Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sonic's first Christmas

Another Christmas is almost over with a very pleasant day had by all. Sonic came with me to Mum and Dad's for lunch and was an absolute pleasure to have around. Although the statue of the panther and the door stop border collie had to be covered over or removed because they were obviously up to no good and required a very stern telling off by Sonic...
I've been doing quite a bit with him of late, mostly because I've been watching lots of training DVD's and reading books so I've been feeling quite inspired. He has done his first V Shape jumps over the jump bumps and did very well. We've been doing a lot of work getting him to go to a stationary toy on the ground which is imperitive for the jump bump work. He is great at chasing a toy when you throw it but when it's placed on the ground and I send him too it he's been a bit unsure. However that is coming along quite well now. One of the DVD's I've been watching is Susan Garrett's "One Jump" exercises. When you watch her demonstrate with her dogs and you see just how well educated they are and how well they know their job it makes you realise just how much there is to teach! So much work to do, so little time... The one jump DVD actually has some interesting things I would like to try with Riot too so it will be interesting to experiment with him well before I get to that type of thing with Sonic. A lot of it is about building value for doing the jump work so I hope that Riot will really benefit from it.
I've also had the opportunity to try out some of the things I've read up on in "Control Unleashed". It talks about rewarding your dog for not paying attention to you which when you hear it sounds ridiculous but when I put it into practice it worked a treat. On Friday I had a workman come out to do some work on the roof. While he was here I had to let Sonic out for a wee. While Sonic was in the yard he took offence to this strange person wandering around on my roof and going up and down a ladder and went ballistic, alarm barking etc. So I dutifully grabbed a big container of Sonic's favourite treats, went outside and every time that Sonic looked at the man on the roof and went nuts I rewarded him. Within about 10 seconds he stopped barking and once he figured it out was actually offering eye contact to the scary man on the roof so he could get a treat from me. The barking and panic he was displaying had completely eliminated itself without any real effort on my behalf. In the past I would have gone out there and tried to get eye contact from him to distract him which I'm sure would have been a battle as he was really upset about the man on the roof. Instead I got the eye contact anyway because he would offer the behaviour of looking at the man and then look at me for his reward. It was a great moment and it was such a great feeling to totally diffuse a situation that could of had the potential to stay with Sonic if it was handled badly. As it was it became a totally positive exercise for all.
Unfortunately my training for the last couple of days has come to a halt as our real summer has finally reared it's ugly head. 40 degree plus days are definately not suitable for doing much other than lounging in the air conditioning!
And lastly, I am having a delima. Do I put Sonic on sheep or not??? When he is playing with my other dogs he is showing real herding potential. He has lovely shape with lovely wide flanks. He is strong on the head (just ask my cat) but also shows great cover. However I am reluctant to do sheep work as I don't want to encourage him to work wide of me when it comes to agility. Mmmm. Will have to meditate on it some more...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Puppy and a Hole

Why is it that when your dog digs a hole, no matter how far you rake around it, there is never enough sand to fill the hole back up??? I can't even begin to imagine how far the sand was flying today while Sonic dug his frenzied way to China. However I was very productive and used sand from one of his other holes dug in a less dangerous location to fill this one back up (after placing undesired leavings underneath to put him off a second attempt at it tomorrow).

Since my last blog I have spent time shaping Sonic to run through a straight and very compressed flexi tunnel and done some high level rewarding for interacting with two weave poles. It is not that I am in any rush for him to do agility equipment, I just think he needs to have new fun stuff in his life to help stimulate his brain. He is so active and into everything that introducing new challenges in a non threatening way is something that he needs. Once he figures something out there is certainly no holding him back. Although for safety reasons I do often try....I have concerns that he is going to really hurt himself getting into the back of the car as he doesn't feel that waiting until I've opened the back of the wagon or the dog cages for that matter is necessary. God forbid he should be left behind on a car ride!!!

