Looking for Puzzle Pieces

Every dog is a puzzle, and sometimes it takes a while to see how it all fits together. But that’s part of the fun of dogs, though it can be rough sometimes along the way. Continuing to puzzle through Fig, we’ve done some more experiments the last few days.

First we’ve been working on training with toys. This is a slower process than treats, as your reward ratio is drastically less frequent, and especially with a dog like Fig, much less thinking on her part. So we’ve just been introducing real simple things, like spin, lie down and her name. In typical BC fashion, it takes a while for the request to even process when toys are around, but she can do it with some extra prompting and a lot of time. Still, it’s something.

Back in the world of food I’ve tried several other new foods and have mostly gotten total disinterest. She did like little cheap ass cat treats for one session, so that was fun. Now she just spits them out. She still gets kibble in her kennel, which sometimes she munches on, sometimes she eats most of it and sometimes she doesn’t touch it – but that doesn’t seem related to what kind it is. I have no idea how much she’s actually eating per day at this point, but her weight is good – and she’s growing a lot right now. Could not get her to eat anything I had when we hiking again over the weekend, which makes it REAL hard to work on recalls, that’s for sure.

However, we have made some tentative training progress by just attempting to train or feed any other animal in the household, then suddenly she’s throwing behaviors and trying to steal the food. So, fine, can’t train Fig by herself, she needs cats barging in and dogs smacking her in the head in order for her to train. Today we started back up, which we didn’t make much progress, but that was mostly because she spent so much time chewing each piece of kibble that I couldn’t do the rapid fire treats underneath her that I normally do – but she was engaged and having a good time. Then was working with my dogs on multi-dog platform position work which devolved into teaching Figgy to balance on a fitbone – which she did! With lots of jumping all over the other dogs at the same time.


I have every faith that she’ll figure it out, I think that’s the key to so many dogs, letting them decide when they’re ready to train. And maybe it won’t be for MONTHS, but there is no point in forcing it, will only turn them off. In the meantime, management and tiny steps. It’s funny what dogs pick up even when you’re not attempting to train them – because training happens all the time.

We’ve had a ridiculous stretch of 95+ degree weather for what seems like forever at this point. Ended up cancelling almost all my classes this week, which made for a very odd week. But I did get to spend more quality time with Fig, she’s starting to mature these days. The good news, while she can still be annoying to the dogs, she’s really mellowed and is actually listening and responding these days. Navarre actually LIKES her, you know, sometimes. So they’ve been playing, which is just way too cute – so it’s nice she has a friend now. Bright continues to give her the business, and Haku continues to pretend she doesn’t exist while Fig just adores him above all others. I do find it interesting that with Aja Bright LOVED that puppy – but Navarre didn’t. Now we have Fig that Navarre likes, but Bright doesn’t.  And neither one of them truly disliked Aja or Fig, but funny they had such different reactions.


Fig is getting more and more independent, we went hiking in the Gorge with Carol’s dogs and Heidi over the weekend and I barely saw that puppy – she was forging ahead with the big dogs, such an adventurous puppy. Who REALLY needs a recall. Work in progress. Then when we’re out running at the park or the field puppy still does some ambushing, but she’s often right out there running with the big dogs, WAY far away. Confident little thing.

Fig even made a friend! 6 month old corgi, a little shy, but her and Figgy hit it off and had such a great time together. Maybe Fig won’t be a total monster after all! Certainly she continues to be quite the social butterfly with people, she loves everyone.

Trying an experiment with her informal recall, when playing with toys I do a lot of toy switching, inviting her to come play with the new toy with her name. In general as soon as she hears her name she come driving over to see what I have. However, in some instances she has done the, “I hear you, but I think I’ll just stay here,” move. So in that case I go and put her away and take the toys up. A couple times after that she’s been happily driving back to me every time, so far, at least. Been working some at having her weave through my legs in preparation to use that as a recall, but, well, slow going training with toys.

Oh, and we officially have a car chasing issue. I saw little glimpses of it when she was younger when a car would go by, but tonight she actually hit the end of the leash a few times when a car would pass us. Now, if she would take food I would have tried to work on positively working on this behavior, but as it scares the shit out of me, she got corrected as this is not something I want to screw around with. Today, at least, she decided she could leave the cars alone – but I expect this will need work. Ah, border collies.

