Monday, December 31, 2007

Big Bones and Little Spaces

On our last day at work before the long Christmas weekend one of my coworkers asked me what I had gotten Katie for Christmas. I said “Nothing”. After looking at her appalled face, I said “What do you get a dog who has 30 different dogs toys, six dog beds scattered throughout the house, 5 different kinds of pup treats and endless cardboard boxes and plastic milk jugs to chew on? She is definitely not in need of a doggie sweater.” She admitted that I had a point. However she did get me to thinking that Katie should have something special on Christmas Day. I remembered that I had a huge Old Mother Hubbard dog biscuit in a drawer in the kitchen. I had been reluctant to give it to Katie because I have to watch her weight closely and that thing looked like it had way too many calories. But since the holidays are a time for indulging I decided that Katie should have her chance to join in.

We spent Christmas at my Mother’s house. Shortly after we arrived I brought out Katie’s Christmas Biscuit. In the first picture she appears to be taking her prize enthusiastically, but I think that was just because I hyped it up. She ended up sitting on her dog bed and putting the biscuit on the floor in front of her just looking at it. Here I am trying to talk her into eating it. I think she didn’t know what to do with it since she usually only gets tiny biscuits at home. But once she finally sunk her teeth into it she had it demolished and happily in her belly in less than two minutes.

It seems that Katie thinks she is smaller than she really is (maybe that's why she didn't know what to do with the big biscuit). Last night when I was sitting at my computer she decided to crunch past my legs and squeeze her huge body into the space under my small desk. It was hilarious to see her contorting her huge body in order to fit her big behind under there. That’s my silly girl :-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hiking with the Hounds

On December the 8th, Gary, Katie and I joined some members of the Little Rock Dog Training Club for a hike at Mount Nebo State Park. As you can see in the pictures, it was a very foggy day. There are supposedly beautiful views from the top of Mount Nebo, but we couldn’t see any of them. In spite of the weather we managed to have a wonderful time on our hike. Afterward we had a great cookout with our group.

Katie had an absolute blast being with the other dogs and all of their lovely humans. Katie loves any outdoor activity, but she loves us even more than being outside. When we are home she is always wherever we are. She doesn’t want to go out and play unless we go with her. So to Katie this was the ideal day... getting to romp outside with her two favorite humans all day long. And then a long car ride home - perfect for a cozy Newfy nap.

Inside the Visitor's Center

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Day With Dad

Gary, had a day off work a few weeks ago. I think he was doing some work in the yard and the girls must have been hanging out with him. These cute pictures were on my camera... looks like they had a nice day. Katie loves to play tug the rope with Gary. Scarlett just likes to be queen of the yard.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Confession: My Dog May Be Smarter Than Me

(Katie pictured above at five months old. You can clearly see the intelligence in her beautiful brown eyes :-)

Last night when Katie and I were at dog school, I spoke to our lovely sub-novice teacher, Lois, before class. I was asking her advice on what class Katie and I should take next. Larry, our basic obedience instructor, previously told me that most dogs benefit from repeating sub-novice two or three times. So, I asked Lois if she thought we should do that. Our conversation was interrupted, so she did not get to answer my question right then.

Class started out with a heeling exercise. We were walking in a large square practicing our turns, with some about turns thrown in, sits, downs and lots of variation to our pace. Katie was doing beautifully. After that exercise was complete the teacher came up to me and commented on how well Katie was doing. She told me that she thought Katie would get bored if we repeated and that her recommendation was that we go on to Novice next. Funny, that’s the same thing Larry said when I asked if we should repeat his class, “No, Katie would be bored”.

After Lois told me we should go on to Novice I was feeling pretty good about my training partnership with Miss Katie. We did the figure 8 exercise and Katie did a great job. Then Lois suggested we try it without our leashes. I was thinking that it would be easy since Katie and I do some off leash work at home and she usually does pretty well. I was so wrong! It was not easy for ME at all. I couldn’t get Katie to do anything even by luring her with her favorite homemade salmon cookies. Lois saw exactly what the problem was and to prove her point she removed ME from the equation. She led Katie though the exercise herself (still off leash) and of course Katie did it perfectly. Then the same thing happened when we were practicing our fronts. I just couldn’t get Katie to sit straight, but of course she would sit straight every time for her teacher.

Poor Katie... always having to wait on her mama to catch up. I have noticed that when I finally get my mind wrapped around what I am supposed to be doing Katie usually falls into place immediately. The learning curve seems to be mostly on my side. I’ve never trained a dog before (beyond sit, shake hands and down), so I have a little bit of an excuse. There really is a lot for the human to school isn’t just school for dogs. Tons of information gets thrown at you all at once in sub-novice. It’s fascinating though how the smallest turn of your shoulders can be the difference between success or failure for you and your dog. I think with Newf2 I will do a much better job since I will have a lot of this down by then. In the meantime, Katie will just have to put up with her slow mama... thank goodness she is such a patient girl. I’m going to have to get very serious about training myself so that I don’t cause us to get held back in sub-novice. If that happened Katie might decide to do novice by herself.