I am currently totally engrossed in the book "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. It's about teaching dogs of all temperaments how to relax and focus in overstimulating or stressful environments. It is pretty full on and I don't think it would have made sense to me when I first got into training dogs, but after instructing for the last few years and having issues with Riot I am finding it fascinating. I think there are many things that I will be able to use for both Riot and Sonic on an ongoing basis and I can see myself constantly referring back to it as things come up. I recommend it to anyone who does agility or teaches classes.

The book also talks about being more in tune with your dog, something I was able to put to use tonight at training. I find whenever I get Sonic out of the car for the first time when I get to training he is always way over the top and puts his head down into his collar while galloping frantically in any direction. So I started using the Pavlov philosphy ("you do what I want you get what you want") on him. Every time he checked in with me I click and treated him (when he gave me the eye contact), then immediately released him back to his environment by saying "OK" which is his release cue. I noticed that while he was dragging me along he was yawning too so I can only come to the conclusion that he becomes overwhelmed by the stimulus at training and his way of coping is to charge around and leap all over any poor unsuspecting passer by, be it dog or human. Using the Pavlov technique, by the time we got half way around the oval he had settled down considerably so he was no longer galloping, but rather walking in a relaxed posture (tail down, muscles relaxed) without pulling on the lead at all. His rate of checking in with me had also increased dramatically. I then sat down with him on the grass and let him watch what was going on around him and gave him a good massage. Then the second time I got him out of the car to do some actual training he was a different dog. He was focused, calm and totally engrossed in the activities that we did. It will certainly be interesting to see if there is an improvement in his "arrival at training" behaviour as I continue with the relaxation and focus work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sibling Rivalry

Secret & Sonic

The pups are now just over 18 weeks of age. I recently measured Sonic at 45.5cms at the shoulder (just wiping sweat off brow...) making him noticably bigger than Secret and now also slightly bigger than Billy. When Sonic and Billy were playing at training this week both Gillian and I agreed that Sonic is now even more solid than Billy. It's interesting that Sonic is the only one who is remaining more like his father. All the rest seem to be carbon copies of their mother with lighter bone and finer faces. Considering that Sonic was by far the smallest male puppy in the litter it's quite bizarre that he is now the biggest. Although I do remember Sam saying that Sonic wasn't always the littlest but he was too busy to eat, preferring to be off exploring and playing.
Last weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend a jumping workshop with Cathy Slot from Queensland. Cathy is very involved in ADAA and has been lucky enough to have spent 7 days in Canada at Susan Garrett's Say Yes Training Centre and work with Susan Salo. The jumping workshop went for three days and covered all the basic jump grids that have been developed to teach dogs to understand jumping and learn scope. All the jump exercises that Cathy showed us can be done with puppies using jump bumps instead of normal jumps. The idea being that by the time they are old enough to start the adult grids they will already have a solid understanding of how to control their bodies and make decisions on judging distances. It will certainly be very interesting to try and I'm very glad that I've had the opportunity to start this with a pup who has done nothing. As we watched the dogs over the weekend doing the work shop the ones that improved the most seemed to be the dogs with the least experience. Now I just have to work on Sonic's sit stays so I can set him up on a start line and I've also been working on getting him to watch a toy before I release him to it. That way he will look at the jump in front of him rather than look at me.
Over that weekend Kriszty and Secret came to stay. Needless to say both Secret and Sonic spent a wonderful weekend non stop playing. I still find it amazing that they are so similar although I think that Secret is much more over excitable than Sonic. Not a big surprise though as I generally find that boys tend to be a bit more laid back. I don't believe that over excitability means that a dog is any more driven or translates to drive so I feel kind of relieved that I live with Sonic! Calmness is a good thing...They are both very sweet pups and both love a good cuddle which is really nice.
Sonic has also taken to following me around. So now instead of Murphy being the only one who feels the need to follow me from room to room Sonic is coming along too. He seems to prefer to hang out with me in the house rather than go outside with the other dogs. He really enjoys going to training however I realised this week that I'm trying to do too many things with him during the course of the night. So instead of trying to work on 6 different things of an evening I need to just pick two and focus on those. Otherwise he will be able to lots of things really badly and I would much rather have him know fewer things and do them really well!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Four Months Old

