. The pattern is vaguely tropical, in a somewhat nauseating, palm frond kind of way, and it holds exactly 4 dogs and all their toys.

Ruby attempts to negotiate the new throw rug gauntlet.

Costco has also helped us with the throw rugs. Banksy has a creepy hobby of staring at dust particles on smooth floors. Whether these are real or imagined I'm not sure, but creepy staring doesn't happen on rugs. So rugs it is. Our super vintage wood floors and even more superly vintage pink linoleum now say that throw rugs are their new black. I am hoping this is a thing. Bohemian. Mix and match design! If you want to see how 11 totally non matching floor rugs make for a non staring floor ensemble, please stop by.

Just a couple of our fancy new dog toys.

Banksy hates it by the way. She tries to stare into the gaps, but I can catch her every time and redirect her to helping me make a salad or playing with a toy or anything that isn't floor staring. The rug solution has so far been the most effective non dust staring tool, along with the magic leave-it. I have tried to make it up to her with making her all new toys out of rags and old clothes and the old toys! Super crafty crafterama happening around here, sitting around on the Costco throw rugs and braiding together old shirts and fleece things and tying them onto balls that I have Otterpop go get from under the deck. So far she hasn't learned how to braid or tie knots but I suspect this is just around the corner in border collie puppy development.

This is our new style. I am going to call it Border Collie Bohemian Shabby Costco Poly Blend Chic. You are warned, if you are coming over to our house any time soon. Please do not judge. And if you do, I don't care. Because it's getting my puppy to not floor stare.

13 July 2014

The on-the-way-to-work beach.

A walk before work has new meaning with a border collie puppy. There's no skimping on it. A little trot around the neighborhood isn't going to cut it. No way, no how.

We spend about 1/2 an hour doing tricks and fun stuff every single morning at home, but to help Banksy have awesome manners for spending the day quietly in the dog run at work, the morning walk has to, for sure, have some running.

The on-the-way-to-work beach is conveniently located exactly on the way to work. It goes on for a miles, and on a cool gray morning not too many people are hanging out down there. We can practice a million recalls. She's getting comfortable meeting strange dogs. She gets it that random joggers don't want her to run along with them to practice circle work. Everyone she meets out there is always her new best friend. Banksy has a lot of friends.

Banksy's getting big! For a little border collie, anyways. Big puppies have a LOT of energy. We sure are lucky to have an on-the-way-to-work beach to visit on the way to work.

09 July 2014

Stuff we did while Gustavo is having his sore foot.

Banksy still fits into Gustavo's secret lair. I can't tell  you where this is. It's a secret. But she manages to squish in there with him so that even if his sore foot is really sore, he has a pal in there with him. Buddy system. I'm not sure how she fits in there, I guess her bones are still floppy like a muppet's and she flattens into a pancake.

The problem with his foot is a septic infection on a toe knuckle joint. Ouch. There's probably something in there, maybe a pin point of a foxtail or a little seed. Who knows. Something tiny got in and it's hurting his foot a lot. He's getting antibiotics and I'm trying to soak it loads so maybe it just blurps out. Nobody wants to go in and pull something teensy out of a teensy dog's little joint. So he is staying home a lot in his lair. Don't tell him we've gone without him up to the forest. Poor Gustavo. Feel better soon!

Banksy has lots to do. She has many assistant trainers at work and her social schedule is filling up rapidly. She went to her first puppy foundation class. I think she did brilliantly! She's also going to a regular old puppy training class this weekend to practice more focus during distractions. Distractions! Dust! Balls! Everything! We are piecing together her formal education whenever I have a free moment. And practicing and playing every chance we get. Right now she wants to learn a new trick every single night. I think she has almost as many tricks as Otterpop now. She's a crazy trick machine!

There's my friend Grifter. Hi Grifter! I am carefully not moving my arms. Be very, very careful with your arms when you run Grifter or he may shoot off like a rocket. We have a lot of decel homework to do. I am very glad I get to run him, and when Gwen's sore leg feels good enough to run, maybe he'll have learned a teensy bit. He's very fun to run, and keeps me on my toes. Literally. There's no flat footing it when Grifter's running, that's for sure.

07 July 2014

Banksy is 5 months old, and all trash cans are possessed with evil.

A list of things that totally freaked out Banksy this week:
A ceramic pitcher on the table.
Every single identical trash can on our block.
Not every single identical trash can on the next block.
An old riding helmet hanging on the wall.
Otterpop barking.

Border collies are weird.

Gustavo hurt his foot! So much that he had to go to the doctor to see if the bone was broken. Not broken! But weird. I am been holding out on the foxtail theory but she did send samples of the weird swelling off to cytology to make sure it is not something possessed with evil. So far Banksy isn't freaking out at Gustavo's foot. Yet.

Between fourth of july fireworks and a sad, shaved, hurt foot, Gustavo is one sad Gustavo and spending a lot of time in his lair. His sad lair. Everyone wave at Gustavo. Oh, wait. You can't see him. He's been burrowed in his lair for 4 days. He'll be out when his foot feels better. At least all the fireworks should be finished by now.