Every Dog is Different

Can’t believe that Fig is already 11 weeks old! In many ways she has definitely lived up to what I thought she’d be like, in others I’m still a bit perplexed. I’ve had puppies that weren’t that interested in food, but not to the extent of Fig. And it’s not like she WON’T eat, especially if it’s something novel and there is competition I can usually get her to eat something, but even then, she very often will just walk away. Even the raw food, when I felt she was just too damn skinny and she needed to eat, three meals of raw in a row and she was done with it and just walked away.

My new kibbles have arrived, and in predictable fashion she’s kind of interested in a new food for the first couple meals, then she’ll just pick at it. She’s definitely better when you hand feed her, which is not real convenient. Sometimes she’ll eat kibble that I leave with her in her crate, but sometimes not. She does not seem more hungry when she goes for a longer period of time without eating. She is not getting more interested in food now that she’s older.

I broke down and tried smelly salmon treats, which she thought were good … one time, then she’d just spit them out. Cheese is the same, she’ll eat it … if nothing else more interesting isn’t going on. Occasionally, usually when I’m feeding the other dogs, she gets SUPER excited and jumping around and waving and looks like she really wants to eat … and then I put the food down, and she just nibbles on it.

Hard to train a puppy that doesn’t eat, but I had sort of assumed she’d get over this phase with time, but we’re going on 4 weeks here, this puppy needs to be worked with. I’ve never had a puppy this long that knew so little! And she’s smart, and fun, but I’m just going to have to accept we will not be training with food. Though it is funny that the things she has learned, she learned them quickly and she does offer them, but I can’t keep her attention for training anything new, she is off looking for new adventures.

Now, playing with toys, she’s got plenty of stamina for that! She loves to chase, loves to tug, drives to dead toys, switches toys without an issue and kind of retrieves. She is a fun dog to play with! And I have accepted that, at least for now, we’re going to have to train with toys and environmental rewards. So that will be novel, and we may have to save all the cute puppy tricks for when she gets older. For now, she needs to learn to stay, come, kennel up, wait at doors, and handle restraint. Oh, and housebreaking.

The good news, while she’s a fiercely independent little thing, she does respond to praise and, to a lesser extent, pressure to get to her to STOP doing things. Like annoying the other dogs or throwing herself bodily into the sliding door when she wants to come inside. So new adventure, we’ll see how it goes.

We had a relatively quiet week, I do think she was feeling a little under the weather earlier in the week, she had a little eye discharge and just was not her normal troublemaking self. She’s over that now though, back to full Figgy Speed. She did get to be babysat during one of my Thursday classes were everyone filled her up with all their novel treats. Luckily, her stomach appears to be pretty bombproof. I was surprised she did not scream and carry on when the other dogs were running though, go figure!

I also let her run around with the other dogs in the arena a bit, after ‘tiring her out’ on her own playing. I worry as she has no self preservation that she’ll run into things chasing the other dogs. And she did take out a pvc jump, totally oblivious. So she probably won’t get to have that outlet, unfortunately. You pretty much need to be 100% focused on Fig when she’s out and about.

We went on another puppy hike today, with another border collie puppy the same age as her! This puppy started out a little overwhelmed by my crew and crazy ass Fig, who was stiff and posturing. I was worried Fig was going to be a total bitch, but actually they ended up doing pretty well together. I had to remind Fig to chill a couple times near the end, but they were both tired and cranky at that point. Fig was happy to let the other puppy maul her though, so that was good to see. Kind of funny though, Fig zipped right through the cute puppy stage is already turning into a no-neck cinderblock – BC puppies are just not very cute! Well, Fig isn’t – but this other puppy was so cute she could have been an aussie puppy! Fig said she makes up for it in personality. I imagine she’ll be a very attractive adult, but, yeah, the awkward fuglies are already upon us.

That Fig certainly never gets tired, she’s going to be the sort of dog you have to force to take a break. The other puppy got carried a lot – Figgy was like the energizer puppy. Afterwards we went herding and I thought she’d be way too tired to go play with sheep – but she was rearing to go! So Figgy had her second go at sheep and was even more keen and adorable than she was at 8 weeks. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she loves controlling sheep – really fun to see.