Sonic & Soda

At sixteen weeks Sonic is 42cm at the top of his shoulder so it would appear that he is right on track to be a good mid size border collie. He has passed Secret in height and overall build and is now around about the same size as Billy. It still seems quite bizarre as there is a photo that Sam took of Secret and Sonic when they were about four or five weeks old and she was easily twice his size! How things change.
Once again Sonic has impressed me so much this weekend with his wonderful personality and willingness to please. I took him down the beach both yesterday and today and although there were lots of people around I bravely let him off lead. But I had no need to worry as he was amazing. He stayed with me the whole time and even when other dogs come up to us as we walked down the beach he happily followed along. At one stage when a couple of labs wouldn't leave us alone I called Riot over to come and sit with me so the other dogs would go away. Sure enough Sonic came over too and sat right next to Riot. Everytime I threw the toy into the water for Riot to swim out and retrieve, off Sonic would go, swimming his little heart out to keep up.
Nothing much as changed on the training front. I'm still shaping some different behaviours with him and then working on his sit stays. They are getting pretty good at home but I definately need to spend some time training them when I'm at the training grounds. Plus I need to do some more restrained recalls. I'm pleased that he is getting pretty good at responding to his name now too. At home his toilet training seems to be almost complete with only one accident in the house over the last couple of weeks. He still drives the cat mad but it's interesting to note that rather than just hassling Kenny, Sonic is actually starting to herd him as I've noticed that he always goes around to Kenny's head. I think that's why Kenny gets so annoyed with him as Sonic is always in his way! I've also worked out how to get around the shark teeth when your patting him. The secret seems to be tickling his chest. If you start tickling his chest he will go from crazy arm chewing puppy to dreamy eyed putty in my hands in the blink of an eye!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Legs Eleven

I just walked outside to find Riot and Sonic lying together on the grass systematically shredding a pillow that they stole out of the garage! Talk about partners in crime...As annoyed as I am that they destroyed a pillow (that doesn't actually belong to me) the way they were lying together on the grass totally focused on the job at hand (shredding said pillow) I couldn't find it in me to get cross.
This week we started working on stands and sit stays. Lets face it, sits and downs get a bit boring after a while. However he does do them very well! At training we mucked around on the table. Mainly tug of war and getting him to offer behaviours while on the table. I've been doing a little bit of flat work too which he is really enjoying. I'm very impressed with how he stays on the side I want him on. He also does very good 'S' shapes but I think that may be a bit accidental! But he does seem very clued in to reading my body language considering that I haven't really done all that much flat work with him thus far. Next week I think we'll just continue with the stands and sit stays as they still need rather a lot of work.
Now that Sonic's legs are reaching gazelle length he is learning all the really cool things he can do with the extra height advantage. He will spend as long as it takes removing every single toy from the top of his crate only to leave them forgotten on the floor. He still has to leap about a bit to get the ones right in the middle but his perserverance is quite impressive for one so young. He has also decided that throwing yourself bodily at peoples heads is fabulous fun. He started off just doing to me during our training sessions but apparently anyone is fair game. My parents had to be warned when they arrived today to ensure that they were prepared for the flying projectile. Biggest problem is he does it so unexpectedly. He'll be sitting there looking at you quite innocently and then next thing you know he just launches himself at you. Luckily Sonic actually only drew blood once when enthusiastically chewing on my dad's hand!
He can be total extremes personalities wise at the moment. Some evening he's really mellow and is happy to settle down with the other dogs. Other evenings he turns into a shrieking psycho and I end up having to evict him from the house for the sake of the sanity of the rest of the household. Those evenings seem to be when he's overtired though and thankfully not all the time. Otherwise the rest of us may have moved out by now...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sonic and his Siblings





Sonic and his siblings are now 14 weeks old. They are all very similar with legs like bean stalks and ears that can't decide if they want to go up or down. They are all very outgoing and spent most of the agility trial last night acting like they owned the place. It quite amazing how similar they are and from what Kriszty, Gillian & Dave say they all do the same types of things at home, from the trademark screetching to the intensity in which they do everything.

