Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Snap, crackle, pop goes the lightening

We don't have a lot of thunderstorms, but occasionally one will roll through.  In the three years that I've had the dogs I've never known them to be afraid of thunder.  Many years ago I had a little dog that would start the "weird" act long before the thunder could be heard; this was in the days of not having immediate access to radar so I always knew if a storm was coming by her actions! But these little dogs have never seemed to notice, until Saturday night.

It was late when the storm came through, and we were all curled up on the sofa.  I was reading and enjoying the sound of the falling rain through the screen storm door, very cozy.  But when a large bolt of lightening hit something near by that was the end of the peaceful mood.  The dogs jumped up and scattered like marbles.  One of the cats ran by and Bentley took off after it.  Sawyer and Blossom jumped in the floor and started barking.  Poor Baylee jumped into my lap and put her face almost in mine!  She had this fearful little look on her face that looked like she was thinking, "we're all gonna
die now"!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sawyer's Friday Adventure

Sawyer is my adventure dog, always ready to go somewhere and explore.  Friday I had the day off and had planned a camping trip.  That didn't work out, but I still wanted to get out and go somewhere.  So he and I loaded up, in the misty rain, and set out for Bastrop and Buescher State Parks.

Hey, Ma,why do I have to ride in this lousy crate?
Sawyer was a good sport about the crate.  I stopped several times to make pictures and to get checked in at the park.  Each time I opened the back door so he could get plenty of air and see me.  A few times I knew I was just going a short distance so I let him ride in my lap which made him happy.

I tied him to a barbecue pit while I ate my lunch.  I offered him some carrots, but he just stood and wagged his tail at me.  He was ready for adventure and wasn't interested in a snack.

After several stops to make pictures at Bastrop, we drove over to Buescher.  Again, he was patient while we drove around and I made pictures.  Then, finally we hit the trail!  Their hiking trail was 7.7 miles round trip, too long for us, so I decided we would go a ways and then come back.  I quickly realized that we were the only ones on the trail, so I dropped the leash and let him go.  I've been wanting to do this with him forever, and it was the perfect time to do so.  For the most part he stayed next to me and only ventured off a few times, never going too far away.

This is a happy dog!

His nose was on the ground most of the time!

The sun had come out and the temperature was comfortable with a little humidity.  We crossed two creek beds that, thankfully, were dry.  I had a small towel, but didn't want to put a wet, dirty, stinky dog in the back of my car.  Shortly after crossing the second creek bed the mosquitoes took over the trail.  We had walked about twenty minutes, so we turned around and retreated from the mosquitoes!  Our hike was about forty minutes, just right.  It was wonderful to have a trail to ourselves, a good adventure for both of us!

I was trying to make a picture of this little cactus, not sure why.  Prickly pear is not ornamental or a novelty. Sawyer ran up and stuck his nose in the cactus just as I pressed the shutter.  I thought the picture was ruined, but I had a serendipity moment when I got home and looked at the pictures.  Sawyer gave me the best shot of the day!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Obedience Training Goes On

La -de-da-di-de says Bentley.  He's just not into this training stuff at all.  Sometimes he looks at me with those sweet brown eyes and I know that he is thinking, "let's just forget this stuff, Mom, and go play".  Sometimes he just ignores me, too.  But I feel like we are making some progress, and I know that eventually it will click and he'll sit when told and go down, too.  It just takes time, especially with the independent thinking dachshund! Bentley knew a lot of things already, but needs to learn to follow commands unquestioningly. Dogs need to be trained!

On Monday night I took him to walk the trails at our favorite park, and to slip in some sly training, too.  While he practiced his stays I made a few pictures.

Even when I walked away for a little distance he did good!

Besides getting in a little training in a different place I also wanted to give him an opportunity to be around strange people and other dogs.  We had a scary incident at training week before last that left him petrified of the other dogs (I'll save that for another post).  The park was a good choice since we could safely pass other dogs on the trails.  I didn't even waste time on the dog park because we've been there before and he is totally uninterested.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Obedience Time!

Mr. Bentley started his obedience class last Wednesday and tonight we had session number 2.  It is a cross between obedience and training for the Canine Good Citizen test. I could have done this training on my own, but need the motivation of a scheduled class to keep me focused (yes, the trainer has to be trained so to speak).  I know the instructor from Stewards and from the ring manners class that we attend from time to time; Bentley knows him, too, so that was a plus for me.  We are supposed to work for 10 minutes a day, but last week I missed two days training (my fault).  But tonight Bentley did fairly well with only occasional dorkiness.  We tried a little rally course and, let's just say we tried and leave it at that!

Our first training step was walking on a loose lead by the handler's side.  No problems with this because he was already doing that as part of showing.  He knows to follow with me and turn as I turn.  The only difference is that he is wearing a collar and not the slip on show lead, so that makes it a little different for me.  He isn't perfect in the ring or on the training floor, but does well enough that I'm pleased. He also does well with the halt command, but that is mostly from knowing how to follow my motions and not really from the verbal command.

Second step was to learn to sit on command.  He somewhat knew this, but still looks at me like, "why do I have to sit?' He needs some more practice and he'll be fine.  The down command is another story and I'm not sure what to do.  I remember from Blossom & Sawyer's Puppy Kindergarten class that they had problems, too, and the instructor said it was a "daschund problem".  Hmmmm.

We have also worked on stay, with some success and some failure.  Tonight we add the recall command.  Bentley knows to come when called, but tonight it was like he had never heard the word.  I got the "I don't want to do that" look from him several times tonight!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How to confuse your dog

Last weekend one of my neighbors and I shared the cost of replacing the wooden privacy fence between our yards.  They also replaced the fence for their yard on all sides.  The workers showed up bright and early on Good Friday morning.  I had already had the casual thought that I would not be able to let the dogs out while the fence was down...I could just see them enjoying a romp through the three other exposed yards!  But when I came home from a little morning excursion and the fence was down the reality hit me that I could not let them out.  So, what to do?

I had the thought of getting some of that orange mesh stuff and block off the side yard on the other side of the house where there was still a fence.  After a trip to the store and finding that the stuff only came in rolls of 100 feet and was $30 I decided that I needed plan B.  I ended up taking two of the stand alone gates out there and stretching them across the side yard between the fence and the house.  I overlapped them, but still knew that I had to be out there at all times with the dogs or they would push through them quick as the wag of a tail.  This arrangement served its purpose overnight and through the next day until the fence was up again.  They were able to go outside for their potty breaks and  little fresh air by exiting through the side door.

But what messed with their minds was why they couldn't go out through the back door.  I had the inside door open so they would stand and look through the glass door at the outside world, then look back at me and then back outside.  Poor puppies, they were so confused!

However, they weren't too confused the next morning when they discovered a hole at the front corner of the new fence.  I was outside with them, enjoying a cup of coffee on Easter morning when I realized that they had all disappeared.  When I went to check on them I discovered the hole, too!  All but Sawyer had shimmied through the hole.  He was just too big and round to get through.  When I called first Blossom wiggled through, followed by Bentley, but no Baylee.  She had already gone up the street, so I had to let her in through the front door.  Silly puppies!  (And my dear neighbor fixed the hole so we have had no more escapes, fun is over!)