Monday, September 28, 2009

Various Updates from the Dog World

Have you heard the blue-green algae alerts yet? In case you haven't, read warnings for duck-hunters who use dogs. This stuff isn't good for the people or the ducks, either -- in fact, I'd worry about eating a duck who'd been dabbling in this stuff. Environmentalists aren't just tree-hugging fanatics. They're also people who like to take their dogs and children swimming, or who are keen to breathe in spite of living beside a pond.

Anyway. On a lighter note, a great deal can be said of my recent dog-training with a single sentence. "I've been eating all the string cheese myself." Dustin has had a little rally training, Bruce a little training in manners and socialization, and that's about it. I did take Dustin with me to a dog show this weekend so he could re-learn what that was all about. Last time we went to one, he spent all his time flirting with the sable girls, since this was about two months after Sunny died and we both were still thinking of her a lot. This time, he flirted with ALL the girls. However, I think the small working-lines sable was still his pick for first-in-harem. He seemed quite disappointed when we left without a single one of all those pretty bitches, and snoodled around the car twice to make sure I hadn't stashed one in the glove compartment. OFA first, I told him.

After his last bath, a couple of weeks ago, we did practice stacking in the driveway. His head's a bit too far to his right, there in the picture, as I bait him with a stick, but he's being pretty good -- especially for a dog with no leash or collar and a great deal of desire to grab that match-sized piece of wood. With some attention work, so he'll be that good somewhere other than the driveway, he'll be ready to go get some rally titles. Right now, though, he still has to learn that "sit" means "sit" regardless of environment. Either that or I have to start hosting AKC obedience events in my living room.

Bruce has not outgrown his "skitzies," as Mary Adelman knowledgeably calls them. I still worry that they are genetic and the reason his mother is/was feral. I did tote him downtown the other day to watch people go by. He fear-growled very little, but spent the whole trip with his tail clamped between his legs even though nobody came within ten feet of us. I should add this isn't a fear of everything. He was standing on the sort of wire grate that most dogs won't go near, not at all fazed by the funny footing. He'll jump things that are far too big for him just because he sees Dustin (twice his size) do it too. He's just terrified of people. Perhaps a few dozen more trips to places where nobody hurts him, and most people try to give him goodies, will help. Perhaps not. I don't know what we do if he gets worse instead of better and turns out to be a total fear-biter.

And yes, I do know the civically-responsible answer to that, but we've become rather fond of the little fellow. At home with his familiar people, he's a perfect love.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recent Tracking Ventures

I have tracked with the boys lately. Honest! Not a lot, though.

Dustin is well-indoctrinated by now. He knows the routine of finding the article and downing on it, and if we end up taking off a week or three for any reason it doesn't really faze him much. I'm beginning to vary the distance between articles, which gets his nose down a lot more solidly. If he can count on a set distance, he tends to meander out to about that distance and then circle until he hits what he expects to hit. If he can't, he starts actually following the line of crushed grass and whatever bits of my scent are in it. This is, after all, the point! "Good track!"

Bruce has changed. Before his case of parvo, he'd figured out the line of scent and the down on the articles, and he liked the game because it earned him cheese AND he was using his nose. Now -- he's forgotten the game, I think, during his quarantine layoff and general rebuilding, but that doesn't seem to be all of it. I'm not sure if the high fever affected his brain and nose or not, but he doesn't seem to be as keen. Pre-parvo he followed my husband's scent down the driveway and back just for fun. Now he seems more oriented on vision and taste (he's barfed up the other half of a pair of socks, now, and should be feeling better than he was...) and less on smell.

On the other hand, this could be the general battiness of adolescence. He's seven months old and acting like a complete doofus about a great many things. People? Grr. People who have given him treats in the past, including in the past five minutes? Still Grr. I'm trying not to make a huge deal about this in either direction. He's allowed to Grr at people approaching the car without my permission. Otherwise, I'd rather he didn't fuss at houseguests, random pedestrians, and the PetCo staff, and I do tell him so in a low-key way.