Last night was a great training excercise for Sonic. He always comes out of his crate like an animal possessed trying to jump on the closest animal or human with all his might. However once he settled down he just sat and watched all the activity and was even happy to offer me the behaviours he knows (not that there'se that many just yet!). I took the opportunity to reward him everytime he was calm and offering me attention. I also took the opportunity for him to play with lots of different breeds so he doesn't just like border collies. One of our new rules however is that he must give me a sit before he gets to play with either people or dogs. Being dragged to see the object of his desire is not pleasant so I decided that some rules of engagement were required.

We still have a nice happy daily routine happening, starting with a brief training and play session first thing in the morning. Then when I get home he comes in the house with me and we play the ride the cabana crate game and just basically hang out while I do my get home from work thing. He's now anticipating the ride the cabana game and throws himself in there when I head up the hallway. One of the things I'm loving about him is the intensity with which he does everything. No matter what it is, be it digging a hole, killing a toy or playing in the water tub he is completely focused and immersed in what he is doing along with his growling and screetching for added effect. You just have to laugh as it is so comical watching this puppy going nuts all the while being so totally serious about it all. If he has even half that intensity around an agility course I will be a very happy girl :-)

This morning saw us take another trip to the beach, this time with the girls for company. Last week there was no other dogs up the end where we were whereas this morning the beach was quite busy. Sonic obviously wasn't prepared for this and spent the walk down onto the beach proper barking at everyone. I'm not sure if he wanted to announce his arrival to all or if he thought he was a rottweiler. Thank goodness by time we got to the water he'd gotten over himself and got more interested in the girls. Then for the first time he had a proper swim. I wouldn't say that he loves the water but there is no way that he is going to be left on the shore when the others go in, so swim he did. He's quite a natural and surprisingly there was very little splashing. We also had some great opportunities to socialise with other dogs that he wouldn't normally meet. I don't want him just getting used to agility dogs that he sees at the Canine grounds. So he happily met a little staffy puppy called Angus, a few white fluffies, a cocker spaniel and a rather silly boxer. I'm hoping to take the camera along to one of our next visits to get some beach photo's of him but right now I'm flat out keeping him under control while he drags me around and I'm certainly not game to let him off the lead yet...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Panic stations

One day I shall get more photos of him standing up....

Oh what a week. A bit emotional all round after a moronic workman left my side gate open and both Lexi and Riot got out. My very kind next door neighbour was able to call Lexi to her and put her back in my yard but Riot was off with no intention of coming to someone that he didn't know. By the time I got home from work he had been gone for two hours and then it took me an hour of driving around the local streets before I found him. I seriously thought I was never going to see him again and it scared the hell out of me. Thank goodness Sonic never got out as I doubt I ever would have seen him again. At least Riot is big enough and ugly enough to look after himself. Needless to say new rules at my house is that no workmen are to come onto my premises unless I am home. I hope to never experience that feeling again. The thought of losing one of my precious dogs is more than I can bear.

Sonic is growing rapidly with legs that seem to get longer everyday. I am still totally in love with his personality as he is such a lovely puppy. He had his first trip to the beach yesterday. He was completely fearless and had no moments of unsureness what so ever. It was like he had been going there every day of his life. He had a bit of a splash around and managed to dunk himself under a couple of times but wasn't phased in the slightest. Nothing really new on the training front although we did have a go on the wobble board at training on Wednesday night. Surprise, surprise he didn't bat an eyelid and jumped all over it. I actually play a game with him when I get home from work everyday which involves him jumping in a cabana crate while I drag it around the house. So he is an old hand at having something moving underneath him. The cutest bit however is that he plays tug of war with the blanket in the cabana crate while I'm dragging him along. We are probably due to start some new skills on the "official" training front but I figure there is no rush and I'm having so much fun just having fun with him.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Times are changing