As for herding, Haku got to practice his AKC moves. Carol would not have been happy with us, I really TRIED to do everything as fetch, but with the light sheep we were WAY better at doing it with driving – and it’s way more fun! The driving went better than the fetching, we mostly struggled with the turn at the post. I could not seem to make myself stay at that post, I kept dancing around. But I was also looking at trying to be consistent with Haku, as he kept ASSUMING he knew what I meant. We were both a little shaky with our flank directionals today. But, yes, technically Haku did the ‘advanced’ AKC herding, as I handled everything from the post. It was still fun, and Haku’s outruns were much better. So that was fun to do something specific instead of just working on skills. And I didn’t have to holler too much.

As for Navarre, I gave him to Dave with a rattle paddle. Whenever I’m particularly discouraged with Navarre everyone always has to remind me how much better he is than Haku. At least, with some things. They keep telling me how they would prefer a Navarre to a Haku, but I think they’re crazy. Navarre will never have a problem moving the sheep though, that’s for sure. We had never actually used the rattle paddle before, I thought it would be more effective, but it was about the same. Navarre behaved himself though, Dave puts a LOT of pressure on him – way more than I do. But the thing is, Navarre doesn’t get discouraged and, yes, Dave gets results as he’s not going to say, “Eh, good enough.” Navarre would probably do a lot better with a Dave.

We had a bit of break in the hot weather this week, which I was very thankful for. I think there will be more cancelled classes next week as we’re looking at another stretch of at least 5 days in the 90s. It’s summer alright, but the dogs enjoyed an early hike today with swimming – and lots of seeds in their coats. Summer. Hm.

A Beach Adventure

Just ordered 5 small bags of a variety of puppy food for that picky Fig. She will still just spit out kibble and then bark at me. I can take a hint. She likes the sample food we got from the vet a little better, which is a Hill’s product – but, still, she has to be in the mood. So we’ll see if it’s just ALL foods or if we can find something that speaks to her. Damn border collies. I remember trying to entice puppy Bright to eat, I’d bring out platters of roasted chicken, yogurt, eggs, beef, etc. She would just turn away. Thankfully Bright grew out of that, for the most part – but eating was so drama filled when she was a puppy.

Things that help with both eating and training, rather than having LESS distractions around, I need more. Put Fig in a group of dogs all attempting to impress me with their tricks and she’s throwing behaviors like crazy – put her in a room by herself and she has no interest whatsoever. Every dog is different, that’s for sure, Fig has been a challenge in the training department!

We were at the beach over the weekend and when I fed Fig I had all the other dogs dancing around and suddenly I had Fig’s full attention for training. Go figure. She is starting to offer behavior, she’s figuring out she’s in control of the game. Not 100% there yet, but finally some forward progress. She’s finally offering waves and rolling over – and barking. I wasn’t attempting to teach the barking, but I appreciate the new found enthusiasm. She gets confused between spins and roll overs, her down looks good, she’s offering paws up on a platform and can now do lured pedestal spins. Today we introduced something useful, we worked on the beginnings of restraint, no issues with paw holding, muzzle holding took a little work, she’s not fond of teeth inspection yet.

Knock on wood, she’s just been bringing toys back when I encourage her quite a bit. I still have a second toy to reward her driving back. She doesn’t tug with me nearly as fiercely as she does with Haku’s tail and chest hair – good lord. At the beach I had to bop her on the head with the chuck-it until she’d let go. It would help if Haku would actually tell her no, but he’s just too good. Little terror. Still, no worries about losing the puppy when out with the other dogs, she very much enjoyed chasing, stalking, pouncing and tugging on the other dogs.

She did go into the water, but got dunked by waves too many times so kept her distance after that – which was handy for the dogs to get away from her. I think she quite loved the beach and never seemed to get tired. Beaches are made for dogs! Fun to have a summer puppy that didn’t get too cold getting as wet as she did.

Puppy was a great traveler, I didn’t know what to expect. I brought her HUGE freaking wire crate as that’s what she seems to be the most comfortable in. And she was a total angel, just settled right in, slept through the night and was happy to hang out in the yard with the dogs as well. She keeps herself entertained! She didn’t bother my parent’s cats and Obi wanted nothing to do with her – which is true of just about everyone, so, hey. She just made herself at home, definitely the Fred/London in her.