Dog show weekend. No dog show for Gustavo. I ran Grifter, there were some good moments but many completely insane moments. He is like running a ginormous rocket powered airplane that lands about 40 feet away from every jump. We have been working on this but he is also like a ginormous rocket powered airplane that goes cuckoo insane at dog shows, so when he's over the top like that, he doesn't really turn. He gets many oohs and ahs when he runs because he is very, very, very fast and when we do ok, it is spectacular. But also pretty spectacular when we do crazy terrible too, in that train wreck ship wreck auto wreck style.

Also Banksy busted out of an xpen, busted into a whippet party, and tried to eat her BFF Kirk's face due to the super fluffy toy that the other puppy had. Oh yeah. I am totally in adolescent border collie land. Early! Many, many puppies at the dog show. Puppies are the new black in dog agility land. None of them escaped into a ring! Although a couple of breathtaking near misses. Banksy has a new speed. She can make it to WAY OVER THERE really, really, really fast. Like before your eye blinks. It is SUPER SCARY! It is like that star trek machine that scrambles your molecules to teleport you moves her WAY OVER THERE!  It is good I'm learning to run Grifter in case she ever learns how to do agility because possibly her speed will be horrifying.

30 June 2014

Front feet, back feet, walking around the forest.

It's hot in the evening now, and hot in the forest. Even in the shade. We can walk around for a long time, because the dark still comes so late. Banksy has yet to meet any of our pals the deer, or the coyotes, or the bobcats, or the puma, or the bearded old guy who hoots at us like an owl. We do a hundred thousand recalls with her flying along with that long line dragging, and so far, without our other friends, her recall is doing amazing. I hear it goes away when she turns 6 months old, so we're trying to do 2 million of them before then, and in preparation for our first coyote run-in. Because she now loves treats, I bring a pocketful of cookies, and I hope the coyotes aren't trailing the smell, lurking in the trees.

I'm not sure how you train a puppy if you don't have a forest? It has everything you need. Places to hide, places to run. Logs for feet, front and back and all of them. Skinny trees for going round, fat ones for sitting under. Dead mummified moles to practice DROP with. We sprint up the wide paths and practice heeling on the skinny, steep one that goes down to the gulch. So far she's winning with advanced forest walking skills, and fits perfectly into the group. Sometimes out front with Gustavo, who took years to do what she does every day now, and sometimes in the back with us walkers, where she doesn't mind walking close and side. Since I taught her how to put certain feet on things, sitting and standing on logs is getting easier, thus the important skill of photoshoot starting to get better.

There's loads of dust in the forest, but she doesn't need to look at it, because she's a forest Banksy!

29 June 2014

We were thinking we were living the good life over here.

I'm trying to figure out, does our life stress Banksy out? Because I've read a lot about obsessive staring at dust, or invisible things that maybe will move, sometime in the future. That stress can cause obsessive behaviors. We thought our life here was pretty good. We go to the forest. The beach. The pond. We play in the yard. At the school. In the pasture. In the living room. During agility. Balls! Tugging! Running! Chunks of organic turkey flesh! Life is good here, Banksy seems like a super happy puppy. She has probably given you a giant hug and the biggest face licks! I'm a pretty low stress person, as far as I can tell. But the second I don't have her engaged, she wants to stare at dust.

Otterpop says, Be Nice, Don't Bite! And only you can prevent forest fires! Let the puppy stare! More time for Otterpop if the puppy is busy staring at the floor!

Maybe this is stressful? When she has to stand on the thing? Ha! So not! Banksy is a true forest Banksy. Doing stuff on walks is her best thing ever. She's learning to put front feet on logs. Back feet on logs. Running around trees! She loves her life. Although she even looks happy when she's staring. Super tail waggy, like this is the best thing ever. It's her crack. It's what she wants to do the second we are not doing something else. If I'm not cruise directing, she's down to the floor for dust staring and I am all, do something ELSE! Anything ELSE. Party on NOW!

So anything else we do. We wish we could walk and play all day long. That I could play with her every second, and then she'd sleep and then we'd play again. She's sleeping while I'm writing this, by the way. There is not much blog writing with a dust staring puppy, if you were wondering where I was. Whoever is still left out there, once team small dog went to the border collies. But I'm here, and I'm writing fast, because my puppy's going to wake up in a minute and then we get to go do something, anything, that isn't staring at dust.

23 June 2014

Some things we did in June.

Banksy is 4 1/2 months old. She can walk further and faster and is mostly very trustworthy off her leash or just dragging along her line. Or sometimes, like today, she took herself down a steep path to the pond. Oh boy does she love ponds and creeks and the beach. Then she's back on her rope. We go some places with all of us, sometimes some places just with Otterpop or Gustavo, and sometimes just me and her. I try to do things different every single day.

When she's alone, she gets startled easy, a motorbike popping around the corner or a guy walking by with a shopping cart. We're working on the startles, but I think it's just how she see's the world. Her view is very micro, on me and the other dogs and her toy, and then when it zooms out, she's all WHOA, before she settles in to the new picture. I think it's her eyes that make her like that, boy are those eyes something.