Another week and I can't believe how much Sonic is changing. His appetite has gone from non existant, where I was lucky if he'd have more than a couple of mouthfuls for dinner, to ravenous where any food he gets is devoured like it is his last meal. Which of course is great news for training. So our morning training sessions have evolved to a whole new level where he offers me sits and downs in rapid succession along with barking at me if I don't reward him quick enough! I'm not a big fan of luring behaviours as I much prefer a dog who thinks for himself so I'm really glad that I waited until he was ready. I've also raised the criteria when we play with toys where he must sit before I throw his toy for him whether he is in a down or a stand. His retrieve is also going great and he brings it back 99% of the time. At training this week we did our first few restrained recalls which were fun. He is happy for someone to hold him but as soon as I call his name he goes ballistic and races after me as fast as he can. Then we have also been practicising me grabbing his collar while rewarding him. There is nothing more annoying than needing to grab your dog suddenly and he ducks away from you. The only other thing I have introduced at this point is getting him to interact with objects. I'll randomly choose an item from around the house, be it a box, washing basket etc and click and treat him for interacting with it. I don't care what he does as long as he offers me something.
Riot has decided that Sonic truly is great fun and they play all the time. Riot will happily lie on his back while Sonic crawls all over his head and they both enjoy great games of tug. I was hoping they'd get on as none of my other dogs will play with Riot. The old farts have just never been interested in a proper physical game with him. But the best thing is that even when Sonic is full on playing with Riot, I can call him out of play and get him to play with me. Hooray!! One thing I have learnt however, is not to leave Riot and Sonic home out the back together when I'm at work. I tried it once this week and the backyard is still recovering. So Angel is back on the job as designated babysitter.
Also on the plus side is that he is regularly sleeping through the night with no crate accidents for me to clean up in the morning. I can't say how relieved I am to be able to get a full nights sleep without having to get up. He will generally make it to about 5ish so although an early morning, it's still better than 2am wake ups.
Then on a final note Sonic had his first 'official' visit to the vet yesterday for his 12 week vaccination. He handled it really well spending most of his time trying to give the vet kisses. All was good and he came away with a clean bill of health which is excellent news.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back to work and reality!

A rare moment as Riot decides to share his toy with Sonic!

Unfortunately this week I returned to work after a glorious three weeks off. The first day when I got home from work he was so excited to see me that he peed himself, but aside from that the transition of him being home without me all day has gone extremely smoothly. Angel is the designated babysitter (a not very impressed one I might add...) with Lexi taking over on Wednesay's to give Angel a break. Lexi thinks puppies are great and no doubt spent the majority of the day running Sonic off his feet playing with him as opposed to Angel who spends most of her time trying to avoid him! But she is the one I trust most with him.

I have a pretty good routine with him where I spend half an hour mucking around with him before I go to work and then after work do a little bit of training but mostly just playing with him. He is not very food motivated at this point and much prefers a toy. So not really pushing anything in particular at the moment other than hand touches and some sits for food. On the toy front is another thing altogether. I play a game with him where the quicker he sits, the quicker I throw the toy. He is so funny watching him sit as quick as he can, although his sit could only just be called that! He leans as far forward as he can without having his bottom off the ground, his ears are back and the whites of his eyes show as he waits in desperate anticipation of me throwing the toy for him. Other than that I've started some crate training where he learns to wait when I open the crate door. I decided I was sick of him barging out like a crazy thing. It only took him a few goes to realise that if he sits and waits then he will get out the door much quicker than if he tries to push his way out. Also on the crate front he has now moved out of my bedroom and sleeps in his main crate in the lounge room. I found that he was getting too hot in my room and kept waking me up panting so thought I'd give him a try in the lounge. As it happens he adjusted beautifully and we haven't looked back since.

