I'm still waiting for confirmation but I'm hoping that Rain's kennel name will be Kerodan Here Comes The Sun. It is perfectly fitting for her because she is my little ray of sunshine. Rain is four and a half months of age now and has been with us for 10 weeks. I always chuckle when I'm referring to her as the "perfect puppy" but right now she really kind of is. She is very much "Mummy's girl" and I'm always number one on her list. She chooses to play tug with me rather than chasing the other dogs who are tearing after their own toy, and wouldn't even consider sniffing and checking out her environment when there are games to be played with me. I'd love to give myself a pat on the back for this but this and pretend it was all my awesome dog training skills but at the end of the day this is just her lovely personality. So really I just feel lucky. I know she hasn't reached adolescence yet and that can see the appearance of the furry finger, but to be honest even if she does have a few teenager moments I can't see her personality changing.
It's been fun watching her quirky little character develop over the last couple of months. She is great with the others dogs and absolutely loves playing with Veto. They have formed a really lovely friendship and I've been encouraging them to play because its so good for him as well. Rain can get too much for Cassie so I have to keep an eye on that and I rarely leave them together if I'm not around. Rain thinks its great fun, Cassie not so much. Rain loves to carry things in her mouth. This started right from when she joined us. On our daily walks she generally carries the udder tuggy with her the whole way. If that isn't in her mouth then it will be her leash or a stick or banksia cone that she has found. I don't mind at all because if her mouth isn't occupied it often means that my shoes or pants cop it.
Training wise it's all very basic. Her food drive has only really kicked in over the last few weeks where she is pushing me to work for food. Up until then she was much more interested in a toy. We've been working through some of the Fenzi Engagement course and now she is pushing me all the time to do something. She has learnt a start button is and is happy to use it all the time when she wants to do something. At this stage we've been mucking around with body awareness, recalls, retrieves and single wraps. She shot up really fast and has these lovely long legs which she has had no control over what so ever. She was quite reluctant to really engage her back end at all. It has been fun watching her figure it out and now is getting on the Fitbone with all four paws without falling straight off again! Rear end pivoting has also not been easy for her but she is getting the idea. Her recalls are awesome. Retrieve is OK, she was keen on a game for one initially as are most puppies but she is now racing off to get her toy and come back to me, often with a little growl thrown in as she gets to it. It's just the giving it to me that isn't quite there yet. She tends to want to bring it back but then lie down on the ground and chew it as is often the way. I've taken the opportunity to take a play course through Fenzi this term. I'd like to learn more about being a better play partner for my dogs. I'd already figured out that tugging for very brief periods with Rain before letting go means that she is more likely to bring it back for more but I'm keen to learn more skills in that space.
She is really confident away from home. People are a no brainer for her and we've had to start working on her asking permission before she launches herself at anyone who might be passing by. She's not overly confident with dogs she doesn't know and tends to be on the cautious side, rolling over onto her back. I actually don't think she really cares about meeting the other dogs too much and hasn't shown a lot of interest in going up to dogs at all. She is far more interested in cuddles from people. I'm really not bothered if she's not interested in other dogs as long as she's not worried about them. Veto (to my untrained eye) appeared confident with other dogs as a puppy too, but the other extreme where I could never let him off leash because he'd shoot off to the closest dog. Rain definitely does not have that same interest.
Managing Veto is hard. After about three or four weeks of the puppy being here I had no choice but to medicate him. Living with him was a nightmare. He was this volatile ticking time bomb and you had no idea when he was going to go off, just that it was going to happen at some point. The stress and emotional rollercoaster we were on was just awful. I didn't realise just how much I could dislike one of my dogs but when he's at his worst he is an absolute nightmare to live with. He's been on the medication for almost two months and it has definitely helped. More often than not he is OK and he is able to relax and keep a lid on his over arousal. But every now and again we still get a few days where he is unpredictable and frustrating as hell. I am trying to find a pattern so we can manage those times better but at the moment they seem really random. There must be triggers that get him to that point but I don't know what they are at the moment. He is very, very hard to love when it happens. Right now I'm just thankful that these periods don't seem to last long. On the other side of the chaos he is a lovely dog. There is a part of me that struggles with having to medicate a dog to it's eyeballs in order for it to function. But if there is an alternative I have no idea what it is. It means agility is completely off the table, I would never do agility with him while he is on this amount of meds but at the end of the day we have to live with him. It's another frustration as we have a couple of top European handlers coming to Perth this year that I really wanted to work under. But that's life and agility just has to become very secondary.
I am letting him and Rain play as much as they want to. I think it has been great for both of them. Considering what an arsehole he can be he is incredibly appropriate with her and lets her jump all over him. I keep an eye on them but from what I can see he is doing all the right things. To see him relaxing and de-stressing while he is playing is wonderful to see. I've got all these photos of him where he just has this huge happy grin on his face. Things that would stress him out normally he doesn't even notice when he is playing with her. And she has an outlet for her youthful exuberance!