We do a lot of crate games, a lot of circle work. A lot of running. Wow, do we run. She runs on my left, she runs on my right, we run in circles and straight lines and with the toy and without it. Banksy really likes to run. I like to run too, if it's with Banksy. The awesome things about border collies are running and tugging. Until they plop down under a tree for a minute, to get ready for more running and tugging. She does some ball chasing, but maybe not too much. Because she's already really, really good at that. That's like her desert, chase the ball a few times and call it a day.

We do a lot of what might be like heeling. It's close and side, she walks in tight to me and we pivot around and do sits and releases and this is how she eats most meals. We walk around the neighborhood and the forest and anywhere I can think of, me and her, walking and jogging and starting and stopping. She doesn't eat out of bowls, it's always walking somewhere, we try to go somewhere new every single day. She doesn't fit in my yard anymore, there's no space to move, so our show goes on the road every single day. We play at work, at the school yard, on the beach, in the woods, at the agility field, in vacant lots. I'm hoping the meals on the run someday prevents her from pulling me around when she has to wear a leash, we'll find out someday when it's the future. It's a nice way to have a dinner if nothing else.

The more we're on the move, the less time she has to stare at dust. I made it my mission to just not let it happen, the super freaky super dust staring. So that's what we do. She stares at the floor, I find her something else to do, even if it's just go snuggle up in a crate with a bone or have me teach her how to make burritos and coffee. She loves to stare, but she loves to do other things too. I'm hoping she ends up learning how to cook, a dog that can make coffee would be a really, really, really good dog.

She learned to swim to the bank of the swimming hole, although she needs more practice on this one. She just likes to be wet and muddy, swimming isn't a priority right now.

Banksy is a really, really good puppy. I can't believe she didn't always live with us. And I can't believe how she's growing and learning and changing every single day. She fits in so easy with the other dogs, Otterpop loves her, Gustavo will play with her for hours, and she's gentle with Ruby and will sit quietly with her during quiet time. The other dogs forgot she didn't used to live with us, they didn't always have this wild, godzilla size puppy who still can't jump up in the car all by herself, slamming around the yard with them.

I don't know what our future brings. For now we just run around and play and get good at playing. She doesn't do anything very fancy. She's just getting good at being a really, really good puppy.

Nevermind dogs dogtalk - puppy training edition

NeverMind Dogs: DogTalk
We thought our puppies should learn how to swim. Because Tori's puppy already knows how.

20 June 2014

Our once every 3 years trip to AKC, and puppy staring.

Every three years, we try an AKC trial! Here's Gooey trying out Fast. He's in starters. I wasn't exactly sure the rules , but I didn't remember the important one, PUT YOUR DOG'S LEASH ON BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE RING. The other time I tried AKC, I forgot, we ran outta there, and I got yelled at by the judge. We remembered this time. No judge yelling.

Grifter got to come too. He's done AKC a few times and ran in open. He does a lie down for me at the end and lets me put on his leash, no problem. But he hit a bar. I mostly wanted him to hold his contacts, so we stayed there having some long boring contacts. Me and Grifter have a long way to go!

We hope to visit AKC again in a few years! Maybe Banksy will try some someday. Mostly I just want her not to stare at the floor, agility seems like a very far away, distant future...When I emailed her breeder about her staring, she said nope, no particle staring in the family. Banksy is the only starer. She thought maybe her sleeping in the bedroom with us would help, like she wasn't bonded to us enough! Banksy has been with us, everywhere, all the time since I brought her home on the plane! She's been tucked into her little spot next to our bed every single night. Yikes.

Working on her independent streak to go and lay somewhere to stare at the ground is hard. She is lately on a leash with me every second of the day, unless she's in a crate with a big meaty bone, so I can interrupt staring instantly. It's frustrating when she wants to lay down and stare just walking through the house. Our house is VERY small, about 10 steps across and she's wanting to do this more and more. If she isn't actively playing or eating a bone, her next idea is to stare at the floor specks. Stop staring at the specks, Banksy! I am hoping this is a passing phase that she'll grow out of, if I can keep her from turning her hobby into a full time job.

18 June 2014

Training distractions with your puppy, how about naked homeless guys and their electric grooming tools?

Distractions are probably our biggest training challenge right now.

Along with everything else about training a puppy.

Our funnest distraction to work with, puppies! Banksy's two best friends are Bisou and Kirk. So calling her out of this is possible, but challenging.

Sits and downs drill team with Kirk. Possible! Challenging.

But we let them do this a lot too.

Then run away and tug and do tricks for treats.

Our biggest distraction? Probably everything. But how many of you trained your puppy tonight at your secret training field with a homeless guy shaving off all his body hair with electric hair clippers as your distraction?

I might have to work extra hard to get my puppy to play with me instead of staring at dust, or running away to Bisou or Kirk's food and toys. But I can say that we can do amazing fast running circle work and heeling pivots with naked homeless guys and electric clippers as our distraction.

And also the cops. Because we're not really supposed to be using our secret training yard for a training yard, and that guy wasn't really supposed to be using the electric plug for naked body shaving there. We all scrammed. But we sure did get some good training in. And I think the guy got all his body hair removed, too.

Thanks, Channan for all the super cute photos of Banksy and Kirk!