Katie had a very important draft lesson today. Our cousin Adison was Katie's very first wagon passenger. Both girls seemed to have a wonderful time judging by the huge grin on Adison's face and Katie's constantly wagging tail.
My cousins Carrie and Adison came over today and had lunch with me and Gary before us girls headed off to the zoo. Katie and Louie were happy to see our visitors. Louie, as usual, was especially smitten with Adison. He wanted to give her a million kisses, but we only let him give her about 50. He followed her around like a little puppy...or rather big puppy.
When Louie earned his Rally Novice title last weekend, he got a tiger stripped stuffy bone as a prize. He and Katie were both quite enamored of the toy so they started a game of chase and keep away. I was surprised that Katie seemed to have the toy at least 50% of the time. Usually Louie hogs all the toys.
My new friend Parker tagged me. The honest scrap award means we are supposed to tell you 10 honest scraps about ourselves and then tag 3 others that we'd love to hear more about. So here you go, just a few of the millons of interesting tidbits about me.
1) I believe in clean ears. I keep Daddy and Katie's ears sparkling all the time. When I meet a new dog that I like I always do them a favor and clean their ears. It doesn't matter if the dog is a boy or a girl. I do not discriminate; I believe in clean ears for everyone.
2) Sometimes I moo just like a cow. Really, really loud too! And my favorite time to Moo is at 2:30 a.m. because I only Moo in my sleep. Everytime I do it Mama and Daddy start laughing and saying I'm lucky I'm so cute. Well, Duh...that's really stating the obvious.
3) I hate to be alone unless it's by my choice. Sometimes I'll go sit in the yard for a few minutes to enjoy some solitude. But don't you dare try to go anywhere without me.
4) My fan is my friend. I sleep in front of it every night. Even if it's cold out I still enjoy my fan.
5) Now that I get to be a therapy dog like Katie, I'm planning on giving away free drool with every visit.
6) I think my Sissy likes it when I steal her toys...sometimes right out of her mouth. She must like it because she keeps letting me do it.
7) Katie is my bestest friend in the whole world. When I was just a baby she helped to raise me. That's why I turned out to be such a good boy who deserves lots and lots of treats.
8) I am the Greatgrandson of Josh, the Newf that won Best in Show at Westminster in 2004. That must be why I was a natural right away in the showring. I won best in working group at 3 months and again at 4 months old at AKC Fun Matches. I love to be the center of attention so I'm looking forward to Daddy taking me in the ring some more this fall.
9) I figured out how to open the backdoor. It's a lever, so that part was easy to lift with my nose, but then I had to figure out how to pull the door towards me at the same time. No sweat since I am after all a total genius.
10) World peace - that's my life goal. If everyone could be as kindhearted as me we wouldn't have any more war. I have never growled in my life and have never even curled my lip at another dog...NOT EVER! Let's just focus on keeping each others ears clean and we'll be too busy to get into trouble.
Love and licks from Louie the 14 month old Newf Puppy (Mama says I'm a puppy until I'm at least 18 months old...silly Mama...I'm already bigger than my "big" sister)
Last night I noticed that Louie and Katie were in the backyard investigating something with intensity. My intuition told me it wasn't just a toy or a stick that they were finding so fascinating. As I approached I saw that Katie had something in her mouth. She was holding her mouth in a very strange way like she was trying to keep her mouth soft and spacious inside. And she was turning her head away from Louie to keep him from taking the object away from her. I told her to drop the item and was unexpectedly faced with a little baby bird with its mouth and eyes wide open. It was mostly brown in color - probably a sparrow that looked to be just a few days away from being able to safely leave the nest. I wanted to pick it up so that neither of the incredibly interested Newfies would cause it further harm, but I admit to be scared of bird diseases (Katie apparently does not share my fear). I decided to try using the leave it command, but I was prepared to pounce on either Newfie that took a step towards the baby bird. When neither Newf made a move to touch it, although it was apparent that they desperately wanted to, I took a few steps away from the threesome. Katie and Louie were still staring at the bird, but left it alone. I went in the house and got a pair of rubber gloves. After donning them I made my way back to the Newfs and bird. I gently picked up the baby and cradled it in my hands. It was very calm and seemed to like being held. As I pondered what to do with the little guy he passed away. I felt bad for the little one, and I hope his nestmates are still alive and flourishing.