I've been taking him to training a bit which he seems to enjoy. Apart from the fact that everyone cuddles him he loves to watch the other dogs doing agility. He also loves to run so I always take him for a lap around the grounds with a game of tug as we go. He belts along as fast as his little legs will take him and wearing an extremely determined expression on his face. All good practice for the time that I eventually start doing proper ground work with him.

The toilet training is starting to get better. Sonic is still waking up around the 1 to 2am mark each night to go out for a wee. I'm hoping in the next few weeks he will grow out of it as I am soooo looking forward to being able to sleep right through the night... Not really having many accidents in the house now thank goodness!

In hindsite I'm really pleased that I took the three weeks off. I feel that it gave our bonding a great start and the opportunity for relationship building that I missed out on with Riot when he was a pup. Just such a great chance to get to know him and the lovely little boy that he is.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A puppies life

Look at those legs!!!

Sonic has been a busy boy of late, filming his first commercial last Wesnesday for a company called Evermore advertising a new Land Release in Beamauris. It wasn't particularly challenging. All that was involved was playing with two kids. As it happened he spent more time trying to bash his little border collie puppy friend Elvis than play with the kids. Much fun was had by all though and it was another great socialising experience.

We have also made our first trip to Better Pets and Gardens along with Riot (who ensures we get a great discount thanks to his commercial work for them). Sonic had a bit of a scare at first with a door alarm going off as we walked through the entrance. However that was quickly put behind us as Sonic realised that all the people in the shop wanted to pat and cuddle him along with some treats to soften the trauma for him. In fact he went from frightened to off the wall remarkably quickly which included leaping on dog beds that I was trying to look at as well as some serious tug of war with Riot's lead as Riot tried to walk around the shop. He is also getting more and more vocal with much conversation with the shop girl Trudy and some customers. He seems to like everyone to know exactly how he's feeling!

Sonic is still pretty good with the other dogs although he has moments where he gets waaaay over the top and gets in their face a bit too much. He has also decided that terrorising the cat is an extreme sport that he wants take up (Kenny obviously does not think this is fun on any level...). Riot still isn't really sure what to make of him although I caught him this morning allowing Sonic to chew his stick with him. Very caring and sharing!

On the training side I'm still not doing lots with him. We always do a morning session where we play tug, do some sits, responding to his name and hand touches. I'm also trying to incorporate a grooming session at least every couple of days. Other than that we just do a couple of play sessions were we muck around with one of his toys. One thing I am very pleased about is that he brings his toys back most of the time when I throw them. It gives me faith that he will be very trainable as I know that getting your puppy to retrieve early is a good sign. I've also been taking him to Canine for walks. One of my big regrets was letting Riot run with the older dogs when he was a puppy and subsequently he has always enjoyed running with the other dogs over interacting with me. I'm quite determined not to make that mistake with Sonic so when we go to Canine I take Sonic out by himself. I really enjoy this time with him and he is quite happy to frolic along with me which is a nice change from having your puppy interested in eveything but you!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Who's a pretty boy then?

Riot & Sonic

I bought a new camera on the weekend so I've been outside this morning taking a million photo's on this glorious spring day. Unfortunately the only time I can get any good ones is when Sonic is lying down as that is the only time that the little bugger is still for more than 2 seconds!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eight weeks old and growing fast.

Sonic - 8 weeks

It's been just over a week since Sonic came home and things are going really well. He is now happy to spend time in his crate and will even take himself into his crate when he's tired and wants a nap. I think developing a consistent routine is helping. Although he is very active he sleeps a lot in between play time which is great. Gives everyone in the house a bit of a break from his youthful exuberance! I'm now working on getting him use to spending time in the pen outside for when I go back to work.

I took him with me to the Royal Show on the weekend. It was a great opportunity to socialise him and get him use to the hussle and bussle that goes on. He was really good and when I had to put him in his crate he was happy to settle down and either chew on his bone or sleep. Naturally he got totally spoilt by everyone and scored loads of cuddles. He also seemed to enjoy watching the dogs do agility so it would appear he is going to be quite visually stimulated. I will have to watch that as he gets older. Other than that he spent time bashing up his sister Secret...

