I haven’t been much in the holiday spirit this year, for whatever reason, but I did get the dogs a subscription to the Power Chewer Bark Box for Chrismas. If you pre-pay for a year you can get it down to about $20 a month, and I think that seems worthwhile. I had gotten them a Bullymake box for a while a couple years ago and enjoyed that, but so far the BarkBox seems like it’s higher quality and more variety and innovation of toys. The dogs have loved the toys, the chews were fine and I’ve finally broken down and all the animals get ‘bedtime cookies’ now, so the treats go to good use. Initially it was just Asher getting bedtime cookies as I was feeling bad about him having to sleep in a crate, but the rest of the household caught on quickly, and especially the cats are just a little insane about the whole ritual. The gift that keeps on giving.
Speaking of which, I bought the cats a big bottle of fairly potent CBD oil, the same kind I gave to Dragon that really made a huge change in his personality to the more outgoing and affectionate cat he is today. Dragon remained confident even after the original bottle was gone, but the other cats never tried it. So I have been adding it to everyone’s food to see if the other cats find it as magical as Dragon. So far the only cat that seems at all different is Dragon, he’s even MORE affectionate now. He really seems to respond to it, the other two I can’t really say I see any change. They’ve been taking it for over a week now, twice a day. We’ll use up the rest of the bottle, but that’s their Christmas present this year.
The dogs very much enjoyed their Christmas trip to the beach, which was Asher’s third stay at my parent’s house – every trip he’s a little easier. He really is growing up, no issues with him at all this time, including sleeping on the bed without bugging me – which the other dogs cannot claim. Such a nice weekend, we had some gorgeous weather with some extreme tides, we got to see it both as far as out as I had ever seen, as well as the opposite with lots of sneaker waves (which required being much more careful!).
I was also very pleased about Asher making good decisions as well. He has always had a bit of ‘stranger danger’ when someone comes unexpectedly towards us. We were at the beach and a guy was walking towards us and I didn’t even need to say anything, Asher immediately offered heel position and just eyed the guy suspiciously until he passed, then carried on playing. No dramatics at all. Good puppy! Way more than the other dogs he feels the need to point out any possible dangers of the world, but he’s trusting me to take care of them once he’s pointed them out now. I did find it kind of funny, we got caught in a bottle neck heading back to the car where there was a crowd of people congregating right where we needed to go, he was all suspicious towards everyone … unless they had a dog, in which case he was all Mr. Friendly. People with dogs are apparently good people in his book.
Border collies do make you look good, as we were walking through that throng of people, we got through them and were heading out and I noticed that Haku had dropped the ball somewhere back behind us. I just sent him back through all the people to go find it on the beach, and he does and races back to me, because he’s a border collie. People were very impressed with his ‘training’, which has nothing to do with training and everything to do with being a single minded border collie.
A lovely weekend where my dogs managed to bring in more sand into my parent’s house than ever before. The gift that keeps on giving, I’m afraid! The dogs appreciated their beach vacation though.
Training-wise we haven’t been doing much, just some agility basics with Asher. Knock on wood, he appears to finally be grasping the concept of what jumps are for. He’s now very deliberately attempting to keep the bar up with our tiny one jump bending work. So that’s a relief. Of course, this is with no motion and me sitting on the ground, with motion it will be a different story, I’m sure. But we’re in no rush, the goal was to get the idea that ‘jumps are for jumping’, and I think we’re almost there. Also been doing a bit of flatwork from Justine’s running contact course, don’t know if that’s the method I’ll be using, but it’s good body awareness and shaping exercises anyway. Basically been going back to revisit four feet in a box, different boxes, with motion, etc. Then using additional props to get him driving through the box in different ways, just fun little games.
We headed down to the poodlebarn again this week, beach vacations and running circles around the other dogs when hiking does absolutely nothing to tire out the Red Menace – how did breeding two rather chill dogs create such a busy little monster? The boy has stamina for days when it comes to purely physical activity. However, it only takes about 5 minutes to totally exhaust him with high energy training. Especially agility, he definitely just wipes himself out in a short period of time. So while I don’t think he really needs to be doing much of anything at this age agility-wise, we are continuing to play around as he’s driving me nuts destroying the world at home. He continues to be a fun little thing in agility, and the one jump work we did seemed to make a big difference, he was doing a much better job at keeping up the low bars since the last time we were there.
We worked on extension to collection, go-on, tunnel threadles, come to hand and table – and put some baby sequences together, which was fun. His table was pretty bad! I blame herding, all that stopping on his feet has really bled into life everywhere – the boy does not like to sit or lie down when excited. And we obviously haven’t trained the table coming at it with speed. I guess I am thinking that the table will be gone by the time he starts competing, but I could be wrong. He hasn’t had the lightbulb moment with the tunnel threadle yet, so it’s still a two part behavior of calling him and turning him away. He can collect very nicely with a lot of turning cues, but he will go into orbit if you don’t control his path. I don’t expect him to be a tight turning dog. I suppose I should actually have a plan so that he doesn’t become as drifty as Navarre is. Though I still think that’s more just who Navarre is rather than any sort of real training issue. Hm.
Other dogs also got to play around some too, of course, a little bit of everyone in this video playing around:
We also went down to play with Heidi’s sheep, taking advantage of the opportunity while we can. I brought both a stick and a rattle bottle out with Asher this time. Asher has no idea what a stick means and doesn’t really respond to it as pressure, but he definitely responds to the rattle bottle. Not in a negative way, but he seems to notice that I’m giving information much more than with the stick. So we ditched the stick and it was so much better for both of us! We worked on stopping, flanking, walking up and staying behind me. He did great, and, once again, doesn’t take much before you can tell his little brain is done. He really does need this kind of thing more and more these days, that is a brain that needs ‘work’, but I don’t think of him as mature enough to actually handle it. So, yeah, don’t quite know what to do with the little red monster. I think he needs to grow up!
Grooming has become a total non-issue for Asher, we did a full paw trim this week. I don’t know what’s with his sudden hair explosion, but he’s got it coming out EVERYWHERE. So he’s now got all tidy feet, continues to be totally chill with his nails and no issues with brushing anymore – which is good, as he’s now got all this HAIR to brush!
I remembered I had some of Haku’s ‘Fat Food’ left up in the cupboard and have been supplementing Asher with that to try to get some weight on him. He seems a LITTLE bit less boney, but not much. That boy is hard to keep weight on, and feed him too much and he gets loose stool. Ah, puppies. Maybe someday he’ll stop growing. I’d love for him to stop right now, he’s nice size, not too big, smaller than Navarre. But I imagine he’s got a lot of growing to do still. Alas.