Back from the beach puppy has been quiet the last couple days, which is a little worrying. She’s still happy to run around and bite dogs, but lots of sleeping and even less interest in food than she has been. Hopefully just recovering, and it has been ridiculously hot as well. I broke down and gave her raw tonight, she needs to eat, skinny little thing. She was happy to eat the ground raw, not much interest in the turkey neck I gave for her. But if you leave kibble in with her she won’t touch it in general, well, until you open her crate and the other dogs try to eat it, then she’s more into it.


And just like that Figgy finally passed that point that we finally have our groove down. Those first couple weeks with a puppy are rough, they are so young and know absolutely nothing – everything is new to them and they have to get used a lot of very stressful things without having a support or communication system yet. Figgy has been very opinionated about this, and she’s not the easiest puppy, that’s for sure.

Still, things are finally coming together and we are both much happier now that we have a routine and know each other better. We are still working on developing our communication, but we can now do the basics. She knows how to let me know when she needs things without throwing a giant fit, and I can now read and anticipate what she will want. She can now chill in her crate in the car, in the living room and at night. I’d prefer not to have to use much crate time, but she is the Pee Machine, and can’t use x-pens. She likes the really big wire crates, but not the smaller hard sided ones. She really enjoys being outside, which makes things way easier.

She is better about the pee thing, and when she is inside as long as I take her out about every 5 minutes we are good – but that obviously requires direct supervision. Good thing she’s pretty darn entertaining to watch, that girl can GO. She can also nap and has had no issues sleeping through the night. She lets me know if she needs go out with a very sweet little whine – no giant hissy fits anymore. I have no grand expectations of her to housebroken any time soon, but she is a clean dog, she doesn’t want to go in her crate, so I’m hopeful she’ll eventually grasp the concept. She’s really good at going outside, as she will stop and squat ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. She doesn’t care if it’s on the concrete, grass, rocks, carpet, hardwood, dirt – the girl is not discriminating.

Figgy is still very annoying with the dogs, and even Haku will tell her off – but they still don’t HATE her. I’m amazed what puppies can get away with when they’re border collies. Fig can always be found cuddled up right with them if they’re napping on the porch, they are remarkably tolerant of her. For now. She was actually humping Haku’s head the other day – I can’t imagine this is going to fly when she gets older. I assume she will stop trying to constantly jump on their heads and bite their legs once she gets older. Hopefully. The dogs still tug with her (though it’s not their idea), and usually just give her the toy – she has total puppy license at the moment, except from Bright, who has been laying down the law (in a fair way), and I haven’t tried to stop her. Fig DOES listen, but she doesn’t really take it personally.

Fig remains super sweet, she LOVES everyone – she’s going to be just like Fred when she’s older, constantly wanting to say hi. She’s really sweet though, she loves the cuddles and at the moment isn’t over the top with her greetings. We’ll see if that changes. I don’t think she’s ever met a stranger and today I turned her over to two young girls to baby sit while I was teaching – she just let them carry her all around – such a good girl.

Fig is smart, I think. It’s been hard as she’s been so not into food that we haven’t done much formal ‘training’, but she picks up things incredibly quickly. Like she waits at doors and when I go to open her crate instead of pummeling it like a maniac now jumps back as she knows that will make the door open. If you just give her a mild, “Hey, leave that kitty alone,” she actually listens! She has learned to be very gentle with the kitties, and even groomed Fizban. And for some reason the cats are not afraid of her at all, despite the fact that she’s a very busy, active, loud puppy. Dragon thinks she’s perfectly harmless, Fizban actually likes her, all the cats mob around when I’m trying to train her. And she will occasionally chase after a cat or smack them, but even then, they just don’t seem to take her seriously. Really weird, they did not have this response to Leia, and not even to Aja. Not complaining though.

