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.