Despite my sadness I felt proud of Katie and Louie. They listened so well to me in a very tempting situation. I don't know what their intentions were toward the bird, but it seemed that Katie was trying to keep it safe. She certainly had not chomped down on it as there was no visible wounds (I think it died of internal injuries from falling out of its nest in our tree). When I was holding it in my hands Louie was curious about it, but he seemed to understand that it was something delicate and he respected my wishes for him to leave it alone. We are so fortunate to have such sweet Newfies in our lives.
Louie decided to follow in his father and big sister's footsteps yesterday by passing his therapy dog test. Not only did he earn his Rally Novice title on Saturday he also became a certified therapy dog. I am so proud of our 14 month old baby. He is such a sweetheart; I know he will brighten the lives of many nursing home residents, Hospice patients, the kids at Easter Seals, their families and the staff at these facilities. In fact, he brought many people joy at the dog show yesterday. Adults and children flocked around him and Katie. One woman approached me and said that out of all the dogs at the show none touched her heart the way Louie did.
Here is a video of Louie taking his test. I labeled all of the different sections so that people who are interested can see what the test is all about.
Three wins! Louie went into the Rally ring for the third time yesterday. And he qualified again!!! He got a score of 93 and earned fourth place. Most importantly, he earned his Rally Novice Title. We are so proud of our little Newf puppy.
Me and Louie with his new Title ribbon
A photoshoot back at home. Louie says "Ribbons, shimbbons, I want to play with my toy that I won.
That's more like it :)
Mom, I'll do well in the ring from now on if you promise they will give me a toy like this each time. This is cool!
Louie likes the ladies and one of his all time favorite ladies is Scarlett, a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who attends rally class with us at the Little Rock Dog Training Club. In the video below you can see Scarlett performing her award winning rally routine. She received the highest score of all the dogs in her class and qualified for the third time to earn her Rally Novice title. (By the way, the video camera wasn't working properly when Louie and I were in the ring, but this is the same routine that we did.)
Scarlett and sister Zoe with their mom.
This was Zoe's first time ever in the ring. She qualified with a very good score. Beauty, sweetness and intelligence...what a lovely pair.
Gary and Louie accompanied me and Katie during a carting lesson yesterday. Gary had the role of camera man, Louie and I were the supporting actors and Miss Katie was the star of the show.
The lesson for the day was adding cargo to the wagon. Until now Katie has been pulling the empty wagon which weighs about 50 pounds. We added a 30 pound bag of Orijen (which is the delicious fishy food that Katie and Louie eat) to bring the total weight up to 80 pounds. She didn't even seem to notice the extra weight except when we went up a hill. My plan is to use this weight in all of Katie's future lessons. When Natalie comes home she will weigh way less than 30 pounds, so she should be a breeze for Katie to pull around the neighborhood.
We will practice at least twice a week until it gets too hot and then restart our training in the fall. I am hoping to have Katie ready to take the Draft test next spring.
It seems that everywhere we go people are always amazed by how clean and beautiful we are. Well, today we are letting you in on a secret. We don't always look that way. I know it's hard to believe but here is the proof.
Sometimes we have a contest to see who can get the dirtiest. Louie always beats me because: A) He is only a puppy and B) He is a BOY!!
Here's me just about as dirty as I ever get
See I am a LITTLE dirty, but not too bad.
If you want to see some real dirt action check out my baby brother
The origin of the dirt is this awesome wrestling ring that Louie and I made all by ourselves. Daddy was so proud (Not!) It only look us a couple of weeks of hard work to first crush and then completely decimate all of the vegetation in this area. Now we have a nice place where we can have our daily wrestling matches.