As for training, I feel like we had a breakthrough today where Fig was actually pushing ME to work with her. Suddenly she was offering behavior and really engaged and having a good time. She still doesn’t really understand how it works, but I felt I finally had a dog that wanted to play. We haven’t worked on anything new, she has very lured waves, spins, down and paws up. However, she has kind of taken rollover as ‘hers’ and is offering it in both directions and looking damn cute about it. Fun to have that breakthrough, hopefully it continues. I thought I was going to have break out fancy treats to get her into the game, but I think while she still doesn’t really care about the food, I think she thought the interaction was fun. I have been holding out and not giving her raw, so she’s been a little more into the kibble. Mostly I get it into her by putting small amounts in her crate during the day that she finishes up. She likes chewies though!

She loves to play, when she’s super jazzed up she’s a ridiculous tugger. She’s been happy to switch toys, chase ‘dead’ toys and is starting to bring toys to me to play. She doesn’t really have a preference at this point, she seems to like balls, tugs, stuffties, frisbees, plastic bags, water bottles, shoes, sticks – you name it, she’ll play with it. That girl is a party.

Nice to feel like we’re over that first big hump. I think she likes me and is starting to trust me. Things that border collies don’t necessarily do right out of the box like some other breeds. Now, she would still just walk away with anyone and never think of me again – but she may always be like that. Definitely a very London trait! But she’s starting to think I’m pretty fun, not just the lady that stops her from doing what she wants to do.

Oh, and it helps that she’s ridiculously cute! Her ears are looking adorable and she’s been gaining weight like crazy – they grow so quickly this age!


Puppy Progress

Puppies at this age grow up so incredibly quickly! Figgy is 9 weeks old now, getting bigger and faster and more opinionated. Fig has LOTS of opinions. She definitely is living up to what I expected with her breeding, though actually she’s basically like female Fred 2.0. I don’t see any Navarre in her, despite their half sibling status. Also don’t see any Haku in there, though perhaps with the barking. 😉

Fig has the self contained thing going on, she makes herself at home wherever she goes, all people are her friends – but she doesn’t really need anyone. For now she kind of follows us around, but I don’t think that will last long – when she sees something shiny she’s gone. She is already a tiny terror of a bitch, taking on some adults with stiff body language and refusing to back down or listen when they say to leave them alone. She also already has an issue with overarousal and I imagine that will be an ongoing problem. She has no self preservation and throws herself around with zero thought and could care less about running into anything or anyone, she just takes a tumble and gets up running.

Fig really is a sweetie though, and really fun and incredibly athletic for her age.  She’s also very smart and picks up things quickly, it’s keeping her attention that’s the hard part. She’s not really food motivated, she just wants action – her chasing a toy is almost involuntary. Still, she is now eating meals … somewhat. She prefers raw, but will now eat some kibble, depending on her mood. Or she may just spit it out. When she is in the mood we have started some basic training that she caught onto incredibly quickly, which is good, as she loses interest just as quickly. So she can wave (with both paws!), spins amazingly fast for her age, knows down, hand touch and roll over. But she’s not really operant yet, she’s not the one pushing me to work, much too busy! She kind of knows her name, we’ve gotten much better response calling to a toy – that girl loves her toys.

Went the vet where she just made herself at home, no worries at all. Got her microchipped, which of course she didn’t notice. UTI results – perfectly fine, the girl just pees an insane amount. But the good news is that she doesn’t do it when she’s ‘busy’, and she’s getting busier all the time. She plays hard and crashes hard, once she’s sleeping she’s really hard to wake back up. I have been letting her sleep on the bed, because she’s been out like a light. She will also sleep in a crate next to my bed, which for some reason is different than the x-pen or crate in the OTHER room, and she sleeps through the night. She will still throw gigantic fits if she’s anywhere she doesn’t want to be though. The problem with having her sleep on the bed is she keeps falling off of it, which scares the hell out of me, so I really don’t want to do it, as much as she prefers it.

The dogs don’t like her much, but they don’t hate her. She’s not real good at making friends with other dogs, she’s a tiny terror of a bitch. Still, she’s a tiny baby, I’m hoping that she’ll start to gain some communication skills as she gets older – as it is, Bright has to correct her and make her respect any boundaries. And I don’t know how long that will last. Navarre was an oblivious dork when he was a puppy, now he’s a sensitive flower, so we’ll see where she ends up.

Fig did surprisingly well chilling during classes this week. I didn’t even attempt to put her in an xpen inside (she’ll just climb right out, screaming the whole way), but she was just dead asleep whenever I’d go to take her out of the car. Other than that she just made herself right at home at both arenas, enjoyed meeting everyone and played lots. I have avoided using the leash, but finally broke down and have been working on her walking with us.