I've also been amazed at how much he has shot up in the last week. When he first came home his stuffed racoon toy was bigger than him. Now he is bigger than it. He also seems a lot more tuned in than what he was last week. Food is more interesting to him so I was able to do a couple of very brief sessions of sitting and hand targeting today. I haven't really been too worried about rushing into any training with him but if he is starting to show signs of being interested I think it is important to start getting him involved. Other than that we just play tug and do lots of informal recalls so he gets rewarded for coming to me when I call him. Toilet training is still a work in progress!

Although there are many things I plan on doing differently with Sonic than I did with Riot I can't help thinking that even if I did it the same Sonic is just going to be different. They have such different personalities. I know I made a lot of mistakes while Riot was a puppy and I may have prevented some things by not allowing him to be reinforced but I think that is just who he is. Sonic is very different in everyway and I know this is going to be a very unique experience.

Monday, September 24, 2007

And the winner is.....

I have asleep at my feet the new Sonic (aka Little Man). It was so hard to choose and took me all day. For the most part I was set on Shoulder Spot Boy but as we did the temperament tests Little Man did better at the tests that I felt were more important. Although I ended up basing my final selection on a test that I did which involved me sitting down by myself with all the puppies. As they kept jumping up on me I kept pushing them away to see which pup would keep persevering. Little Man just wouldn't leave me alone. Even after everyone else had buggered off to play elsewhere he just kept trying to get into my lap. So at that point I felt that my decision was made.
We had a good trip home from Kojonup with both Shoulder Spot Boy (now known as Billy) and Sonic riding on Gillian's knee. After a bit of fidgeting they both slept for the majority of the journey. We arrived back at my house around 8.30pm so it was a bit of a rush getting them all fed without Sonic screaming about being left alone. He was really hungry though and tucked into his dinner with gusto.
Last night wasn't too bad. I had his crate right next to my bed. He whimpered a bit which is understandable seeing as his whole life has just changed. After chatting quietly to him however, he settled down. He did wake up a few times and whimpered a bit but generally went back to sleep if I talked soothingly to him.
He's been having lots of fun exploring today. Unfortunately it's a very wet and windy day so we haven't been outside much. He follows me everywhere and when he gets to me plants himself between my feet. I wouldn't call him independant at all at this stage. He much prefers to be with you and as close as possible. Right now he is currently fast asleep at my feet.
He's enjoying playing tug games with me but when I tried doing some food rewards this morning for eye contact he didn't really get it at all. I think we'll take that type of training very slow. He does like food but he's not all that motivated by it. Mind you with his fat little belly that's not really any great surprise!!
All in all I'm very rapt with him. Sam has done a great job bringing them up to be happy and well adjusted little dogs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time to pick Sonic....But who do I choose??

Shoulder Spot Boy
Little Man
(Photo's by Sam Weaver)

Sam has suggested that it would be good for us to take our pups home this weekend. She thinks that the pups are ready to be socialised outside the farm environment and start embracing their new lives. So Sonic will be coming home with me after I choose him on Sunday. I have taken an extra week off work to be with him for as long as possible before heading back to work.
So who do I choose, Shoulder Spot Boy or Little Man?? I think LM is totally cute but SSB seems to be really shining personality wise. From what Sam has written on the pupdates blog SSB is the first to do everything and appears to have no fear of life. LM doesn't seem to be quite as outgoing and is more upset by noises etc. I may just have to rely on my gut intinct when I see them on Sunday.
I have some serious puppy preparations to complete over the next couple of days. I was going to do most of it this coming week but now the arrival date has moved forward I only have tomorrow. So Riot and I will be making a trip to Better Pets and Gardens to see if we can get some puppy food and accessories at a good price (have to use his fame for something good!!).
Then I have to organise a bit of a roster and plan what types of puppy training I want to start him off with. Busy, busy, busy...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Little Man is growing up

(Photo by Sam Weaver)

Sonic will be 7 weeks old this coming Saturday and the time has come to go and visit them to make our official puppy selections on Sunday. Although I think we all have a pretty good idea which pup we want we will be temperament testing all of the pups before choosing. It sounds like the litter is still very close potential wise. My favourite, Little Man seems to have quite a few fans at the moment so I think I will be breaking a few hearts if he ends up being my final choice. Certainly a bit hard to not fall in love with that little face of his...