I'm sorry we're just too tired to put on a wrestling show for you right now. It's been a busy day. Mama didn't have to go to work so we spent all day following her around to see what kind of cool stuff she was going to do. It's fun having Mama, Daddy or better yet both home with us. Come back later and we'll see if we can muster up some energy to put on a show for you. Hugs from Katie and Louie
Many thanks to my cousin Reid and his wife Angela for being brave enough to come to our house for dinner. Although Katie and Louie meet children all the time on our walks we don't have many small visitors come to our home. I warned Reid that they would likely be quite wild for the first five minutes and the Newfs didn't disappoint my expectations. When faced with a family of five coming into our yard and home Katie and Louie were overstimulated and reacted accordingly. They were barking with their sonorous Newfie voices, Louie was bouncing all over the place held in semi-check by my hand on his collar, and Katie was giving them wary looks. It's interesting how Katie and Louie reacted so differently. Although they were both quite loud it was clear to me that Katie was afraid of the "invaders" and Louie was overjoyed to make some new friends.
Looking at this display from a child's perspective it must have been quite scary, but my little cousins were courageous. The frenzy soon died down and we were all able to relax a bit. Within ten minutes the kids were giving the dogs commands like sit, down, wait and giving them carrot pieces as rewards. I think we have a group of future dog trainers here.
We had a peaceful dinner outside with Katie laying under the table as usual and Louie laying over to the side politely waiting for us to get done. After dinner we played with the dogs and their toys in the backyard.
Katie and Louie decided to show the kids how Newfoundland dogs have fun.
My friend Charlotte has been nominated as one of five finalists to win a car from KATV. The voting starts now. Please consider voting as often as you can until noon on 4/8. You are allowed to vote once per hour. Charlotte is a wonderful single mother to three young children adopted from China. She also has an adult daughter who is married and has started her own family. Charlotte is in the process of adopting an older child from Eastern Europe. Her current car is on its last leg, so the timing would be perfect.
Probably the most important exercise we learned in puppy class was the Flip. The Flip teaches your puppy many critical things: 1) that you are the alpha, 2) that you can be trusted to keep them safe when they are in vulnerable positions and 3) that it's nice to relax and let Mom or Dad rub your belly.
To do this exercise, sit on the floor with your back against a wall and your legs stretched out in front of you. Say the word "Flip" then pick up your puppy and gently flip it onto its back so that the puppy's head is resting against your abdomen and its body is stretched out on top of your legs. Hold the pup by grasping them around the middle under their front legs.
The goal is to keep them in that position until they are still for five minutes. The puppy may struggle at first, but they will eventually surrender and relax. After they are still you can rub their bellies to help them relax further. Katie and Louie really liked this exercise and frequently fell asleep while I was holding them. It's good to practice this every day for between five and ten minutes. The most important thing to remember is to NEVER let them up until they stop struggling and have been still for at least a couple of minutes.
The puppies quickly learn what the word "Flip" means and you can use it later on if you need to brush or inspect their belly. Also, just a reminder to never give them any reinforcement when they are crying or fussing. None of this, "It's ok baby. Awe poor baby" junk. So many people do this not realizing that all they are doing is reinforcing their puppies to be whiny, fearful dogs. Instead praise the dog like crazy when they are being good and during calm moments. It's truly amazing how much you can shape their behavior and make the whole puppyhood time easier on you and them. So, in the flip if she is struggling say no firmly and hold her under the front legs until she relaxes. Once she is still and quiet you can gently rub her belly and tell her quietly about what a good girl she is.
After your puppy has done the flip for you a few times and is comfortable with it get the other members of your household to start doing it with her at least a couple times a week. You want to be sure that she views you all as her pack leaders. If you don't establish your alpha position now she will challenge you likely between 6 and 12 months and it won't be easy to deal with at that point.
When you shop at Amazon.com please click on the above logo to do your shopping. You will be supporting LWB, an organization that provides many orphans in China much needed surgery, food, education and love.
"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.