Puppy didn’t care about the fireworks, which was not hugely surprising. She had an busy 4th of a July going to Poodletopia and going on a Heidi Adventure, out to lunch in the city and to the farm store. She took it all in stride, of course – no lack of confidence with that girl!

Poor Navarre just hates the 4th, more sensitive this year than last, we may see about trying to stay somewhere remote next year. He has his thundershirt and his anti-anxiety supplement, but they can only do so much. He hid behind the couch for the most part. Bright and Haku could care less still, which is nice.

Haku got to practice some herding on the 4th too, we set up some chutes and played in the new area Heidi set up for sheep practice. God, those sheep are TERRIBLE though. They are so glued to you that they would not move off of me to go through the chute at all, so that sort of defeated the purpose. But we painfully practiced walking through a Started course – but I had to walk backwards or else Haku would get creative. Well, we tried.

Navarre did much better with our terrible sheep than he did with the lighter sheep the other day, because he CAN’T keep pushing them off me. Which may be part of his issues. But we did work on him maintaining the bubble that I gave him and he kind of had a clue. And could kind of do some baby outruns and wasn’t completely ridiculous. Ah, Navarre and herding.

Fig had her first hike yesterday, she was a pro – that girl can really move for such a young thing. There was no sedately walking next to me, she was out with the big dogs back and forth the whole time. Helped that we brought her a 12 week old golden puppy, those two actually got along pretty well, and kept them out of too much trouble. I did have physically separate Fig from Gypsy a couple times when she went over the top, but thankfully a golden is tough and forgiving – a good match for the Tiny Terror. Fig also went into the water at the river, fairly deep, but no swimming. No real concern about it though, I imagine she’ll be swimming in no time. Like she’s going to get left behind.

We had a nice break from puppy today, Heidi is taking her on day trips to the agility trial. I hear she took everything in stride, watched agility politely, everyone was her friend and that other dogs could go suck-it. And she screamed in her crate the whole day. She’s definitely been a puppy that has not just blended into the household, most puppies after two weeks would be more relaxed with confinement. She’s BETTER, but she can still throw a fit like no one’s business – and you will not convince her otherwise. It would be nice if she could be out in the house more, but she is the Pee Master, so that’s strictly on a directly supervised status, with trips outside every 5 minutes. Still, baby steps, she’s better.

So, yeah, Aja was SO EASY (other than her screaming), this puppy has not been. But I think once we get into a routine it will be better. I’d love to actually train something with her, but, for now, it’s enough to get her to eat at all, she has no time for food and training with a toy is hard with a puppy! Work in progress.

Puppies Galore

Well, puppies keep you busy, that’s for sure. Summer of Puppies is in full swing, and I had multiple puppies at once this week. Thankfully, they ended up liking each other, but 2 puppies at once is kind of mass chaos. Leia went home yesterday though, so only one puppy now!

Meet Fig:

8 weeks old and quite opinionated! Leia has been such a nice, polite houseguest – Fig cannot say the same. Fig is a handful, she’s very active, confident, independent, curious and already a teeny tiny bitch. And she is LITTLE, I forget how little border collie puppies can be. I imagine she’ll grow up to be ‘normal sized’ (around 19 inches), but right now she’s so tiny and delicate … and has no issues taking on full grown adult dogs and leaping off my (very high) bed. She thinks she can take on the world, which may be true.

Surprisingly, my dogs don’t mind her – they’re not playing with her, but she has no problem jumping all over them. They seem to recognize her as a border collie, as Leia never got that pass. I don’t expect that to last though, I have a hard time imagining Bright not putting the smack down on Fig eventually. But not yet, Fig has full puppy license and she’s taking total advantage of it.

Fig pretty much makes herself at home wherever she goes, not a worrier, that one. She’s outgoing and friendly, she likes a good cuddle and generally thinks all dogs will like her. However, the moment she met Pixel (VERY nice pyrshep) she tried to take her out. And Pixel is SO good with puppies and just loves to play and was being terrorized by this tiny 8 week old puppy. I haven’t seen Fig do that with any other dogs, but, yeah, tiny bitch. Fig does listen when being told off by strong dogs, but she can tell if they’re not going to back it up. Figgy is not going to take crap from anyone, I think – we’ll see how that goes. Ah, border collies.