I also need to finish preparations for my training schedule. I know that I want to follow Susan Garrett's training methods as although my three year old border collie Riot is not the speed demon that I originally hoped for he understands his job beautifully. So I'm happy that Susan's work is the direction that I want to take with Sonic. Her book Ruff Love has a program that I will follow while Sonic is between 8 weeks and 7 months of age. It will include Sonic being in a crate whenever he's not supervised (he will be in a pen while I'm at work), he will be allowed to play with other puppies while on lead but I will call him out of play frequently and reward him, no free running with my other dogs at all, no unsupervised play, work on him eating part of his dinner from his bowl and the rest from my hand, work on hand targeting and various games. I hope to schedule about four to five short training sessions per day. I think I'll need to actually put together a training plan on paper to help fit it into my daily routine. It is always so hard to incorporate a puppy into your normal daily life as they don't believe in doing anything that is routine!!! As much as I look forward to him coming into my life I will also be enjoying these last couple of weeks of peace and quiet before he arrives...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Could he be Sonic?

(Photo by Sam Weaver)

This is "Little Man" at four weeks of age. I wonder if he will be the future SuperSonic...He's terribly cute that's for sure.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The waiting game

This blog will be following the life of the newest member to join my border collie family, Sonic.

Sonic was born on 4th August 2007 along with 5 other litter mates. He and his siblings are the result of a mating done to try and produce some very special agility dogs for Kriszty my fellow agility competitor, and myself.

His father is Mick who is a farm dog living on a wheat and sheep property in Narembeen. He was selected due to his rather amazing brother Domino. Domino, in my opinion, is the fastest agility dog in Australia. To watch him run an agility course takes your breath away. He was recently clocked at running 10 metres per second over an agility sequence which is totally mind blowing. Mick is a lovely dog and by all accounts is very similar to his brother. He has never done agility but is an incredibly athletic dog and has all the drive in the world. Sonic's mum is Ivanhoe Sally. She belongs to Richard and Sam and was bred to be a three sheep trialling dog. I've always liked this lovely girl from the first time I saw her. Sam and Richard have been kind enough to let Kriszty and I use her to produce this litter.

Originally I wasn't going to get one but after helping track down Mick and talking to Kriszty I decided it was too good an opportunity to turn down. Although I already have four bc's only one is currently competing with the other three living the lazy retired life which involves eating, sleeping, eating some more, going for a run and then off to sleep again...Plus I want to get a fast dog while I'm still phyically able to do what I need to be competitive. No point leaving it until I can't run anymore! So bring it on.

The litter is now five weeks old and according to Sam, getting naughtier by the day. Sam is very impressed with the pups so far and thinks that they are very outgoing. The puppy that will be Sonic is not 100% decided although there appears to be a front runner who is currently known as "Little Man". Sam described him on her blog as "he wasn't always the littlest, but since he's become mobile he is way too busy to eat, so he's become a bit scrawny. He's always the first into everything, the one who gets stuck behind furniture, the one who gets through the fence and off over the hill". Oh boy, I think that maybe I'm going to have my hands full with this little guy!

Sam has kindly created a "Pupdates" blog so Kriszty and I can watch their progress while they grow up on Sam and Richard's farm. We plan on driving down to see them when they turn 7 weeks old and then will have the hard task of actually picking out exactly which puppy we want. At this stage I plan on going with whatever Sam recommends as she is the one who is seeing them everyday and watching their little personalities take shape. I think it will be quite a hard decision!

So for now I will be anxiously awaiting Sam's updates on her blog and totally hanging out to see them in two weeks time.