She arrived Wednesday night, and Tammy took Thursday night until Friday night, but Tammy got sick so I took Fig back again. So she’s had a lot of new experiences this week. Yesterday we went over to Anne’s and she hung out with a bunch of new dogs and people, and today we went up to Brigands for herding and she got to meet sheep and go for walks in the big field. Busy puppy!

Tomorrow it’s back to classes though, so not all about Fig anymore. And this is not a puppy that will quietly be relaxing in an x-pen while I teach. For the one thing, she flips out when being confined. Screaming and biting and throwing herself against the crate or x-pen. However, she did figure out the crate in the car pretty quickly, where she’s surrounded by other dogs and crates and she’s good there. But at home I have yet to get her to relax in a crate or x-pen, she works herself into total hysteria. She is fine being outside though. Which is good as I think she has a UTI, she’s just been peeing A LOT. Or vaginitis or something, but she really can’t be loose in the house as she goes so often. She did sleep through the night on the bed a couple nights, but last night she was jumping off the bed and peed on the bed and was generally causing chaos.

So tonight she gets to be a crate by the bed … we’ll see how this goes. This might be ‘crate in another room’ instead. Poor little mite, but our options are limited at this point. She’s also not been a big eater, so we’ve moved to raw and she likes that better. So still dealing with the basic functions at this point, once we get these figured out it will be a lot easier for everyone.

With having multiple puppies and her not really being into food there hasn’t been any real training yet, she’s still just settling in. I’d love to use food to help her settle in, but even with a raw turkey neck she wouldn’t have anything to do with it if she was in an x-pen or crate. She will eat if I hand feed her or stand right next to her, and she does not want any cats trying to ‘help’!

She is a fun little thing though, she loves to play, loves to chase and tug and pounce, she’s one active little puppy. I imagine she’s going to be a lot of dog when she grows up. She hasn’t shown the least sign of self preservation, she takes a tumble and just rolls and comes out running. Unlike Leia, omg, the dramaqueen screams! Self preservation is an undervalued trait though, I’d like Fig to have more of it.

So the goal this week is to see about getting her in to the vet tomorrow about the UTI so we can start working on housebreaking, work on getting her to eat consistently and handle confinement in the house without throwing a full blown hysterical tantrum. Big goals!

In other news, I changed my dogs to a slightly different formula of the brand they had been eating for a while and they all ended up with diarrhea – not fun. So much for trying to ‘mix it up’, they’re going back to the old food. Haku is even fatter than ever after I figured out that when Leia would complain in her x-pen when the other dogs are eating Navarre would leave his food and Haku would go eat it. I’m slow on the uptake. SO FAT.

Haku tentatively has a herding debut with Carol up in Washington in August, an AKC trial, just Started courses, something he SHOULD be able to do. He was not showing this today when we went up to see how Carol and Haku would work together. He was being a total dork, refusing to lie down, not listening and acting like he had no skills whatsoever.

I was feeling discouraged that this plan was not going work, but the second time through he was better (but by no means GOOD). So I think if we can find a way to get them more practice together, I think it’s possible. So that’s the plan, my goal is to practice our basics and stop him from thinking everything is a drive, and as many times as we can get Carol and Haku together. Operation Herding Haku is on track, my goal is for him to have at least a few trials in what may his last competitive year. He’s nine now, and maybe he’ll be just fine when he’s 10, but our time is limited, I want him to have a chance to experience the full scope of herding ‘for real’. As much as he’s able to, with the skills that he has.

And Navarre was a total dork on sheep today, the puppy has more sheep sense than him (oh, the adorable baby stalking!). Good thing he’s so cute and cuddly. Though we’re getting towards fireworks, and these days out of the blue someone will set off one horribly loud firework at night randomly and he gets so upset. We’ve broken out the thundershirt and anti-anxiety supplements, they seem to help. Poor guy.

Weather has been nice the past week, but pretty much after 4th of July it’s unrelenting sun until at least mid-September. Time to settle in for the long summer, my least favorite time of the year.